02 January 2009

Circuit City: Dirty Tricks

While the chief executive of Circuit City makes $716,346 a year, along with a $704,700 bonus last year, $3 million in stock awards and $340,000 in options, employees who put their hard work into the company for years have been fired and told they could be hired back at minimum wage.

"I'm ticked off that they can just come at you from one day to another, no warning, and oh, you're gone," he said. "I dedicated seven years to them. Loyalty gets you nothing." (Mascias, The Washington Post, Circuit City Cuts 3,400 'Overpaid' Workers)

The thousands of employees who lost their means of survival in an economy devastated by corporate greed and selfishness were replaced either by other workers desperate for some pay instead of no pay (at minimum wage) or grudgingly accepted an offer to be taken back on at minimum wage themselves. This came at the expense of their previous pay-scale, their benefits and everything else they had worked for over the years.

Many of the employees who were fired felt that they were let go do to their age. For many the only option was to wait 10 weeks and then reapply for a lower position at minimum wage, as the job market has plummeted due to the year's recession. This is the definition of wage-slavery, where an employee will be forced to accept unethical situations for lack of a better option. Those who were previously working at $10 - $18 an hour suddenly found themselves to accept pay closer to $7 an hour.

In addition to this action (which is being litigated with some benefits being rewarded to those who lost their jobs) the company is guilty of sales techniques that pitted one employee against another, creating an atmosphere of anxiety and pressure:

"Every salesman is ranked by the number of protection plans (or extended warranties) that they sell. At my store all the time we would throw on scratch protection plans to CD’s, since they’re only a buck, most people don’t notice. During the $9.99 CD special days, customers who weren’t aware of the sale were easy prey." (27 Confessions Of A Former Circuit City Worker)
Employees were also encouraged to mislead customers and to pressure customers in numerous ways to buy warranties. This engendered an atmosphere of employees struggling with one another, leading to workplace stress.

As the service/retail job force becomes the only option for many American workers the exploitation of their situation by those who stand to turn a profit increases as well. Circuit City should be boycotted.

Further reading:
blog: 27 Confessions of a Former Circuit City Worker
article: Circuit City Cuts 3,400 'Overpaid' Workers (Washington Post)
article: US: Circuit City fires 3,400 better-paid store workers (World Socialist Website)
article: US: Laid-off Circuit City workers allege age bias in suit (CorpWatch)
article: Circuit City Replaces 3400 'Overpaid' Workers! (Job Destruction Newsletter no. 1665)
Wage Slavery


Purchase electronics from other individuals on either on Ebay or CraigsList. Find local, independently-owned retailers and purchase from them, if necessary. Cut back on the amount of unnecessary electronics you use.

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