Skip to comments.Weapons of Mass Marketing: Wal-Mart versus the South(crusade to destroy Maurice Bessinger.)
Posted on 05/23/2004 10:02:51 AM PDT by wgeorge2001
Wal-Mart and Sam's Club pull Maurice's BBQ Sauce from Shelves because he flies the Confederate Flag! Background Maurice Bessinger's Response
(September 16, 2000) What started out as an attempt to open a discussion on the proper roll of the federal government to state governments has developed into a fight to preserve Southern heritage. Maurice Bessinger, a South Carolina businessman, lowered the American flag at his restaurants and raised his South Carolina State flag in its place. He did this to focus attention on the fact that the 10th Amendment of the Constitution clearly places the sovereignty of state governments over that of the federal government. He was already flying a Confederate flag at his restaurant.
This action focused attention on his flags. Then, some person objected to the Confederate flag being flown in the town of Lexington and the City of Lexington cited him for flying a Confederate flag and leveled a $895 per day fine as long as he flew it. It then became a "Confederate flag" fight rather than a discussion point on state sovereignty. The media completely ignored the Constitutional aspects of this fight since they would have had to openly admit they are against state sovereignty and in favor of a strong central federal government. Instead, they played the race card, as they always do against anyone who disagrees with their liberal agenda.
As soon as the dust settled from the Lexington Town Council incident, the fight shifted. Sam's Clubs, a division of Wal-Mart, citing the "controversy," has removed Maurice's Gourmet BBQ Sauce from all of its stores and is shipping them back to Bessinger at his expense. This is because of one complaint!
They are doing this specifically because of his flying the Confederate flag. In a news story in The State newspaper published in Columbia, SC, Melissa Berryhill, spokeswoman for Sam's Club is quoted as saying, "We do all we can to not let controversial matters get in the way of business, we do not want to get caught up in a controversial issue."
But while Sam's Club says that they do not want to get "caught up in a controversial issue," they are the ones that have taken this step to inject themselves into it. The Confederate flag controversy at Maurice's was limited to the City of Lexington. Now Wal-Mart has taken it upon itself to try to bring economic pressure on an independent small businessman for his political and religious beliefs.
When contacted by the Southern Anti-Bigotry Coalition in Bentonville, Arkansas, a spokesman for Sam's Club said that it was his understanding that the decision was "a business decision." This is, of course, patently untrue. The same newspaper article that reported their purely political action also reports what everyone in South Carolina already knows, that is, Maurice's Gourmet Barbecue Sauce is the largest selling sauce in the midlands area where it is being removed from the shelves. Plus, we have the words of their spokeswoman that their action was precipitated by what they call "the controversy."
Wal-Mart has now removed the product from more than 90 Wal-Mart stores across the South. The discount retailer sold the sauce only in Southern stores, but Maurice's contract calls for them to expand the distribution area across the nation over time. This move by Wal-Mart, not known for being a good friend to small business, will cost Maurice's company a great deal of money and will deny Wal-Mart customers an excellent product made in America. In a store stocked overwhelmingly with foreign (mainly Chinese) goods, it is welcome to find American products on the shelves.
It appears that Wal-Mart agrees with the religious prosecution, murder of baby girls and widespread slave labor which the Chinese engage in. Otherwise, they would certainly pull all those Chinese goods. Wal-Mart used to have a Buy American program.
Maurice said Wal-Mart was trampling on his right to free speech. He said he came into the world poor and "I may go out poor, but I will not yield to those who would destroy our sacred Constitution.''
It is clear that, despite what Mr. Allen says, that this is all about the Confederate flag and the freedom that it represents. Wal-Mart has overreacted unbelievably in their rush to be politically correct and have demonstrated extreme hypocrisy by carrying goods made by repressive regimes in Asia.
Maurice Bessinger's Response
NEWS RELEASE Contact: Maurice Bessinger (803) 791-5887 extension 16 1600 Charleston Highway West Columbia, SC 29169
Maurice's Statement in Response to Wal-Mart's Personal Attack on Him
Jay Allen, Vice President of Wal-Mart, was quoted in the newspaper as saying that Wal-Mart expects their suppliers to have the same beliefs as they do. In other words, they want me to "get my mind right" as the prison guards told Luke in the movie Cool Hand Luke. Wal-Mart has in effect told me, "you got to get your mind right, boy, or you can't do business with us."
This attempt to force everyone in the nation to subscribe to the same politically correct opinion is un-American and it violates our most sacred beliefs in personal freedom. It violates the tradition of free speech that Southerners gave the world in the Constitution. The fact that Wal-Mart, a Southern based company, would say such a thing as they expect their suppliers to adhere to their politically correct beliefs is incredible.
One wonders why they don't insist that communist China get it's mind right before they handle all those Chinese goods that are all over their shelves. With Asian dictatorships they are happy to do business. It's only American businesses they want to either dominate or put out of business.
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This is not what the 10th amendment says. Furthermore, Article VI, Clause 2 of the Constitution asserts the primacy of federal sovereignty, "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."
VERY good question, Maurice.
In other words, the official spokesman doesn't know. He's under orders to issue some worthless vague answer. As usual, Wal-Mart isn't going to tell the little people anything: "Just flock here as usual, give us your money, and shut the hell up."
However, it seems Mr. Maurice is propagating crazy talk. 'Slaveholders weren't cruel to their slaves in the South'? The revisionist history trash loses points with me.
WalMart has the right to refuse to do business with anyone they don't want to do business with, just as we have the right not to patronize their store. If you don't like what WalMart has done, the appropriate response can be 1) don't patronize them and/or 2) tell the story why you don't patronize them. Looks like the system is working the way it should.