The WalMart Black Friday Strike

I was going to write an essay on retailers being open on Thanksgiving, but I’m still rather torn on that issue, so until I can fully form my thoughts, I’m going to let it rest.

Instead, I’ll write about the strike that is supposed to take place this Friday at WalMarts across the nation.

Let me start off by saying that I fully support the WalMart employees that intend to strike.  And also state that I feel like a total tool for going in to work that day.  I can come up with a laundry list of excuses, but when push comes to shove, I don’t have the balls to abandon my employer or my pay.  Which, frankly, makes me all that much more proud of the people that do.

Before anyone says anything like, “If they hate it so much, why don’t they work some place else?” I want to ask you if you’ve tried to find a job lately.  And if you have, I want you to try to imagine what it’s like to find a decent job with only retail experience.  Very soon I plan on writing a post about why people work retail jobs, but I’ll start out with a little clue: It’s not because they’re losers or they suck at life.  But getting out is really, really hard.  Imagine going to school to become an accountant, and then years later deciding that what you really want to do is become a vet tech.  Moving from WalMart to any other vocation is so much easier said than done; moving from WalMart to any other retailer isn’t really much of a step up.

Truly, the things people hate about WalMart aren’t really unique to WalMart.  If you work for a national retailer, the chances that you’re being shat on on a daily basis (and told to like it, because “at least you have a job”) are extremely high.  Why does everyone target WalMart over everyone else?  Sheer numbers?  I’m not entirely sure.

Here’s what I know:  Retail employees’ wages on average hover around the poverty line.  The majority of employees don’t know what kind of pay they will receive from week to week, based on how many hours the company provides workers.  Retailers, on the whole, are doing better and better while compensation is getting lower and lower.  The mucky-mucks of retail make more in an hour than most of their employees make in a year.

Here’s a little light reading on the subject before I give my final thoughts:

Why the WalMart Strike Matters

Why WalMart and Big Retailers Should Pay Their Workers More

So what does a WalMart strike mean?  It means that people are still tired of the 1%.  It means that people realize it’s okay to be grateful that you have a job, but still know in your heart of hearts that you and every other human deserves more than that.  It means that there might be a chance to turn things around for this country.  We cannot have a thriving economy if we continually allow ourselves to settle for barely getting by.  It means that fewer people may find themselves on government assistance.  That’s right.  The people that are so very much against helping the poor are pretty much directly contributing to their need for assistance.

I urge you to support the WalMart employees that have the guts to stand up for themselves and to stand up for America.  You can do so here.  This isn’t going to change the world overnight, but it will very likely change these people’s lives instantly.  The men and women that strike on Black Friday will probably be put through hell, and I feel that it’s very important to support them.

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