Is Walmart Trying To Buy Its Way Into New York City?

Bloomberg Fires Back At Reporter's Question About Retailer's True Intentions

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Is it a genuine gesture or an attempt to buy the city’s good will?

The question was posed to Walmart spokesman Steve Restivo as the giant retailer pledged $4 million to the New York City’s summer youth employment program.  Restivo said there are no strings attached to the pledge.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond In Brooklyn

Walmart is seeking approval to build its first New York City store in Brooklyn.

“[It’s] no secret that we’re looking for locations across the five boroughs — store sizes small, medium, and large. We don’t have any announced projects yet. We don’t have any leases signed in the city,” Restivo said.

Later, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer attempted to get Walmart representative Michelle Gilliard to answer the following question: would the retail giant’s generous pledge to create summer jobs for city kids soften resistance to its stores being built here in New York City?

That set Mayor Michael Bloomberg off and what followed was an at times terse back and forth with Kramer.

Mayor Bloomberg Quipped Back When Asked About Walmart’s Intentions. 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks Reports.

“It won’t with me. This city’s open to everybody, period, end of story,” Bloomberg said.

Hizzonor was so agitated that he at first wouldn’t let Gilliard answer the question.

“I answered it for you. We’ve had enough,” Bloomberg said.

And away they went:

Kramer: “Mr. Mayor, I don’t understand why you’re not allowing Michelle …”

Bloomberg: “I’d be happy to allow Michelle … she says no.”

Kramer: “This is a press conference. We would like an opportunity …”

Bloomberg: “If Michelle wants to speak she’s welcome to speak.”

Kramer: “But you’re basically answering the questions.”

The mayor eventually let her take the floor, but Kramer couldn’t get an answer to the question.

Kramer: “Do you think that this donation of $4 million will help you or help your company on its attempt to build a store here?”

Bloomberg: “Let me answer that. I hope so. Why would anybody not hope so? You’re telling me that your company’s philanthropy doesn’t look to see what is good for your company?”

Walmart’s $4 million pledge should allow the summer jobs program to expand by up to 3,400 jobs.

“We’ve given close to $13 million in the last four years alone. So, today’s announcement really was a continuation of what our foundation has done over the past several years,” Restivo said earlier.

Walmart has been tight lipped about where it wants to build. One potential site is on Gateway Drive in Brooklyn. The location is just a few miles from the Pitkin Avenue Business District where local store owners are worried about their survival and furious at Mayor Bloomberg.

Mark Tanis, the general manager of Shopper’s World on Pitkin Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn, told Kramer it’s clear to him why Walmart made the donation.

“I feel that Walmart is trying to buy its way into the community,” Tanis said. “I don’t know why the mayor would want to infringe on the small businesses. We are everyday small businesses, mom and pop trying to make it.”

Walmart said the city donation is part of a $25 million program to help kids have a better summer.

Do you think Walmart is trying to buy its way into NYC? Or do you think its intentions are genuine? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Marcia Kramer
  • Manhattan Man

    As a native New Yorker, why WALMART, as we always had every product imagineable to us. As long as they would have UNIONIZED workers, then it might be beneficial. I know that this would only be a pipe dream as Republicans are notorious for being for corporations and the upper wage earners and not the average American. So, if no union, then keep your store where Americans lack good hygiene..

  • Compton

    Perception is Reality. Regardless if Bloomberg won’t admit that Walmart just bought him and the whole New York City – all for the sake of the “children”. Coincidentally in the neighborhood that Walmart has been actively eye’ing to claim. Gee, it’s probably Walmart’s cheapest PR campaign, yet.

    How can WE, New Yorkers, help Brownsville’s community fight to uphold their wishes and plans to create a main street and a city center on the lonely field?

    — No wonder Walmart snubbed City Council twice in the past 7 months. They had a Bloomberg in their pocket.

    • Addiscott

      I don’t understand why it is that Unions are being blamed for this. Why is it so bad that people would like to work for an honest wage, safe working environment, decent health benefits and a secure future? The Labor Movement was started because of unfair labor practices, unsafe work conditions and the atrocities committed against the hard working middle class. Only 1% of the US population is considered Upper class. The rest are middle class and the poor. If it weren’t for the Unions, there would be no middle class and sadly, we are heading stead fast down that road. To the person who called us ‘Union Thugs’ I will accept that title and carry it as an honor! If being a ‘THUG’ means I am standing up for my rights to a safe work environment and a fair labor wage then I would rather be a thug over mere follower any day! The current mind frame of those who don’t believe in Unions is ‘Why should you make more money than me, you should be getting the same as me or lower.’ This mind frame needs to change. It needs to be ‘Why am I getting less money than you an hour? I should be paid a higher wage than I am now and step up to your level and be your equal.’ Why would anyone want to take a step down, we should all want to take a step up! And for those who think that Unions are full of people who want to do less work for more money, you could not be more wrong! We are begging for the work and would gladly accept more hours to support our families.

