Here's how free speech works in the town of Bentonville, Arkansas -- home of the Goliath of retail itself, Wal-Mart.

Watchdog group Wal-Mart Watch buys billboard space in town, offering a "handshake agreement" to work with the company to make it "a model of responsible business in the 21st century." This is done in time for Wal-Mart's annual meeting in town.

Whistler Outdoor Advertising signs the agreement, and starts putting up billboards on Thursday.

Hours after completing the billboard's installation at 1111 Sam Walton Boulevard, Whistler tears it down.

Company says it was duped. Wal-Mart Watch says they signed a contract, and Wal-Mart the company started turning screws.

Wal-Mart Watch asks for refund, which it offers to donate to Bentonville public library.

You can read more of Wal-Mart Watch's account here. Meanwhile, this comment appears on the Wal-Mart Watch blog:


Why in the world would I ever want to shake hands with anyone at Wal-Mart? You never know where those hands may have been!