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February 08, 2004


Somebody - particularly a Democratic rival grocery-chain owner feels somewhat strongly about the Wal-Mart parasite (Does more harm than good. Survives only for itself. Without willing suckers it would die).

Eddie Basha says
this to the Arizona Republic about Wal-Mart:
"I call it the economic holocaust," Basha, chief executive of Bashas', the state's largest homegrown supermarket chain, said in an interview with The Arizona Republic. "It's no different than what the Nazis did in World War II. It's a blitzkrieg. They are doing economically what the Nazis did militaristically."

The remarks from one of Arizona's best-known businessmen reflect the growing bitterness and fear among competitors, labor unions and others at the rapid expansion of Wal-Mart stores into their cherished domains. His comments also reflect what Wal-Mart has said is a tendency of critics to paint one of the country's most successful companies in the blackest light, calling it a cultural predator.

Basha's words were the kind that Jewish community groups often object to, though Basha said he didn't literally mean Wal-Mart is made up of Nazis. He meant that its corporate tactics are wiping out small businesses and hurting workers.

"Knowing Eddie Basha, there are few great champions for justice in Arizona," said Bill Straus, Arizona regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. "With that said, I think the last thing in the world he intended to do is to trivialize the Holocaust. . . . We have dozens of Holocaust survivors living in Arizona. I can tell you any reference to the Holocaust strikes them extremely profoundly."

Basha once received an award from the league for his commitment to ending bigotry and racism. He was a 1994 Democratic candidate for Arizona governor.

About Wal-Mart's reputation for paying low wages and benefits, he added, "In the scheme of things, they exploit and take advantage of their people. That's not my idea of citizenship."
The Bashas' chain, which, like Wal-Mart, is not unionized, also has been criticized for its treatment of workers. Some workers have tried to organize union representation at Food City stores, a branch of the Bashas' chain aimed at the Hispanic market.