Walmart is cutting thousands of jobs from its Sam's Club division (which is deeply inferior to Costco, and I'm not saying this because I don't like Walmart, even though I don't like Walmart) but at least its not shipping these jobs to China, as it has done many times before. No, this time, the fired workers can re-apply for these same positions, but with a Walmart subcontractor, who, it is safe to assume, will not be paying these workers as munificently as Walmart paid them:
The chain is eliminating about 1,200 membership recruiting jobs, or two jobs in each of the more than 600 Sam's Club stores. Wal-Mart is also laying off 10,000 workers who demonstrate products in its Sam's Club stores. Those demonstrations, like food sampling, will be outsourced to Shopper Events, a marketing company based in Arkansas that already handles some demonstrations at Wal-Mart stores.
David Tovar, a spokesman for Wal-Mart, said the layoffs were not a cost-cutting measure in response to a bad economy. He said that the 10,000 Sam's Club employees who demonstrate products could apply for jobs with Shopper Events, which plans to hire roughly the same number of workers being laid off.
I once spent time with Tovar at Walmart headquarters, where he gave me a memorable speech justifying amorality in public relations: "Why did I go work for Philip Morris? Because I wanted to get out of my parents' house. Why do people take jobs? It's like in 'Thank You for Smoking' "--Christopher Buckley's satire of the Washington public-relations industry. "What do they all say in that book? 'I've got to pay the mortgage.' You know, everybody's got to pay the mortgage." Presumably some of these soon-to-be-ex-employees have mortgages as well, but, hey, this is Walmart.