Yesterday in southern New Jersey, a yet-to-be identified person used the Walmart P.A. system to make this announcement: “Attention, Walmart customers: All black people, leave the store now.”
Predictably, people are quite upset about this. The black community is calling for Walmart to apologize, the Walmart manager is claiming he has no idea who made the announcement, and Barack Obama is gearing up for another beer summit.
I really, really, really, hate to do this, but I gotta take Walmart’s side on this one. Don’t get me wrong–I hate Walmart. I mean I really, really hate Walmart.
But this probably wasn’t their fault. In fact, I’m pretty damn sure it wasn’t their fault. When I was younger, and more of a mischief-maker, we used to go into Walmart, Kmart, and Target specifically to find courtesy phones and announce things over the P.A. system. It was a hoot. Down a few beers, wander around the store, find a phone, and announce something like “Attention Walmart shoppers: All shoppers with children must leave the store because your little brats are demolishing the toy section. Or “Attention Target shoppers: Please refrain from farting in the checkout lines. It’s getting a bit cloudy up here.”
I have a feeling that something similar happened yesterday in Jersey. It’s getting pretty hard to pull this stunt because most newer stores no longer have the phones scattered throughout the store. Employees now carry walkie-talkies so there’s no need for them, but in the older stores you’ll still find those clunky old phones. If you pick up the receiver and start punching buttons, eventually you’ll access the P.A. system. Some stores were so dumb they actually had the P.A. marked on the phone.
As a reformed mischief-maker, I cannot condone this kind of behavior. And there is no way I would advocate the following:
1. Find an older dept. store that still has these kinds of phones.
2. Do a bit of recon: Walk around the store for a bit and identify the largest group of people in the store.
3. Go to the phone you’ve already scoped out and then make the following announcement: “Attention Walmart/Kmart/Target/Bells/JcPenny/Sears shoppers: All (choose one based on your initial reconnaissance: white, black, hispanic, asian, presbyterian, catholic, jewish, obese, skinny, toothless, flip-flop wearing, etc.) people must leave the store immediately. Don’t make us use mace. Thank you for your cooperation.”
4. Go to the front of the store and videotape the reactions.
5. Post reactions on YouTube.
There’s no way I would advocate that kind of immature behavior. But if you do commit this heinous, deplorable crime, please post a link of your hilarious YouTube video in the comments section.