Thursday, December 30, 2010

Why I disagreed with Jesse Stay, yet agreed with him (another "Walmart in Ontario" post)

Jesse Stay is a fairly well-known figure in the (admittedly small) tech/social media community. And he uses his last name as a branding tool - when he's not working, he takes "staycations" even if he leaves home. And his blog is called Stay N' Alive.

Recently he wrote the post Want to Give me a Christmas Present? Please Like This. It turns out that "this" is not a Facebook page (even though Stay co-wrote the book on Facebook), but another page:

If you give me anything this Christmas season, will you please just click like on this page, supporting Salt Lake City’s food bank? If we can get enough people to like it Salt Lake City’s food bank earns $1 million to distribute to the needy. This year is of particular need for the Utah Food bank. In a down economy, they are seeing increasing need for help, with a shortage in what they are able to provide. They claim this year to have a 30 percent increase in the number of families coming for food.

Well, Stay's post inspired me, but not exactly in the way he wanted. You see, I ended up finding another page - the page for Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California, and liked that page. If you're an Inland Empire resident who is reading this post (this is, after all, the Empoprise-IE Inland Empire blog), I encourage you to like it also.

As you have figured out, this is a competition between various metropolitan areas to get funding from a donor.

The donor? Walmart. If you go to the parent page,, you can find out what is going on:

Help fight hunger in your community

We're putting $1.5 million in your hands. You decide where it goes.

Select a community on the map. "Like" it to show your support. We'll donate $1 million to the community with the most support, and $100,000 each to the next five communities.

So now people in Salt Lake City, people in our area, and people in other areas throughout the country are working to get support before the contest ends up Friday, December 31.

Now I'm not blind as to WHY Walmart is doing this, or why Walmart has pledged $2 billion by 2015 to fighting hunger. Or why competitor Target has held similar contests to direct charitable giving.

Frankly, the big box companies want to obtain community support, and this is just a salvo in their battle against union supporters who want to keep big box stores out of every city (see my December 6 post).

Which is why my Facebook "like" of the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario page included the following message:

Sorry, Jesse Stay, but I needed to send a message to Cory Briggs.

Perhaps Briggs will ensure that Albertsons or the UFCW donates a few billion dollars of their own, and then we can call it even.

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