August 9, 2005

Leaving the South

In Medias Res is leaving the South, where the diverse masses attracted by Wal-Mart's low prices make some white bigots uncomfortable:

And not all the stereotypes are so comparatively light-hearted: until we moved to the South, we never imagined we'd meet someone who could say, without the slightest embarrassment, that she doesn't shop at the local Wal-Mart because so many black people shop there also. Heaven knows we won't miss that.

Posted by Kevin at 10:16 AM

July 25, 2005

Does WM Have Too Many White Truck Drivers?

Wal-Mart Watch, The New York Times (in full), and Liza Featherstone note that Tommy Armstrong, a black man refused a job as a Wal-Mart trucker, is suing for alleged racial discrimination. I agree that the particular cases show a large potential for Wal-Mart managers having discriminated against these men. But beyond that the cases seem shoddy.

Still, one of the most powerful statistics listed is that 15% of the US trucking force is black, but only 2-3% of Wal-Marts trucking force is. I wonder if anybody even bothered to check the source and veracity of those statistics. Let's try.

Let's suppose the 15% statistic to be true. The first question we have to ask ourselves is, "why are blacks so heavily overrepresented as truckers?" After all, in 2000 African Americans were 11.3% of the 18 or over population, but 15% of truckers. Are most trucking companies biased against white people, hispanics, and asians? Actually, no. According to Table 2.5 of a study of the trucker shortage(!), blacks make up 11.7% of the trucking industry's drivers. That makes a lot more sense to me, but it is still far higher than Wal-Mart's alleged 2%.

Ms. Featherstone, this is evidence of racism, but the real question is the geographic base of Wal-Mart's jobs compared to the rest of the sector's jobs. If it is true, as stated above, that most trucking jobs are metro area related, but

In 2002, there were 2.8 million truck drivers:

Most truck drivers find employment in large metropolitan areas along major interstate roadways where major trucking, retail, and wholesale companies have distribution outlets. Some drivers work in rural areas, providing specialized services such as delivering newspapers to customers or coal to a railroad.

The truck transportation industry employed almost one-quarter of all truck drivers and driver/sales workers in the United States. Another quarter worked for companies engaged in wholesale or retail trade. The remaining truck drivers and driver/sales workers were distributed across many industries, including construction and manufacturing.

Over 10 percent of all truck drivers and driver/sales workers were self-employed. Of these, a significant number were owner-operators who either served a variety of businesses independently or leased their services and trucks to a trucking company.

There are about 1.5 million heavy tractor-trailer truckers.


Also, isn't Wal-Mart the largest trucking company? Doesn't that imply that the

Posted by Kevin at 11:58 AM

July 8, 2005

Diversity for Quality and Profit

Ted Frank sends in an update to our previous post about WM requiring detailed plans from its law firms for greater diversity.

The update includes much jucier anecdotal information, insisting that many law firms don't want Wal-Mart's business because of the low, formerly always flat, fees that WM demands of its representation, and because WM refuses to settle (think how lawyers can benefit from settling), and is perfectly willing to dump law firms in the middle of complex trials.

One fascinating part of the article insists that the change will increase quality and decrease cost:

Reeves said the move for greater diversity is part of the company's strategy to get cheaper and better legal representation.

"It's not a separate issue," he said. "The more diversity you can have with your counsel � the higher-quality work you're going to get."

Um, does this mean that law firms plan to pay minorities and women less for better work than it can get for white men? What else can it mean?

Posted by Kevin at 8:57 AM

June 20, 2005

Wal-Mart Promotes Diversity

I cannot wait to see how the anti-Wal-Mart lobby responds to this: [link via Newmark's Door]

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.... announced today that it has been named one of "The 30 Best Companies for Diversity" by Black Enterprise magazine. The companies that made the list outperformed other corporations in their peer group in four key areas: percentage of total procurement dollars spent with companies owned by African Americans and members of other ethnic minority groups; the percentage of African Americans and members of other ethnic minority groups represented on their corporate boards; the percentage of senior management positions held by African Americans and members of other ethnic minority groups; and the percentage of African Americans and members of other ethnic minority groups represented in the total workforce.

...Wal-Mart has been widely recognized for its ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion. Wal-Mart was recently ranked among the top 50 companies for diversity in the U.S. for 2005 by DiversityInc. Magazine and was named one of the top corporations for multicultural business opportunities in 2004 by DiversityBusiness.com. This year Wal-Mart was also listed on the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility's (HACR) Corporate Index as one of the top 10 companies for Hispanics. Asian Enterprise magazine also included Wal-Mart in its listing of the top 10 companies for Asian Americans.

Posted by TheEclecticEconoclast at 8:13 AM

June 15, 2005

More Diversity, More Lawsuits

Wal-Mart makes Black Enterprise's top 30 best companies for diversity, and WM VP David E. Jackson is one of the most powerful black corporate executives in the country. Here's a profile of Mr. Jackson from 1997, and another from February of this year.

Yet a disturbing logic is clear; greater diversity means a greater probability of being sued because of alleged discrimination:

This year, Wal-Mart was also listed on the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility's (HACR) Corporate Index as one of the top 10 companies for Hispanics. Asian Enterprise magazine also included Wal-Mart in its listing of the top 10 companies for Asian Americans....

The magazine also noted, "... In fact, one of the ironies of corporate diversity is that the fewer minority employees a company has, the less likely it is to face a workplace discrimination suit. While the business of diversity may sometimes be difficult, it is important to laud those who are aggressively pursuing initiatives toward changing corporate America's status quo."

Wal-Mart is currently facing the largest-ever U.S. class action on charges that it discriminates against women in pay and promotions.

Posted by Kevin at 9:55 AM

January 17, 2005

MLK Day

A colorless equality was MLK's dream, not socialist tyrrany:

The concept is everyone that works benefits equally from what the world has to offer. If the home you want is valued at 1,000 hours of work. Then after one year you could buy the same home working at Walmart that the President of Walmart could, using the same credits.
Instead of requiring equal pay and benefits for all employees, which would destroy any company, Wal-Mart has an office of diversity relations with a black VP Esther Silver-Parker:
As vice president of diversity relations for Wal-Mart Stores, Esther Silver-Parker is responsible for diversity efforts related to Wal-Mart's supplier development program and its philanthropic and community relations programs. She also strengthens Wal-Mart's relationships with diversity leaders and organizations in the communities it serves....
The Wal-Mart diversity office was created in November 2003; before that WM never needed to use nonsensible corporate jargon about "workplace diversity", it just employed people regardless of color. But now WM is officially fully committed to a diverse workplace, with the corresponding programs and the like. Here's the fact sheet on diversity at WM.

Posted by Kevin at 10:56 AM

July 11, 2004

In These Times: The ITT List

While surfing online for something on a totally different topic, having nothing whatsoever to do with Wal-Mart, I came across this item that in my opinion is certainly worth noting.

Am quoting it in full however, as it is not clear to me exactly how long it may remain on the In These Times The ITT List Web page: News and commentary written by In These Times editors and staff.

It was orginally posted there by Emily Udell, advertising director at In These Times:

The ITT List

The Women of Wal-Mart
July 7, 2004

Today Wal-Mart asked the San Francisco Federal Court of Appeals to review Judge Martin W. Jenkin�s ruling that a sex discrimination case against the monolithic corporation be considered a class action lawsuit. The class could include as many as 1.6 million employees�almost every woman who has worked for Wal-Mart since December 1996.

Wal-Mart�s reputed discrimination against women is an issue that even 1992�s Miss America Carolyn Sapp is behind.

The former beauty queen launched a Web site Wal-Mart versus Women to spread the word about the corporation�s gender discrimination. The site features news and ways to get involved in the issue. Who would�ve thought?

In a June 2nd article The Labor Research Association connects the discrimination to the fact that Wal-Mart�s labor force is not unionized. Cynthia Green writes, �Wal-Mart has denied all claims of gender discrimination, but the alleged infractions are of a piece with the company�s history of union bashing.�

And indeed union bashing is a priority for Wal-Mart, according to a recent article by Liza Featherstone in The Nation. Featherstone quotes a Wal-Mart manger�s handbook: �The entire management staff should fully comprehend and appreciate exactly what is expected of their individual efforts to meet the union free objective.... Unless each member of management is willing to spend the necessary time, effort, energy, and money, it will not be accomplished. The time involved is...365 days per year....� This is only one of many jaw-dropping tidbits from Featherstone�s piece.

The SF Court of Appeals has not commented on Wal-Mart�s request for a review yet, but hopefully this case will go forward as a class-action suit that can begin to chip away at the bad labor practices that have been institutionalized by the world�s largest employer.


Posted by Emily Udell

[...]

There is more on the same page, however nothing else on the page I came across at the time was related to Wal-Mart or the class action court case in question.

Posted by Morgan at 8:46 PM

July 3, 2004

Yet Another Take

*Updated*

In closing this three day blitz of posts blogged by me, many focused on the same topic, I will leave you with this article as additional food for thought on the subject.

Beware though, some of the language employed within the article is very much politically incorrect and, as such, may prove extremely offensive to certain people's tastes and principles; yet -- except for its great low prices, which almost everybody (yes, including myself) in this country seems to want -- so is Wal-Mart for that matter (where is that WM smiley face -- especially when you really need it -- anyway?).

The Men of Wal-Mart

These guys aren't misogynists. They're morons.
BY PETE KOTZ

pete.kotz@clevescene.com

[...]

If you buy the company line, feel free to dismiss such talk as hollow sniveling from disgruntled employees. But set aside some time, because you'll have to dismiss similar claims from more than 100 women in 30 states, a tally that mounts by the day.

In their class-action suit, they accuse Wal-Mart of systemically screwing female workers -- in wages, promotions, and all things in between. The stats back them up: Though women outnumber men four to one among hourly supervisors -- where wages are slightly above minimum wage -- they account for only 15 percent of store managers. The logical conclusion: Smiley Roll-Back is a Neanderthal punk.

[...]

The company's faced innumerable civil-rights suits, for everything from firing blacks who date whites to telling female employees that "God made Adam first, so women would always be second to men."

It's been raided by the feds for employing illegals, caught making people work off the clock, and found hiding and destroying documents in dozens of lawsuits nationwide. Bloomberg Markets discovered evidence that it pays spies to search and destroy union-friendly workers. And though Wal-Mart fancies itself as America's Store, last year it imported $15 billion in goods from China.

Its reputation is so bad that two out of every three new stores face opposition to construction. Perhaps that's because a typical location costs its host community $420,750 a year in medical, housing, and free-lunch subsidies that go to impoverished workers, according to a California legislator's report.

Given this record, it's tempting to consider Wal-Mart a low-rent Mafia. Yet these guys just keep getting caught. In truth, they're idiot savants, blessed with a crisp aptitude for numbers, but little else. Think of your dumb-ass brother-in-law who tries to rob a cop bar with a plastic squirt gun. He's too stupid to hate, but you'd love to smack some sense into him.

All of which makes it hard to buy the class-action suit. To do so, you must believe that morons systematically kept women schlepping shampoo and junior-miss skirts instead of running the show. This gives them too much credit. Beside, it's just a symptom.

Wal-Mart's true illness is not understanding the correlation between wage and quality. You buy poverty-level managers, you get poverty-level thinking -- the kind that quotes Adam and Eve in job reviews and takes its gender cues from the seventh century. If left untreated, it's an affliction that eventually proves fatal.

[...]

The entire article can be found here.

Until next time ...

*Note*: Added another paragraph of my own (in the lead) as well as several more excerpts from the article itself well worthy of note too: last updated on Saturday, July 3, 2004 at 4:16 PM [EDT].

Posted by Morgan at 3:47 PM

Wichita Eagle Editorial

Just came across this must-read editorial published in today's edition of the Wichita Eagle concisely makes the case in point, which have been illustrated in several previous blog postings of mine these last three days:

Wrong
EDITORIAL: WRONG

Wal-Mart's steamrolling success has made it the American company that Americans currently love to hate, even as they take advantage of its vast selection and cheap prices. So it's probably lucky that the court of public opinion isn't the venue for the lawsuit newly certified as a class action by a federal judge in California.

[...]

But the allegations against Wal-Mart mirror a broader problem, recently noted in a U.S. Census report as a "substantial gap in median earnings between men and women that is unexplained" even after accounting for work experience, education and occupation.

Three decades after feminists wore "59 cents" buttons to protest the wage gap, women overall still earn 74 percent of what men do, according to the census report. In high-earning jobs, women make 55 cents for every dollar earned by men. When it comes to securing equal pay for equal work, the progress has been too little and too slow.

So the value of such a lawsuit is bigger than this case, one of emboldening working women and spurring employers to purge gender discrimination from their own factory floors and office suites.

Through their stories and their willingness to tell them in court, the Wal-Mart women will be sending an essential message to other businesses: Discrimination against women in salary and promotion is wrong, and it's past time that it ceased.

Read the editorial in full (seven paragraphs), here.

Posted by Morgan at 3:28 PM

Behind the Scenes into a Class Action

*Updated*

Yet another must-read article concerning the class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart, this one taking an indepth behind the scenes look into the case and what has brought it about.

Wal-Mart's challenger used to lengthy battles

Class action: A Berkeley, Calif., lawyer relishes leading the biggest workplace discrimination case ever.

By David Streitfeld
Los Angeles Times

Originally published July 3, 2004

The conference room in Brad Seligman's Berkeley, Calif., law office is a forlorn place.

Its two windows look out onto walls. The table is scratched, the carpet dull. An air duct across the ceiling adds to the feeling of claustrophobia.

For three years, Seligman has been suing Wal-Mart Stores Inc., accusing it of discriminating against female employees. When the time came for the first big meeting with the company's well-heeled lawyers, he insisted it be done in this room.

"I wanted them to see we weren't about money, that this case wasn't just about money," Seligman says. "We brought it because Wal-Mart needs to change."

[...]

This is particularly interesting, in several ways:

[...]

The origin of the Wal-Mart case goes back a decade. That's when two New Mexico lawyers, Stephen Tinkler and Merit Bennett, took on a sexual harassment complaint involving two women at a local Sam's Club, a Wal-Mart subsidiary.

In 1997, the partners won a $2 million verdict. That produced a flood of new harassment lawsuits against Wal-Mart, but prevailing never became easy.

"Wal-Mart had unlimited resources. It would fight to the hilt," Bennett says. "Maybe we were naive."

Still, after years of litigation, the lawyers felt they had amassed a pile of useful evidence about the retailer's employment practices that suggested something deeper and more pervasive than harassment.

[...]

The bigger the class, "the heavier burden we have to convince a judge there is a common problem across the system," Seligman said. "Defendants always argue, as they did in this case, that each store is different."

Trying to prove they weren't was the role of Marc Bendick, an economist and consultant in Washington. Using Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data, Bendick put together a portrait of what the top 20 discount retailers' work forces looked like.

Women, he found, dominate retail - and not just at the cash register; K-Mart, J.C. Penney, Sears and other companies are run by management teams that are, on average, 56 percent female.

Then the lawyers took a close look at Wal-Mart's recent EEOC reports. No matter which way Bendick sliced it, Wal-Mart was different: Only 34 percent of its managers were women.

[...]

Read the entire article, here.

*Update*:

Additional information, concerning what is referenced with the above mentioned article, may be obtained directly from the official Wal-Mart Class Website [via Joe Hill Dispatch: Wal-Mart Beat -- ... journal of Walmart news, analysis and activism].

*Note*: last updated on July 3, 2004 at 2:48 PM [EDT].

Posted by Morgan at 2:24 PM

July 2, 2004

Women Forcing Change in Wal-Mart Court Case

Published within the Forum/Opinion section section of today's edition of USA Today is a definitely must-read opinion piece written by Desda Moss, whom is a freelance writer living in Virginia.

Women in Wal-Mart suit forcing change

By Desda Moss

Sam Walton, the late founder of Wal-Mart, built his empire on a commitment to community, friendly service and low prices. The company also has provided jobs for thousands of Americans and is the world's largest private employer. But it now appears that some old-fashioned attitudes and an emphasis on low costs may have permeated its workplace practices.

[...]

According to the judge, the case is based on "largely uncontested" statistics that show women working at Wal-Mart are paid less than men in every region and in most job categories; that the gap widens over time (even for men and women hired into the same jobs at the same time); and that women take longer to enter management positions.

The case not only affects the female workers who claim discrimination, but it also could create a backlash among the women, many working-class, who shop at Wal-Mart and have fed its success.

[...]

In addition, she writes in her three closing paragraphs that:

[...]

The claims against Wal-Mart are not unique. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handled 6,037 wage-discrimination filings in fiscal 2003. That number has been steady during the past decade.

But by taking on such a giant as Wal-Mart, these women are already forcing change. Though not acknowledging discrimination, Wal-Mart adopted a new job structure and pay classifications last month. Dozens of companies watching the case are reviewing their own pay scales and employment practices.

