Friday, April 17, 2015

Wal-Mart Weirdness

Wal-Mart raised eyebrows this week when it made the unprecedented decision to "temporarily" close (for at least six months) five stores in four states, and with only two to five hours notice for its employees.

Why? The reason Wal-Mart is giving is that these stores (one in Florida, one in California, one in Oklahoma, two in Texas) allegedly have massive "plumbing problems". Does it seem odd that "plumbing problems" occurred in 5 stores simultaneously, and that the problem necessitates an identical six-month closure in each case? Does that seem like a believable explanation to you?

Not everyone thinks so. In fact, almost nobody thinks so.

If the Pico Rivera, CA location is planning a major plumbing renovation, they haven't told anyone. The city manager told CBS News that his office hasn't heard a word about any such thing from Wal-Mart, and that no permits for construction have been applied for.

In Brandon, Florida, The Hillsborough County Commissioner told WFLA that the store "didn’t mention anything about plumbing" as the reason for the abrupt and mysterious closure. And ABC News is reporting that that no plumbing permits have been pulled in any of the cities where Wal-mart closed stores on Monday.

According to The Consumerist, a city official from Midland, TX reports that a city plumbing inspector was sent away when he tried to visit the closed store and offer help with securing the necessary construction permits.

What the heck is going on here?

The woo-woo channels are, of course, abuzz with the story. According to a post on Lunatic Outpost:

"What is going on? The little girl who lives down the street from me works there. She said they all got laid off and no real reason was given. She also said people who did not work for walmart came to take the inventory. Tonight they have the road blocked off about two blocks away. They also are moving heavy equipment into the parking lot. Why does the state police have a road block?"

"Called one of the Walmarts (Midland, TX location) just now. Phone was answered by a woman "Thank you for calling Walmart customer care, may I begin this conversation by requesting your first and last name?" (WHAT?) I just said I was calling to check store hours. She asked if I was calling about a particular location. I told her the one on Midland Drive. She said that the store was closed last night at 7pm. I said "Oh? For good?" She said "Yes, at first they said it would be for maybe 6 months but after further review they have decided to close indefinitely."

So far the leading conspiracy theories are as follows: A.) This is part of a government plot involving Operation Jade Helm 15 and martial-law FEMA camps. B.) This has something to do with a secret experiment involving CERN and underground bases. (Don't ask. I didn't even read the details of that one myself) and C.) This is Wal-Mart's way of getting even with employees of stores who protested for better wages. (The Midland store is one of Wal-Mart's top performers - would they really close it down out of revenge on a handful of disgruntled employees?)

None of these sound particularly believable to me. The truth may, in fact, be even weirder. Whatever it is. A plumbing expert told The Consumerist that even if these stores were ripping out all sewer lines and replacing them completely, it wouldn't take anywhere near six months and it wouldn't necessitate closing the store for that whole time. Wal-Marts have four bathrooms (two for the public, two for employees) and don't have an in-house irrigation system for their produce. Professional contractors who have worked for Wal-Mart in the past have noted that they've seen stores with portions of the roof gone for repairs, but they still didn't close. Stores with all refrigeration knocked out during extensive construction work, but they still didn't close.

Doesn't add up, does it?

(Images: Top: The Brandon, FL Wal-Mart, via Newslocker. Center: Graphic from Natural News. )


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