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Old 06-05-2012, 10:54 AM   #4397
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I went back and checked again, using Chrome I get a window asking for $7.99 for 30 days access and the article is grayed out behind. In Safari I can read the article.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:12 AM   #4398
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I guess he learned a lesson. He could have had $39,965 in the safe ( $ 35 for a CG ) and avoided all this. Poor guy.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:32 AM   #4399
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
Ironically, the linked news article can't be accessed without a subscription to the newspaper.
I apologize for not double checking the linnk. I'll post the text to the story in a few minutes.

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Stopping at Walmart should be a one night stopover, not a destination. Permission of the manager should always be sought.
The article quotes a Walmart spokesperson, who in turn quotes the same Walmart policy that's been posted several times in this thread. RVers should speak to store management about whether they may or may not park there.

The Walmart spokesperson also make it clear that Walmarts are not campgrounds, and the Walmart offers parking, not camping.

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I am disturbed that local governments can be influenced by campground owners and a desire to increase revenue through fines and hospitality taxes on campground users. We need to join together to voice our opinions to politicians when these issues are raised as was done in Maine.
Local campground owners are their constituents, RVers passing through town aren't. And in some towns, the campground owner is related to, or is a good friend of a mayor or city manager or council member, or may even be the mayor or a council member. When this kind of local legislation is proposed, I hope anyone who learns of it will use the Internet to let other RVers know. I know that I want to know, so that I can lobby for preserving the Overnight RV Parking privilege. When Missoula, MT was re-vamping their Overnight RV Parking ordinance a few years ago, I emailed the city manager with the RVer's point of view and with suggestions of some things that they might include in the law so that both the city and RV travelers would benefit. Some of those suggestions were incorporated into current local ordinance.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:43 AM   #4400
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Ironically, the linked news article can't be accessed without a subscription to the newspaper.
It appears that some folks can and some can't access the article. Here's the text of the article. There were also 7 color photos of the interior and exterior of the RV, which (as you might expect for $1.2 million) is a rather nice one....

===================

Walmart vs. the $1.2 million RV in Glen Ellyn

Accustomed to parking this $1.2 million RV for free overnight at Walmarts, the owner said he was “stunned” when he discovered his luxury vehicle had been towed from a Glen Ellyn Walmart parking lot where he slept the night before.

With a floor that’s fancier than many suburban kitchen floors, this luxury RV truly is a home away from home.

The bathroom in this luxury RV has large water storage tanks that can last days without having to be filled or emptied.

On the road in his RV, Larry Socha often sleeps in this bed while parked in a Walmart parking lot.

When the open road beckons, this luxury RV entices owner Larry Socha.

Accustomed to parking this $1.2 million RV for free overnight at Walmart locations, the owner says he was “stunned” when he discovered his luxury vehicle had been towed from a Glen Ellyn Walmart parking lot where he slept the night before.

If you don't know these worlds existed, you can't begin to guess what happens when they collide. Even a master in the art of traveling by RV, who knows the lingo and is fully immersed in this popular subculture of the Walmart life, didn't grasp the situation when he discovered that his $1.2 million luxury motor home and the 40 grand inside were gone.

“I was stunned. I called my wife and said, 'Somebody stole my coach,'” said Larry Socha, recalling how he ran some banking errands with his 90-year-old mother the Saturday morning before Memorial Day, returned to the Walmart parking lot in Glen Ellyn where he had spent the night, and discovered that his luxury 40-foot, 22.5-ton RV with the safe full of cash and the 25-foot trailer for his Mustang GT had been towed.

Those of you who don't live this lifestyle probably have some questions, starting with, “How does something that valuable end up in the parking lot of a Walmart that is known for low prices and Internet videos mocking folks wearing inappropriate clothing?”

Turns out, many Walmart parking lots are havens for RV owners looking for a free place to spend the night. Some websites even refer to Walmart as “America's Campground,” which irks owners of actual licensed campgrounds in America.

“Whenever Walmart allows free overnight camping, it not only results in lost business for local campgrounds but lost transient occupancy tax for local cities,” emailed Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. He noted that campgrounds pay for licenses, pass health and safety inspections and offer services not found in parking lots.

Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling made it clear that Walmart parking lots are not campgrounds.

“While we do not offer electrical service or accommodations typically necessary for RV customers, Walmart values RV travelers and considers them among our best customers. Consequently, we do permit RV parking on our store lots as we are able,” reads a Walmart statement. “Permission to park is extended by individual store managers, based on availability of parking space and local laws. Please contact management in each store to ensure accommodations before parking your RV.”

Socha, who drove his 2000 Prevost Marathon XL from his home in New Jersey to visit his mom in Glen Ellyn and attend his 50th high school reunion, has parked at several Wal-Marts during his travels and also supports campgrounds. He parked at Walmart this time not to save 30 or 40 bucks but because it would have taken him more than two hours to drive to the nearest campground and back.

