Friday, November 23, 2012

Obligatory Black Friday post

Walmart is always the focus of our Black Friday voyeurism though all the big box stores are just as guilty of exploiting their workers and ruining the formerly thriving Main Streets of our youth. But in the end, none of us escape the blame. The business model exists only because we support the big box/Walmart stores by shopping there.

There's a new twist to Black Friday this year because Walmart workers and workers rights activists are pushing back with a strike of sorts and various protests across the nation. Not sure it's going to have much effect. The organizers claim there's 1000 protests across 46 states but none look bigger than the crowds of shoppers to me.

The Chicago event looks the biggest that I've seen. But the photos are rolling in from Miami, Dearborn MI and various other locations. My personal favorite is this one in Kenosha:

[photo via]

Still the number of strikers/protesters can't compete with the bargain hunters, who are willing to do serious battle for an iPhone. It's frightening to realize they look more menacing than actual riots. I took this BuzzFeed quiz and only got 10 out of 15 right.

It's unlikely today's protests will hurt the corporation financially. It certainly won't hurt the Walmart heirs who together hold as much wealth as the collective wealth of 41% of lower income Americans. But to the extent that it generates some mainstream media attention on Walmart's business practices, it's a start. The majority of their employees work as many hours as they can get, yet they can't exist without food stamp and Medicaid assistance. Walmart stores don't build unless they get huge tax breaks and other government subsidies. If the protests raise even a little awareness on how we're all paying for their cheap pricing whether or not we shop there, it will be worth it.

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