Monday, December 15, 2008

WTF Walmart?!?

I'm reading: WTF Walmart?!?Tweet this!

My readers know I'm just not that into Walmart, but after several work-related conversations about the 11Moms campaign, I felt a professional obligation to dig deeper. Please note that I like and admire several of the 11Moms. The moms I know personally and from online are smart and talented.

In the process of reviewing the site, I noticed they still had their Black Friday shopping tips* up. Ugh. You may recall that a 270-pound man was trampled to death by a zealous crowd at Long Island, NY Walmart...and that the store where he died re-opened just a few hours after his death.

I read the Black Friday tips and was appalled and sickened to find this quote from one of the moms: Bring a buddy!!! If you guys think you can do this alone, think again people! These shoppers are die hard and they'll run you over like there's no tomorrow! The more you have, the better!

Sure it was cheeky and certainly written before the death of Jdimytai Damour. It might have been cute in mid-November, but this should have been removed on November 28.

Walmart, you may have social media types buzzing about your campaign, but you've disgusted me once again. And as for the mom who wrote that, I wonder if she asked to have that paragraph removed. Did it slip her mind? I don't know. I'm not seeking to accuse, I'm seeking to understand.

In an odd coincidence, an hour or so before hitting the Walmart site, I posted at Momformation about sources for fair trade gifts and "gifts with a conscience" and I'm giving away a six-pack of Divine fair trade chocolate. (Fair trade chocolate, what are you waiting for?)

Oh, and sorry about the lame image, I'm not great with screen shots and used my camera. I figure the changes will be made soon to the Walmart site and didn't want people to think I'm one of those crazy Internet mommies. Yeah, I know, it's too late for that.

Edited to add: Wow, a Tweep just sent me this snazzy screen shot. Girl's got skillz. She felt sorry for me. And is not a Walmart fan.

* Edited to add site link 12/16/08.


BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

That is horrific. Seriously horrific. I usually give most all my shopping money to Target and this makes me rethink WalMart at all! Their PR and marketing team needs to do some "sensitivity" scanning and training to their online materials.

Sprite's Keeper said...

Most of the frenzy I've seen on Black Friday was just between the employees and customers when something was priced wrong. This is terrible. I would hope the site would be more sensitive to the material on its page and Walmart would be more sensitive with their opening procedures.

kristina said...

WTF indeed!

Erika Jurney said...

Well how about JCPenny's advertising a "Doorbuster" sale just last weekend? People don't think.

Naomi said...

I have another Wal-Mart related diatribe up today:

Seriously, these folks need to get out and see what other people think about them once in a while.

A Cowboy's Wife said...

So, first of all. I wrote that a loooong time ago, well before Black Friday and it was also posted on the Walmart website way before the incident. Obviously I never meant to be hurtful, ugly, or insensitive and anyone who knows me would know better. It was funny at the time, of course it's not now!

I would also like to say that they are removing it ASAP. They are sensitive and do care...some things get overlooked like past tips. It was on oversight after the fact.

I'm so tired of people griping and trying to find the bad in every single thing. Doesn't anyone else have anything better to do?

Kim Moldofsky said...


I noted that it was meant to be funny, but no longer is. I just can't believe it was sitting on the site for over two weeks without anyone- at corporate, the 11Moms, or other readers noticing.

Thanks for commenting. Off to find somethign better to do. Exericse, I think.

April said...

In the past 4 years, all I've heard are compelling reasons NOT to shop at Wal-Mart. I'll add this to my list.

Sarah Auerswald said...

For a Cowboy's Wife: Surely you can see it was a mistake to leave the comment up? Surely you can imagine something like an apology or at least an acknowledgement of a mistake is the best way to get people to move on from something -- as opposed to being defensive and accusing people of overreacting.

That's crisis PR management 101.

And it's pretty ridiculous that no one saw it sitting there for 2 weeks -- it seems like even longer ago by now. Wal-Mart's a pretty big company, you'd think they'd have enough people on staff reviewing the web site, but apparently not. I would think they might even owe Moldy mom a thank-you for pointing it out!

