Bell Ringer Takes His One Man Show Elsewhere
Walmart has extended a conciliatory hand to Salvation Army bell ringer Carl Zender.
The retail giant invited him back to the Massena store to sing and dance while he volunteers to collect donations for the Red Kettle campaign.
But, Walmart isn't budging from its position banning the use of his or any other boombox.
"Customers enjoy seeing Carl and he has become known to help bring some holiday cheer and we do welcome him back to come to the store and hope he does," said Walmart spokesperson Kayla Whaling.
But Zender, who says he feels no ill will towards anyone this holiday season, has decided instead to do the remainder of his bell ringing duties at PriceChopper - with his boombox.
While Zender wasn't available for an on-camera interview, this is what he told us on Friday:
"I'm not here to hurt anybody. I don't want to bother anybody. I'm not here to break any rules. If that's what their corporate office is saying, that's fine," said Zender.
Local Salvation Army officials had worried the controversy, fueled by the social networking site Facebook, would jeopardize its badly needed donations.
Those fears never materialized and the issue has been put to rest - at least for now.
"Carl is happily standing at another location where he truly can ring the bell and bring Christmas cheer just like he wants to do and then we can continue to raise the funds at Walmart," said Lieutenant Cynthia Crowsen of the Salvation Army.
While volunteering as a bell ringer for the Red Kettle campaign, Zender and his boombox have been helping put people in the holiday spirit for the last eight years.
He doesn't want that to change.
We're told Zender did pull a bell-ringing shift, complete with song and dance, at the local Walmart - minus his boombox - in a show of good will.
Salvation Army officials say they are appreciative of both Zender and Walmart's support in the community.