It was with great surprise and appreciation that I read a news article which described Walmart’s effort to bring joy to its associates (workers) during this holiday season. I feel it’s only right that I re-evaluate my feelings toward Walmart and the Walton family.
With its reputation for worker exploitation and abuse, Walmart demonstrated exceptional sensitivity about the plight of its workers. They recognized that many of these people would not have enough to feed their families during the Thanksgiving celebration. And, so they proceeded to formulate a plan, a plan that would help these needy workers or associates, whatever one wishes to call them, provide enough food for their families.
In Ohio, Walmart sponsored a food collection program where customers and associates were encouraged to bring and donate canned foods for those unfortunate full-time employees who could not afford to feed their families on Thanksgiving. Of course, one could suggest that, instead of collecting canned food for their workers, they pay them salaries which would allow the workers to buy their own food. But let us not be insensitive to the attempts of the Walton family to help their associates. Let us not allow the fact that the Walton family, which has a worth of tens of billions of dollars and that 3 of them are in the TOP 10 of Forbes 400 richest people in the world, influence our appreciation for what they are attempting to do.
One might ask, if they are concerned about the plight of their associates, why are they encouraging customers to supply the food? If we ask these kinds of questions, we prevent ourselves from seeing the forest for the trees. I hope you will join me in thanking the Walton family for trying to make the holidays pleasant for their underpaid and exploited employees.
Hopefully, Burger King, Wendy’s, and MacDonald’s will follow Walmart’s lead and have their customers contribute canned goods so that we all can experience joy in this holiday season.
Dave Alpert has masters degrees in social work, educational administration, and psychology. He spent his career working with troubled inner city adolescents.