Social Register Buttinskis Take On Walmart

Social Register Buttinskis Take On Walmart

It really boils down to this. We don't try to tell them how to live, but they want to order our lives in every possible detail, and are not against using their considerable money and influence to do so.

Trinity Wall Street, an historic Episcopal church that is often pictured in financial district streetscapes, is trying to use its investment position in the world's largest retailer to pressure Walmart into taking "guns with high-capacity magazines" off its shelves.

Now wags among you will recall that the closest Walmart to Manhattan is in tony Bayonne, N.J., and that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared the popular retailer non grata in the five boroughs. So Trinity members are unlikely to need smelling salts after a surprise encounter with the Walmart gun department.

That's apparently not enough for pew regulars in the posh parish; they propose to use their ownership of Walmart stock to dictate what guns, if any, it can sell in less prosperous jurisdictions.

For its part, Walmart asserts that stockholders, while having the right to express opinions on long-term policy, are precluded from trying to direct day-to-day operations, a pretty reasonable attitude given the obvious follow-on, as reported by CBS MoneyWatch.

"While Trinity's proposal specifically calls out the gun sales a problem, it is also asking that shareholders be allowed to vote on whether Walmart should sell a product that 'especially endangers public safety and well-being'; impairs the company's image; and could be considered 'offensive to the family and community values' that are core to Walmart. That could apply to many different items, ranging from movies to video games."

I would suggest that "family and community values" on Wall Street might be a little different than they are at Walmart locations in Bozeman, Mont., or McMinnville, Tenn. Wall Street, of course, gets to jam its values into Bozeman or McMinnville through the magazine rack and the record department and the video department. The feedback in the other direction is pretty faint.

We can only hope Walmart follows the example of its largest grocery competitor, Kroger, which bucked pressure from Bloomberg-backed anti-gun groups to ban open carry in its stores. Kroger said it would adhere to local ordinances, whatever those were. That's an excellent model for Walmart.

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