January 3, 2007

Flying Stand-by

I already hate Wal-Mart, but it's always fun to have another round of ammo for the gun. It's not a snob thing; I despise the way they do business, I despise their politics, and I despise their global ghetto-ization of shopping.

Anyway, they've tossed another bomb into the fire now. It seems they're altering how they staff their stores in the U.S, replacing schedules with some new flexible scheduling for part-time staff. Read the article here. In essence, they are putting their workers on stand-by based on the number of shoppers in the store. You know if it catches on there, it'll soon be brought to a Wal-Mart near you.

Wal-Mart has always been leading edge when it comes to howdy-doody computer and satellite information. They monitor their sales minute by minute, store by store. Which is fine. But now, as usual, it's their workers who are going to pay the price for them implementing a procedure destined to deposit yet more profits into their vaults.

Look for more split shifts, last minute schedule changes and every other incarnation of abuse the lowest on the totem pole already endure. Pretty soon they're just going to set up cots in the back and insist the workers live there.

I'm not sure what all this is for, anyway. I have yet to hear of anyone actually receiving any customer service in a Wal-Mart. When you pay someone minimum wage, cut their hours so they don't qualify for benefits, make them work in stores that are opened under a canopy of rainbow and sunshine and then are seemingly never cleaned again, what do you expect?

Going so far as to not let staff even plan their life outside of their job is cruel. I recognize that businesses are in business to make money. They'd be stupid, and bankrupt, if they weren't. But how long until we measure success in something other than money? How long before consumers understand that those 'price rollbacks' come at a cost beyond a few bucks? How do workers take pride in their work, and develop loyalty and a future, when corporations insist on treating them like autobots?

And just how does this store think they can implement this policy, anyway? How do they think they are going to crack the Magnet Code of why, no matter what you are buying in a store, the second you go to check out, so does every other shopper in the place?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darn! So much for my escape from Corporate Canada (really U.S. - American firm) to be a Wal-Mart Greeter in my next life.

January 04, 2007 12:43 PM  

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