WhiteBoardness - 12/18/96
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 96 19:32:03 -0800
Subject: WhiteBoardness - 12/18/96
Excerpted-from: WhiteBoard News for Wednesday, December 18, 1996
7-Eleven manager Wiley Berggren was feted with awards and a company dinner
for increasing sales and keeping a lid on overtime at his convenience store.
Then, about three hours after the ceremony, he received another reward. The
father of two was fired for apprehending a 15-year-old who was trying to
steal beer from the store the night before the dinner.
"This has sort of ruined the holidays," said Berggren, who worked for
7-Eleven for eight years until the firing December 10.
Berggren was axed for violating a strict company policy that forbids
employees from interfering with anyone stealing or holding up the store.
Southwest Convenience Stores Incorporated, which operates the store,
defended its decision to stick to a policy it says saves lives in one of
the most deadly professions in the United States.
Convenience store workers are second only to cab drivers in terms of risk
for violence, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety
"There is no challenge to this policy," said Southwest Convenience Stores
Inc. district manager Nick Pappes. "We can't allow any gray area."
The firing has outraged locals.
Berggren said he was aware of the policy, but acted to protect a woman
customer when three boys tried to heist a case of beer December 9. He said
he told the woman to get out of the way, then intervened as the boys headed
for the door.
One of the youths attacked him, Berggren said.
"So, I wrapped him up and took him to the ground," said Berggren, who bound
the suspect's hands with a trash bag until police arrived. The other two
Berggren said he merely acted in self-defense.
"These punk kids have no regard for anybody or anything," he said. "I didn't
want anybody to get hurt."
But Southwest, a licensee of the Dallas-based Southland Corp. that
franchises or operates 16,000 7-Eleven stores worldwide, said the policy
saves lives of customers as well as employees.
"We are not going to jeopardize employee or customer safety," Southwest
claims manager Laurie Lindsey said.
Other convenience stores in the area have similar policies.
Dan McCurdy, spokesman for San Angelo-based Town & Country Food Stores, said
employees are expected to provide full cooperation to thieves, "even if it's
ripping off the cash register from the roots."
San Francisco, California:
While shoppers nationwide plead for Holiday Barbies, stores here are
offering a more eclectic assortment, including Trailer Trash Barbie, Hooker
Barbie and Drag Queen Barbie.
At least until the Mattel people find out.
The alternative dolls are retooled and decidedly unauthorized versions of
the Mattel dolls. At "In-jean-ious," on Castro Street, shoppers can even
pay a premium to specify the precise number and location of body piercings.
"These Barbies are wildly popular -- we've sold 50 this month," said store
owner Bill Tull. "And Trailer Trash Barbie is on back order with a waiting
The anti-Barbie dolls tap into a segment that loves nothing more than to
loathe the wildly popular toy, enthusiasts say.
"I'm in good company -- lots of people have this obsession with torturing
Barbie," said Sue Wandell, who as a child idolized Barbie but now collects
Anti-Barbies and relishes creating her own.
Trailer Trash Barbie is as plastic and anatomically impossible as the real
thing, but the similarities end there. A cigarette dangles from her lips,
her platinum hair shows black roots, she has a baby slung over her hip and
a quote bubble that says, "My Daddy Swears I'm the Best Kisser in the
There's also Big Dyke Barbie, sporting a pierced nose and a quote bubble
that says, "Want to shoot some pool?" Carrie Barbie is decked out in a
blood-drenched prom dress. Hooker Barbie is replete with negligee and
Then there's Drag Queen Barbie -- actually a refurbished Ken doll,
resplendent in evening gown and wig.
As for Tull, he advised customers to act quickly because "I'm not sure
Mattel would share our sense of humor."
At the El Segundo headquarters of Mattel, which makes the 100-plus
mainstream Barbies that sell worldwide at a rate of two per second,
executives say they do have a sense of humor -- up to a point.
"The reality is that Barbie has become a cultural icon and she has been
adapted to all different aspects of society," said Sean Fitzgerald, Mattel
vice president for corporate communications. "We're a very diverse society
-- Barbie respects that."
He said Mattel doesn't object to people re-dressing or re-accessorizing
"But if somebody's marketing repackaged Barbies, selling them as a 'Barbie,'
that's trademark infringement," he said. "Our lawyers will ask them to
please stop using the Barbie name."
© 1996 Peter Langston