  • Tim Johnson

    In my book, the guy who demonizes philanthropy because it’s too noble-looking and too positive-PR is the one you should oppose. But that’s just me.

  • Phil

    Based on the locations that Walmart is considering in the 5 boroughs for opening up a store…i say don’t even bother…the cost overruns from shoplifting and NYC regulations and prio-union activists/politicians …is it even worth it for wal mart to open up a NYC store…dont they make enough $$$ without a NYC branch….hopefulyl they dont waste their resources and time….

    trust me Walmart…NYC isnt worth it ..isnt worth the hassle of dealing with these corrupt politicians, unuion thugs and dregdes of society….

    • Sammy Bull

      What is this ‘dredges’ you speak of?

  • Mr. Witherspoon

    I heard on the internet that Walmart secretly implants tracking devices into all their employees: during the new employee orientation program, a chip is installed into the rectum. This chip monitors and detects any and all employee activities while nestled safely between their buttcheeks.

  • Wel

    I hope Walmart makes it, I like low prices, sue me. And nobody holds a gun to your head and says “man that cash register”; stop pretending that someone is forcing you to work for a low wage.

    I’d absolutely love it if prices in this city dropped by 50%, it would make my life 100% easier, so I say BRING IT ON!

  • Tom Garett

    Of course it’s a bribe. New Yorkers haven’t bought Walmarts usual arguments about the ‘benefits’ of Walmart “coming to your town”, so Walmart Corp. has decided to make a big splash with a legal $4M ‘bribe’ to “help the children”. This makes them look like a “good coporate citizen” when, in truth, they are NOT….@Soc, I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, PennyTop.c0m

  • Aceof Spades

    There is a Costco in Harlem. I dont see supermarkets closing down.

  • CSI

    They act like they are going to close down all stores around Walmart. People pay for convenience and to be around their own neighborhood. Not everyone is going to go all the way to Walmart to get a pair of ghetto jeans or leather jacket with ridiculous design. So it’s safe to say even though some business will be slow these stores are not hurting.

  • Ugh...

    Why would Walmart give to charity of its own free will? The company has given only around 7% of its worth to charity. Bill Gates has given almost 90% of Microsoft’s. Walmart is clearly just trying to bribe the folks down in city hall. They’re just another heartless corpoerate giant trying to open up a new market and find more employees to pay less than minimum wage. In the meantime, they put out of business whatever small businesses are still left due to some stroke of luck. Don’y take the bribe, Bloomberg! (Whatever happened to political bribes being illegal anyways?)

    • Ugh...

      Please pardon the spelling errors, I type fast and sometimes inaccurately. (can’y, corpoerate)

  • nathan

    Gerald they are both the same person and it sure aint me.

  • jon

    i dont see what the big deal is…they keep saying it’ll put mom and pop stores out of business….but what about TARGET??? BEST BUY??? theyre everywhere in nyc…



    • Justice Sotomayor

      Eat my sphincter dribble.

  • Gerald Waldman

    Of course it’s a bribe. New Yorkers haven’t bought Walmarts usual arguments about the ‘benefits’ of Walmart “coming to your town”, so Walmart Corp. has decided to make a big splash with a legal $4M ‘bribe’ to “help the children”. This makes them look like a “good coporate citizen” when, in truth, they are NOT.

  • theologian

    In this capitalist society in whch we live, money talks. This should come as no great surprise. Everybidy has a price, even Mayor Bloomberg.



    • Gerald Waldman

      You’re both IDIOTS!!!

  • Concern,,, &

  • Dr.Mengle is a dche

    NYC…where buisenesses go to die…Thanks unions!!!!!!!

  • Geoffrey Roper

    And to prove my point, just take a look at the overzealous comments that are coming in. To Jim–do you know for a fact that those small businesses mentioned in the story offer their employees the opportunity to join some small business unions, and offer better wages, and allow their employees a say in the way they run their business? No? Let me answer–they feel exactly the same way as Wal Mart does about unions and wages. They want to pay as little as possible and keep as much as they can for themselves. Wake up …

  • Jim Mavis

    Once Wal-Mart heres Union! They will pull out!! The3y dont like the idea of paying good honest wages! They are not really worth shopping at anyway!!

