Penny Winters, 63 year old Walmart employee facing felony theft charges for stealing Oreos and other snacks.
Penny Winters
Walmart is pressing felony charges against a 63-year-old maintenance worker who ate Oreos and other snacks on the job without paying for them—because she was hungry and couldn't afford them on the $11.40 an hour she was earning after working at various Walmart stores for eight years. According to the police report:
[Walmart asset protection manager Kenneth] Moreno advised that the thefts consisted mostly of food items, such as snacks, deli sandwiches, etc., and that Ms. [Penny] Winters provided an explanation that she simply did not have the monies to legitimately purchase the food  items. [...]

Ms. Winters advised that she would select the merchandise form the shelves and take them to the "back" break room where she would casually eat the contents and dispose of the rappers, without ever paying for them. [...] Ms. Winters attempted to describe her situation as dire, saying that she takes care of her son due to his being involved in a motorcycle accident in September and having "no money", however when asked why she chose to steal "junk food" items and chewing gum as opposed to legitimate food products commonly associated with necessity, i.e. bread, milk, eggs, etc., Ms. Winters could not provide an explanation.

Gee, I think the fact that she was casually eating these foods in the break room provides the answer to why she was stealing deli sandwiches and packaged snacks rather than eggs and milk. What was she going to do, suck down raw eggs in the break room and follow that by chugging milk from a quart carton?

Look, I don't know this woman's life. Maybe she's really rolling in cash and just stealing and eating cheap snack foods for sport. But we're talking here about a giant corporation pressing felony f'ing theft charges against one of its low-paid workers for stealing Oreos. Remember how in Les Miserables, Jean Valjean was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's family? And how that's one of the parts of the story that feels a world away, that a man would be imprisoned and marked for life by the theft of a loaf of bread? Yeah. Well, here's a 63-year-old woman who lives with her son and uses his vehicle to get to work, and she's facing possible jail time for stealing Oreos.

Walmart would say this doesn't happen in isolation, that the company's stores lose hundreds of millions of dollars of merchandise to employee theft every year. Sure. And workers who are better paid don't steal so much. Not to mention, I haven't seen any Walmart executives facing possible jail time for the company's rampant wage theft.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 10:20 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Income Inequality Kos, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Daily Kos.

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