I had to make an uninformed decision to cross a picket line last week. I pulled into an Albertson's parking lot and ducked behind the steering wheel to call a friend who I thought might've had some information on the situation. The stores were still open. But I didn't know what it would mean for me to cross the line. My friend knew just about as much as I did. I'm not much of a supermarket shopper. I was only going in to cash in my sofa change at CoinStar. I shamefully walked through the picket line into what felt like a ghost town. My footsteps echoed through the lifeless market. There was such a chill in the air, I could practically see my own breath. There were two cashiers, one examining a rubberband as the other observed (I think they were managers). And there were three other customers, all using CoinStar! I did see someone scurry by the picketers slurring some kind of apology about needing toilet paper. At which a picketer blankly snapped, "Sav-On is less than 500 yards from here." She mumbled something else and I'm pretty sure it wasn't "have a nice day."
This has been going on for over a week and I'm embarrassed to report that I'm not that much more informed. From what I understand, the companies want to cut their health plan and the unions are protesting. Frankly, I don't blame them. How much can a grocery store clerk make in a week? My guess is minimum wage plus free health care.
During my drive to work today I heard an Albertson's radio commercial - some big blowout giveaway - details are a blur. What struck me was how they'll spend bundles on advertising and promotional freebies but they won't continue to take care of their employees the way they have from the very beginning? Corporations! BAH!
Mid-writing this entry, I took a break to skip down the street to Trader Joe's for a quick salad...or not-so-quick anymore! Now I know where all the protesters are shopping! It took me thirty minutes to get out (and they didn't even have the salad I wanted - drat!). Now it's personal! Come on people. Let's get through this already so everyone can go to the grocery stores and I can make a quick TJ's stop again!