Infographic: The Plight of Low-Wage Retail Workers

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With Thanksgiving come and gone, we are now officially in the thick of the holiday shopping season, which means a good chunk of the country will be driving down to Walmart, Target, and other giant discounters to pick up gifts for friends and family. When they do, they'll be rewarding some of the largest companies in America for paying many of their front line workers poverty wages.  

As shown on this infographic from Demos, the median wage for full time workers at large retailers -- those with more than 1,000 employees -- is about $14.42 per hour. But at big box stores, the average pay tends to be much more meager. Many sales associates and floor team members usually fall into the category of "low-wage" retail workers, who are more likely to live in or near poverty. Of course, the major discounters aren't the only stores guilty of paycheck parsimony. But they exert a downward pressure on wages across the retail industry, which is just one more reason it's hard for working class Americans to make a decent living. Something for us all to think about when we choose where to do our holiday shopping. 

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Jordan Weissmann is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic.

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