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Outrage as Walmart banishes Marine veteran from collecting Toys for Tots


(NaturalNews) Sometimes people and businesses do things that just make no sense whatsoever, or are otherwise designed to tick off as many people as possible. We're not sure what's at play in this case.

As reported by WorldNetDaily, a former U.S. Marine in full dress uniform, who for 15 years has taken up a position inside a Walmart Supercenter in Medina, Ohio, while collecting for the Toys for Tots charity, was told recently by store managers that his place was outside the store, in the cold.

Previously, Cpl. John Harkness (Ret.) had been permitted to remain inside the store, out of the weather where it was warmer. But a store policy that was actually enacted in 2000 prohibits charity collectors from standing inside stores.

Fox News reported that, for years, the Medina Walmart ignored the policy for Harkness. However, a change in management at the store this year ushered in a change in reaction to the presence of the former Marine.

"They made us stay outside," Harkness told WOIO, a CBS affiliate. "We're there to collect toys for children that need a Christmas."

'Why can't they put you inside?'

According to WND, a local shopper who walked by Harkness, and saw him shivering in the cold as she made her way inside to Christmas shop, expressed anger at the manner in which he was being treated.

"I just said, why can't they put you inside? This is crap," customer Mary Murdock told WOIO.

Also, a photo of Harkness standing outside the store posted to Facebook was equally critical of Walmart. Some who posted called for a boycott of the retail giant, according to CBS.

The outrage drew a response from Walmart officials, who released a statement about store policy while pledging to investigate.

"If a Marine or anyone was treated with disrespect, that is unacceptable and we are looking into this matter further to get the facts," Walmart's statement said. "Walmart's corporate policy across our more than 4,500 stores does not allow this type of solicitation inside our stores and we apologize for any confusion about this policy."

So what's the final verdict going to be? According to this statement, following the platitude about caring for Marines and others, it doesn't sound like much is going to change at the Medina store.

But then again, this comes from the same Walmart that caved to a tiny minority of politically correct activists and banned the sale of Confederate flags in recent months – a ban that Natural News editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, parodied to include red, white and blue crayons, so that Confederate flags could not even be drawn and colored.

'It's frustrating'

While Walmart of course has a right to adopt its own policies, free of government interference, what impact does customer pressure play on such policies? If Walmart executives think they need to impose a policy that prevents members of charities from collecting inside store premises, couldn't they make an exception so that the policy doesn't appear to punish military members and veterans? And why are collectors not allowed inside, but permitted right outside the front doors?

As for Harkness, he had quite a bit of support – and Walmart, very little.

As reported by the Medina Gazette, one Facebook user, Janet Rodin, posted a long rant against Walmart's policy, defending Harkness (the page has since been listed as "unavailable").

"He can bleed and die but he can't stand inside," she wrote, according to the local paper.

"We've always been inside that Walmart, ever since the store became a Super Store," said Harkness, 69. "Last year, we had a singing group in there with us singing and playing guitar the whole time. But this year, the manager is fairly new and told us we have to be outside."

But in true military fashion, Harkness shook off the rebuke.

"It's frustrating," he said, "but being a former active duty Marine, I can handle the weather."





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