Several years ago my wife and I retired and built a home in a new housing development in Dublin, Georgia. Wal-Mart contracted with a leasing company that purchased a large piece of property adjacent to our backyard. A contractor was hired to build one of its infamous stores, and the first order of business was to bulldoze a long row of old oak trees along the border of their property and our subdivision. The trees were not even on their side of the property line!
To appease the people in the subdivision, a tall chain-link fence was installed by the contractor. The fence blocked the unsightly view of the parking lot, but not the noise from it. On April 11, 1995 a wind storm blew the fence right off the poles that held it up. The local Wal-Mart manager refused to accept any of the responsibility for repairing it. Large quantities of trash from their lot blew into our neighborhood. Strangers wandered into our back yards, and Wal-Mart customers walked their dogs in our vegetable garden while their spouses shopped.
On one occasion I telephoned the local store manager to complain about all of the trash, and he sent an employee out to clean it up. On the left is a picture of the finished job. Notice the ground is almost clean on the Wal-Mart side of the fence. Nothing was picked up on our side of the fence.
I had been a regular Wal-Mart customer as well as a stockholder. On July 24, 1995 I wrote Wal-Mart President & CEO William R. Fields at the corporate office to describe the situation and ask that they repair the fence. He responded by forwarding my letter to the local Wal-Mart manager who continued to ignore the situation.
For 12 months the fence continued to lay twisted in an unsightly mess on the ground. When it became obvious that it would otherwise stay that way, our homeowners' association agreed to finance the $1800 repair.
Part of the problem is that the Wal-Mart Corporation often does not actually own the property where they build their stores. Instead they sign a contract with a leasing company agreeing to become the anchor store for a new shopping complex. Thus, they effectively avoid responsibilities and obligations to the surrounding community. I hope other city councils will recognize this clever business tactic when the pros and cons of a new Wal-Mart Store are being debated in their cities.
As long as big profits go straight to the corporate office, there is no incentive for Wal-Mart to be good citizens. They have demonstrated that once established in a neighborhood, they care little about being a good neighbor. Their primary function here is to funnel money from Dublin to the corporate office in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Good luck in your own personal battles against Wal-Mart. I hope that this web page can help your cause. It's too late for it to help ours.