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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/21/11

Wall -- Martians

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Message Mark Sashine
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Ok, Wall- Mart won. The  Supreme Court of the Land did not   support the claim of women that there  is wages and other types of discrimination on the basis of   gender.   Wall-mart won. But what is winning or losing here?


I am not a regular in the Wall-Mart but we go there from time to time. It I is always a rather interesting event.   This seems o to be a place which     is on the brink; always right there between the Family Dollar and   Nordstrom. It is dirty   but not THAT dirty. It   is disorderly but there is a lot of everything. It has food which   I won't recommend   to buy,   but what the heck- there is a   plenty of old chocolate boxes in Macy's too. Or in Sears. Here is an interesting question- why aren't   those big companies sued by women- employees?   Any significant   difference   in management   style?


  Come to   think of it, I found out that I on my own never   went   to Wall-Mart. I only went there with a a woman -- companion- my wife or my mother.    So usually    they   collect a lot of clothes items    and go to the fitting room while   I stay   outside with the carriage. There, whenever I watch   the employees I imagine myself in their shoes. And   if   I was     one of them I would not survive even an hour.


I guess the proper word   of describing the everyday Wall-Mart activity is   the perpetual boredom.   A person has to spend    the day   in   constant   motion but essentially doing nothing. It is like in old times they had    people   who just watched the machines. That person was not supposed to do anything but   to    look out that nothing went   wrong. Day after day, year after year.   Of   course, sometimes that person could be James   Watt and he invented a   Watt's regulator to avoid boredom but otherwise     (and that I guarantee from my own experience) boredom makes you only tired and   dumb. Move the box here, hang the clothes there, answer the phone, show the directions, open the door, close it, have lunch, move the box here, call the supervisor, fill the shelves. This is   Purgatory if you ever know one.   Or maybe it is Mars? Who can guarantee that you   do not have mutants running around? If those     people in Wall- Mart uniforms were in fact Martians   nothing would have changed. They are in fact invisible.


Many years ago   in one of the stories by Anthon Chekhov a former Navy officer disguised himself as a manservant to   a person of interest.   He found out that   to serve as a lackey was one of the toughest jobs possible, Never was he more tired and   angry, never more bored also. He would    prefer a perfect storm at sea to that perpetual     sequence of small tortures and total possession. That was the fact- he was a possession of that master of his even though he was a free man and could leave anytime. But in case of Wall- Mart   people   in many cases have nowhere else to go. No wonder   there is discrimination.

It is a tool of    running the show.   If   there are men and women   in Purgatory you better make sure they do not resolve   to desperation. To avoid that   the   practically only way is to divide and conquer. Men   would   feel better if they are   risen up a little bit . It is an illusion- no one is rise up in reality.   But   a dollar   more can make a   lot of difference   like an extra banana for a monkey.   Human nature still applies    although on the lower side of the spectrum..


    All of this is not to denigrate the employees of Wall-Mart or people who earn low wages or women or minorities,   whoever.   I   saw   the same in many places and in many countries before. No exceptions.   And I think that is why   other   big   retail companies have all those glitzy parlors   and shiny   uniforms and   clean floors and sort of special   auras.    Whenever you enter Macy's you   sort of drown in the    atmosphere of fragrances and nice sounds which makes   you feel comfortable and   cozy. Ladies are   chic, men- salesmen are elegant and   all of us- buyers and   sellers feel   good about ourselves. In Wall --Mart   we all feel desperate.   I think that reflects the attitude of   the   Wall-Mart management    which somehow inadvertently   considers that the buyers in that shop   are its potential employees as well as vice- versa. So whenever we enter that place we    should be prepared; it    had been waiting for us all along.   Don't know about you, folks but I prefer Sears.


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The writer is 67 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.

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