Walmart got cleaned out this weekend—and they deserved it

One of the big stories Sunday was about how a glitch in the EBT System that allowed SNAP recipients to purchase unlimited amounts of food at two Louisiana Walmarts led to the stores being cleaned out of food within hours. I didn’t follow it. In fact, I purposely avoided the hell out of it all day, because I just really did not need to read a ton of commentary about how terrible and greedy poor people are. I knew that was coming, and I knew it would make me ill. There is nothing some people in this country love like being able to feel morally superior to the poor.

Poor black people in particular. Notice how this was referred to as a “looting” even though it was an entirely different thing? Check your dogwhistle glossary, friends. This wasn’t “looting”–this was simply taking advantage of a broken system, which is what Walmart does every single day in this country.

However, when I read that Walmart would be on the hook for all of those purchases? I got a little giddy. Hey, if the assholes on the right are allowed to get excited when our government gets shut down and puts the 9 million infants that benefit from the WIC program at risk of starvation, I’m allowed to be happy about this.

While the idea of a company which makes its money by screwing poor people getting screwed by poor people did not tug at my heart strings, it did make me think. Walmart deserved what it got. On some level, purposeful or no, this was an act of civil disobedience.

I say, good for these people! I hope that they all have awesome parties on Walmart’s dime, I hope they enjoy the hell out of them. I hope it gives them a glorious respite from the absolute frigging horror of poverty. If we are going to cheer on corporations for being out for all they can get, then what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and Walmart can just suck it up.

Look, generally speaking, I don’t believe in stealing. However, turnabout is fair play, and if Walmart is allowed to be out for all it can get, then why shouldn’t these people be? If any business in the history of the world deserved this, it’s Walmart. I feel about as badly for them as I do for mafia enforcers getting shot by other mafia enforcers. Sure, it’s sad when someone dies, but by going around shooting people for a living, you’re kind of opening up the door that it might happen to you someday.

Walmart steals from me, from you, and from this whole country. Do you have any idea how rich that company is? How rich the Waltons are? Six of the Waltons combined have 102.7 billion dollars- more money than the entire bottom 40% of this country. They employ 1% of the entire country, and refuse to pay those people a wage they can live on. It means so much to them to not have to pay their employees a fair wage that they spend huge amounts of money to protest having to do it! They spend crazy amounts of money to prevent their employees from unionizing.

How do they have the gall to call themselves job creators? They killed better paying jobs at small businesses in every town they’ve rolled into. They don’t pay their employees enough to survive, which means that they can’t contribute very much to our economy and stimulate the need for other jobs. They are not job creators, they are job destroyers.

What happens when Walmart refuses to pay their employees a living wage? When they have their employees work the maximum amount of hours possible without having to pay for health insurance? When the health insurance their employees do get costs them $75 a paycheck? When they fire their employees for attempting to unionize?

They have to utilize social programs to get by. Social programs that we pay for. On average, a Walmart employee costs taxpayers $733 a year in taxpayer funded healthcare and $1222 in other social programs each year. That’s about $2000 dollars per employee. In fact, Walmart stores often give employees information about getting on these programs because they know there’s no other way they’ll survive.

The cost of one average Walmart store to taxpayers each year is $900,000. With 4,119 stores across the US, that is $3,706,200,000 a year. We’re supposed to subsidize their employee’s paychecks so they can make more money when they already have billions? Fuck them. I’m supposed to feel badly for them because two of their stores lost some merchandise, when they steal over $3 billion dollars from us a year? In addition to all the subsidies they get, personally, from the government? When the stores themselves rake in $405 billion? Please.

If Walmart would just be ever so gracious as to cover this cost themselves, they could save us this money. They could also stimulate our flailing economy by giving their employees the ability to spend money on more than just survival. If a living wage were required by law, there likely wouldn’t have been enough people to “loot” two whole Walmart stores in a few hours.

What Walmart does every day amounts to theft. Yet, they are praised by free market enthusiasts who believe that companies should be allowed to buy labor at whatever price people in desperate situations are willing to sell it for. Walmart keeps these people desperate, the minimum wage laws in this country keep people desperate, and desperate people do desperate things.

They’re lucky all they got were a few emptied shelves, instead of getting burned to the ground. Look at what happened to Marie Antoinette.