The volume of strange goings-on that happen in Wal-Marts generated a coveted ahed article for retail reporter Miguel Bustillo of The Wall Street Journal on July 8, in which he reported on stores with rodent mascots, unsanctioned rap videos, break-ins and vigilante parking lot justice. Naturally, all America is concerned about how such things affect Wal-Marts PR representatives.
There's no reason to believe that zany stuff happens per capita at Wal-Mart more than at other retail locations. Rather, it's the sheer ubiquity of the big-box titan—with some 3,750 U.S. stores visited by customers 140 million times a week—and its role as the de facto town square in many corners of the country, that keeps the company's public-relations representatives busy.
"Wal-Mart has become a microcosm of American life. So it is not uncommon to see our share of the things that happen in every town across the country," says David Tovar, a company spokesman.
I would love to believe that Wal-Mart placed this story after their PR team got one too many of these calls and turned it to their advantage. It's more likely that Bustillo came up with the idea himself based on a Google alert for his beat's largest component. Either way, the retail giant gets points for playing along instead of shutting down and trying to pretend stuff like this isn't news.