  • jazie

    How can my teenage daughter get a summer youth job she already put in an application

  • Lady "D"

    Any way you look at it walmart is coming to Brooklyn. Mayor Bloomberg has already given them his stamp of approval. Now let’s see how the unions respond to WALLY world because they don’t believe in them and won’t have anyone in their employee that does.

  • Melvin

    Of course they’re trying to buy their way into the city. And that’s sad because they’re an awful company that mistreats its employees and discriminates against women. They’re also just a really generic operation and they will make New York a little blander. It’s bad enough there’s an Olive Garden in Times Square.

  • Wonder boy

    Wallmart in NY will never fly. Why? Because after they get robbed blind and a few meeters and greeters get beat up for wanting to check your basket on the way out, they will incur law suite after law suite by people who know a hell of a lot more then the normal rubes who frequent their stores.

    • ad

      there’s already a walmart in NY, its located in long island.

  • bobby

    New York Jay, you are an idiot. Walmart has never asked its salaried associates to work off the clock. As a matter of fact, that is a big reason many get fired. And making them stay in the store at night to keep them from stealing? No, they locked the doors because the stores were not open to the public, thereby allowing the overnight crew to do their work. Overnighters do the heavy stocking, and there is a crew who does major cleaning of the entire store. They also do what is called zoning, meaning reorganizing the merchandise so it will be ready for the public. That is done even when the public is allowed to shop at night in many stores. Perhaps Walmart is trying to pursuade New Yorkers to allow them to build, but isnt it nice at the same time that they will donate several millions to help the children who cannot help themselves! I suppose you dont have $4 million to give away, so you would not know what it means to give generously.

    • wonderboy

      4 million dollars to Wallmart is not even loose change. It is just a bribe that will cost many New yorkers their jobs at the small stores they will displace.

      • Yaicha Ennis

        I agree wonder boy. Walmart is bad to the bone. My sister’s boy friend worked with mentally impaired adults back when walmart was saying it only carried made in USA products. Walmart had the mentally impaired adults removing “made in china” stickers off the products and replacing them with “made in the usa” stickers. My sister’s boyfriend eventually quit in protest.
        Walmart will destroy Brooklyn if it is able to get its ugly claws in. And it looks like Walmart has given a big donation to someone other than city kids.

    • Yaicha Ennis

      Yes! It is very very nice. Just like that nice bear hunter who leaves donuts by the tree in the woods for for bears, or that nice deer hunter who leaves corn for the deer. So very very nice. Just like that nice man who keeps offering the kids candy if they will only just get in his car. Really nice!

    • Gerald Waldman

      @ bobby — it’s obvious you don’t know what you’re talking about! SALARIED employees are just that; they are paid a yearly salary of a set amount no matter how many hours they work that year and most do NOT punch a time clock. It is Walmart’s HOURLY (primarily part-time) employees that were told to work off the clock or get fired. I believe that this occurred about 10 years ago in the Texas-Oklahoma area and was the brain child of one of Walmart’s mid-level managers.. Walmarts corporate policy seems to be to hire mostly part-time employees and carefully watch that they don’t work more than the state mandated hours for a “full-time employee”. While Walmart does normally pay a little above minimum wage in most cases it also means Walmart does NOT have to pay any benefits to or for part-time employees or provide medical insurance for them.. Full-time hourly employees are few and far between at Walmart stores and salaried employees (I’ve heard) are even rarer. Walmart makes a lousy neighbor, a lousy employer and is NOT a boon to local governments or local retailers.


        right gerry..wallsmack sucks the life out of everything..just like that thing called they fired the stupid insect for sucking straws..he needs a good enema

  • New York Jay

    It’s not the mom & pop stores that’s stopping Walmart from coming here, let’s not be stupid, it’s the local distributors that supply the local shops will be put out of business. If you’re a New Yorker, you know who run the distribution companies. The same folks that provide all those additional holidays. But back to Walmart. That company will not stop until it’s feet are firmly in New York and will do anything to get here. You think Walmart got as big as they are by being nice. Hell no!!! They keep folks on part time so they don’t have to pay benefits, They use to have people punch out and get back on the registers, they use to lock their employees over night in the store so they wouldn’t steal. Employees are monitored more than customers. Prices go up after they blow out the competition. The list goes on. I’m sure if Bloomberg doesn’t have a problem with it is because he’s getting some type of cut from it. it’s part of doing business.

    So for all you people out there that support Walmart coming to Brooklyn either you’re on the pay roll or a fool.



    • DigitalBob

      You weren’t breast fed, were you?

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