Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

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by @anarchyroll

When one’s problems are in the realm of having to wait in line to get a  $5 (or more) cup of coffee, blissful ignorance to the plight of those serving the coffee apparently is to be expected. Having worked at a Starbucks for a cup of coffee (pun intended) I know that the vast majority of Starbucks customers care about the baristas serving them just as much as fast food customers care about the people serving them their burgers and burritos.

The only difference between the people who work at Starbucks and the people who work at fast food is the ratio of Latino-American’s behind the counters, wearing the aprons/uniforms. The majesticness of espresso cafés has been thoroughly destroyed by the corporate culture of Starbucks, and the fact that they added drive thrus. Starbucks is just another fast food joint, the only difference is they specialize in beverages. The way they treat their employees has been akin to how fast food workers have been treated and paid, poorly.

A recent article in the New York Times showed just how inhumanely Starbucks employees are treated. The focus on the article was related to scheduling. The article raised such public ire that Starbucks has immediately gone into damage control, introducing sweeping changes to their scheduling system. Most baristas I have talked to are on a, we’ll believe it when we see it attitude. Why? Because management has zero credibility when it comes to treating employees like whole people. Baristas, much like the majority of service industry and retail industry workers are treated like marks on expense reports. Treated as just another inventory item, like the cups and straws.

The managers in the store aren’t too often the enemy because in a corporation, the store managers themselves are just another cog in the machine. Unless you are in a suite, most corporations will only care if you die because of the profit loss they may endure having to move resources around to cover your duties. I’ve only worked for so many corporations so I’m not going to be Mr. Anti Capitalism here, but Starbucks I have worked for. They care about you only if they can’t immediately replace you. I’m willing to bet many other people working at lower levels of corporations would say the same thing.

The inhumane treatment of employees spotlighted in the NYT article once again shows the high cost of the low prices and fast service America’s shrinking middle class has come to expect and the 1% can’t live without. Eyes shut, ears covered, just give me what I want at the lowest possible price in the shortest amount of time involving the least amount of effort. That is the American attitude towards buying things. That is why e-commerce has destroyed brick and mortar stores. We can lie to ourselves about technology all we want. I worked retail and counted hundreds of customers per week who would shop in stores then buy online to avoid paying tax. No concern for the human beings who suffered so they could save a few bucks.

Corporate management seems to be a reflection of the customers, me first. It has always amazed me that working class people have so little regard for other working class people. I thought as I got older I would understand it, but I am yet to grasp it beyond greed, ego, and the victim mindset. Working hard, having a bad day, and/or being upset gives no person any right to impart suffering on another. It is great that Starbucks is changing policies and procedures that will benefit their employees. However, until Americans can start accepting higher costs for non-essential purchases so that the people who make, transport, and sell them can have a higher quality of life, then clopening is just another symptom being addressed while the cause of the illness goes avoided.




by @anarchyroll

I recently went to a Whole Foods for the first time. I have never been in the tax bracket that allows me to shop at Whole Foods on a regular basis. Luckily for me, my roommate was picking up the tab. Here is what I noticed when I went in:

  1. It smells like pepper
  2. The selection of healthy foods, beverages, supplements, and spices is amazing
  3. The majority of the products are expensive
  4. The majority of the employees are not just fat, but obese

This is not about to become a fat shaming article. You may naturally be thinking this is an isolated incident. However, one week after going into that Whole Foods I went into a different location a hop, skip, and away from downtown Chicago. There too, I did not see one thin or muscular employee. This shocked me.

I assumed that every employee of Whole Foods would be required to look healthy. Not models, not beefcakes, not hot bodies, healthy. I have now been to three Whole Foods locations in the Chicago area and have seen two employees that are not fat or obese.

Image isn’t everything, but when you charge the kind of prices Whole Foods charges for what they claim is a healthier food supply, shouldn’t their employees be representing a healthy image? I mean, I was also shocked by how many of them didn’t look like they had seen the inside of a shower this calendar year, but none of them stank so that means nothing. I don’t care if they look like dirty hippies because being a dirty hippie doesn’t cause heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, or stressed joints (no pun intended…okay maybe a little).

I thought obesity was mostly caused by the food supply of high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, antibiotics in the beef, steroids in the chicken, farm raised salmon, aspartame, and Hostess products. So either the employees at the Whole Foods are eating that shit because they don’t care about their health, or can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods based on what they make and what the store charges, or both. Neither of which is a good message to send out.

This is not about fat shaming. I don’t actually care that there are so many obese people working at Whole Foods. It just genuinely shocks me that they don’t either.

eanda logoby @anarchyroll
December 26, 2013

Why no online sales tax? A 1992 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Quill Corp v. North Dakota where it was ruled a business needed a physical presence (ie office, store, etc) to collect sales tax as opposed to just a paying customer. How was this ruling maintained for two decades? The Direct Marketing Association‘s lobbying on behalf of online behemoths like Amazon and eBay. What could force sales taxes onto online purchases? The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013. Who? The bill was sponsored by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. When do you have to start paying taxes on your online purchases? You already do in 24 states. However, surprise surprise there is a loophole and congressional gridlock holding up progress.

States must simplify their sales tax laws in order to make the collection of taxes easy. Apparatus is being provided to states free of cost to help in the transitory process/period. However, a certain political party is objecting to a new tax of any kind being put on the books. I’ll give you one guess which one, hint hint, it’s not the Whigs. In October it appeared as though the machine and momentum were both rolling in the direction of sales tax collection on all internet purchases made in the United States. But never underestimate what congressional obstructionism has the power to not do.

Even if the bill were to pass tomorrow it is already too late for the thousands of brick and mortar stores that shut down and the millions of people who lost their jobs due to being unable to compete in a game rigged against them by a law that protects e retailers created before they existed. There is hope for the future. Small businesses that are better able to adapt to and engage with technology will find that a new era where the internet is a friend and a tool as opposed to a competitor will equal opportunity and prosperity. Now if only they could get small business loans…