Wal-Mart Mexico Pays Teen Baggers Nada

Retail giant calls young, uncompensated workers 'volunteers'
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Aug 1, 2007 4:54 PM CDT
A shopper looks for items to purchase Wednesday, June 13, 2007, at Wal-Mart in San Leandro, Calif. Consumer prices shot up at the fastest pace in 20 months in May, fueled by a surge in gas prices, although...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Wal-Mart has 4,300 teenagers bagging merchandise for free in its Mexican stores, Newsweek reports. The retail giant isn't doing anything illegal, since the kids aren't technically workers but "volunteers" who donate their time in exchange for gratuities from customers. But labor activists say the notoriously bottom-line-minded company is nefariously exploiting local customs.

Wal-Mart argues that everybody's doing it, though perhaps not on Wal-Mart's bulk scale—Gigante supermarkets enlists a mere 427 "volunteers." One analyst points out that the largest private employer in the country can afford to throw a few pesos at their young employees. "These kids should receive a salary," she said.