LAKEWOOD, Colo. (AP/CBS4) – Business was brisk but quiet around Colorado as shoppers took advantage of Black Friday deals, with the exception of a Lakewood Walmart where dozens of protesters marched outside the store in support of the workers.
Some held signs playing off of the retailing giant’s corporate slogan, “Live better.” They accused the company of corporate greed and underpaying its workers.
While some shoppers expressed concern with crossing the protest line and entering the stores, customers were able to go in and out of the store without incident.
Jenevieve Beaulieu, who was at the store to buy a Christmas tree, said, “A lot of people don’t have jobs. Walmart is very cheap. I don’t know what they’re thinking. Hostess shut down. They striked and they shut down,” Beaulieu said. “Walmart is not going to shut down but, this isn’t a good idea.”
Protester Charlie May, of the Industrial Workers of the World, said, “This is the way you get a fair shake. You’ve got to fight for it. You’ve always have.” His union’s membership peaked in the 1920s.
“Walmart preaches that they’re a family company, yet they forced us to leave the Thanksgiving table to open doors at 8 p.m. That’s outrageous and unfair,” protester Mark Belkin said.
A union-backed group called OUR Walmart was staging demonstrations and walkouts at hundreds of stores across the country on Black Friday. It was unclear how many people participated in those protests or what effect they had on business.
“The OUR Walmart group doesn’t speak for the 1.3 million Walmart associates,” David Tovar, vice president of Walmart corporate communications said in a statement. “We had our best Black Friday ever and OUR Walmart was unable to recruit more than a small number of associates to participate in these made for TV events.”
The Lakewood Walmart parking lot was half-empty by midmorning on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, while shopping was brisk in other areas. Long lines overnight outside Target, Best Buy and Toys ‘R’ Us stores in Denver.
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