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January 23, 2017 Ways To Get Customers

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Reverend Billy in Vallejo,CA
ways to get customers
By J.M. BROWN, Times-Herald staff writer

THE REV. BILLY TALEN leads the Stop Shopping Choir through the Wal-Mart
parking lot in a Wednesday demonstration. The New York-based group was
asked by local unions to perform outside the store. Photo: J.L.
Sousa/Times-Herald

Traveling New York City performance artists who demonstrate against
large corporations swooped down on Vallejo’s Wal-Mart on Wednesday to
bolster local efforts to keep the company from growing in Solano County.

Wearing a tan suit complete with a tele-evangelist’s pompadour, the Rev.
Billy Talen and about 20 members of his Stop Shopping choir led a cheeky
but colorful protest outside the store, singing anti-corporate theme
songs that mimicked a religious revival service.

Community activists and union leaders hailed the performance as a
creative addition to their campaign to stunt Wal-Mart’s plans to build
in Vallejo, American Canyon and several other cities.

"Standard tools of protest don’t always work," said San Francisco lawyer
Mark Wolfe, who described Talen’s demonstration as a "peaceful,
non-confrontational" way to spread the message about what Wal-Mart
critics see as the company’s unfair labor practices.

Wal-Mart manager George Dias said the protest did not disrupt his
store’s operations and he did not ask the group to leave. "They have
their rights just like anybody else," Dias said.

Dias declined to comment on the group’s claims that Wal-Mart pays unfair
wages, drives out smaller competition and pollutes the environment.

Customers gawked and snickered at the choir, and few seemed to pay
attention to the yellow flyers, handed out by demonstrators, that
decried Wal-Mart as a scourge on taxpayers.

"It was tacky," Suisun City resident Wilma Lewis said of the protest. "I
love Wal-Mart. I will be coming back."

Lewis said she didn’t care about concerns that Wal-Mart’s low prices
hurt small businesses because "mom-and-pop" retailers often charge too
much. And low-paying jobs are still jobs, she said.

"The times we live in we have to save as much as we can," Lewis said.
"It may not be the best-paying job, but it’s a job."

The Stop Shopping choir is also known to heckle Starbucks, which
successfully pressed charges against Talen for disrupting business at
one of its coffee stores near Los Angeles, said Wolfe, who represented
Talen. Talen elected for a brief jail stint instead of paying a 0
fine, Wolfe said.

The choir’s director, Savitry D., said the group chose to demonstrate in
Vallejo out of support for local unions who are fighting what she called
"predatory practices" that are "classic Wal-Mart." She said the choir
purposely "blurs the line between performance, activism art and religion."

"(We’re here) to cheer up the activists," she said. "They need energy
and support. (Wal-Mart growth) is going on all over the country."

A local grass-roots organizer said the performance complemented a
growing sense of public activism in Vallejo that includes recent dissent
about the waterfront and downtown redevelopment plans.

"It’s a new approach to getting the word out because it’s different – it
gets people’s attention," said Stephanie Gomes, co-chair of the Vallejo
Waterfront Coalition. "That’s what it’s all about."

Gomes said Wal-Mart may be popular for its low prices, but citizens pay
in the end through higher taxes driven up by low-paid workers seeking
government assistance.

"Vallejo is stepping up to say that we want what’s right for the city,"
Gomes said. "People are feeling empowered (to say) this is what we’re
going to stand for."

Reverend Billy in Vallejo,CA
ways to get customers
By J.M. BROWN, Times-Herald staff writer

THE REV. BILLY TALEN leads the Stop Shopping Choir through the Wal-Mart
parking lot in a Wednesday demonstration. The New York-based group was
asked by local unions to perform outside the store. Photo: J.L.
Sousa/Times-Herald

Traveling New York City performance artists who demonstrate against
large corporations swooped down on Vallejo’s Wal-Mart on Wednesday to
bolster local efforts to keep the company from growing in Solano County.

Wearing a tan suit complete with a tele-evangelist’s pompadour, the Rev.
Billy Talen and about 20 members of his Stop Shopping choir led a cheeky
but colorful protest outside the store, singing anti-corporate theme
songs that mimicked a religious revival service.

Community activists and union leaders hailed the performance as a
creative addition to their campaign to stunt Wal-Mart’s plans to build
in Vallejo, American Canyon and several other cities.

"Standard tools of protest don’t always work," said San Francisco lawyer
Mark Wolfe, who described Talen’s demonstration as a "peaceful,
non-confrontational" way to spread the message about what Wal-Mart
critics see as the company’s unfair labor practices.

Wal-Mart manager George Dias said the protest did not disrupt his
store’s operations and he did not ask the group to leave. "They have
their rights just like anybody else," Dias said.

Dias declined to comment on the group’s claims that Wal-Mart pays unfair
wages, drives out smaller competition and pollutes the environment.

Customers gawked and snickered at the choir, and few seemed to pay
attention to the yellow flyers, handed out by demonstrators, that
decried Wal-Mart as a scourge on taxpayers.

"It was tacky," Suisun City resident Wilma Lewis said of the protest. "I
love Wal-Mart. I will be coming back."

Lewis said she didn’t care about concerns that Wal-Mart’s low prices
hurt small businesses because "mom-and-pop" retailers often charge too
much. And low-paying jobs are still jobs, she said.

"The times we live in we have to save as much as we can," Lewis said.
"It may not be the best-paying job, but it’s a job."

The Stop Shopping choir is also known to heckle Starbucks, which
successfully pressed charges against Talen for disrupting business at
one of its coffee stores near Los Angeles, said Wolfe, who represented
Talen. Talen elected for a brief jail stint instead of paying a 0
fine, Wolfe said.

The choir’s director, Savitry D., said the group chose to demonstrate in
Vallejo out of support for local unions who are fighting what she called
"predatory practices" that are "classic Wal-Mart." She said the choir
purposely "blurs the line between performance, activism art and religion."

"(We’re here) to cheer up the activists," she said. "They need energy
and support. (Wal-Mart growth) is going on all over the country."

A local grass-roots organizer said the performance complemented a
growing sense of public activism in Vallejo that includes recent dissent
about the waterfront and downtown redevelopment plans.

"It’s a new approach to getting the word out because it’s different – it
gets people’s attention," said Stephanie Gomes, co-chair of the Vallejo
Waterfront Coalition. "That’s what it’s all about."

Gomes said Wal-Mart may be popular for its low prices, but citizens pay
in the end through higher taxes driven up by low-paid workers seeking
government assistance.

"Vallejo is stepping up to say that we want what’s right for the city,"
Gomes said. "People are feeling empowered (to say) this is what we’re
going to stand for."

New iPod! Yay!
ways to get customers
I’ve been sad, but now…there is joy in the world. About a month ago, I broke my iPod by whacking it into a desk while showing somebody how to push the "send" button on an email. I was more than a bit irked, because I had been on my way home when called back to this person’s desk. I was literally in the elevator, but I decided to be Good Support Guy and help this person out.

And then, by raw clumsiness, I broke my toy. Lame.

Fast forward. I took my broken toy to the local Apple Genius Bar, and told my tale of woe. The Genius took pity on me, filled out some paperwork, took my phone number, and told me they’d call when the replacement came in.

Which happened this Sunday morning. Either Apple has figured out matter transmission, or they got a Sunday delivery on a warranty replacement. Wow. Holy superb customer service, Batman.

One happy customer, me.

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