He said that last year he left the same RV in the same Walmart parking lot for three or four days during a visit as his dad was dying. He said he didn't even see the signs this time reading: “No truck parking. Unauthorized vehicles will be towed away at owner's or operator's expense & liability. Towing enforced at all times.”

On the Friday afternoon before Memorial Day, Socha parked his RV at Walmart, unloaded his car, visited his mom and then returned to spend the night in his RV. He said he doesn't pull out his awnings, roll out the grill or dispose of his dirty water or sewage.

“That's wrong. Those are the people who ruin it for others,” says Socha, noting that his vehicle's waste tanks are large enough that he can live inside for five or six days without having to empty them. He ran some banking errands with his mom that Saturday morning, and when he returned that afternoon, all his stuff was gone and he had to pay an $872.50 towing bill to get them back in time for his school reunion.

The manager did knock on the door a couple of times before calling for the tow truck, Whaling said. Socha did find the store on a website that lists free overnight parking, but Whaling said Wal-Mart doesn't keep a list of what stores allow parking or how many people do park.

A Walmart customer and stockholder, Socha said he was upset that Walmart denied his claim to have the company pay his towing bill.

“Will I stop shopping there? No, I'm not a jerk,” Socha said. “I learned a lesson.”

He said he just wants to warn others and perhaps push Walmart to be a little more sensitive and communicative about this issue. There's no use fighting over $872.50, which he said is basically “a tank of gas,” but he said he wouldn't mind an admission that the situation could have been handled better.

If he did drive the 1,670-mile round trip from his New Jersey home to the Glen Ellyn Walmart to accept an offer of reconciliation or financial considerations, the trip in his RV, which gets 5.5 mpg on the highway and 3.5 mpg in the city and has a 165-gallon fuel tank, would cost him about $1,214.

==========

And that's the end of the article.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:25 PM   #4401
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I never realized there were this many issues with wallyworld... Guess they created their own monster.
They can't charge for the night because the mass crowd of Ford Escapes towing unmanageable 31 ft trailers would quadruple
If they completely ban it, people will find the local campground and shop at the nearest Target or Local grocery store instead.
Not that its billions, but I wonder how much cash flow wal mart absorbs per year from traveling rv'ers that use their services respectfully.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:42 PM   #4402
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Once I did access the article, I found it rather tilted towards emphasis on the money. "$1,2 million LUXURY RV, 40 grand inside, 5.5 to 3.5 mpg, $1214 fill up" This article is definitely not written to give sympathy to the owner, but to ridicule him. Talk about 'Fair and Balanced' news! I don't think the guy deserves sympathy, he didn't read the signs or ask permission, i just found all the money mentioned a bit much.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:54 PM   #4403
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Once I did access the article, I found it rather tilted towards emphasis on the money. "$1,2 million LUXURY RV, 40 grand inside, 5.5 to 3.5 mpg, $1214 fill up" This article is definitely not written to give sympathy to the owner, but to ridicule him. Talk about 'Fair and Balanced' news! I don't think the guy deserves sympathy, he didn't read the signs or ask permission, i just found all the money mentioned a bit much.
There is a lesson here: I always post a sign in the entry door window with my 'Emergency Phone Number" which is a prepaid el-cheapo cell phone. It allows the store or police to contact me if they have any issues.
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:02 PM   #4404
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I guess he learned a lesson. He could have had $39,965 in the safe ( $ 35 for a CG ) and avoided all this. Poor guy.
If you READ the article, he wasnt there to save money..
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:27 PM   #4405
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Saving money is WalMart's proposal to the citizens of America...
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:22 PM   #4406
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Was the article out of a high school newspaper? The author could have put the price of the coach in a few more times. Now I remember why I quit reading the newspaper!
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:24 PM   #4407
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Greasing the palms of the local government to get legislation passed is the wrong way.

True.... but it has always been the American way....

.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:56 PM   #4408
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Wal-Mart used to state in their training films that the average customer has life time spending of about $200,000 (family) and to treat each customer as such. Seems a little low for my wife, but they do train their people to try to be nice. This guy must have been absent that day. Today's Wal-Mart is quite different than the Wal-Mart of the past though. We have stayed there over 100 times and have probably never actually seen a "manager". Each store has a "manager" and I suspect they are too busy to talk to RV'ers. We talk to 3rd or 4th tier folks to get permission which is fine with me as it's their store and that's what they want to do. When posters say they have a "contract" with the manager, it gets pretty funny.

RVparkreviews.com does have a smart phone viewable website. It has changed our selection process quite a bit.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:32 PM   #4409
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I thought it was pretty funny that the customer service associate told me that it depends on what security guard was on duty.
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:49 AM   #4410
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Each store has a "manager" and I suspect they are too busy to talk to RV'ers. We talk to 3rd or 4th tier folks to get permission which is fine with me as it's their store and that's what they want to do.
In the majority of Walmarts, the employees at the Customer Service desk are authorized to grant or deny permission for Overnight RV Parking. At some, it's the Customer Service Manager only. But as you'd expect, with thousands of stores, there's one one description that fits them all.
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