Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Working for Walmart

Charles Platt, a senior writer at Wired magazine, spent two weeks working at Walmart and reported his impressions at Boing Boing. Why do this? He explains:
It started when I read Nickel and Dimed, in which Atlantic contributor Barbara Ehrenreich denounces the exploitation of minimum-wage workers in America. Somehow her book didn’t ring true to me, and I wondered to what extent a preconceived agenda might have biased her reporting. Hence my application for a job at the nearest Wal-Mart.
Platt finds that the workers were treated well and liked working for Walmart. The sentence that caught my eye was this:
Most of all, my coworkers wanted to avoid those “mom-and-pop” stores beloved by social commentators where, I was told, employees had to deal with quixotic management policies, while lacking the opportunities for promotion that exist in a large corporation.
When my father folded up his retail business and went to work for a family owned store, he found little good about it. After a few years, he sought and found greener pastures at a chain in St. Paul. He made more money and was treated better.

Update: A longer version of his impressions is here.

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