The Women of Wal-mart

The thought of winning $300million has clearly been running around my head. I was going to make a joke out of the single most siginificant reason that I’ve never won the lottery being that I never bought a ticket. But then I realised that the only time I ever won anything, I didn’t knowingly enter. Last year, I got a cheque for $13.25, together with a notice saying that I’d been awarded it because my address was in the database of a record chain that had been systematically overcharging its customers, which had subsequently been the subject of a class action law suit.

Class actions are tremendously good things when they can be made to work which is, alas, not all that often. Despite the problems endemic to the concept, I wish this one in particular a great deal of success. It’s the largest suit of its kind ever, and stands to benefit 1.5 million of the poorest paid women in America, the past and present female employees of Wal-Mart. Wal-mart, not content with paying rubbish wages also won’t promote women to be managers in the aisles of it suburban sweatshops. The data, such as it is, seems compelling, and falls neatly into line with the past criminal behaviour of the company responsible for 2% of US GDP.