One of these days, a modern-day Charles Dickens is going to write A Christmas Carol for our times, and it will be based on this story of a Walmart in Ohio, where employees organized “a food drive – not for the community, but for needy workers.” Total Dickens, right? The noble poor (broken of body but not of spirit), the historical significance, the double-talking bureaucratic fig leaf for the Establishment, even:
“It is for associates who have had some hardships come up,” [Kory Lundberg] said. “Maybe their spouse lost a job.
“This is part of the company’s culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships,” he said.
We feel pretty confident that “rally around associates” and “take care of them when they face extreme hardships” are NOT IN FACT the first things most people think of when they ponder Walmart’s “company culture.” We will say this without citing anything, because honestly it has reached the point with Walmart that we don’t have to. Which is a powerful indictment in itself, shut up it is too.
For maximum clarity, we are cool with the Walmart associates’ food drive, and we realize that, as an indictment of Walmart’s “everything that’s wrong with America can be found at Walmart” style of being terrible, it’s weak sauce. But that’s just because there is so much more damning documentary evidence of Walmart’s misdeeds that it’s a high bar at this point. Again, not linking.*
Admirably, Cleveland.com article uses the touching (molesting?) story of the nation’s saddest food drive to take a deeper look into the current state of Walmart-related labor/union activity. It’s not quite a Nice Time but the impression we got was that organizers are gaining momentum.
And of course, for balance, there’s the Walmart employee who doesn’t see what the big deal is:
Reed said past food drives helped her cope with her own problems, not caused by low wages but because of losing $500 a month in child support when the father of her four children went to jail. She declined to give her salary.
Sure, she needed a hand when her ex-man went away, but it wasn’t because she didn’t make enough money at her extremely low-paying job, it was… wait, no, actually if you are taking free food from a donation bin because you can’t afford grocery store food IT IS BECAUSE YOU DON’T EARN ENOUGH MONEY, FRIEND! The usual cause of “not earning enough money” is “not being paid enough money by your shitty job.” That’s just basic science.
Finally, even if this is bull, it’s nice:
“There were many work places, that when the striking workers returned, many workers inside stood up and clapped,” [Kate Bronfenbrenner] said.
Stood up? Since when are Walmart employees allowed to sit?
*Please share your very favorite Walmart crimes against decency in the comments, as soon as we allow those.