Selfish Mom said...

I posted about it:

Honestly, the fact that it's still there doesn't bother me as much as the fact that they just suck at damage control. Hey Wal-Mart, spend a tiny tiny portion of your billions and keep track of this stuff, huh?

KTP said...

This makes me feel bad for buying a $5 T-shirt at Walmart last night. I never shop there, but I am making a T-shirt for a coworker for our office Christmas party tomorrow, so no time to shop online and Target (my love) is on the other side of town.

At least I put my change in the Salvation Army bucket...

Kim Moldofsky said...


Um, I don't think they are going to thank me. But what if they did. What would that look like? Something to ponder when I have nothing better to do.

Off to read Selfish Moms post. Oh, and if you haven't already, check the link SuperdumbSupervillain left--a post suitable for Moldymom (my Twitter handle).

Stimey said...

Yeah. To leave that up is in really bad taste.

Jessica Gottlieb said...

"I'm so tired of people griping and trying to find the bad in every single thing. Doesn't anyone else have anything better to do?"

Are you an animal? No, no one ever should have something more important to do than to stand by a family who has to bury their child.

It was a criminal act, it's newsworthy and if we forget it, then it might be your precious child one day.

I will never forget your bad behavior.

GeekMommy said...

Okay Kim... I'll thank you if no one else will. Thank you for noticing this horribly insensitive tip.

Now I'm going to ask you some questions:
1) Why didn't you point it out by sending an email to have it removed rather than using it as fodder for a blog post to incite people?

2) Why didn't you give Walmart a chance to fix the issue before condemning them? People make mistakes. Usually, if you point it out politely, they'll fix it.

Listen - you KNOW I love you. I think you are witty, sharp, funny and on target most of the time. But what exactly were you doing poking around on the Black Friday tips at the ElevenMoms site on December 16th if you hate Walmart so much?

Because honestly? This just screams "looking for something to drum up outrage over" rather than "really surprised and trying to help remedy the bad situation."

Seriously - what were you hoping to gain by posting this? Because if all you wanted was to get it removed a simple "hey #11moms? There's a really insensitive tip up on your site about Black Friday" on Twitter would've had us all doing our best to remedy that. :(


Classy Mommy said...

Kim - Thanks for pointing out this "insensitivity" on the 11 Moms website so it could be removed. As a friend of yours, and Loris, I can say she is is fabulous and obviously made the comment long before this tragedy. Black Friday shopping is ridiculous - and people really are aggressive everywhere for what they think is a one time deal. This is a great reminder to myself as an 11 Mom that all of us - and any blogger working with a company - needs to keep continual tabs on content at the corporate website cause as we know news happens fast and Social Media needs to respond immediately. And as our names are associated with the corporations we all need to do our part keeping the website in check as well.

Kim Moldofsky said...

Geek Mommy,

You are welcome. Though it's not really your place to apologize, it's Walmart's. But ANY blogger who gets in bed with ANY brand as a visible rep does walk a tricky line. They are not the company, yet they are the face of the company. I think Barbara Gibson's recent post on Chris Brogan/KMart pointed that out.

You are right. I could have sent an email to your or Colleen, Arianne, Jessica and I didn't. Walmart is the retailar that Americans either love or love to hate. I'm guilty of falling into the latter camp.

It IS odd that I was on the site long after I'd Twittered my goodnight. As I mentioned in the post, my clients and potential clients want to know what I think of the WalMart Moms and though I'm connected with many of you and think you are a fab bunch, I don't follow your Walmart doings and it was time to take a peek.

Also, and I didn't blog this, after seeing a picture of the new Disney Magic Moms who appear to be a pretty white bunch, I wanted to see if the Walmart moms group had a bit more racial diversity now that the program has grown. Happily, there is.

Why aren't companies creating mom panels that look like their customer base? But that's another post. If, BTW, you know a company that is doing this well, please let me know.

So I was poking around the site for due diligence. As a blogger outreach consultant, I should keep better tabs on a hot program like 11Moms. You know you all have made a splash.

