“compassionate capitalism”

they don’t reduce their environmental footprint
they don’t improve the quality of their products
they don’t re-evaluate consumer rights
they don’t lower their prices
they don’t hire more staff
… what exactly does the company do
to show compassion?

they make their staff wear name badges
so you can shame us on Google Reviews
as mean bullies
when we insist you queue behind everyone else
or pay full price for something.

a minimum wage taxpayer
terrified they’ll be cancelled out of employment
because of your delicate ego:
that’s your “compassionate capitalism”.

but on the plus side, the woke company
still deign to take your money even if you cross-dress,
which is big of them.
not that I need to tell you this.
you’ve all seen, liked and shared their virtuous adverts.
you know, before you “review” us shop workers?

you’re shaping the modern world
one customer review
at a time,

aren’t you, comrades?

Paul Tanner has been earning minimum wage, and writing about it, for too long. He was shortlisted for the Erbacce 2020 Poetry Prize. “Shop Talk: Poems for Shop Workers” was published last year by Penniless Press. “No Refunds: Poems and cartoons from your local supermarket” is out now, from Alien Buddha Press. Read other articles by Paul.