Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

The Beehive Asks: What are your thoughts on the Walmart hunger battle?

By now you’ve surely heard the news that Fresno got fewer votes than Salt Lake City in Walmart’s Facebook hunger thing. Now all we’re waiting for is the “official tally” to be announced. Whether that means scores of votes will be disqualified because of “cheating” — and, really, the definition of that term in regards to this contest is pretty wishy-washy — is anyone’s guess.

Now that the momentary frenzy has come to a halt, some questions come to mind:

  • Are you ticked off we came in second?
  • Will Fresno ultimately be declared the winner, or is there a chance some other city might come from behind if only unique users are counted?
  • Do you think that Salt Lake City “cheated” — or at least cheated more than we did?
  • Should Walmart have devised a better system that would have kept people from rolling up vote totals by artifical means?
  • Was this a worthwhile cause or just a brilliant marketing scheme that resulted in a huge free media blitz for Walmart?
  • Was anyone else struck by the idea that this whole experience started to resemble the mentality and mechanics of a massive communal video game — complete with mad clicking of “likes,” a constantly updated score, battlefield camaraderie with like-minded players, the frenzy of an impending deadline?
  • If the scores stand and Fresno gets $100,000 instead of $1 million, will you be mad at Walmart?

Tell us what you think about these questions or other issues related to the contest in the comments.

Responses to "The Beehive Asks: What are your thoughts on the Walmart hunger battle?"

ahmward says:

Why were we told the voting rules after the contest ended? I can’t say any city cheated more than another and what is cheating if you don’t know the complete rules before a contest starts (max 3 votes per person).

For all of the Walmart haters including the woman who wrote the letter to the editor in today’s Bee, many of us on Facebook work all year round to help our community. We did not participate in this contest without a commitment to helping our community. Walmart has the money to create any media blitz they want but the issue is HUNGER not Walmart or any one individual. Let’s take this to a new step and have food drives all year long and not just during holidays or other special occasions.

Mad at Walmart if Fresno gets $100,000? Are you serious? I don’t see anyone else coming forth with $100,00 today to fight hunger in Fresno.

w.r. square says:

my hope for our city, win or lose, is that it takes a genuine interest in providing aid to our homeless & hungry population.

we’ve managed to direct our focus on the wrong things.
who knows, maybe it was all some masterful marketing ploy developed by walmart but in the grand scheme of things, who cares about a competition?


the homeless & hungry in our community couldn’t care less about facebook and walmart, they just want to eat. if we’re doing well enough to be using facebook or reading this post on the beehive, we can definitely help with or without the contribution from walmart.

marcel says:

I blogged about my thoughts a few days ago… and I don’t think any differently today.

jefe says:

Feeding the homeless is nice. But will giving them food from the Walmart fund give them jobs, homes and keep them full?

Chris Estep says:

Win, win, win for everyone. Yes, it is a marketing scheme–win for Walmart. They also get a sweet tax break–win for Walmart. But guess what, some folks get something they desperately need: food–win for those who will receive. And when was the last time our little hamlet of Fresno worked so closely and largely together on any one thing? –win for Fresno community building.

The big question for us, now, is how we can convert this community action into helping our own. It is always easier to get folks into action when a third party pocketbook is involved. I’d like to see us work as closely and as hard toward raising our own funds for the food bank. Can we do this Fresno?

Here’s a great opportunity:

Done with liking, let’s get on to giving.

Jennifer says:

Did not like Walmart before and still won’t shop there, I’ve never bought a thing from them.
But I did actively take part in the campaign. And while I will feel like a wasted a few extra hours this week “liking” for votes that won’t count, ultimately I’m pretty sure we’ll come out ahead of SLC if that’s how it’s gonna work. And if they don’t throw out the extra votes, then we’ll lose but at least we can’t complain about wasting all our time, right? I guess?
I’m torn about the whole thing, and feel worse for the people who spent lots of free time devoted to this cause. I was at work at least most of the time.
Still refuse to buy anything at Walmart, ever.

alot of people got on board on this so why dont we keep the momentum going, give a few bucks to local homeless charities, volunteer and devise ways to allow homeless to become self sufficient, why stop now?

My opinion is I wanted to be frustrated at Walmart for not making the rules more clear and not coming out publically and clearing up any confusion once they discovered how the votes can be manipulated.

Instead of being frustrated I focused on the fact that this has brought to light the need that our community has and I think we should as individuals chose an organization in town that feeds the hungry. I have chosen one that I have emailed to see how I can donate. I won’t give a huge amount but if a lot of people give more than they normally do we can turn the chaos created by this Walmart thing into something positive.

As a side note I think more of these Non-Profit groups need to have a Pay Pal link on their site. I think making it easier for someone to “impulse” donate is a good thing. If I can just log into Pay Pal and donate I am far more likely to do it then writing a check and mailing it out.

