If you’ve been paying attention to the news, there is some of the usual controversy over “the reason for the season” of course, but with a planned worker strike against Walmart’s habit of paying workers a pittance while executives live so high on the hog that you can’t help but ask yourself, “Who in his or her right mind needs that much money?”, people are talking: Walmart and other big box stores are going to be open on Thanksgiving.
What turkeys the executives of Walmart must be. While I’m going to refrain from saying anything bad about Arkansas and its reputation for hillbillies, I can’t help but find Walmart’s actions as a major retailer to be reprehensible and disgusting.
Since we’re actually discussing why in the world big box retailers would force their employees to work on a day where Americans gather with their families to say thanks to each other and to God, I’ve got to say that the greedheads apparently are out in force in America, that we truly are in a second Gilded Age and that common sense is being thrown out the window in the name of profit.
First, while I understand that big box stores and plenty of other retailers are having a difficult time during what commentators call The Great Recession, but when you consider that in the last 30 years executive salaries have reached a level of indulgence so high that most CEOs make 500 times what their median employees make, something is terribly wrong with how Americans define work. Is work an activity designed to allow people the financial means to survive in a complicated and often expensive world? Or is work an activity designed to give a tiny elite profits beyond what most people can even imagine? Add to that the paltry wages many retailers pay to workers who indeed do all the work, and you’ve got a dog chasing its tail type of situation happening in America.
Let me explain: If workers are paid just barely enough to get by, they’re not going to be capable of buying the plethora of wonderful goods places like Walmart provide to consumers. What that means is that Walmart is essentially conducting poor business practices by paying workers low wages. In fact, businesses across America--from the law firms to the big box stores to even restaurants--are literally biting themselves where the sun doesn't shine because they want profit over people, and profit over people cuts into the bottom line if people don't profit from their labors.
Apparently, that’s not lost on Walmart employees, many of whom are going to go on a non-unionized strike on the infamously famous Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, simply to protest the vast disparity between the wages of the Walton family and the wages of the people who have made the Walton family one of the richest families in the world.
Of course, we’ve been here before. Remember Occupy Wall Street? People in masses hit the streets to protest the excessive ways of America’s financial sector and the fact that the one percent is getting all the sunlight while the rest of us have to cower in the shade. Of course, the commercial media, after the heat blew over, has ignored Occupy, mainly because it’s, well, the commercial media. The commercial media has many ties to the reptilian injustices wreaked upon America by the commercial sector.
I don’t shop at Walmart. Walmart has done more than any other business to literally obliterate small towns across America. It used to be a pleasure to wander from small Texas town to another and shop and wonderfully eccentric little shops. But now that Walmart has hit those towns, downtowns across Texas and elsewhere are empty. Small town life has suffered vastly because of the greedy ways of the Walton family values people.
Furthermore, Walmart, to make even more profit for the folks on top, has absolutely no problem exploiting even children in China and elsewhere. Out of sight, out of mind, right? I find it disgusting. Walmart has even lobbied the FDA to change the definition of “organic” so Walmart can get into the growing market for organic foods—without, of course, actually offering truly organic food products.
The last time I ended up in Walmart, I bought some nice pillowcases. I asked the cashier a question: “Do you know the name of the 11-year-old Chinese girl who sewed these?” The response was telling: