Preserve the jobs of disabled greeters at Walmart

Preserve the jobs of disabled greeters at Walmart

February 25, 2019
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Started by Scott Cantrell

My son is a 21 year old autistic greeter at Walmart in Pickens, SC. We were recently told that he would be losing his job due to Walmart cutting back.

Simon has until 4/26 to find another job in the store or no longer be employed. Of course, I'm sure that will be impossible. Between all the people that will be applying from the Pickens BI-LO closing and then all the 3rd shift Walmart folks being laid off and needing jobs as well, it will be tight at best.

And it's not just Simon. All of Walmart (in this market and maybe nationwide) are cutting greeters out or changing their job descriptions. I really don't think Walmart understands the value of greeters. Impersonal executives making 7-8 figures see it as a number. At best they see it as a way to discourage shoplifting by having a human presence at the door.

But those guys don't understand what it means to average people, those of us who have bad days and can't go relax in the spa or head for our other home for a while, to have someone greet them in person when they come in the door. Don't get me wrong. I've seen greeters that just stare, ignore, or maybe nod in passing. But Simon is thrilled to see you! He literally loves you to death when you come in the door. People tell me that they actually go to Simon's Walmart instead of a closer one just because of him! His open acceptance and affection for all people really touches them. That goes a long way when it comes to public opinion and general sentiment, and it's ideal for someone like Simon. The economics of perception more than make up for the salaries of good greeters, and provide a needed employment outlet for the growing community of disabled and elderly in our population.

I know religion is considered passé now in this post... well, it's a post-something civilization. Culturally things are falling apart so quickly it's hard to tell the most recent thing to fall, so we'll stick with post-something. But I digress. Anyway, religion is considered passé now. Hence so are the virtues. [Deleted stuff]. Never mind, I guess. I was going to go on a long tirade and drag in politics and culture, but that seems pointless. Anyway, my point was going to just be that the virtues themselves almost demand employment opportunities of those types.

And I'm not saying that corporations have to throw out free money. They have an obligation to the stockholders to make a profit. I know Walmart has razor thin profit margins of 2-3%. That means that for every dollar they make, they get two keep 2 or 3 pennies. But those pennies still add up to literally billions of dollars in profit. And when they're paying their CEO 28 mil, and who knows how much to all those other executives and board members, it gets hard for me to to justify cutting Simon's 3 days a week. The average full-time employee only makes 19k a year. Simon makes much less than that!

Economically (and again in the economy of perception) Walmart would come out much better in the end by keeping positions like this. I saw an analysis in 2015 (that gave me a headache, by the way) that Walmart could up salaries by as much as 50% and still come out with similar or better numbers than they do now. And I'm sure it's true. Everybody knows that between tax breaks, write-offs, incentives, moving money from ledger to ledger, etc., most of the big corporations can figure out how to squeeze some more profit out of just about any situation. Despite the math, I think the idea of making more by cutting salaries is just embedded in the business culture. Whatever.

All this is to say that the (good) greeters are underestimated, and whether you come at it from a perspective of virtue, economics of perception, or just plain old economics, it would work out much better for the big box guys if they'd keep them. Too bad they don't get it.

Let's help them understand how important greeters are to us!

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