Shoppers paid no attention to the would-be union members who picketed on Black Friday. When it comes to solidarity with the would-be union and grabbing good deals, Americans know where not to stand: outside the store.
The would-be union declared it a big success. It was a flop.
I went to both Walmarts in my Georgia town. There was no sign of the protesters. There was not one picketer. So, I did not buy anything. I drove home.
There is nothing that would please me more than crossing a picket line. But there aren’t any these days.
There were groups of a few hundred protesters reported here and there, out of over a million employees.
This cheered me up.
As she neared the entrance of a Dallas-area Walmart shortly before midnight on the eve of the shopping frenzy known as Black Friday, Tammy was both shocked and thrilled to encounter a group of more than 40 protesters.
Having worked for a dozen years as a cashier at another national retail chain, Walgreens, Tammy said she felt an immediate sense of solidarity with the Walmart employees.
“Walmart cuts hours and benefits to push people out,” said Tammy, using her phone to capture video of the protest. “It’s the same thing at Walgreens. The workers are suffering while billionaires make all the money.”
But despite her professed anger at corporate greed, Tammy — who declined to provide her last name lest she jeopardize her job — was not deterred from entering Walmart to purchase a TV on a layaway plan. Her own low wages made her feel a sense of community with the striking Walmart workers, but those same wages also generated pressure to find and buy goods at low prices — precisely the demand that Walmart has fed to turn itself into the world’s largest retailer.
“You gotta go where the sales are,” Tammy said.
“Solidarity Forever” did not last forever.