Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The System that Eats Itself

So, let's say you work at Wal Mart and you have kids. You are likely paid minimum wage, or very close to it. You are likely picking up every shift you can at any hour of day or night available to help feed your kid. You are likely still on food stamps. You likely also rely on your employee discount for most of your purchases. You are spending money where you work, in the company store, and spending your food stamp dollars there, because lord knows you're already there and surrounded by all that discounting.

It's a cycle of poverty, you see. More than this, it's a cycle of wage slavery. You spend the dollars you earn at the place you work, and your government-subsidized food-stamp money, beside. (What a great deal for the company, no?)

Sure, you could work somewhere else. Sure.

People who say that have, I suspect, never been in the place in their life where they have to contemplate working for Wal-Mart, and being on food stamps, and figuring out how to make the most out of the meager income you'll generate.

How easy it must be to believe in a free market when you're standing on top of it, looking down.

It's got to be quite the scam to come up with, though, where you push your employees onto food stamps, and make it so they spend their food stamps right there in your store.

This Christmas, don't shop at Wal Mart. There are plenty of small businesses that would actually care if their employees were on food stamps at the scale that they are at Wal Mart. There are plenty of authors and artists and makers of things that aren't all about the commodities of markets.

Buy local this Christmas. Buy small. Maybe even buy nothing at all.

1 comment:

Brett said...

Wal-Mart actually tends to pay better than minimum wage around here. The Wal-Mart about a mile from where I live was hiring cashiers at $10/hr - not the kind of wages you can live on, but better than the rock-bottom wages you get working at either a fast food place or one of the grocery chains in my state.