Et tu, Walmart, NASCAR, et al?

I don’t understand what Walmart thinks it is doing by rushing to kowtow to the cultural fascists of the left wing by purging Confederate-themed merchandise from its shelves.

Did someone ask them to do it?

They folded even before some lefty Astroturf group could gin-up a bot-powered Twitter social media campaign of pseudo-outrage. They preemptively surrendered. The French Army has showed more spine.

What’s really strange about the Walmart debacle is that the company was built on serving the very type of people — lower-income, rural and semi-rural Southerners — that are most likely to look favorably on the Confederacy. And that group is still far and away its largest customer group and the people most likely to support Walmart, while urban sophisticatoes sneer at (and deny) Walmart’s efforts to move into larger urban markets that they inhabit.

So who did Walmart think they were ingratiating themselves with in this abject submission? Who is Walmart trying to impress by kicking their most loyal customers to the curb? It’s like some guy publicly smacking his loyal wife around in an attempt to start an affair with the cute triple-divorcee that just moved into the apartment complex.

Admittedly, Walmart has been shifting over the last decade as Sam Walton’s people retire and are pushed out and replaced by MBAs and other professional (and edumacated!) business types from the more enlightened environs of the coasts. The company has to apologize to prospective executives for its headquarters location in rural northwest Arkansas. It backed Obamacare and has developed a love-hate relationship with minimum wage laws and other employee compensation. Like a spurned girl, it endlessly does the laundry for the one it wants.

And like that girl, Walmart is too besot to realize that those people will never be placated by your pathetic, cloying submission.

If Walmart’s executives think that by trashing their customer base to curry favor with Manhattanites, San Franciscans, Bostonians, Chicagoans, Los Angelenos, etc., they will be able to get a store in Times Square, on Lake Shore Drive, next to Harvard Yard or on the Embarcadero to be visited by the Target/Macy’s/Nordstrom’s demo, they are utterly deranged. You, Walmart, are the fat, ugly, hard-working, factory girl in their eyes. Uh, miss, the baby puked all over the bed, clean that up; and don’t bruise the sheets this time.

And you always will be.

But now you’ve tossed off the lumpen, not-particularly-exciting factory worker that was sweet on you. Hope you enjoy those romance novels and bon-bons because those are your new best friends. You’ll be growing old together.

If Walmart had been smart, it would have quietly stopped restocking Confederate-themed merchandise. If anyone asked, it would say that the merchandise just wasn’t selling like it used to. It’s a free country and Walmart can stock what it wants to. No one would have known the better and it could have kept its core shoppers. But instead it jumped out in front of a nonexistent Jacobin mob. It actually drew attention to its panicked, craven behavior. The very definition of foolish business behavior.

Sears has a different history than Walmart though their markets have quietly come to resemble each other. Sears has always had a different geographical footprint and Walmart has long been better-run and more profitable than the department store pioneer. In deep financial trouble, Sears can ill afford to start fights with chunks of its core customer base, yet that’s exactly what it did when it joined the purge of Confederate merchandise. Now, it’s likely that there wasn’t a lot of Confederate merchandise in the Sears catalog to begin with, but it’s the thought that counts.

Some people have tried to explain these bizarre moves by saying that modern business are “risk-averse” so they naturally kowtow to activists. But that doesn’t really make sense. There weren’t many activists making demands of either retailer. And the danger of irritating large segments of the core base should have set off alarms.

Seriously, was there anyone not going to Sears (or Walmart for that matter) because it sold “Confederate merchandise”? How did this move solve any problem? It only created a problem.

The few activists that might be placated in the execs’ eyes are the very same people usually working against businesses, Walmart especially. Now they’ve been encouraged. They will make greater demands in the future.

Both companies could have easily sat this out.

I have been shopping at Sears occasionally — to try to help them out. I live in Arlington, Virginia, a proudly Walmart-free liberal county. I won’t be shopping at Sears, no doubt hastening its demise, and I certainly won’t be making my way to a Walmart anytime soon. Nor will I waste intellectual energy defending Walmart when it comes under attack from antibusiness liberals.

Much the same goes for NASCAR. Over the last couple of years, after its peak of popularity in the “W” years, NASCAR has made uncomfortable moves to get away from its base audience of Walmart and Sears shoppers (Craftsman tools!). After eagerly saying it welcomed homosexual marriage (in the pits?), it too has jumped on the bash-the-Confederacy bandwagon.

NASCAR has been under a guilt-bombing by liberals who wouldn’t be caught dead within 50 miles of a NASCAR race over the sport’s “lack of diversity;” as if every sport is supposed to match the racial makeup of the U.S.

Does NASCAR possibly think it will find a new, bigger, more loyal audience in urban environments and people offended by the Confederate flag? Well, good luck on that one. I won’t be watching any longer.

I’ll write eventually on the increasing politicization of sports. Suffice to say, I abandoned the NFL over the Limbaugh snub many years ago. I cut back my NBA watching this year because it has become hyperpoliticized (more than just the Jason Collins thing). Major League Baseball is usually okay though it’s fetishization of Jackie Robinson is approaching need-a-restraining order time. So, I’ve learned a lot about hockey this year. The NHL is growing on me – and I watch a lot of smaller conference college sports. I watch a lot of sports. I have a Washington Nationals-Atlanta Braves rerun going on the TV right now as I write this. I love knowing the Nats are going to win.

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