Walmart Evicts Workers Living In Store Parking Lot

[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.

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3 Responses

  1. Once upon a time, working as a computer instructor, I had a teaching assistant named Ed, an irritating evangelical Christian. He was actually a fairly good assistant, if one ignored his self-righteous, self-serving fanaticism. (He worshipped Macintoshes as well as Jesus, and loathed Microsoft Windows computers as well as despising Satan.). I am a pragmatist, so I ignored his rants and irritating tactless habits (such as correcting a teacher in front of the class, and his homophobic rants – this was before my daughter had “come out” so it was easier than) and appreciated his assisting and computer skills (which were considerable). He ranted about the head of the school (a married man who was having an affair with a teacher AND with an administrative assistant, because this boss, although an amiable supervisor, was a glutton for punishment). Although he could have gotten plenty of work if he had been willing to assist with Windows classes as well as with Macintosh classes, Ed stuck up his nose, and then complained he was discriminated against because of his religious convictions and couldn’t support his wife and six children. Eventually, as no one else could stand him except for me, he was fired, and whined some more about discrimination because of his religious beliefs. (This was about the fifth job in a row Ed had lost as a result of being such a self-righteous, intolerant pill.)

    That was in Oregon. A few years later, after I had moved back to Washington state, and now working for a library system, I encountered Ed in a library, checking his email, (forced to use a Windows computer)! He explained to me that as he was now unable to support his wife and six children; his wife had kicked him out; and he was now living in his RV. (I don’t know if he parked the RV in a Wal-Mart parking lot.) His life was now just about a complete ruin, and it was all someone else’s fault. This story is absolutely true; I can’t make stuff like this up. I wished him well, and got my butt out of there as fast as I could, although it was unlikely that I was going to extend him any kind of assistance. I figured his God, or perhaps Steve Jobs (who was still alive at that time) would provide for him.

  2. No joke: my wife works with an elderly guy who sleeps under his desk to avoid commuting…so he says. The truth is uglier: he lost his home and family when the Great Real Estate Bubble burst around 2008. Very often, my wife is first into the office and trips over the guy in the dark. And this is at Disney!

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