LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) — Wal-Mart canceled an order for a best-selling book by Jon Stewart and the writers of “The Daily Show” after executives learned that it contained a photo of nine naked, aged bodies, each with the superimposed head of a Supreme Court justice.
“We were not aware of the image that was in the book (when Wal-Mart ordered it) and we felt the majority of our customers would not be comfortable with it,” said Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokeswoman Karen Burk. “We offer what we think our customers want to buy. That just makes good business sense.”
Wal-Mart has a well-known policy of refusing to carry magazines with racy covers or CDs with explicit lyrics.
I understand that when one thinks of Wal-Mart, it doesn’t immediately conjure up the idea of young, politically-savvy people. At least to me, it makes me think of housewives in sweatpants saying “Hey, where can I get [product] in bulk?”
Still and all, given that Wal-Mart is more or less the king of retail stores, it surprises me that they can take such a conservative stance on so much of their inventory. Who, really, buys censored albums? And why refuse to sell products even remotely racy? Why can I buy a lusty bodice-ripper romance novel with graphic (if poetic) description of sexual activity, but not America or magazines featuring fully (if racily) clothed people? Does this sort of business strategy really make Wal-Mart the leading retailer in the world? It boggles the mind.