CORSICANA, Texas – News that a 14-year-old boy lived inside a Texas Walmart for four days without being noticed has inspired hundreds of Walmart employees across the country to reevaluate their own housing situations. Many employees at the behemoth retailing chain say that they’ve “finally given up on the dream of owning a home” and have decided to save money by living inside Walmart stores instead.
“Before I heard about this, it never occurred to me that I could actually live at Walmart,” said Marion Kane, 27, an employee at the Louisville, Ky., Walmart. “I always thought I’d own my home by now, but that’s unrealistic. On my budget, it just makes more sense to save money on rent and commuting by just living behind the toilet paper on aisle 9 between shifts.”
Even some workers with families have decided that making a home inside Walmart is their best option. “In my last apartment, me and all three of my kids shared a 10-by-10 bedroom,” said Jane Kaufman, of Buffalo. “Now we can each have a whole department to ourselves—even if we fight over who gets to live by the snack food each week.”
According to Glassdoor.com, the average hourly wage for a Walmart sales associate is $8.86.
“It’s just not enough to buy a house,” said Brent Jones of Columbus, Ohio. “I’d have to start eating cat food or something. Whereas living here, in the store, I can eat as much cat food as I want, for free, as long as I’m sneaky about it.”
Police say that the unnamed boy who lived in the Corsicana Walmart created a hiding space behind racks of products, wore diapers to avoid using the bathroom, and stole juice and food to keep himself going. Walmart workers, inspired by his act, say that the teen’s lifestyle while living in a Walmart sounds “incredibly luxurious” compared to the one they’re able to afford now.
Walmart released a statement saying that it “loves having our employees in the store as much as possible, but cannot condone an employee using one of our locations as a home.” Instead, Walmart said, the company would be willing to “set up shacks behind the store where workers can live in comfort but not get in the way of shoppers.”
“We can’t promise running water at this time,” the statement continued. “But we believe this will be a step up for many workers, nonetheless.”