Shopping at WalMart for Seeds of Revolt

The cashier was a WalMart supervisor, a black man in his 30s, crisp in the company’s blue tee-shirt uniform.  While he served the customer ahead of me, he did double duty by instructing a clerk next to him, a black woman in her 20s.

“You must take your break no later than two hours after starting.  Two hours and one minute. . . ,” and he gestured a subdued but firm No.

She got the message and left.  My turn came.  I said, “And the customer cannot be a penny short. . . ,” repeating his gesture.

He understood but allowed that there was some leeway.  I said, “Every minute from the employee, every penny from the customer.  It’s all for the Waltons.”

He said, “Somebody’s got to get rich.”

I replied, “No rich, no poor.”

He paused.  Then he replied, “That’s even better,” looking at me as though to see whether he had become too open.  I’m an older white guy.

“There’s even a book by that name,” I said.  He asked a question to double-check the name.  I paid, he gave me the change and receipt, and we smiled.

There is much fertile ground.

Charles Andrews’ new book is No Rich, No Poor: Why a Failed Economy Must Give Way to a Program of Common Prosperity.  Yes, this incident really happened.

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