Stevieslaw: Welcome to Walmart

At Stevieslaw, we are certainly happy to hear that Walmart will be raising the wages of their 500,000 most poorly paid employees. The increase will certainly not bring these workers to a livable wage—but every little bit helps. Right?
It is the philosophy behind the increase that was revelatory. Walmart CEO, Doug McMillan, acknowledged for the first time ever that corporate profits might be tied to the welfare of its employees. Wow! Doug seems to be saying that maximizing the bottom line may not be achieved just by reducing your employee costs to next to nothing. Perhaps, customer satisfaction might be improved if your store is not staffed by too few employees with too many worries to care about selling stuff, restocking or cleaning up. And, satisfied customers spend more money. Who would have guessed it?
We are afraid that proper staffing of the local Walmart will play havoc with one of our favorite winter games. In the game, three couples are simultaneously flung into the local Walmart, through three separate entrances, with instructions to find three odd items, take them to an open checkout line, and complete a purchase. As you know, Walmart stores are basically barns filled with rows and rows of trinkets. Many departments have not seen a salesperson since before the war (your choice). Apart from electronics, where the fear of shoplifting demands staffing, finding a salesperson in the store is a truly rare and random event. And that staff person is more than likely to send you off in the wrong direction. Last week, we tried to find a gray button, a yo-yo, and a three-hole punch. Two of the couples are still searching.

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