Becky says:

Rather than all of this FB frenzy, Walmart should check the data to see that our valley has an extraordinarily high rate of poverty. Why not just give from the Walmart “heart” to those most in need?

Nan says:

SLC won fair and square. Nobody cheated. I don’t know who stacked the votes more, but that is not really the issue it was all within the rules. I will lose respect for Walmart if they change the rules after the game is over, that would be cheating and they should be sued.. I have lived in SLC and I have talked to people out there. I know that if they lost they would have been disappointed to have lost, but would have been grateful for the $100,00. Nobody’s time was wasted. 2nd place still does a lot of good. Let’s not be poor sports about this rise to the occasion and keep the spirit going.

Jeff says:

Full disclosure: I am not a “fan” of the Walmart and I haven’t shopped there since 2000.

It wasn’t about feeding the hungry in Fresno or Salt Lake City. It was about marketing Walmart. Facebook became a 24/7 Walmart advertisement. And the announcement of the “rules” after the telethon had ended seems to support my jaundice view.

I feel sullied because I posted links to another Facebook page so others could “like/comment/share” to their hearts content. It bothered me to see the announcements that this person or that person now “likes” Walmart.

I have a feeling that this will not be the last corporate telethon/ad marathon used to hype corporations that the public views in a negative light. Can’t wait to see the Exxon/Mobil campaign.

Heather P. says:

First, I thought it a good marketing scheme, but didn’t care and jumped right in for the gain to the community. Then, I thought it was a good marketing scheme that wasn’t thoroughly considered. When it did what most good marketing schemes do and reached a level of saturation to cause controversy, they didn’t really know how to handle or address it.

So they changed some of the rules in mid-swim without ever really clarifying them.

I was annoyed at their lack of foresight in terms of online contests, but ultimately more “collateral good” came out of it than just boosting Walmart’s image.

There are two grass roots campaigns up and running now to help supplement whatever winnings we get from Walmart:

The Community Food Bank will have a food and funds drive on Tuesday at the corners of Shaw and Blackstone (next to lenscrafters).

And the Fresno Regional Foundation is challenging us to gain 100,000 $10 donations this week– thus raising our own million dollars– that they will re-grant to hunger-fighting organizations locally. The online donation process is very quick and easy. (especially if you have a google checkout acct. already set up)

Pook says:

1: No
2: No and who cares?
3: Cheating is relative since all of the “votes” are just ID numbers and IP addresses. The behavior is common to any online voting contest.
4: Nope, they had a perfect scheme to generate drama and publicity in west coast markets. Nobody else found it odd that LA or New York didn’t spank everyone? They’re way bigger and have way more homeless.
5: Absolute marketing distraction. I’ll be shocked if 1 homeless person gets a hot dog out of the whole affair.
6: If by communal video game you mean mob mentality and bickering amongst one’s own team, then sure. It reminds me more of addiction experiments where the rat will keep hitting the button even though it gets no reward.
7: Walmart has alot more working against it than a chump change marketing scheme. They spend more to combat pidgeons at their stores than they’re putting up for the contest. Thats how important the homeless are to Walmart.

If you measured all of the time, energy and effort that Fresnans put into the Facebook campaign and instead refocused it on ACTUALLY feeding local homeless, we’d have made the million dollars easy. If your time is worth even a minimum wage of $8/hr, most folks put in $16 worth of effort. If they volunteered those 2 hours down at Povarello house, they would have made a direct impact on their community and could have seen it with their own eyes. If they’re scared of homeless people and prefer the nice, impersonal internet, make a donation.

Ta da! Local homeless community served, Fresnans pull together for Fresnans and all the credit goes to the people who cared enough to do more than sit on Facebook all day. Glad to see that Travis Sheridan and others are getting on the ball to do the job for real, whether Facebook and Walmart “like” it or not.


Michael says:

It’s a win/win for Walmart: It got people who love Walmart to promote its name nonstop for at least a few weeks and it got people who hate Walmart to promote its name non-stop during the past few weeks. I pray there aren’t strings attached with the prize.

JJJ says:

There was cheating. The SLC comment page was full of people giving instructions on how to download a program that would give 100 likes with one click.

Fred M says:

Saw those. The SLC ABC Affiliate actually ran a full article on their online site instructing residents on how to most effectively stack votes.

e. field says:

as I had a little downtime in the night, I contributed to the effort, no big deal.

Disclosure: I have no problem with Wal-Mart, I shop there all the time, I shop at a lot of big-box stores all the time, I’ve shopped at Wal-Marts all across the country for years.

What bothered me about the contest?
(as it played out in it’s final hours) was how disorganized the effort was…
People were setting up pages to ‘mass like’ and build the votes a loophole…(okay, so I did that,)

-then, some of the same pages started decrying using ‘a macro-’mass like’ –that was even more severe (the greasemonkey app.) ‘and that anyone else who used this method was ‘cheating’ and to be kicked off their page..’ (okaythen.)

