Newsweek: “Wal-Mart is Mexico’s largest private-sector employer in the nation today, with nearly 150,000 local residents on its payroll. An additional 19,000 youngsters between the ages of 14 and 16 work after school in hundreds of Wal-Mart stores, mostly as grocery baggers, throughout Mexico—and none of them receives a red cent in wages or fringe benefits. The company doesn’t try to conceal this practice: its 62 Superama supermarkets display blue signs with white letters that tell shoppers: OUR VOLUNTEER PACKERS COLLECT NO SALARY, ONLY THE GRATUITY THAT YOU GIVE THEM. SUPERAMA THANKS YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING. The use of unsalaried youths is legal in Mexico because the kids are said to be “volunteering” their services to Wal-Mart and are therefore not subject to the requirements and regulations that would otherwise apply under the country’s labor laws.”
Well, if Wal-Mart is going to “employ” “volunteer packers,” I think it’s high time that those who frequent Mexican Wal-Mart outlets become “volunteer consumers.” After all, if a corporation as rapacious as Wal-Mart prefers not to pay their packers, perhaps consumers can prefer not to pay Wal-Mart for the goods they acquire from their stores. Who says that Wal-Mart holds all the cards in establishing a new economy?
So here’s the deal, Mexico Wal-Mart shoppers: the next time you enter a Wal-Mart, wear a sign that reads I AM A VOLUNTEER CONSUMER WHO WILL OFFER NO MONEY FOR THESE GOODS, BECAUSE YOU’D RATHER EXPLOIT KIDS THAN PRACTICE BASIC ETHICAL PRINCIPLES. THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING.