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Saturday, November 19

Missing U.P.: Fact-checking the Wal-Mart movie 

Just got back from seeing Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices at the Pageant Theater. It was an interesting film -- they had a lot of ground to cover and I don't know how effectively they navigated it.

Before landing on some towns that successfully fought off the discount retailer, the film bounced around from how Wal-Mart is against small-town businesses, the employees, the customers and the workers making their goods. They were interesting in their own rights, but they could've been tied better into the film's overall message.

Anyway, there were at least two errors in the film that I'm interested in.

1 - What U.S. map were they using? It looked to me that the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula was missing. Not cool, especially because the map looked pretty good otherwise.

2 - During the segment where the film detailed the number of violent crimes occurred in store parking lots, they listed a number of crimes that they said happened in the "first 7 months of 2005" (which drew a response from the audience).

Unfortunately, one of the listed crimes may not be accurate. I saw a knife assault at the Houghton, Mich. Wal-Mart listed. I remember when the assault happened and it wasn't in 2005.

According to a Jan. 27, 2005 item from The Associated Press, the knife assault on the 92-year-old man occurred on Sept. 28, 2004. I recall the assault's brutal details -- the man's throat was allegedly slashed in broad daylight (the man survived).

So if these details are inaccurate, how reliable are the film's other details?

UPDATE - I was checking the list of parking lot crimes on Houghton isn't currently on the list. I distinctly recall seeing it on the big screen (and I'm fairly certain I saw it on the on-screen list).


I'm also seeking a better name for this "Missing U.P." segment. I would welcome ideas for something catchy and memorable. Drop me a line, ryan -at-

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