New York - At a press conference today Walmart spokesman Scott A. Reid faced hostile questions from gathered reporters. The press were called so that Mr. Reid could justify the U.S. retailers decline to aid factory victims in Bangladesh by participating in an international compensation fund.
In its refusal, Walmart joined Sears, Children's Place and other companies, who sold goods produced in Tareen or Rena Plaza or where 1,200 garment workers died in fires and a building collapse. In addition, 1,800 workers were injured, some still in hospitals.
At the beginning of the press conference the Walmart spokesman was asked why his company wouldn't pay for medical care for those who are paralyzed, severely burned or otherwise badly injured. "Why not compensate the widows and orphans of the dead.? After all it is reported that some of them are starving, isn't that true?" questioned the newsman. The reporter then pointed out that the Tazreen fire occurred in a factory where 55% of the production was for Walmart contractors.
Mr. Reid responded, "We look to the future. It is a time to begin anew, let the healing begin. Yes, right now, let the healing begin. Our focus is to positively impact global supply chain practices. Why obsess on the past?"
When another reporter suggested that the question had not been answered. Mr. Reid objected and said it had. Not satisfied, the newswoman accused Walmart of an astonishing lack of responsibility and pointed out that other retailers , such as Penmart, were contributing to the compensation fund.
The spokesman for Walmart replied that aiding the victims would be the beginning of a "slippery slope."
"Look," if Walmart compensated the victims that would be tantamount to an admission of negligence, if not sociopathic behavior. We are part of the free enterprise system which is the only thing that made America great."
"We're not going to let Walmart be seen as immoral, or having to go to court and be held responsible for violating laws. This would lead to many other American corporations being persecuted by Big Brother government. The court sees Corporations like Walmart as persons, but never as persons accountable for anti-social behavior. We want to keep it that way."
Mr. Reid continued, "If Walmart gives financial relief to the victims, that will only embolden workers to demand safer working conditions in Bangladeshi factories. If we have to provide fire escapes, see to it that factory exits aren't blocked, factory buildings aren't going to collapse, that people have access to toilets and that sort of thing, the cost will just be passed onto the American consumer. Look, American shoppers don't care if exploited children, working 14 hours a day, make their clothes in unspeakable conditions in sweatshops. Bargain hunters at our stores just want low price and Walmart is there to meet their needs."
Next, when a reporter from the Associated Press asked Mr. Reid if Walmart would have built ovens for Nazi concentration camps if the profits were high enough, Mr. Reid lost control.
"My grandfather fought in World War Two," he said. "He was part of America's greatest generation. You are disparaging his memory."
Then Mr. Reid, flushed with anger, descended from the podium and walked menacingly toward the reporter who had asked the question. The man from the Associated Press covered his head but Reid struck a powerful body blow doubling him up. The Walmart spokesman then fought with security guards, who eventually used pepper spray to subdue him, and dragged him from the building. Tears running down his face as he exited, Mr. Reid wildly kicked and emitted piercing cry shouting "God bless the United States of America and all of its shoppers."
Walmart is the largest retailer in the U.S. and the world.