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'People like to work at Wal-Mart'

August 23, 2009

After reading the review about Wal-Mart ("Wal-Mart's Spot in the World," Aug. 16), I must say, "UC Irvine parents, take note about the personal politics of American history teacher Jon Wiener! Tell your kids to shake a few grains of salt!"

Obviously, Mr. Wiener has never lived or tried to get a job in rural America, where there are no jobs, and any job is better than no job. Poor areas pay only minimum wage, small-town businesses simply service the community, they are not high-profit corporations. Be it Oregon or Ozarks, people like to work at Wal-Mart.

City attitudes do not translate to rural areas, there aren't enough tax dollars or large corporations to fund "blue state" social programs. In dense populations, large government is necessary to police the area and keep the trash hauled. In rural areas, the budgets are low, people have volunteer fire departments, they haul their own trash.

A business like Wal-Mart trains young employees, they learn cash registers and stocking, business protocol and proper behavior. After Wal-Mart training, they can get a job anywhere! And a senior, who wants some exercise, pocket money and some socialization during the day, is more than happy to work part time. He's not "being used by," he's "using" Wal-Mart.

That sense of family, of teamwork, of the staff doing morning exercises to loosen up, of being able to buy into a healthcare plan, of being able to move up into a corporate system; these things are important to small-town Americans.

Mr. Wiener has been in a salaried professional bubble too long. He sees workers only as shills of big corporations that want to misuse them. Perhaps because he would never have to work unskilled labor for minimum wage, he sees no social value to entry-level jobs.

Millie Bonazzoli

Santa Clarita

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