Whatever progress our nation makes in ensuring that workers receive equal pay for equal work, you can be sure it will come as a result of ordinary women taking extraordinary action. Women who do their jobs and speak out when they feel that they've been treated unfairly can change the way we do business.

Read it in full, here.

Posted by Morgan at 8:20 AM

June 30, 2004

Time on "Wal-Mart's Gender Gap"

Yet another must-read article on the subject, this one is featured within the Business section of the Monday, July 05, 2004 edition of Time Magazine:

Wal-Mart's Gender Gap

What a landmark lawsuit aims to prove about how the No. 1 retailer pays its female workers
By LISA TAKEUCHI CULLEN/WILSON


Monday, Jul. 05, 2004
Gretchen Adams has more than a few bones to pick with Wal-Mart, but she figures its treatment of women is a good place to start. The mother of four took an hourly job at a Wal-Mart in Stillwater, Okla., in 1993 and was quickly promoted to head the deli department. Soon she was managing 60 workers and flying around the country to train hundreds more. When she learned that a man she had trained was earning $3,500 more than she was, "they told me it was a fluke." But as other male colleagues leapfrogged past, her salary never rose above $60,000 and she never landed the promised job of store manager. When she complained, "they told me where to go," says Adams, 57. She quit at the end of 2001.

Adams may yet have the last laugh. The retail giant � the nation's biggest private employer � has weathered a yearlong maelstrom of bad press about its employment practices. More than 30 lawsuits have accused it of cheating workers out of overtime pay. In a case in Oregon, the company was found to have forced employees to punch out and then return to work off the clock. A federal investigation discovered that in dozens of stores Wal-Mart used contractors that hired illegal immigrants. Now a federal judge in San Francisco has ruled that a sex-discrimination lawsuit filed in 2001 by six women can proceed as a class action on behalf of all Wal-Mart's current and former female employees. With up to 1.6 million plaintiffs, it will be the largest private civil rights case in U.S. history.

In many ways, Wal-Mart's problems stem from the conservative, Southern culture fostered by founder Sam Walton, according to Ellen Rosen, who is writing a book about the role of women at retail companies, including Wal-Mart. The old-fashioned values were one of the things that attracted Deborah Zambrana, 37, an 11-year employee of the store in Wilson, N.C. Then a note she wrote requesting help sorting lingerie came back scrawled with a chauvinist comment. When a male colleague admitted to the deed, "instead of being reprimanded," says Zambrana, who like Adams is not one of the lead plaintiffs, "he was promoted to assistant manager."

[...]

The rest of the article can be found here.

*Update*

Meanwhile, in today's edition, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports about how another:

Former Wal-Mart worker details bias
She says she was passed over for promotion; chain says any incident would be 'isolated'

Posted by Morgan at 1:12 PM

Shaking Up the Big Boxes: The Bigger Picture

Being that I believe the court battle in question really has more to do about the bigger picture and the retail industry across the board, hence less to do about Wal-Mart itself, anyway; I found this Associated Press article from last week (Thursday, June 24, 2004) of interest, because it explores how the:

Wal-Mart Case May Prompt Industry Change [emphasis mine]:

By MELISSA NELSON Associated Press Writer

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Retail experts say a nationwide class-action sex-discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. could lead to changes within the world's largest retailer and among competitors.

"If the allegations are true, it will very fast lead to radical improvement of the situation. It is absolutely in (Wal-Mart's) best interest to resolve this as fast as possible," said Kurt Barnard, president of Retail Forecasting LLC in Upper Montclair, N.J.

Another analyst noted that those changes may already have begun before the decision Tuesday by a federal judge in San Francisco to grant class-action status to a suit filed three years ago.

The suit originally filed on behalf of six women will now represent as many as 1.6 million current and former employees - the largest private civil rights case in U.S. history. The suit claims Wal-Mart set up a system that often pays female workers less than their male counterparts for comparable jobs and bypasses women for promotions.

[...]

Robert Blattberg, director of the Center for Retail Management at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, said the lawsuit will force all retailers to look at whether they are complying with equity laws.

"Most companies spend a lot of time trying to avoid these types of problems," he said. "If these cases start becoming prevalent, it will significantly increase the cost to retailers to track and determine if they are in compliance."

