[Headline, Huffington Post, 02/10/12]
All over America, there are husbands temporarily living in their car after a fight with their wife. Where do they wash up, shave, and brush their teeth every day? At work, of course. Many sleep under their desk rather than in the vehicle.
(In which other countries does this occur? There was a vogue in Finland, until a spate of hypothermic incidents led to a dramatic increase in widows; in Romania, husbands woke up sharing their automobile with a family of gypsies; in China, to find an iPad assembly line in the back seat; etc.)
In general, companies are comfortable with this situation. The employee stops asking to “work from home.” Commute time is zero. Employees purchase all their necessaries right there in the store, instead of letting their mate at home go cruising out to Safeway every day. So what went wrong at Walmart? All seemed copacetic. Right next door at Target, a husbands’ support group was meeting in an RV in the parking lot. On the other side, husbands were quietly dumpster-diving at Jack in the Box.
It turns out that Walmart experienced an uptick in husbands living in their cars, not due to domestic discord, but to avoid onerous chores and childcare duties at home. These men were telling their wives that Walmart was making them work around the clock. That to keep their job, they had to “work late.” Then they would party all night long in the lot, in Winnebagos tricked out as huge mancaves.
The bottom 80% of workers at Walmart are moms, many harried. When they found out what was going on, they threatened a Spartacus-like revolt. The parking-lot husbands, including many Walmart executives, were sent home.