Let's get this out of the way up front--I do occasionally (two, maybe three times a year) shop at Wal-Mart and I do realize that the unfair business practices that Wal-Mart is so frequently accused of (and by all reports (except their own) guilty of) are "business as usual" across the discount retail board, at least to some extent. So yes. I believe Wal-Mart is the debil and I still shop there and I am also aware that shopping at Wal-Mart is probably not significantly worse than shopping at K-mart or Target or whatever. So I'm a hypocrite, but I'm a hypocrite with a strong distaste for Wal-Mart and everything they get away with.
Anyway, I found my hypocritical self in line at Wal-Mart a couple of months ago, chatting with a very friendly and pleasant cashier who was asking us about back-to-school purchases and when my daughter started back and so on. As she began to bag our purchases, she picked up a computer keyboard that Hubby had bought and asked us if we wanted it in a bag. It was long and probably wouldn't have fit all that well in a bag and was just as easy to carry without one so we said, "No, thanks, that's okay."
And she said, "Well, good, because they've told us to be really careful about using that size bag."
So I chuckled sympathetically and said, "Isn't it funny the things they want you to worry about?"
"Well, the bags are really expensive--they're thirty cents each." (I almost gasped out loud--they are sooooo not thirty cents each--I have worked in retail for 20+ years and even now I have access to suppliers of bags, etc. There is no way a see-through thin plastic bag is thirty cents and even if it were, you can bet your sweet ass Wal-Mart isn't going to pay that. They would "negotiate" a better price (by which I mean threaten and strongarm until they got the price they wanted).)
"Yeah, but you know they're not going to pass the savings along to you in your paycheck."
She was appalled that I had even suggested that. "No, but it will really have an effect on the shareholder's paychecks in March, though." Completely sincere. No trace of sarcasm. She's getting ulcers over the shareholder's checks in March when her check is probably barely enough to keep the lights on in her apartment--if she even has an apartment of her own and not a basement room with her parents. I wanted to cry a little.
*With thanks to Kathy Bates--whose pronouncement that every other thing is "the debil" was the only reason I made it all the way through The Waterboy.
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