Remember my post about Walmart and the magazine rack? Well read on if you stand with me on this issue. I had to write a letter to the editor of our newspaper. Warning: It’s NOT for children and graphic at some points!! I’ve tried to add asterisks to keep little eyes safe and to keep the wrong web surfers away.
I don’t shop at Walmart anymore. They care more about money than children. I’m not a political activist, only a mom who’s tired of watching the moral decay all around her. But, I never expected Walmart to stand on the side of moral decay.
For about a year, I’ve been very conscious of the magazine covers that are prominently placed in and around every single aisle at Walmart. Many of the magazines continually push the limits of what should be considered inappropriate. For a while, I simply turned the magazines over so that my children (who stand eye level to them) wouldn’t have to view the obscenity. However, recently, what’s on the back of the magazines is just as bad or worse than what’s on the front.
My next step was to pull the offending magazines and place them in a stack near the display, but away from the view of my children. Typically, two to four magazine titles were pulled and almost always the same titles – Glamour and Cosmopolitan the two most frequent. I would talk to the cashier and explain what I had done and why in hopes that he or she would pass my message on to management. In almost every case, the cashiers agreed that my children didn’t need to see the lewd material.
Finally, after not seeing any changes in the content of the magazine racks, I began to ask to speak to managers. After waiting more than ten minutes a couple of times with no manager showing up, I decided they didn’t care enough about the concerns of the customer and I wouldn’t waste my time trying to speak to them anymore.
So, for the last four months or so, I’ve been removing the offending magazines (from my aisle only) and kindly delivering them to the customer service desk with a simple message, “Would you please tell management that these magazine covers are offensive and my children don’t need to be subjected to such material? Thank you very much.”
Before I go on, I’m sure you might be questioning just what about the content of these covers is so offensive. Well, a short list would include: women whose n*pples are about the only thing covered, h*m*s*xuals French k*ssing, seductive poses, women almost n*ked together in group pictorials, and bold magazine phrases such as “Things He’s Thinking When You’re N*ked”, “Org*sm Q&A”, and “S*x He Craves”. I could literally go on and on.
In Walmart’s defense, one of the offending magazines has a plastic cover that’s supposed to block the outrageous article titles from view, but rarely have I found the plastic cover to actually be in use. Not to mention, the cover photo left exposed by the plastic is still typically very offensive.
On February 24, 2011, I knew something was different when I made my trip up to the customer service desk with a small pile of magazines. Every single cashier watched me as I seemed to walk in slow motion. Upon returning to my aisle, I told my daughter that something was up. And, sure enough, immediately an employee was putting the magazines back on their racks. When I mentioned kindly that I had just removed them because they were not things my children needed to view she told me I would have to speak to a manager.
I ended up speaking to two managers that day. One, a front-end manager whose name I didn’t get, the other an assistant manager named _______. It was very clear that “the crazy lady who brings magazines to the customer service desk” had been a topic of recent employee meetings because both managers came at me with their fighting gloves on. Neither spoke kindly to me from the get-go. I was prepared to have a kind conversation with them, but was attacked immediately with comments about “freedom of speech” and “not having the right to remove merchandise from the shelves.”
As for magazine covers having freedom of speech, I completely agree. However, last time I looked, freedom of speech has limits, especially when it comes to p*rn*graphic material. Whether or not these magazine covers fit the definition of p*rn*graphy isn’t a question in my mind when I consider the following definition:
From the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
1. the depiction of er*tic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause s*xual excitement
2. material (as books or a photograph) that depicts er*tic behavior and is intended to cause s*xual excitement
3. the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to ar*use a quick intense emotional reaction
As for me not having the right to remove merchandise from the shelves, I had to chuckle at first. How is anyone supposed to purchase merchandise if they can’t remove it from the shelves? At any rate, I not only have the right, but responsibility to protect my children.
Films, television shows, video games, etc. are given a rating to help me decide whether or not they might be appropriate for my children. I have the responsibility at that point to either allow or not allow the material. But, I HAVE A CHOICE! No one is telling me that my children HAVE to look at something because I have the right to turn it off or not purchase it. At Walmart, however, I apparently don’t have that right. There is no rating system for magazines, so whatever the “powers that be” decide is appropriate will be what my children are forced to view. No matter what some people might say, when these lewd magazines are front and center in every single aisle, my children will see them no matter the distractions I attempt.
When I suggested to the managers that the store’s dedicated magazine section might be a better place for questionable material, would you like to know what I was told? Very plainly it was stated that these magazines are huge money-makers for the store and are purposely put there for impulse purchases. So, there you have it – money before children.
When I suggested that unless there was a change I wouldn’t be shopping at Walmart anymore, would you like to know what was said? The manager asked me, “Where else are you going to shop?” Walmart, you don’t own America yet. Every single item you sell in your store can be purchased somewhere else in my town, where I will likely not have to deal with obsc*ne magazines and rude managers. And, unless things do change, you will no longer get any of my business.
I wrote this as a letter to the editor because I want to do more than berate Walmart. I want to ask: Christians, where are you? Parents who care about the morality of your children, where are you? Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, where are you? Teachers and school administrators who stand for abstinence, where are you?
I was told I’m the only person to ever complain about the magazines as p*rn*graphic. I find that so hard to be true. But, if it is, I believe that saddens me more than any part of this story. I’m proud to stand up and fight this issue for my children and I’m happy to fight it for your children, too. I can’t do it alone, though. I challenge each of you to stand up with me, so together we CAN make a difference.
The good news…
- My local newspaper only publishes 300 word letters to the editor, but printed this at 1200+ words!
- I’ve received a lot of positive feedback in my town and there’s even talk of starting a petition.
- The KY AFA (American Family Association) is very interested in the issue!
- It would take only a small number of us to contact our store managers about this issue to make a difference.
- God is on our side!
What will you do to fight inappropriate magazines where you live?
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