A man slaps child in Walmart is one thing for Walmart, particularly with the People of Walmart site to deal with. The man slaps child in Walmart story, combined with the People of Walmart website, is a perfect storm of bad Walmart PR. Today’s ‘man slaps child in Walmart’ story broke on Monday and is making national news now, while the People of Walmart website has been gaining ground for over a month. Walmart is always vulnerable to potshots and massive criticism for various reason – but the ‘man slaps child in Walmart’ incident and the People of Walmart website are pretty unique ways to do it.
The more graphic and troubling story is from the man slapping a child – especially when the man is 61-years-old, and the child was merely 2. According to reports, the man slapped the child in a Walmart at Stone Mountain, Georgia, near Atlanta. Roger Stephens is charged with slapping a 2-year-old toddler four times, after warning the mother that “If you don’t shut that baby up, I will shut her up for you.”
That traditional line was actually acted on, as the man slapped the child four times, causing the toddler’s face to go red. Stephens reportedly bragged “I told you I would shut her up” before being arrested and charged with cruelty to children.
The man slaps child story does not seem likely to be Walmart’s fault, since Roger Stephens was just a customer. But Walmart is already getting mocked for the kind of customers it has at its stores, particularly by a new website called ‘People of Walmart’
The site is basically a collection of photos featuring Walmart customers – especially the awkward, fat, badly dressed kind. People of Walmart has suddenly become so popular that its server crashed on Wednesday, and still got 1.2 million page views that day.
Mocking Walmart and its customers is nothing new, and is quite popular, judging by the People of Walmart site’s success. The powerful chain is regularly mocked, if not outright demonized, all the time by many people. Particularly by progressives who bash Walmart for its treatment of employees, its conquest of small business, and the practices it uses to ensure low prices.
Since someone slapped a child in a Walmart store, it provides the People of Walmart fans with another opportunity to mock the store’s demographics and customers. With both the site and the child slapping story topping Internet searches today, it certainly isn’t a good day for the store’s image.
People of Walmart- www.peopleofwalmart.com
CNN.com- “Viral Web site mocks Wal-Mart customers” www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/09/03/walmart.people/
Philadelphia Inquirer- “If you don’t shut that baby up…” www.philly.com/inquirer/world_us/20090903__If_you_don_t_shut_that_baby_up_____.html