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A Walmart Thanksgiving, by Charles Dickens

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"A pretty high energy day" for employees. That's how a Walmart executive described Thanksgiving after the corporation announced that this year's "Black Friday" would begin on Thursday evening, leaving many of its workers unable to spend the holiday with family or friends.

Walmart's wages and employment practices can rightfully be described as "Dickensian." What, we wondered, would the Victorian author make of this latest development?

It was the night before Thanksgiving. Walmart's top brass had assembled in the executive boardroom for a last celebration before heading home to their families. Amidst the din of laughter and chatter, nobody noticed the thin figure silhouetted in their doorway.

"I am a Walmart Associate," the figure finally called out, "and I beg your pardon for the intrusion."

The revelers stared in amazement. "A Happy Thanksgiving to you all!" added the shadowy Associate.

"Happy Thanksgiving? Happy Thanksgiving?!?" came an answering voice from inside the boardroom. "What right have you to be happy? Why would you be be happy? You're poor."

The stranger's request.

"Why are you even here?" the shadowy figure was asked.

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"I've come to request better wages and working conditions," came the reply. The shocked silence was finally broken by the Chairman of the Board, one Mr. Rob Walton.

"Are there no food stamps?" Walton asked.

The figure stood silently.

"And housing subsidies for the poor?" he demanded. "Are they still in operation?"

The silhouette nodded its head.

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"Medicaid is still in full vigor, then?"

"Yes, sir."

"Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop these government programs in their useful course," said the Chairman. "I'm very glad to hear it."

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Host of 'The Breakdown,' Writer, and Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future


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