Some years ago I had a ham radio acquaintance who lived in West Virginia and worked in a Radio Shack. Anytime someone asked him what he did he very proudly said, “I work in retail.”
I never really understood how someone who sold capacitors and 7-transistor portable radios could swell up with such pride as he displayed. Maybe jobs that didn’t require working underground and breathing bad air were just that rare in the Mountain State.
I’m not really making fun of the guy, or any retail clerks for that matter. I once had an exchange with a Walmart clerk who was required to work on Thanksgiving. She was smiling profusely and seemed to love her job. I asked why and she bluntly stated that around here jobs were scarce and she was just glad to have one. She didn’t want to be there but she said she might as well have fun doing it. I can fully understand her situation and commend her for her attitude. By the way, that was during the worst of the Great Recession.
What reminded me of this was a post by a Facebook friend. It was a map showing who the largest employer was in the various states, I’ve posted the map below and you’ll immediately notice that in a major swath of the nation, the answer is Walmart and the majority of Walmart employees work as clerks.
The average retail clerk in America earns between eight and fourteen dollars an hour and most likely is a part-time employee with little to no fringe benefits. Again referring to the map, it’s easy to see that those areas dominated by the nation’s largest retailer are also some of the poorest areas of America.
So, if some of the poorest paid Americans live in some of the poorest parts of America, why is the Republican Party so successful in those regions? Why is that where Donald Trump finds so many of his strongest supporters?
Frankly, I don’t have a good answer for this. But, I’d sure like to hear from someone who did.