Big Box Mart
Thousands show up for shot at Wal-Mart job
By HELENA OLIVIERO, PAUL DONSKY
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/09/08
They came in droves — high school students, retirees, young moms, the unemployed — all for a shot at a job at a new Wal-Mart on Memorial Drive in central DeKalb County.
In just two days, and with virtually no advertising or even any signs, a staggering 7,500 people filled out applications for one of the 350 to 400 available jobs.
Delois Zeigler was among those who packed a meeting room Tuesday at Saint Philips AME Church near Avondale Estates, hoping to soon be wearing Wal-Mart's trademark blue uniform.
"I need a job," said Zeigler, who has held temporary cleaning and cooking jobs since moving to metro Atlanta two months ago. "I'm open to anything."
Although Wal-Mart often draws more than 1,000 applicants in one day, store manager Henry Greene said the turnout for the Memorial Drive site was stunning.
"When I arrived Monday morning and saw people lined up down the hill, it was absolutely frightening," he said. "To see that many people, I was like, 'Oh my goodness.' I was very happy."
The big turnout speaks volumes about the state of the local economy, said Bruce Kaufman, a Georgia State University economics professor. While the unemployment rate in the area remains relatively low, Kaufman said the large number of job-seekers suggests that many people are either under-employed or had stopped looking for work.
"People are trying to upgrade to a better job," he said. The Wal-Mart, being built on the site of the former Avondale Mall, has been controversial. Some residents in nearby affluent Avondale Estates worried the store would bring crime and traffic, while others hoped it would spur economic growth.
For Anthony Ridley, 42, the issue was simple. He was just looking to work again after seven months of unemployment. "I am ready, and need to work again," Ridley said.
How did we let this happen? I remember 10-20 years ago, people wearing t-shirts that said BUY AMERICAN. Then somehow they convinced us shipping our jobs overseas was best for us. We have been bamboozled all in the name of profits.
Well at least Wigwam socks and Maglites are still made in the good ol USA!
Thank you Wigwam and Maglite owners.