What did I hope to gain by posting this. Well, if I was looking to really blast Walmart, I could have done it better, bigger, and certainly more profane. I certainly could have ripped into the blogger who wrote that, but I did not even name her. I am aware that she wrote it well before the incident. If it were me, I think I would've remembered I wrote that and asked to have it pulled ASAP- but I lay the final blame with corporate. It's their site.

As with the Camp Baby blogstorm, lessons come out of this. I certainly think there is a lesson here about knowing your site content. And I think this lesson applies to every company.

This adds insult to the ultimate injury- a man lost his life at Walmart on Black Friday and the story made international news.

If this had been on your personal site, I certainly would have emailed you or DM'd you, urged you to take it down. I got your back, but not Walmart's.

I appreciate that you don't hold back, but are open to dialogue.

Kim Moldofsky said...

Classy Mommy,

I missed your comment while I was writing mine. Great point! I tried to make the same on in my comment.

GeekMommy said...


Thanks for addressing that.

I suspect until the legal types are done with it, mine will be the best apology that you'll get. One thing my time in the law field taught me is that corporations don't get to say they are sorry until all the lawsuits are done - because there's stupid legal issues of liability. You say "we're sorry" and that translates into major $$ and no general counsel worth his salt will do that.

Which is a sad state of things - but not Walmart's doing - rather a HUGE and glaring flaw in the American Civil Law system. So many things would be better if saying "I'm sorry" weren't automatically translated to some form of liability.

That said? Thanks for not calling Lori out - she really never meant any harm - and honestly? Apparently it was a good idea not to go out into that insanity alone. I've never seen anything like that. On Black Friday out here? No lines, no mobs - just walk in, get something, walk out. Had you told me something like that was possible prior to it actually happening I wouldn't have really believed you.

That those people could be so callous as to trample *anyone* let alone killing someone all in the name of a deal is not even in the mindset out here.
Lori isn't from back East either... I don't expect she really expected that either.

That said - what you and Colleen said is 100% right. If you're going to put my name and picture on a site, I'd better be aware of what is on it and what I'm representing.
That's something I assure you that those of us in the ElevenMoms program learned today without a doubt.

You shouldn't have to police it for us - we should be policing it ourselves.

Thanks again for the thoughtful reply - I still adore you! :)

girlymama said...

awful. just awful!

clearly, that mom is not at fault -this is totally wal-mart's doing. they should certainly know what they are posting on their own sites!!! the massive pr clean-up crew should have seen that and removed it asap.

i do not like wal-mart and avoid shopping there. this is just fuel for my fire. go target! ;-)

Dayngr said...

I sure as hell wouldn't have apologized for writing a blog post about something that bothered me - let alone explain why I did it rather than send an email. That's just me. This is your blog so you do what you want and you own no one anything.

Regardless of whether I could have sent and email or not or whether I did or not, I still would have posted it because I believe in the power of the people when it comes to big businesses.

That's just me.

Meagan Francis said...

Kim, with all due respect, surely you had to know how this would fall out when you repeatedly forwarded the link to Jessica and tweeted it multiple times...regardless of whether YOU named her or not.

I am feeling disgusted with the mom blogger world today. And this coming from somebody who loves to hate Wal-Mart.

Ilina said...

This is inexcusable! Why isn't it getting more play? I too respect many of the 11 Moms and value their opinions. However, I loathe Walmart. I had to go there yesterday to buy one thing that only they carried (a particular hat my nephew wanted), and as we walked into the store my three-year old son asked, "What store is this, Mommy?" We've never been here." I hesitated to tell him because I often say that we don't shop at Walmart for many reasons. He kept asking so I finally said in hushed tones, "We're at Walmart. To buy JUST ONE THING." He was horrified and kept saying (loudly, as three-year olds do everything), "But Mommy, we don't shop at Walmart! We don't like Walmart!"

Anyway, this insensitivity and lack of attention is right on brand as far as I'm concerned. They are clearly not keeping up with their social media strategy.