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"Flashing" Walmart Holiday Shoppers

November 28, 2011

LAKEWOOD, Colo. - Some Walmart holiday shoppers got more than Black Friday bargains this weekend. About 25 activists staged a "flash action" in the electronics department of the Lakewood store on Saturday. They're part of a national campaign to get the world's largest retailer to offer free recycling of television sets and other electronics, similar to a program offered by competitor Best Buy. Steve Pultz, a Denver-area activist who coordinated the "Take It Back Walmart" campaign, says that although some communities already have local electronics recycling programs, Walmart has an obligation to do the right thing.

"Walmart's everywhere. They're in the city; they're in the most rural of places that probably don't have those kinds of resources. If people are given easy access to doing the right thing, then they will."

Walmart currently offers free electronics recycling only for Samsung products purchased from its stores. It charges a fee to recycle other brands. The flash action crew wants the company to offer free recycling for all television sets, regardless of brand or where they were purchased.

Pultz says the flash action used the Hank Williams classic song "Move it on Over," adapting the lyrics with a message of "Take back our TVs."

"We were asked to leave pretty quickly. The ultimate goal is to raise awareness, and we were distributing fliers as we're doing the action, so people have a context of what it is that we're doing. It's not just a pointless rabble-rousing."

Pultz says they're planning at least one other Walmart flash action event.

Kathleen Ryan, Public News Service - CO