ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. (CBS Charlotte) – A group of veterans handing out poppies in honor of Memorial Day in front of a local Walmart were told to vacate the premises.
On the holiday that honors those men and women who’ve died serving their country, members of the local VFW chapter in Elizabethtown, N.C., were told by Walmart employees that they had not scheduled in advance to hand out Memorial Day poppies in front of the store.
WECT reports that Walmart employees indicated to the veterans outside the store that only one group could reserve a table in front of the store and that the group had not scheduled far enough in advance. One VFW member told WECT that he thought the group had booked the space in front of the local Walmart weeks in advance.
“My understanding of what happened with the members of the VFW local post there in Elizabethtown was that there was a miscommunication or they hadn’t made arrangements with the store to do the poppies that day,” Jason Schoolcraft, North Carolina State Commander for the VFW, told CBS Charlotte. He added: “To my knowledge, it’s an isolated incident with this store.”
Walmart employees reportedly told the vets that they were simply following the company’s policy regarding groups soliciting in the front of Walmart stores. Ashley Hardie, a media relations manager for Walmart, told CBS Charlotte that Walmart is willing to accommodate the veterans for another weekend.
“One of the ways we support the local community is by welcoming charitable and civic organizations to solicit or fundraise outside our stores,” she told CBS Charlotte. “For eligible organizations who would like to solicit in-front of our stores, approvals are provided in the discretion of store management. Groups have to be scheduled in advance, and in order to maintain a pleasurable shopping experience, typically we limit the number of groups to one, on any given day.
“We’re happy to work with VFW to find another weekend that works for them.”