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Monday, December 02, 2013

Griper Blade: America Needs a Raise

Sign mocking Walmart's low wages
For me at least, the most interesting story over the holiday weekend was Black Friday mayhem. Running the search term "Walmart Police" through Google News gained me this little screenshot, which I think sums up the spirit of the day pretty well -- people shot, stabbed, and beaten over prices that are really no better than those in any other sale throughout the year. False scarcity and media hype about "can't-miss" deals can drive people to do things they may not be very proud of in the sober light of Cyber Monday. Our consumerist culture is by nature predatory, with the corporate predators tricking the prey into thinking they're predators too -- which leads to predictable outcomes as consumers compete to "hunt bargains."

Another type of corporate predation was also in the news, as Walmart workers staged Black Friday demonstrations to protest low wages. They're starvation wages, really, which have Walmart employees running food drives for each other and relying on food stamps to survive. What's surprising to me is how little bleed-over there is from one story to the other, despite the fact that they're clearly related. Not only do Walmart workers earn far, far too little for their labor, but the Black Friday chaos stories demonstrate just how lousy a working environment the company's willing to tolerate in order to sell someone a toaster oven. Anyone who can read about the Black Friday frenzies across the nation and think that people who have to deal with that don't deserve a raise... Well, they've got a real interesting definition of "deserve."

And of course, the myth that low wage workers have undemanding, cushy jobs is exposed as BS...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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