To count on it doing any good for any individual worker to pressure Walmart into raising its wages and/or giving its employees more hours or putting more on full-time is pretty much resigning one’s self to extremely low expectations in life. In other words, if Walmart or Walmart-type work is your idea of a career, well good luck with that…
That is not to say that Walmart should not pay its workers more. I mean for one thing, why should the rest of us subsidize Walmart and Walmart-like companies via various forms of public assistance low-wage employees are entitled to?
But from the individual’s standpoint, better to look elsewhere — a career change, a new skill, anything.
But the fact is too that not everyone has the opportunity or ability to go elsewhere. Oh, and I might add I am sure many are quite happy to be employed there and for various reasons, including flexibility of hours, locale, and skill level. And to some extent such work is really designed or best for those who are not depending on it to support a whole family — it could be extra money.
For the shopper, it’s a matter of going there because that is where the stuff is and quite possibly at the most economical price. The shopper can’t right all wrongs or afford to try. On the other hand there may be times when one can get better value by shopping at places that might have higher quality merchandise and better before and after sale service.
Somehow I am dubious that the having the government raise the minimum wage is terribly effective. For one thing, minimum is minimum, as in not enough. And, if suddenly everyone gets more money, guess what happens? Yeah, your rent goes up along with everything else. The trick seems to be making more than the other guy (or gal) not the same. And to do that, pretty much you usually have to have something to offer, better knowledge, skill level, craft, whatever.
One area where government might be effective against outfits like Walmart or indeed Walmart itself is monopoly tactics — not so much the kind that put other retailers at a disadvantage, but the kind that treat suppliers badly. Walmart is such a monopoly in some areas of merchandising that it squeezes suppliers — and of course I suppose that does harm its retail competitors too.
Related to all of this is a suggestion I heard on a radio talk show from a caller: if the minimum wage is raised, then in turn public assistance should be lowered accordingly. I don’t know, just a thought, and probably hard to figure.
Bottom line, one has to look out for one’s self. And the best pressure on a bad employer is for folks to leave…
And for all the talk of not being able to feed a family on low wages, well while it is certainly true that if wages are low enough, it might make it impossible, there is such a thing as beans and potatoes — it beats the cost of fast food and is better for you. Fixing your own food is becoming a lost skill in our society…