The Houston Review
July 4, 2001
K-Mart Caves In to Michael Moore's Demands
"The stench was just too much,"
Corporate Executive Explains.
by Kyle Lohmeier
Bureau Chief of the Houston Review's Michigan Office
TROY, MI—Overwhelmed by Michael Moore’s body odor, K-Mart Corporation executives buckled on Thursday, June 28 and declared that they would cease handgun ammunition sales at all of their stores within the next 90 days. Moore, a Michigan based filmmaker, is best known for his movie Roger and Me, a work that lampooned former General Motors Chairman Roger Smith, criticizing his employee lay-offs and plant closures. Attended by a swarm of flies, the filmmaker showed up at the retailer’s Troy headquarters on Wednesday, June 27, with two large shopping bags full of handgun ammo he had purchased at a nearby K-Mart store along with two bags of Doritos, a case of Twinkies, four Three Musketeers chocolate bars and a Diet Coke.
“As I understand it, he doesn’t own any handguns, so I’m not sure what the deal was with the ammo. He sure doesn’t need it for self-protection, considering his stench would knock a mugger dead at twenty paces,” said a K-Mart World Headquarters security officer on condition of anonymity. “Thing is, it was about 96 degrees that day with about 87 percent humidity, so when he came lumbering through the door carrying 60 pounds of ammo. Well, let’s just say, if you weren’t here, then you should be glad, very glad.”
Moore’s grievance with K-Mart appeared to center on how very easy it was for citizens over the age of 21 to buy handgun ammunition.
“How can any corporation treat its customers with such blatant respect and trust?” bellowed the outraged Moore between labored breaths. “This has to stop. I will not cease fighting until all our citizens are fully protected from themselves. What Hillary wants to do for the children, I want to do for everybody else. Hey, are you going to eat that?”
Jason Kilpatrick, the K-Mart employee who sold Moore the ammunition on that hot, hazy Michigan afternoon, described the odd transaction.
“At first I thought I shouldn’t sell him any ammo since he looked like he was on some sort of crack binge, the way he was sweating. I noticed the slowness of his movements and realized he definitely wasn’t on any sort of upper. Then I recognized him from that stupid TV show they ran one episode of years ago and did whatever I could to get him out of the store as fast as possible. As he lumbered away carrying all the 9mm, .357, .40 and .45 ammo we had, I just prayed he wouldn’t have a heart attack. My boss knows I know CPR and would probably have expected me to try and revive him,” Kilpatrick said, barely suppressing a shudder.
Accounts of what happened next at K-Mart World Headquarters differ, but apparently Moore demanded to see K-Mart CEO Charles Conaway to discuss handgun ammunition sales. The famous “filmmaker’s” demand was quickly obliged, according to the unnamed security officer, and Moore was taken up to the penthouse office.
“Yeah, he trundled on in here and deposited 60 or so pounds of assorted handgun ammo onto my desk before heaving his massive rear end into one of my Corinthian leather chairs,” Conaway recalled. “Have you any idea how hard it is to get sweat stains out of Corinthian leather? It looks like my fine Italian shoes after walking across the lot in the winter and picking up all the road-salt stains, only worse. It’s as though he died in that chair and the cops drew a chalk outline of him right on it, only, it’s not chalk. Not to mention the smell. Criminy.”
According to Cynthia Burns, Conaway’s Executive Assistant, Moore began to prattle on about corporate responsibility and a woman in Flint, Michigan, who has to eat rabbits to survive. His blustering and rambling diatribe lasted for almost an hour. Moore claims it was because he had nothing else to say, others believe the timing of his exit had more to do with candy bowl running out of treats.
“Of course I thought the whole thing was pretty absurd, and I wanted to chase him out of here before my chair was completely ruined. I almost did too, but then I could just see the marquee: ‘Charles and Me.’ I need this fat, frigging moron chasing me around for months on end with a camera in one hand and a cheeseburger in the other like I need a hole in my head. Eventually, I offered him a deal: if he got his big, sweaty ass outta my office, I’d quit selling handgun ammunition. After he left I had a shipment of Glade Plug-Ins bound for our Shelby Township store rerouted here. Now my office smells like vanilla and sweat. I’m taking a week off. Cynthia’s gonna have to leave the windows open while I’m gone. I sure hope we can get a cross-breeze in here and air the place out.”
Moore was overjoyed with his victory.
“Mega-corporations like K-Mart need to realize the responsibility they bear for when mentally unbalanced individuals commit criminal misuse of firearms,” Moore huffed, taking a large swig of diet Faygo cola as he spoke. “I mean it’s suspected that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold [the students at Columbine High School who shot 12 fellow students and a teacher to death in Colorado] bought the ammo for their handguns at a K-Mart. K-Mart’s culpability in that massacre cannot be understated. They’re practically as guilty as Harris and Klebold.”
As for the state’s ample population of gun owners and shooting sports enthusiasts, who recently won their right to concealed carry via a state Supreme Court decision, K-Mart’s announcement seems to mean little.
“Oh, so I can’t go there and pay an average of $3 more per box than any other retailer charges for the same brand of ammo? Looks like I’ll have to go to shooting ranges in order to pay shooting range price for my bullets,” said Barton Muskgrove, an amateur International Defensive Pistol Association competitor.
In a statement released to the public on June 28, K-Mart stated they had been looking at phasing out handgun ammunition sales for several months. A K-Mart vice president who asked not be named, debunked that claim.
“Granted, when you’re at least $3 per box more expensive than your competitors, handgun ammo sales aren’t going to be your bread and butter. But, until that fat guy showed up smelling like a jock strap and started making demands, we weren’t planning on discontinuing the sale of handgun ammo,” the anonymous VP said.