Wal-Mart's size and its staunch opposition to unions make it any easy target for such lawsuits, he said. "They are admittedly anti-union, and the unions like these types of lawsuits because they would like to see Wal-Mart bend," he said.

[...]

Yet the most noteworthy portion of the article happen to be found within the three closing paragraphs [emphasis mine]:

But retail experts said negative publicity from the lawsuit is unlikely to hurt the company's bottom line.

"In the long run, it doesn't hurt Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart is Wal-Mart; they are resistant," Barnard said.

"People don't go to Wal-Mart because they love Wal-Mart," Blattberg agreed, "they go to Wal-Mart because they like their prices."

Read the rest of the article, here.

The fact remains that Wal-mart can of course afford to continue fighting this as they have vowed to, even if they should end up losing the actual case in the long run. As far as they are concerned anyway, it is a no lose proposition for them either way the case turns out.

As the article points out however, since this is an industry-wide practice and thus more of a major problem for Wal-Mart's competitors, they are not as likely to fare as well as Wal-Mart is inclined to do and, smelling blood as well as a potential gain of the market share in addition, may change their own practices where they need changing in these regards.

Posted by Morgan at 12:09 PM

Differing Directions

This particular article in the Business section within today's edition of the New York Times caught my attention for obvious reasons: i.e., since it focuses on as well as examines certain complex social and cultural issues and their interplay both within and without the world that would be Wal-Mart.

Of course this definitely makes its a must-read, at least in my opinion.

Social Issues Tug Wal-Mart in Differing Directions

By CONSTANCE L. HAYS

Published: June 30, 2004

After a judge's ruling, announced last week, gave class-action status to a federal sex-discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores, the company's management broadcast a two-part message to its one million employees over the television monitors that hang from store ceilings.

First, employees were told that the ruling means "that there was no finding of guilt and it was all about the class, but that we even disagree with that and are going to appeal it,'' said Jay Allen, a company spokesman. Then there was a second part: "When this is all over with, this company is going to be a better company for it."

Lately, it's been hard to tell what kind of company Wal-Mart plans to become. On one hand, it bans certain magazines from its stores, vigorously fights matters ranging from shareholder proposals to federal lawsuits, and justifies strategies by quoting its long-dead founder in the obsolete manner of Chinese quoting Chairman Mao.

On the other hand, in the last year, Wal-Mart created an office of diversity, announced that it would protect gay workers from workplace discrimination, and pledged to promote women in the same proportion that they apply for management jobs, promising to penalize senior executives if that does not come to pass.

"They make an appropriate move, and we feel we would like to remain involved," said Julie Goodridge, president of Northstar Asset Management in Boston, a money manager emphasizing social responsibility that owns 6,455 Wal-Mart shares and has contemplated selling them. She praised the company for taking action like its nondiscrimination policy toward gay employees. Other moves, like banning magazine titles, "make me feel like, 'what am I, out of my mind?' " Mrs. Goodridge said.

The seesawing suggests that Wal-Mart's prolonged transition from Samuel L. Walton's personal project to giant global corporation has reached a critical stage. Since 1992, the year Mr. Walton - known as Mr. Sam - died, Wal-Mart has had to make its way without the founder and visionary who turned a single five-and-dime into a retailing megalith.

[...]

Read the rest of the article, here.

Posted by Morgan at 10:54 AM

May 20, 2004

Michelle Malkin @ WM

In Human Events Michelle Malkin writes that English is under assault, and uses Wal-Mart as one of her examples:

At my local Wal-Mart, nationwide employer of workers of dubious immigration status, I listened as a checkout lady from Africa blabbed endlessly in her native language to two visitors hanging out by her station. She didn't bother greeting me or looking at me. When I asked for a bag of items that she had forgotten to put in my cart, she ignored me. "Pardon me, can I have my bag?" I asked. "WAH?!" she finally said with a snarl, offended that I had interrupted her conversation.

Whatever happened to "Thank you, please come again"?

I find this odd, simply because most of the African immigrants I know are no more or less cheerful or English-speaking than the average Latin American or Asian immigrant, although less likely to have learned English than continental European immigrants. (They grew up wealthier).

In this particular case, Ms. Malkin should have complained to the store manager about the individual in question instead of to her readers about immigrants in general.

Posted by Kevin at 9:38 AM