I would have scoffed at this once upon a time, but now I am not so sure.
Granted, I’ll admit that working on holidays is pretty much a given if you’re working in retail. Even on Thanksgiving people are gonna come for last-minute stuff they need, from stuffing to wine. So griping about that I can’t understand so much, even if I might agree that Sam Walton would not have approved of such.
But the pay issue — these days I can completely grok their gripes over that. I worked for Walmart once upon a time, and it was great. I was getting full-time hours and raises every year. I might have mentioned here before that by the time I left Walmart I was making good money — more money than I ended up making at the job I took in the field I studied after I graduated college. In fact, I took an almost $3 per hour pay cut.
But I went back to work at Walmart for a time when I moved to San Antonio — and this time around it was not so good. Oh, there were still raises every year — but the hours were abysmal. There were some weeks that I only got 20 hours a week, and any week that I got 30 hours I considered myself lucky. But that wasn’t the worst of it.
No, the worst of it was seeing whatever slack that was left by hiring only part-timers, be pulled by temporary staffing services. Yeah. Instead of hiring full-timers, that’s what they did. I asked myself every damn day why they didn’t hire more full-timers instead. And every day I walked in and heard management mention the particular firm they were using, it just pissed me off even more. After I left, almost every time we drove past that particular Walmart I almost literally physically shuddered because of all the memories it brought back of the things I constantly had to worry about because of the fact I wasn’t getting paid enough. I did what I had to do, but damn was it ever a pain in the ass. You talk to some people and they’ll tell you about how great Walmart is to work for. But while I didn’t have any qualms about the way I was treated per se, I would vehemently argue that Walmart is damn sure not the way to go these days if you want to raise a family.
But on the other hand…what did I do, instead of staging a walkout or something like that? As Sabra put it: “You took the approved conservative path…you got another fucking job.”
I don’t know if that’s an option for many of those Walmart workers, but it’s certainly something for them to think about.