Bruce Springsteen put on a great show at the Super Bowl – and that slide was pretty gutsy for a guy who will be turning 60 later this year. But we do have a little quibble with the Boss’ recent comments to The New York Times about Arkansas’ most famous corporate citizen.
Springsteen, champion of the working man, said he regretted the decision by Sony, his music label, to issue a greatest hits CD exclusively through the notoriously anti-union Wal-Mart.
"We were in the middle of doing a lot of things, it kind of came down and, really, we didn’t vet it the way we usually do," he said.
Apparently, the exclusivity of the deal is what is offensive. Fifteen percent of Springsteen’s CD sales already came from Wal-Mart, his business manager, Jon Landau, told the Times.
We can’t defend some of Wal-Mart’s employment practices over the years; neither can Wal-Mart, which in December settled dozens of wage-and-hour complaints that General Counsel Tom Mars said were "not representative of the company we are today."
But the working man in America owes a big thank-you to Wal-Mart, whose single-minded pursuit of the lowest possible price on every item it sells has been credited with helping control inflation. Wal-Mart deserves much more credit than it gets for single-handedly bringing affordable prescription drugs to millions of Americans.
Even the Springsteen collection in question was bargain-priced at $10, which is a good deal for the working man who might not be able to fork over the $19 list price of his newest album, "Magic."
Like all of us, Bruce Springsteen is free to boycott any company he pleases. But his mea culpa about the Wal-Mart deal wouldn’t ring so hollow if he had volunteered to return every penny he made off it.