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For the past number of years Ella and I have been members of a retail Wholesale Outlet We pay our yearly membership fees of $55.00 plus G S T to allow us to shop. An employee greets you at the door and asks for your identification card that allows you to enter the premises.

The stores sell a large selection of goods; televisions, meats, pastries, fruits and vegetables You can even pick up bargains best selling new edition books. Mulroney’s Memoirs are listed at $52.00 and the ticket price was $27.00.

Part of the merchandising opportunity is to taste test absolutely free samples for many of their foods. Depending on the day there is an offering of pizza, chocolates, green tea, crackers, power bars, cereals with milk etc etc. Some of the taste testers have no inclination to buy any of the produce that they sample. Tasting, not buying is their motto.

The food stations are usually staffed by mostly older women who heat the products in a micro wave, fry pan or toaster. They are neatly attired with a hair net and latex gloves to adhere to the Board of Health regulations.

The sample providers are on duty for their first shift between 10-1.00 pm and after a break of thirty minute lunch break they return to their station from 1.30- 5.00. On average the reps work four days straight for a total of 26 hours and are paid the minimum wage of $8.00 per hour. You do the math and the workers make the huge sum of $208.00 before U I or income tax deductions. There are no pay increases for on the job years of experience.

The women told me that the marketing company provides absolutely no fringe benefits to the promote the merchandise. The ‘girls’ thought they were hired because they were dependable workers with good attendance records and a positive work ethic.

It bothers me to see older women standing on their cement floor stations for nearly seven hours a day to offer up samples to their customers, They are not allowed to sit down when they are working. No stools or chairs are provided by their supervisors.

The women greet you with a smile and good wishes for you to have a nice day. Many have sore backs or legs to contend with while they try and earn a few dollars to help pay the rent.

The mostly youngish tellers who take care of the cash registers are paid $11.50 to start with increases along the way to reflect experience.

It pains me to see the older women not having the opportunity to be treated in a humane fashion, What is wrong with them having an hour for lunch/supper with a fifteen minute break in the morning and afternoon. Why in heavens name can’t they sit down when they serve the public. How would you feel if the senior citizen with the apron/hair net was your mother/grandmother?

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com