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  • Save Money, Live Better Unless You Work For Walmart

    I grew up in Wal-Mart. This might sound unusual so I’ll explain. When my parents divorced, my mom got a job at Wal-Mart. My dad left her with nothing and our local store provided a paycheck, health benefits, and stock options. Above these monetary benefits, my mother also benefited from Sam Walton’s leadership and commitment to family. I wasn’t the only child waiting in the break room on the rare nights my mom couldn’t find a babysitter. Like I mentioned before, this was over 30 years ago. I saw both of these women put in long hours but they were always rewarded with their work through invites to stockholder meetings or helping to build new stores. I was incensed when I found out that my mom would not be paid as much as a man working the same job but she held firm that Sam Walton was dedicated to the employees of Wal-Mart. I suppose when Mr. Walton was alive this was true. Instead of working with single mothers and families in supporting them, Wal-Mart now values profit over people. Recently, rules were changed that allow for an employee to be fired for calling in sick or for calling in to take care of their children. And while Wal-Mart brags that they are paying their employees more than other corporate employeers, anyone who already works there can see through the ruse. Thirty-three years after starting out at 3.00 dollars per hour, my mom now makes a whopping 20.00 per hour(!), which comes out to just over 2000 dollars pre-tax per pay period. However, after getting an 50 cent raise every year since starting, during her last evaluation she was told outright that she had “topped out” and could no longer get pay raises. At her current (now permanent) pay it would take her 2.6 million years to make as much money as the Walton heirs have. The Walton Family owns more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of American people. Greed has turned Sam Walton’s company into one of apathy, indifference and neglect. I also had a friend who waited with me while her single mom worked with my mom. She started at Wal-Mart one year before my mom. But now she is another victim of the company. After dedicating her life to working at Wal-Mart, my mom’s friend was fired today. She has been battling knee problems made only worse when she fell over a pallet that was haphazardly left on the floor in the back room of the store. Anger does not come close to how I feel right. I was angry when, after being deployed over the holidays two years in a row, I still couldn’t spend Thanksgiving with my mom beacause she had to work. I was angry when my mom, and her coworkers, had to work extermely long hours leading up to “holiday rushes”, but got no extra pay for it. The feelings I have now are beyond anger; betrayal and heartache are a more adequate description. Wal-Mart finds more value in the boxes that products are shipped in than the value of the people that work for them. Now that a woman who has been on the payroll for thirty plus years is gone, you can hire someone who will work for minimum wage thus saving a few dollars each hour. Congratulations on staying in the black, your souls are the same color.

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