Feedback: Walmart Pulls Plug On Bell Ringer's Boombox

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Carl Zender is allowed at the Walmart in Massena as a Salvation Army bell ringer.

But, his boombox and music are not. 

"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.
 
At 63, Zender can bring a smile to anyone's face with his enthusiasm and love for spreading cheer to lend a hand for those less fortunate.

While Zender can still ring his bell at the Walmart location, his holiday spirit of joyful music and a quick dance or two to help raise donations for the Red Kettle campaign has been silenced by the retail giant.

"We want to provide a pleasant, distraction-free shopping experience for our customers and unfortunately can't allow something that could be potentially unsafe for our customers. The cords and wires and the actual boombox itself could be a potential hazard for anyone entering or exiting the store," said Kayla Whaling, Walmart spokesperson.
 
Despite being allowed to use his portable boombox to sing at Walmart while volunteering as a Red Kettle bell ringer in past years, Walmart notified local Salvation Army officials this week that Zender was in violation of a corporate policy prohibiting such actions.
 
"Carl was not told he couldn't stand there at all. We were told we just could not put external music outside," said Lieutenant Cynthia Crowsen
of the Salvation Army.
 
Local Salvation Army officials say they are worried the controversy will not only affect the amount of donations collected to provide assistance to families, but that it also might jeopardize its future Red Kettle relationship with Walmart.
 
There are reports that a holiday sing-a-long protest in support of Zender may be being planned for this weekend outside the local Walmart store.

Zender, keeping with the holiday spirit, says he just wants the whole thing to stop and let people be merry.

See our earlier report

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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