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Remember a couple of weeks ago when we told you that esteemed Corporate Person Walmart's Black Friday awfulness had plateaued (because of increased attention to online sales)? We were all, "Hurray! You're not worse than last year but we're still not shopping there argle bargle..."


Yeah, well. Every Christmas needs its Grinch. Every Thanksgiving needs it untouched ambrosia salad. And every stratified capitalist wasteland needs its immoral Big Box Retailers.

Employee returns customer's cash, gets fired. Forget it, Wonkers. It's WalmartTown

Michael Walsh, an eighteen year maintenance worker at a Glenville, New York Walmart, found $350 in the store's parking lot. He returned it to his manager. Two days later he was fired. Everything is terrible.

How did this happen? As part of his job, Walsh picks up trash in the parking lot and wrangles all of the loose shopping carts that assholes are too lazy to walk over to the cart corrals. Although, what do you expect? Shoppers already notched a bunch of Fitbit steps when they did that second store tour for free Taquito samples.

On this particular November day, Walsh found the wad of bills in the parking lot and put it in his pants. While he could've been all 'finders keepers,' instead he was all 'reason for the season' and returned the equivalent of more than half his weekly salary to his Mr. Manager.

So why the termination? Walsh detailed what happened when he returned to the store after finding the money.

"A woman was yelling at a manager, freaking out that she lost her money and I got nervous," said Walsh, who speaks haltingly and has anxiety issues. "I kind of froze and didn't want any trouble."

Walsh returned to his job [...] he gave a manager the $350 in cash about 30 minutes after he found it. The manager took the money and Walsh heard nothing more.

All is well that ends well, right? Of course not. Did you just move here? Two days later in a strangely Kafkaesque scenario, another Mr. Manager terminated Walsh. Walsh was shown the incriminating security video that showed him finding the money THAT HE RETURNED. He was then told to sign a statement and then denied a copy of said statement, because Walmart treats its employees like the Chicago PD shaking down some poor black teenager who rode his bike on the sidewalk, not like a decent employer dealing with a tenured grownup employee who returns money that he finds on the ground. Walsh was fired for "gross misconduct." Sure why not.

But wait, guys. Maybe there's something in the rules about immediately turning in lost property even if there's a customer throwing a tantrum and the employee is rigid with anxiety.

In all his years as a Wal-Mart worker, including computer-based training, Walsh said he never received a handbook of employee rules or company policy about items found in the parking lot.

But why would Walmart casually toss aside a punctual, tenured employee who's extra nice and ethical? Probably because he's a full time employee with some benefits and near the top of his pay scale. I mean, that's just speculation. However, Walmart's net profits did drop to a mere $3.3 billion last quarter so they're really dodging a bullet by getting to deny Walsh his 20% holiday discount. As for Walsh, he had his own goals. His own American Dream.

"I was really looking forward to that lifetime (10%) discount card in two more years. They took that from me," Walsh said.

Joy to the world.

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Poor Walmart employee canned for redeeming cans

On the SAME DAY that Michael Walsh was fired, an East Greenbush, New York, Walmart fired Thomas Smith for redeeming $5.10 worth of empty cans. Smith found some cans left in the parking lot during the course of corralling carts and cashed them in. He later found an additional two dollar windfall of goodies by the store entrance and redeemed those cans. It's important to distinguish between the two different recyclable acquisitions because, according to Walmart, the first is totally reasonable. The second is totally reasonable too, but it gives rise to termination for "gross misconduct."

[Walmart Spokesman Aaron] Mullins said, the termination focused on $2 worth of cans and bottles left in the shopping cart, a few yards off the parking lot, just inside the store's entryway.

40 abandoned cans. 1 arbitrary line of demarcation. 100% lack of empathy for its employees. 0 job left for Smith.

But who is this Master Thief, anyway? Smith is a formerly homeless ex-convict with a learning disability who had been working at Walmart for over a month. Like Walsh, Smith was forced to sign a statement "following an interrogation by three security managers inside the security office."

Smith said he did not have his glasses and could not read the statement, but he signed it because he did not want to argue and risk any violation of his parole.

3 security guards playing "good cop, bad cop, mall cop" scared the guy -- who never denied cashing in the recyclables -- into giving them a statement. Afraid that making a few nickels off of abandoned trash might violate his parole, Smith went along with the shenanigans of store management. Maybe if he wasn't a common poor criminal Smith would intuitively know that Walmart's sliding doors are a magical entrance into savings and heightened criminal accountability. They say "possession is nine-tenths of the law," but those people clearly didn't stumble on a cart of empty beer bottles while in Walmart's employ. Walmart wants its pound of flesh and it wants its two dollars.

Too bad, so sad, end of story right? Not exactly. After Smith's bullshit termination received some national attention, people were all like, "What's the deal, Walmart? We thought the only thing insane about you guys is the low prices." Boycott threats started rolling in so Walmart, as a decent corporate person does, decided it had to make things right (by changing the story).

Now, Michelle Malashock with Walmart's executive communications department claims Smith was fired because he "did not disclose certain serious criminal convictions during the application process."

Interesting. Did you just show the public the shiny "serious criminal conviction" object? I don't want just any person collecting my cart after I fill my flatbed with bulk guns and bulk coleslaw. What exactly was Mr. Smith hiding?

Nothing. He was hiding nothing and Walmart is just being an asshole. Smith's story never changed and nothing regarding his criminal record was included on his pink slip. In fact, Smith states that his Halfway House assisted him with filling out his application, which included disclosing a 2002 conviction for robbery.

But there is a happy ending, because Smith isn't going back to prison and he's also not going back to Walmart. A cavalcade of generosity has raised over $20,000 for Smith via GoFundMe. Even better, he has a new job at a better rate of pay so Walmart can go fuck itself or any variety of discarded can or bottle it wants to hoard and fuck itself with at the direction of the Walton heirs.

One word of warning: GoFundMe is only a legitimate safety net for homophobic bakers, a pretty specific demographic. It's entirely ill-equipped to provide for every wrongfully terminated retail employee. Be better, Walmart.

[Times-Union / Times-Union again / Syracuse.com]

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