No. of Recommendations: 2
cjb replied to me yesterday:

My brother has been full-time there for 8 years and recently crept over $10/hr. He's still setting up end-of-aisle grocery displays and hasn't "gone anywhere." --------> Maybe it's time to rethink your life choices if you're still setting up grocery displays after a year, let alone 8. That's a job an eight year old can do. That's more an indictment of the worker than the employer.

Since you decided to insult my brother's choice of a job that "an 8 y.o. can do," calling it an "indictment" of him, I'll add a few details in his defense.

He worked for 24 years at Culligan water conditioning before going to WMT. The years of installing heavy softeners and manually handling 80 lb. bags of salt forced him out after his doctor said he was becoming arthritic and that the quantity of Ibuprofen he was swallowing wasn't a good idea. He got hired in Oct. of -05 with 41 others as temp holiday employees. Everyone had the same eager question: what are our chances at full-time? Today, he and 2 others out of that group (all 3 over 60) are still there as survivors of the WMT culture.

He knew all along that Culligan was taking a toll on him, but he had 2 boys he was raising himself after his divorce and a job was a job. He considered himself lucky to be hired at WMT a month after leaving Culligan. His "severance package" was 2 weeks' pay, immediate cancellation of health insurance, and a handshake from the franchise's owner. After our mother died, my sister and I gave him the family home since we were much better financially-situated. On his salary, living there and maintaining it lasted only 2 years before he went to a rent-subsidized apartment complex.

Later, he was offered a job at the nearby WMT distribution center at an hourly wage nearly double what he made at the retail store. He toured the place and saw the near-frenetic pace of the work, which involved a lot of fairly heavy manual labor, and decided that preserving his decaying joints as much as possible was more important.

He once got an insurance license years ago, but cracking the entry barrier for income didn't work out in our town where there's an agent on every corner. He was in denial about his ability to handle college, but made it through a year before dropping out--classic case of college not being for everybody.

So why write about these personal details at all? One main reason: the tone of your reply seems to reflect a disdain for/denial of the fact that there really is a group of people familiarly called the Working Poor, whose station in life is all their fault without extenuating circumstances that circumscribed their eventual orb in America. That's why.
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