Shortly after securing $42.5 million to repay its loans and taking on additional credit to stay alive in a particularly troubling economy, Borders Group Inc. announced that it will be issuing a payroll freeze, enrolling 90% of its employees into an innovative Slavery Program. The program is legal, thanks to a little-known clause contained within the Borders Employment Agreement that none of the workers thought to read.
A memo from the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company, intercepted by The New York Times, revealed that the Slavery Program would begin in mid-April. Borders stores are now being remodeled to provide slave quarters in the back. Several ringlets will be placed in convenient locations to shackle up employees at various points within the store. Clerks will be lashed if they don’t restock shelves fast enough.
“We had to cut costs somewhere,” said interim CEO Michael Edwards, “and this seemed the best way to secure a profit. After all, didn’t Aristotle say that slavery was a natural part of civilization?”
Asked if the slaves would prove unsettling for regular customers, Edwards pointed out that the employees were never noticed anyway.
Edwards pointed to several tall piles of job applications to buttress his viewpoint, observing that several desperate people had offered to work for free after a long and unsuccessful job search.
“So you can see it’s a win-win situation,” said Edwards. “And if other corporations follow, we can keep up a very good slave trade.”
Borders managers have begun a grueling fast-track Slavemaster Training Program, presently taking place in Arizona. Here, they will learn how to issue corporal punishment whenever a Borders employee gets uppity. Thankfully, employee behavior has proven infinitely adaptable. The new slaves have already started bringing glasses of lemonade for the managers without being asked.
Edwards expects to face legal resistance to his plans — in large part because nobody has thought to challenge the 13th Amendment for quite some time.
“You say ‘slavery’ like it’s a bad thing,” said Edwards. “But we’re more civilized than we were in the 19th century. At least they now get healthcare.”