Your Problem Isn't Wal-Mart

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More people are killed each year by pigs than by shark. This is the same for businesses: fewer die sharks than by pigs. It’s not Wal-mart’s arrival that crush your bones,  it is your lousy employees whom stab your back.

You are cheap, so you post a hiring ad (on free sites such as Craigslist and Kijiji!) offering the lowest possible wage you can get away with paying by law. You hope that some human being out there is unambitious enough to not only apply for this job but to stay with your company forever (how dare you quit! Brutus!).

Your wages are so low you are embarrassed to post them for a minute. But just for minute. Not only that, you won’t bother to train your employees, as this costs money and time. Finding out that no one wants to go through unpaid training, you decide “eh, they can learn on the job.”

You reason since your employees are getting paid by you, they will do your every bidding unbridledly. You are their boss and overlord. They are your servants (slaves?), so even when you look away, you expect total obedience. And why would you need to give them any incentives to do a good job? After all, it is their duty to serve you (they are getting paid, right?).

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They also must care as much about the business as you do. When a flood of customers come in (outside your dreams), they must be overjoyed and think “wow, I’m so happy for my boss” rather than “oh my gosh! More work to do for little pay.”

To your unpleasant surprise, few of your fantasy materialize, even when you delude yourself.

Your third world country wages attracted only extremely unambitious and unhappy people named either Mr. or Ms. Grump (no relations). All of them have personal problem, and they bring them to work for you free of charge. Mr. and Ms. Grump are even grumpier now that they are being exploited by their boss. They go home every night feeling disrespected, poor, tired and angry, yet somehow you expect them to smile and treat every customer with respect, even though whether the customer returns affects their paycheck in zero ways.

Pretty soon you also need a supervisor. You try to hire from the outside, yet you are unable to find a suitable candidate.

Hence, you decided to promote a Mr. Grump to manager. Mr. Grump is now Grump the manager, and he now calls the shots around his area. He barely got a raise, had no skills or training to begin with, and has twice as much work to do.  Worse, he has authority some of your new employees. Now, Grumpy the manager will replace the rank and file with even more grumps and set an example to them that it is perfectly okay to be grumpy.

But don’t worry; these grumps will be more than willing to work at exploitative wages. And you’ve stopped being embarrassed.

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