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View Diary: The truth about Walmart wages (110 comments)

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  •  A serious question, not to start a flame war! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rowanleigh

    I've re-posted below a comment I made in a diary in October of this year.  I did not get any replies; maybe the question is too stupid?  Some of my comment is not relevant now, because the workers ARE asking for a boycott and solidarity actions.  But the underlying question remains.  What about their jobs, however bad they may be?  This is what I think about when I do go into a Walmart, Target, etc.  I'd really appreciate your thoughts.

     What about thieir jobs, however bad they may be?(1+ / 0-)

    Where I live there are many chain restaurants and the usual Walmart, Target, etc. type big-box stores.  Few, if any, independents, at least on the retail side.  When a huge new Walmart 24-hour superstore recently opened, they hired hundreds of people, and did not close any of the other four walmarts in our county of about 400,000 people.  

    So, this is my question: would it be better that none of the employees at those chain restaurants and big box stores have jobs? Home Depot and CostCo can't employ everyone!

    It was easy to boycott Walmart, etc. when I lived in San Francisco.  Many other choices, and few chains in the city anyway.

    This is a serious question.  I'm not a libertarian or a Randian or a troll.

    Of course their labor practices are horrible.  Of course I support unions, living wage laws, single payer, and higher taxes on the wealthy, including myself, a well paid government attorney.

    But, do you think the employees themselves would even want a boycott? Have they asked for one from the public in solidarity with them?  Or do we just know from afar that boycotting low wage employees' greedy bosses is good for them? I would never cross a picket line, but the tip I don't give if I never patronize is less $$ in the workers' pockets, isn't it?

    The lower volume of customers may result in fewer retail jobs for people who don't have that many employment options anyway, what with manufacturing belly-up in many areas, construction fairly flat, and even low-level government jobs decreasing in numbers steadily.  

    I just don't recall this concern discussed around here.  Where's dkos diarist Lightbulb when you need her/him?

    by i love san fran o
    •  it's complicated (7+ / 0-)

      It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
      Upton Sinclair

      We will sit in the break room and bitch about Wal-mart. The crappy hours, (I am working from 5 pm to 2:30 am tomorrow and then back to work at 12:00 pm Friday) We will talk about how our store manager can buy two flat screen TVs and one computer, and go to Mexico for three weeks in January and we can't afford crappy six dollar a pack underwear. We will talk about the managers who are incompetent and jsut plain mean. We will bitch about the low pay and how at Wal-mart there are rules, until there aren't rules. We will talk about customers who spit in our faces, call and get us fired, and t, make our co-workers cry-No seriously, one of cashiers with an overbite told a customer to stop swearing at her and said, "sir, I don't appreciate you swearing like that, and He said, I don't appreciate being waited on by an ugly bugs bunny. " and how the managers will then turn around and give that same customer a $25 dollar gift card because he is all butthurt that a cashier asked him to stop swearing.

      Yes, we are good at griping.  At the same time, with no jobs in the area, this is really difficult for a lot of people who has crappy as the jobs, the customer and pay are, realize that at least the $460 every two weeks for full time puts some food on the table. Plus the brainwashing that goes on, the Spark Meetings where the manager likes to blow smoke up our butts about how much we donate to the community, and how opportunities abound at this company and how we don't need a union. We have people who really buy that unions make things worse not better, and that every manager really cares about their workers best interest.

      And, we have watched friends and colleagues, good, really good colleagues who were vocal, who stood up for their and their colleagues rights, get fired, or "made to quit" by shifting hours or cutting hours. And, we need these crappy jobs in this area. No one is hiring and if they are, it's another $8.80 per hour crap job.

      As James McMurtry says, "We can't make it here anymore"

      •  sorry (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        i love san fran

        just rambling here,  and didn't proof read. I am not the strongest proofreader

      •  Thank you again. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rowanleigh

        I'm truly curious.  I live in the same type of town.  Almost no jobs and very few good jobs unless one is a doctor or a lawyer or ... I don't even know what else.  One of the highest poverty rates in California or the nation, the highest teen pregnancy rate, high incarceration rate,  17% unemployment, and four Walmarts, one a 24-hour store.

        Those Walmart stores employ hundreds of people.  Should I never go to Walmart?  If I go to Walmart and I am unflaggingly polite, respectful, and friendly to every worker I encounter...is that harmful to the workers?

        If everyone here boycotted Walmart, would those workers be better off?  Would they get better jobs?  Are there better jobs to be had?  (We have one Costco, four Walmarts, five or six Targets, three K-marts...)

        Inquiring minds want to know....thanks.

        •  On one hand (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mgoodm, tardis10

          and this is why when a few people came to me and asked me what I thought about these protests, and asked me if I would ever think about starting one, (I don't know if they were plants from management or serious) I just said, "I am too old, too tired and too cynical to fight this battle in this same war I have been fighting forever.(I helped form a union for EMTS a long time ago)

          And, it has to start somewhere. I will tell you Wal-mart is scared, they are scared about Amazon's retail model, they are scared about the serfs rising up, they are really afraid that the people who shop there will wake up and stop shopping.  

          If they have to close down one store for having a union, as they did in Canada, or shut down an entire division, (No butchers in wal-mart, due to a successful union campaign in TX) that's one thing. If they have to shut down a bunch?
          I don't know. How long can overseas growth(Biggest growth for Wal-mart is internationally).  In Europe all the Wal-marts are unionized. That's what it is going to take, every store having a huge chunk of workers organizing and protesting and consumers standing up for the workers at the same time by staying away and letting Wal-mart know why they are staying away. I am going to tell you in my area, the customers don't care. They think we are losers who are unhirable. The  only people lower than us is the kids working at the McDonalds.

          I for one, shop at Wal-mart more than I would like because I am there all ready and it's easier after a long shift to buy stuff there.  I make an effort on my off days to go to my locally owned grocery store, and thrift stores and order stuff from Etsy. I am in school at the moment doing a training program and hope to be out of Wal-mart by the end of January. I won't ever shop a big box retail again.

          I can't tell you what to do here.  I can tell you nice customers are few and far between. I find that the American Psyche is like two year olds, fine until everything goes their way  and then "spit in your face" when they don't get to return the copyright protected DVD they opened and watched and tried to bring back 1 day before the 3 month period expires.

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