WALMART, the biggest retailer in the world, has once again come under fire after one of its Ohio stores launched a Thanksgiving food drive—for its own employees. Despite recording profits of €15.7 billion last year, an image circulating the internet suggests that those at the bottom of the corporate ladder are still suffering.
The photograph, which shows plastic bins in a Walmart outlet in Canton, Ohio, includes a sign that reads, ‘Please donate food items here so Associates in Need can enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner.’ According to TIME, the bins were not placed within the store but instead in an employee-only area. Speaking to local paper, Cleveland Plain Dealer, an employee of the outlet Tiffany Beroid claimed that it was not unusual for employees to receive assistance from the government.
‘This is the first time I’ve seen them ask associates for donations for Thanksgiving, but I know associates at my store experience struggling to feed their families every day. Most of them rely on food banks,’ said the Ohio employee.
A spokesman for Walmart has expressed anger at the way the food drive was being reported in the media: ‘Quite frankly, a lot of people in that store are frustrated and offended that this is reported in a way besides other folks rallying around each other.’ He added that he ‘couldn’t be prouder of people in that store helping in a tough situation.’
However, in an interview with Forbes Magazine, Cornell University’s School of Labour’s Kate Bronfenbrenner said that the food drive ‘captures’ the chain: ‘Wal-Mart is setting up bins because its employees don’t make enough to feed themselves and their families.’
Another Walmart customer told the Cleveland Plain Dealer: ‘That Walmart would have the audacity to ask low-wage workers to donate food to other low-wage workers — to me, it is a moral outrage.’
Walmart’s chief executive Mike Duke’s income from the company last year was reportedly in the realm of $12.7 million.