Borrowing a page from David Letterman, anti-Wal-Mart activists in Pittsfield Township, Michigan, organized an unusually graphic way of displaying their unhappiness with a proposed Wal-Mart supercenter in their community. Here’s the report from Pittsfield Community First: “Wondering what to do with leftover Thanksgiving pumpkins, squash, or rotten big box purchases? (We like to call them “Wal-Mart remorse” — what you bought before you knew better!) Inspired by David Letterman’s fascination with hurling items (and the Delaware Pumpkin Chuckin contest)- our community held the first annual “Wal-Mart Chuck-Off” to protest the construction of a store next to our elementary & high schools. We chucked mega-sized household goods along with pumpkins and squash at a faux cardboard Wal-Mart superstore, decorated with photos of Wal-Mart executives. About 65 – 70 attended in all. The event was great fun for all ages, and educational. Local ABC-TV and NBC-TV affiliates covered the event and we had several radio interviews. We’re challenging other communities protesting big box stores to hold their own Chuck-Off! Get your local t-shirt store to make some XL t-shirts (to wear over warm coats), make a slingshot from bungie cords + fabric, and chuck away!! We also wore hard hats & goggles (which the kids loved). Do a few tests in a nearby field & make sure you have permission at the property you hold it on. Use duct tape & rocks/bricks to keep the “store” from blowing away! This is a sample press release for you to modify for your community: ‘Have you ever wondered how far a mega-pack of toilet paper could fly? Or, what would travel further and faster… an uber-crate of tomatoes or one of those 5 gallon drums of cheese puffs? You’ll have your chance INSERT DATE when organizers at Pittsfield Community First stage the first Wal-Mart Chuck-Off. Patterned after the now-famous World Pumpkin Chucking Championship held in Long Neck, Delaware each year, participants will be using large sling shots and a trebuchet to launch unwanted super-sized items at a faux Wal-Mart constructed near the Saline school campus. Chuck-Off organizer, Pittsfield Community First, is protesting the construction of a Wal-Mart at the corner of Michigan Avenue and State Street in Pittsfield Township. The Wal-Mart site is within 1,000 feet of the Saline High School and Elementary School Campus and Washtenaw Christian School, which total over 2,500 students. The group has successfully fought for safety standards at the proposed location and maintains that construction of a Wal-Mart there is inappropriate and unsafe. Both a community event and a publicity stunt, the Chuck-Off will allow families to demonstrate to Wal-Mart and Township officials how they feel about the proposed Wal-Mart store. By using giant-sized household goods, families will be able to launch items at a model-sized Wal-Mart featuring images of Wal-Mart executives. Organizers relate the Wal-Mart Chuck-Off goods with the overwhelming anti-community practices and negative impact that Wal-Mart has had on local businesses and communities.”
For more background on Pittsfield Community First, go to www.pittsfieldfirst.org. and check Newsflash for earlier stories about this community.