At What Price?

Plus: So-So What, Right with Wong, Love Lessons

At What Price?

Wal-Mart misdeeds: After reading the story titled "Pay Snubs" [by Jennifer Mathieu, July 25], I find it almost impossible not to add my two cents -- which, in my opinion, is more than what Wal-Mart is worth.

The way they treat their employees is awful. Wal-Mart used to be a good place to shop, but I have not been happy with most of my purchases from there anymore. I have recently made several trips to the customer service desk to return defective items. I have had at least two occasions lately where I was overcharged at the register and had to go to the service desk to get my money back.

Ever since Sam Walton died, the company has really gone downhill. I, for one, am going to try to avoid Wal-Mart. I know their prices are always lower, but a higher price is worth it if I don't have to lose quality.

If more people would stand up for their rights, we wouldn't have companies like Wal-Mart overworking their employees.

Earlene Hill
Cambridge, Idaho

Mall Wart? Our good friends at Arkansas-based Wal-Mart have done it again. Remember when they were just opening stores around the country and they promoted the idea of "shopping American-made goods"? I challenge you to find a product in their stores which was made in the USA.

Then came the post-9/11 nationalism when Americans everywhere were flying the flag. It was everywhere, according to reports, except at some Wal-Marts, because they said the employees would have to take up a collection to buy a flag because the company did not budget money for flags.

I have recently heard some rattling that when negotiating foreign-made products, Wal-Mart insists on bulk-buying to the point of depriving the foreign workers of a just salary.

I recently saw a bumper sticker that said, "Mall Wart. The place to get your cheap, plastic, foreign-made crap." Maybe so.

Well, it looks like Arkansas is still doing it to us.

W.A. Buie

So-So What

Music award angst: I really want to commend you guys on perpetuating the mediocre in the Houston music scene [2002 Music Awards, by John Nova Lomax, August 1]. Nowhere have I seen such questionable nominations and winners so consistently. It makes one wonder who is really in control here -- the fans or the select few in the circle of back rubbers.

But seriously, I see you guys are still trying to iron things out, and maybe with a true heart, fix all that has been wrong with the music awards. So allow me to give some suggestions:

Being an avid industrial music fan, I find it troubling that I only recognized a couple of groups in that category. Bozo Porno Circus has truly lost any resemblance to industrial music, if they ever really had it. And they're talentless. Perhaps you should expand this category to synth-related music.

Including more genres and limiting nominations to Houston-only people will help with credibility. Maybe you should also allow all of Houston to nominate instead of the select few.

There's no shortage of DJs and what genres they play. So why put them all together to compete with each other? They deserve to compete in their class. Other categories might be best lights in a club, best sound system, best layout and design and best bartender.

If valiant efforts are made, I have confidence that we could turn this city around. I've been watching the Houston scene since 1987, and it's no secret it has all been going downhill. Big name bands overlook the city. Clubs close. We need the momentum Houston had in the '80s where everything was flourishing no matter what you were into.

Shoe Latif

Right with Wong

A candidate for everyone: Insider [by Tim Fleck, June 27] was both timely and interesting as it related to the election of Daniel Wong to the Sugar Land City Council. I was privileged to be part of a political consulting group that served his campaign. Mr. Wong was successful in getting out the Asian community's vote, but that is just part of the story.

Mr. Wong first came to us about six weeks before the election. In spite of his record in the business community and in charitable and civic affairs, Mr. Wong did not have the name recognition that would enable him to win against a very popular incumbent first-term city councilwoman. He needed a heavy dose of name identification and he needed it in a hurry!

We recognized he could not be successful by just playing the Asian community's 20 percent vote against the other 80 percent of voters. He had to demonstrate his appeal to all voters.

The campaign strategy had to be ethnically neutral. We had to communicate to the voters what great talents he could bring to the council. In short, we promoted Mr. Wong as the logical candidate without playing a race card!

Conclusion: Councilman Wong was elected based on his message and his talents not on his ethnicity. The real winners in this election are the citizens of Sugar Land, who elected one smart, talented councilman who also happens to be from Asia.

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