My Journey to 4 Wal-Marts in Toronto

I delivered letters to 4 Wal-Mart stores in
Greater Toronto Area in late December 2006.

I live in a working class area in West Toronto around the corner from a Wal-Mart store.Leaving at 10:00AM, I approached the Customer Service desk at this
Wal-Mart near my home and asked to speak to a Manager. I was screened and upon hearing why I was
there, the Assistant Manager was called. He was an older Asian gentleman, and by his body language, I knew he was
familiar with the maltreatment of factory workers in Asia. He did not want to discuss the situation but
told me he would pass the letter on to Head Office.

Next stop was taking the subway out to
Scarborough Town Centre, the largest Mall in that area. It took 1 hour to get to the Wal-Mart and I
found it interesting that I could not find the ‘OFFICE’, because I don’t think
they want to be found. The office is
located in the basement beside the LAYAWAY desk. There is no sign that gives direction to a
General Office, or says Office on any door. I spoke to two women who were
shocked at the Philippine situation and were uncomfortable knowing they were
working for such an uncaring organization. I am sure they told their family and friends.

Next stop was Eglinton Town Centre and
after traveling on the bus for 45 minutes, I found the Wal-Mart. Again, I found no office but had to locate the
LAYAWAY station, down in the basement. Everyone
was too busy so I went back upstairs and located a Manager at Customer
Service. He was in his early 30’s and
after listening to my story, he did not believe the letter. He looked at me quizzically, as if I was
making it up. I had to use my selling
skills to convince him that it was true. He stated that his store did not produce FADED GLORY, OR NO BOUNDARIES
shirts, but I assured him that regardless, factory workers making Wal-Mart apparel
were being violated. He read the paper
twice, in disbelief, and promised me he would send the letter to Head Office.

Traveling back to  Toronto
to the last Wal-Mart store, I spoke to a young woman manager who was visibly
upset with the situation in the Philippines.
It is my belief that the staff do not
want to become involved because they do not want to lose their jobs. I arrived home at 5p.m, feeling that I had
done some good in the world that day, like planting a seed, yet at the same time,
not enough.

Written by Carolle Bright

January 7, 2007

Click here to view the letter Carolle delivered to Wal-Mart


re: My Journey to 4 Wal-Marts in Toronto

I delivered a letter about the situation at the Chong Won factory to the local Wal*mart in Chickasha, Oklahoma. I was told the manager was busy but I did have an opportunity to talk to his representative, a polite gentleman in his fifties. He listened carefully to the details and promised to deliver the letter to the manager. When I said that we as consumers wanted Wal*mart to know we did care about how and where our clothes are made, he nodded as if he understood. He also said, "We will pass this along to those who can change things and get this taken care of." I don't believe he was patronizing me and I thought what he said was sweet if rather naive. I noticed a lady standing in line at the customer returns desk who had turned to listen to what I was saying. She looked concerned and I hope she continued to think about it. On the whole, my experience was much more positive than I had been afraid. I'm rather shy so my poor knees were almost knocking as I tried to deliver my message with coherency and persuasiveness. :D I hope we can continue making a difference for these workers.