Mistakenly sold as “lizards” by a department store, a baby species of alligator is now terrorizing a town…

The floods herald the arrival of caimans, a close relative of the alligator, whose population has exploded in and around the lagoon next to Los Naranjos neighborhood in the coastal city of Vega Baja. The scaly reptiles have been spotted prowling around schools and crawling into flooded yards after rains, causing both widespread panic and curiosity in the community.

The creatures are native to Central and South America, but were introduced to Puerto Rico by stores such as Woolworth’s that sold baby caimans, the size of lizards, as pets during the 1960s and 70s. When the caimans began to grow, people released them into the wild, where females rapidly reproduced, laying up to 40 eggs at a time. The island’s government authorizes hunting caimans since they’re considered non-native species.

Calls to government officials to help catch the reptiles and take measures to prevent further flooding have been futile. So now, the residents of Los Naranjos have been forced to face their fears and become caiman catchers themselves in this community of scarce resources where some still ride horses bareback as transportation. Among the rudimentary equipment at their disposal: Wire, duct tape and metal poles. Talk about retail stupidity.

45 thoughts everyone has while shopping at Woolies

1. No more trollies :(
2. Open…open…OPEN!!!
3. Why don’t the gates ever like me
4. Why do they attach the tongs with a cord It’s not like anyone is going to steal any
6. *Opens Facebook*
7. New Facebook status: “They sell sushi at Woolies now!”
8. $1.50 for a watermelon? Wow that’s cheap
9. Oohhh $1.50 per kilogram. Makes sense now.
10. Damn figs are expensive
11. There are way too many varieties of milk and yoghurt and butter and cheese and my head hurts now
12. Nudie juice! *grabs a bottle*
13. Is that how much they are?
14. *returns bottle*
16. Allens Lollies or the Natural Confectionery Company?
17. This is the most important decision in my life.
18. Think, think. Don’t make a stupid choice.
19. *Grabs a Home Brand packet of snakes*
20. If this is called long life milk then will it live longer than me? #Philosophy
21. Mum? Mum? MUM!????? Where are you!!????
22. *Walks quickly past aisles, making quick glances at the customers*
23. Shopping is haaaaaaard
24. Why are the queues always long?
25. Hey there’s nobody in this line! #winning
26. *Checkout chick takes out a sign*
27. “Sorry this lane is now closed.”
29. I don’t get why people with lots of damn items queue in the express lane. I mean HELLOOO it’s called an EXPRESS lane for a fucking reason!!!
31. Self-serve it is, then.
32. Eftpos only. Damn.
33. *machine beeps*
34. “Unattended item in bagging area.”
35. “Please remove item in bagging area.”
36. *Removes eggs*
37. “Please place item in bagging area”.
39. *Returns eggs to bagging area*
40. “Unattended item in bagging area”
41. Oh, for fucks sake.
42. “Please return item to bagging area.”
45. “Do you have an everyday rewards card?”

Obit of the Day: When Sitting Down Meant Standing Up

Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair, Jr., and David Richmond walked one mile from the campus of North Carolina A&T, where they were students, to the Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth. After purchasing a few small things (Mr. McCain’s purchase was toothpaste and a composition notebook) the four men headed for the lunch counter and took a seat. And that small action was one filled with incredible courage.

The lunch counters at Woolworth’s across the American South were segregated. Black customers could get food, but only if they would head to a lower level to the store’s hot dog stand. Mr. McCain and his peers recognized the injustice and on February 1, 1960 began a quiet fight for civil rights.

Believing the best case scenario would be their arrest, the four men had agreed to sit at the counter until they were served. That first day the white waitress and manager asked them to leave. Two black employees warned them that they were causing trouble. But the men were empowered when an elderly white woman walked up to them, put her hands on their shoulders and said, “Boys, I am so proud of you. I only wish you did this 10 years ago.”

The men left Woolworth left the store at closing without being served.

The sit-in grew day after day as more and more students from NCA&T sat with Mr. McCain and his friends. By the fifth day 5,000 students marched through Greensboro demanding the end to segregation.

The men’s actions caught national attention. Dubbed “The Greensboro Four” their non-violent protest was copied in more than 55 cities in 13 states across the South. It also led to the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), one of the most influential civil rights groups of the era.

The Greensboro Woolworth desegregated on July 25, 1960 when it served its black employees at the counter. The chain did not fully desegregate until 1965, which was after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The portion of the lunch counter where Mr. McCain, Mr. Blair, Mr. McNeil, and Mr. Richmond (now Jibreel Khazan) sat was placed in the Smithsonian Institution and the location of the Woolworth now houses the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. 

Mr. McCain would graduate from North Carolina A&T with a degree in chemistry and biology and worked as a researcher and sales representative for Celanese Corp. for forty years. He remained politically and socially active working with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, North Carolina’s Black Political Caucus, and serving on the board of trustees for three different colleges as well as the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors.

Franklin McCain, who was only 19 at the time of the sit-in, died on January 9, 2014 at the age of 73.

Sources: NY Times, LA Times, Charlotte Observer, and Wikipedia

(Image of the “Greensboro Four” sitting at the Woolworth lunch counter on February 1, 1960. From left to right: Ezell Blair, Jr., Franklin McCain, David Richmond, and Joseph McNeil. Image copyright Greensboro News & Record/Corbis and courtesy of the LA Times)

Also take time to read Obit of the Day’s June 2011 post about Clara Luper who led a lunch counter sit-in in August 1958, two years before Greensboro, with 12 children ages 5 to 17. 

We hope you appreciate our subtle highlighting of the issue here.

5 Honest Mistakes That Became PR Disasters for Big Companies

#4. Woolworths’ Word Search Puzzle Generator Drops an F-Bomb

The now very public controversy has since been blamed on the fact that the chain’s puzzles are randomly generated, meaning that out of all possible letter combinations, it was through astonishing bad luck that the computer landed on this one. That, or we’re witnessing the first passive-aggressive robot uprising.

Read More

Intimate inequality at the Woolworth’s lunch counter, 1960.

The photo is of a protest against the practice of forbidding African Americans to eat alongside whites.  What’s interesting to our writer, is the black man behind the counter.

"When I first saw this picture and learned about this period in our history… I thought that racism was about believing that another race is inferior. Like most people I got (slightly) wiser with age and eventually figured out that racism is about keeping someone else beneath you on the social ladder… If you actually thought black people were dirty savages you wouldn’t eat anything they handed you. But of course it has nothing to do with that. You’re fine being served food because servility implies social inferiority. And you don’t want to sit next to them simply because it implies equality."

Read more at Sociological Images.