I have been under the weather as of late so I have not really posting all that much of late. Boy, much has happened over the past week or so; where to begin.
I have a part-time job. I work there for the insurance not really the
paycheck. But obviously the paycheck pays the insurance costs. As many of you
have heard JC Penney has made some major changes in the way it prices things.
The branding they are doing is saying that the marked down the prices by about
40%. Which what they really did was price it the way things used to be priced
before the public at large was brainwashed into believing that they were saving
money when things said sale, or worse yet there was a coupon. For those who
still don't get it, when a store has a coupon they use a lower mark down. You
are pretty much paying the same cost with or without a coupon, it is all in your
head that you are saving money in a department store setting.
The truth is that the business is very slow; at least at the store that I
work at. So in order to not have the bad publicity of layoffs they have done
several things. They have cut hours for entire departments and some have no
full-time employees left. Which means the level of benefits change
drastically. For others they offered them positions that they knew full well
most would not take. The added benefit after the bad publicity is also the
money that they will save on unemployment. My hours were cut so I no longer
qualify for the part-time associate insurance. So it is pointless for me to
keep the job as that is the only reason that I took it in the first place.
This of course has been the topic of discussion among employees as you can
well imagine. Someone who works there has a close family that live in same
complex and they are dependent upon each other for daycare of their kids and the
like. Four out of the six adults work at the same place. Not something I would
think is a good idea. But that is just me. One just started there less than a
year ago after arriving in the U.S. from another country. He originally was
going to take a position with another retailer, but then the job at Penney's
opened up. It was a good set up for them as they could car pool. Well he works
in the department that no longer has any full-time employees. His daughter who
also works there has lost about half her hours and had her commission cut by
quite a bit. Even had they not cut her hours, her paycheck basically would have
dropped in half. She told anyone that would listen that she couldn't work for
the lesser rate and had to find another job. Yet, she is upset that they cut
her hours. Her boss knew that she said she would be looking for another job, so
doesn't it make sense that she would be logical choice to cut the extra hours
they needed? It makes perfect sense to me. She also feels that they owed her
father a full-time position for at least year since he could have gone and
worked somewhere else.
I was dumbfounded listening to this conversation. I told her if they had to
guarantee him a certain amount of hours for certain period of time they never
would have hired him. Did they pay him the wage he agreed to when he accepted
the position? Did they treat him fairly in the work place? Did they put a gun
to his head and force him to take that job over the other one? Was it anyone
else's fault that you told anyone and everyone that you didn't want to work for
a lower wage?
This throws a wrench into my life as well. But, oh well; that's life. Would
I have prefered that they just laid me off so I could collect unemployment for a
while and pay for Cobra while I look for something else. Sure would have, but
they didn't They are going to cut my hours to force my hand into quitting. Is
it nice? No. Is it legal? It sure is. Would I have made a different decision
if I were the head of the company? No I would not. Retail has very small
margins to make its profit. Most stores run in the black until very late into
the fiscal year. We are in a recession right now. They have to spend a great
deal of money to publicize and explain the new pricing to people who were used
to seeing signs that said 50% off, the people who would come in and try to use
15 coupons on two items are not going to be happy that they can't use them
anymore. They are planning on slower sales for a time I am sure. They are
doing what they have to do to keep their board and stock holders happy. That is
their corporate responsibility as a publicly traded company.
I then had to listen to "Only in America do they not help you get a job". In
Europe they can't just fire you like that. True, they can't. But, the other
side of that coin is the fact that on average when times are good they have
higher unemployment and a more stagnant economy. It doesn't occur to them that
finding a job in Europe is harder for that very reason. When it is so difficult
to fire someone when times are lean, they don't hire when times are fat.
I ended the conversation by saying you live in a right to work state, if you
don't like it move. You can go to one of those states that have all these laws
designed to keep you employed and allow you sue to your heart's content if you get
laid off. Just remember in those states, your taxes are generally much higher
and so is the unemployment. If you don't like the capitalist system in America,
then you should not have moved here. You are immigrants, you could have gone to
many other places around the world when you decided to leave your country, but
you chose to come here. We are a capitalist society. You want quasi-socialism
move to Greece and ask them how that is working out for them.