(Previously posted on Tumblr)
Here’s a crazy theory: Wal-Mart are victims of their own success in driving down wages; they set a trend that other employers followed, and now people just don’t have enough money to spend.
It’s only a theory, and I am no economist, but I am a former retail worker who remembers all too well that whatever money I had left after bills and food, I spent in the very shops I worked at, and I remember my colleagues doing the very same.
These days life’s very basics (like a roof over your head) have become so expensive, and average wages so disproportionally low, there’s little money left to actually spend. While I appreciate Wal-Mart can’t influence the cost of fuel and housing, I do believe they and their subsidiaries may have been trendsetters in squeezing the most out of their employees without providing a wage that in many parts of the world doesn’t cover people’s basic cost of living.
There has to be a breaking point at which no amount of cheap produce, price wars, coupons and vouchers are going to meet the needs of customers – their own workers included – who have already had to let go of any wants because they just can’t afford things anymore, because they simply do not get paid enough.
Well done Wal-Mart and other retailers for being the very architects of what I believe could be your own downfall. Here’s an idea: pay people a livable wage.