-then the same page went from stating that ‘anyone who used this app. was afoul’ –to now ‘we’re going to post how to pull down the app and use it..’ (total contradiction.)
–all this on a very public promoted page in a very short period of time.

When I asked what the deal was? No definitive answer was given,
–and somebody sends me directions to my inbox on how to download the ‘illegal’ app.
(didn’t use it, didn’t care to.)

If SLC was using ‘mass-like’ macros,
I saw the same thing going on here, so good luck calling them cheaters, and figuring out who’s right.

Bottom line?
Wal-Mart either gives the towns ‘hungry’ a hundred thou, (or) a mill and a half. Nice of ‘em.
–they don’t have to give away anything, –yet they frequently give to local efforts anyway –from every store. (I’ve seen ‘em do it.)
So… cool, they’re giving… that it’s a write-off? Most places and people who give (also) get it as a write off, so what?

Beyond the Contest:
What really bothers me?
Not Walmart.

It’s that a town that has definite big money in it, and definite funds to spend (mega churches all glitz’d out)
–has the highest concentrated poverty in the nation… (at less than 500,000 people.)
–Let that sink in… We’re not a ‘poor town,’ we’re a town that has some hard-core wealth…
—yet we have the ‘worst poor’ of any town in the US..

-And we’re a town that is also supposedely all ‘God centered,’ ‘blessed out,’ ‘Strong Moral Compass,’ (unlike those heathens in So-Cal and SF.
-top half:
(geographically) reeeeally well off.
–bottom half:
starving in front of the whole nation,(and) a whole bunch of folks who are like:
‘..yep, let wal-mart feed ‘em, cause I sure as hell ain’t, -pass the blush, amen.’

How much to cover the shame and reality of that?
A Mill and a half?
You tell me.

wake up.

Fresno didn’t get played by SLC,
Fresno didn’t get played by Wal-Mart,
-Fresno gettin’ played by: Fresno.

e. field says:

(kind of a PS but a worthwhile one)

One of the requirements of going to college here, in Fresno, is you have to take Calif. Poli-Sci.
(dangerous class… you learn stuff.)

Like this:
aside from the demographic of how the money so radically sits in Fresno:

-Of all the food that the United States (whole country) eats?
about 97% of it is grown here in the Central Valley…
-we not only have the highest concentrated poverty in the whole country (that’s WHOLE country,
-that’s worse than the worst areas of the Bronx,
-that’s worse than areas of Michigan where nobody has a job,
-that’s worse than Post Katrina Delta and the deep South…


we also have the highest rates of childhood obesity and obesity related health problems.

-all within that ‘poverty’ zone.

What that tells me?
We grow the best food, yet the people who are bringing it to the Nations table are sick, fat, and starving because they don’t have enough money to eat right.
-again, this from an area that is block or two below entire ‘towns’ within this city,
that are living extremely well.
–and in absolute splendor
-compared to the largest concentrated population in need, in the entire friggin’ country.

Wal-Mart isn’t using anyone…

They simply held up a giant mirror.

Natali says:

I am disappointed that Wal Mart didn’t do a better job of defining what officially counted and what didn’t, vote wise. I certainly would not have spent as much time “liking” again and again and again for days during my vacation from work, but I am very happy to see our community come together for a cause and become aware of how much need is right here in our community. I think what a lot of people don’t realize is there are a lot of working poor here. It’s not just homeless people that are hungry. It’s parents who work very hard at very low paying jobs and give the food to their children before themselves. Or families affected by a myriad of economic situations that effectively leave them unable to afford nutritious food on a regular basis.

I know this is considered marketing for Wal Mart simply because their name is all over it, but I’ve never been a big Wal Mart fan, and this contest definitely doesn’t change my desire to shop at Wal Mart. I mean, were there really that many people who hadn’t heard of Wal Mart before? Doubtful. Were there a lot of people in the dark about just how serious our hunger problem in the valley is that are now aware? I really believe so. Whether we are the recipient of $1 million or $100,000 from Wal Mart, I look forward to what we as a city can do for our neighbors now that there is a greater awareness of the need. I hope that our fired up sense does not quickly fade, but instead a spark that turns to flame has been lit and we will work together to make things better for those less fortunate.

Greg Wike says:

Walmart clarified the rules before the contest ended. They said only three votes per person. They also said in their instructions that one click counts as one vote. use of macros does not involve actual clicks, except one. All “likes” beyond the one associated with that click would not be separate clicks.
In any case, I feel fairly confident that on Wednesday, Walmart will announce both top cities will each get a million. They would not dare reach any other decision.

james says:

Probably not. Then again, neither will simply leaving a comment on this thread.

Turning ‘feeding the hungry’ into a winner-take-most blood match is morally reprehensible.

Where’s the national boycott? Where’s the fury?

How much more evil can this company get?