Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Shedding light on Wal-Mart's mission

I had the pleasure of seeing Ray Bracy, Senior VP of Wal-Mart, speak last night at CC. I hardly know where to begin, so convinced am I that Wal-Mart truly is making people’s lives better by saving them money.

I’ll focus on Wal-Mart’s contribution to the eco-sustainability movement. Recently, the company vowed to make the new high-efficiency fluorescent light bulbs available to their customer base at an affordable price (they are usually about six times the cost of incandescent bulbs). They succeeded wildly in their endeavor, selling 150 million of them in the past year. In case you don’t know much about these amazing new light bulbs — so fantastic that the Bush administration, at Wal-Mart’s urging I’m sure, have enacted a law making the manufacture or sale of incandescent bulbs illegal in the near future — here are just a few of the wonders of compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs):

* CFLs create an unpleasant and unnatural bluish glare. Deal with it!
* CFLs may cause interference to radios, televisions, wireless telephones/computers, and remote controls; avoid placing this product near these devices. Piece of cake!
* CFLs don’t work well (or sometimes at all) in very cold weather, so operation of porch lights and outdoor security lights in northern states may be erratic in wintertime. Big whoop!
* If a CFL is turned on and off frequently, its energy efficiency drops and its highly-touted life expectancy decreases. Re-train your children to leave the lights on!
* Most CFLs can’t be used with dimmer switches or timers. Who needs romance?
* CFLs won’t fit in many existing lighting fixtures. Back to Wal-Mart!
* CFLs may smoke or smolder, but they probably won’t catch fire. Phew!
If you do encounter a smoldering bulb, don’t worry. Simply follow Energy Star’s (a government program encouraging energy conservation) recommendations:

“If you have a product that does begin to smoke or smolder, immediately shut off the power to the CFL and, once it has cooled, remove it from the light socket. Then, send us e-mail…to alert us of this incident. Please include the product manufacturer’s name and model information that is included on the CFL base and if possible an electronic photo. Also please tell us how the CFL was used – open or enclosed light fixture; indoors or outdoors; base orientation – up, down or sideways. Then visit the manufacturer’s web site to find customer service contact information to inform them of the early failure.” Easy ’nuff!

*CFLs contain mercury, which is poisonous. If the unthinkable happens and the fragile tube breaks, worry not. Just follow the EPAs recommendations for clean up:

To avoid inhaling mercury vapors if a bulb does break, the EPA advises opening a window as soon as possible and leaving the room for at least 15 minutes before starting to clean. Once you start:

• Never allow children or pregnant women near the spill area.

• Always wear rubber gloves; you should never touch mercury with your bare hands.

• Remove all metal jewelry, which might attract mercury magnetically.

• If the bulb breaks on hard flooring, use a piece of stiff paper to scoop up the broken glass and powder. Avoid using a broom that could stir up dust.

• Damp mop hard surfaces to pick up any remaining dust.

• If the bulb breaks on carpeting, use sticky tape to pick up the powder, dust and smaller pieces of glass. Vacuuming could disturb the dust and pose an inhalation risk.

• Afterwards, shine a flashlight to double check the area for missed spots.

• Seal all the rags, paper and tape, as well as the light bulb remains, in a plastic bag. Double bag it, and dispose at a household hazardous waste site. See for one in your neighborhood.

• Wash your hands well and leave the room.

• Leave the window open and turn on a fan to air out the room for at least 24 to 48 hours.

• If you’ve touched mercury or are concerned about your exposure, call the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.

Oh, and if you’ve spilled the mercury on a rug, roll it up and place it on the front lawn. Call the EPA and they will come pick it up. Thank you, thank you, EPA!

And heartfelt thanks to Ray Bracy and Wal-Mart for making our lives, and the environment, better by saving us money!


Jacques Poirier said...

I dunno. Have a few of these and just love'em. But I guess we old-timers are just tougher. First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because,


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chat rooms.......

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them! On rainy days we had comics, Tintins and all kinds of mecchanos for building stuff, full of swallowable little parts.

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. I actually broke an incandescent bulb in my mouth on a dare. Bled like a pig but we all laughed. Every boy on my street had a test tube of mercury we would pour in our hands to make the liquid metal roll handsomely. And we all had REAL chemistry set, some with uranium salts and most with explosives.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes. As long as we were in on time for dinner and washed our hands, took cod liver oil (that's a toughie!)

We rode bikes with no helmets on our head or walked barefoot to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

If YOU are one of them CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave (and lucky) their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?

Marie Walden said...

Jacques, I agree with you that we live in an over-protective society and that we should stop worrying about the dangers lurking around every corner.

Once I took a kid to the pediatrician and was sort of embarrassed as he noted all the scratches and bruises. I must have looked scared because he smiled and said, "Just checking. A kid with no owies is watching too much TV."

I guess what pisses me off about Wal-Mart is that they LIE and then PROFIT mightily from those lies.

Our mothers never did that.

suesun said...

One: sounds like Jacques here is pawning off some rant (not that I don't agree with most of it) that makes the rounds in forwarded emails as his own. Unless, of course, the originator of this ubiquitous email is, in fact, Jacques. In which case, I apologize.

Two: We must have the same Pediatrician! I once took the boys in for check up at the end of the summer, and when I said, jokingly (because I have a good relationship with him), "I really don't beat my kids," (they were covered in bruises and scratches) he replied, "Oh, I don't worry about this; it's the kids I see coming in here during the summer who DON'T have bumps and bruises that worry me."