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  • In Dallas, according to the Associated Press Wal-Mart is being sued for $25 million for selling a woman a shotgun, which she then used to kill herself. The suit has been filed by the woman’s parents, who say that their daughter had been diagnosed as bipolar and schizophrenic, and that store clerks did not do appropriate background checks.

    Local analysts, however, say that the system is set up precisely to protect patient confidentiality, and that there is little Wal-Mart could have done. However, the case is expected to reopen debate about such confidentiality issues and the efficacy of the nation’s background check system.

  • Illinois’ Daily Southtown newspaper has an interesting piece reporting that since 1985, Wal-Mart “has opened stores and distribution centers in at least 16 Illinois towns…racking up more than $83 million in government subsidies.”

    The goal of these subsidies and tax breaks has been to create an environment in which Wal-Mart will generate sales tax dollars that eventually will aid these communities. But these can be strategies with no short-term benefits, according to the paper, as many of these communities end up not seeing the benefits for years.

    The paper also notes that Wal-Mart is selective about where it asks for subsidies and rebates; in locations where asking for government assistance would place restrictions or caveats on its policies or growth, the company prefers to pay its own way.

KC's View:
Which is only good business. You can’t blame Wal-Mart for taking advantage of handouts when and where they are offered. But it certainly seems legitimate for existing retailers to ask for the same treatment and advantages, which might then allow them to be more competitive.

There’s a price for everything.