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(Splinter News)   Walmart finds a new way to fight unions, spy on every employee conversation   ( splinternews.com) divider line
    More: Creepy, Walmart, Employment, Retail colossus Walmart, Patent, Retailing, invasive employee surveillance, Walmart employees, Big Brother-style surveillance  
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2719 clicks; posted to Geek » on 12 Jul 2018 at 5:04 AM (22 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



48 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2018-07-11 10:30:30 PM  
My whole working life I have said "if you don't trust me enough to not spy on me I shouldn't work here." This goes too far.
 
2018-07-12 01:40:48 AM  
Next innovation, removing doors from bathroom stalls. Next innovation after that, installing webcams under toilet seats.
 
2018-07-12 01:49:45 AM  
meant to monitor employee productivity

Right. "Productivity" That's the ticket. Because there's no way to measure that other than listening in on your employees' conversations.
 
2018-07-12 02:42:12 AM  
That's it, I'm boycotting Wal-Mart.

Still.
 
2018-07-12 03:44:01 AM  
The technology, which Walmart calls "listening to the frontend," aims to increase employee efficiency

Maybe pay them a living wage and ensure they get enough sleep so that? Use your lobbyimg arm to pay for it with subsidies otherwise earmarked for building new/useless military tanks? Nevermind. Evil technology it is!
 
2018-07-12 05:20:11 AM  
I've yet also to find a rationale on why stores like Walmart cannot provide fixed working hours, or at least not provide them sometimes just the day before.
 
2018-07-12 05:41:06 AM  
This probably violates all sorts of wiretapping type laws, because the *customers* haven't consented to being recorded and their voices analyzed.  Never mind the employees.
 
2018-07-12 06:00:23 AM  
You're there to work, not chit-chat. Want to talk sedition and bite the hand that feeds you? Do it on your own time.
 
2018-07-12 06:11:31 AM  

Bonzo_1116: This probably violates all sorts of wiretapping type laws, because the *customers* haven't consented to being recorded and their voices analyzed.  Never mind the employees.


You haven't consented to being on camera either. That doesn't matter. Do you have idea how much they analyse video of you wandering around the store?
 
2018-07-12 06:30:00 AM  

Bonzo_1116: This probably violates all sorts of wiretapping type laws, because the *customers* haven't consented to being recorded and their voices analyzed.  Never mind the employees.


Do you think Walmart would have any problem firing anybody that does not sign the new wiretap consent form ?
 
2018-07-12 07:00:23 AM  
They should absolutely do this...and broadcast it live!  I would finally be able to enjoy the relaxing ambiance of my local Walmart without getting all dressed up and driving there!
 
2018-07-12 07:00:36 AM  

fusillade762: meant to monitor employee productivity

Right. "Productivity" That's the ticket. Because there's no way to measure that other than listening in on your employees' conversations.


This is actually going to burn them by using that angle, there's lots of laws in plenty of places about not being allowed to remotely manage employees.  Ie make management decisions regarding content viewed/captured using video cameras.  Remote mics is the exact same domain.

Bonzo_1116: This probably violates all sorts of wiretapping type laws, because the *customers* haven't consented to being recorded and their voices analyzed. Never mind the employees.


And then there's this half of the problem too, Walmart wouldn't be able to deploy these in very many locations, at least without making it very clear they're doing so to each customer as they decide if they're going to enter the store or not.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2018-07-12 07:06:46 AM  
I really hate to say this, but the Buzzfeed article is better.

It's unclear to me how much this is an invention and how much this is a "... using a computer!" patent on an idea instead of a machine.
 
2018-07-12 07:21:30 AM  

maddan: They should absolutely do this...and broadcast it live!  I would finally be able to enjoy the relaxing ambiance of my local Walmart without getting all dressed up and driving there!


This would make a hugely popular cable channel, and sadly, I'm not kidding.
 
2018-07-12 07:22:02 AM  

koder: The technology, which Walmart calls "listening to the frontend," aims to increase employee efficiency

Maybe pay them a living wage and ensure they get enough sleep so that? Use your lobbyimg arm to pay for it with subsidies otherwise earmarked for building new/useless military tanks? Nevermind. Evil technology it is!


Also scheduling them for consistent shifts that they can plan around, and guaranteeing a number of hours in a week (ties with living wage) that they don't need to seek a second job that they need to juggle. Especially when they don't have a consistent schedule.
 
2018-07-12 07:22:37 AM  

padraig: I've yet also to find a rationale on why stores like Walmart cannot provide fixed working hours, or at least not provide them sometimes just the day before.


When my son worked at Target, he'd get a schedule at the beginning of the week and knew his hours.  Since 1/2 the people who work there are teenagers who aren't very responsible and therefore don't give a duck, they don't always show up.  Every week, my son was asked by his manager if he could come in to cover for someone who didn't show.  Covering for someone else would put him over his 30 hours.  The manager would make him drop a shift so he could keep his 'part-time-with-no-benefits'  status.

BS like that was was encouraged him go back to school to get his degree.
 
2018-07-12 07:33:04 AM  

Bonzo_1116: This probably violates all sorts of wiretapping type laws, because the *customers* haven't consented to being recorded and their voices analyzed.  Never mind the employees.


All they have to do is put a sign on the front door, the ones that are there already probably cover them. Proceeding into the store is consent.
 
2018-07-12 07:41:03 AM  
Jokes on them, no-one talks to me.
 
2018-07-12 08:11:43 AM  
thechive.files.wordpress.comView Full Size
 
2018-07-12 08:12:49 AM  

Grillsergeant: My whole working life I have said "if you don't trust me enough to not spy on me I shouldn't work here." This goes too far.


Yeah, but you have a choice about where you can work.  Walmart employees typically fall into the "take any job you can get because you don't want to be living in a van" category.
 
2018-07-12 08:17:04 AM  
Remember blue collar Americans: keep voting GOP.
 
2018-07-12 08:28:46 AM  

brainlordmesomorph: Bonzo_1116: This probably violates all sorts of wiretapping type laws, because the *customers* haven't consented to being recorded and their voices analyzed.  Never mind the employees.

You haven't consented to being on camera either. That doesn't matter. Do you have idea how much they analyse video of you wandering around the store?


Actually, technically, you have:

c1.staticflickr.comView Full Size


The very act of shopping there means you tacitly agree to be monitored by video camera.  If you didn't agree, you wouldn't be there.

Seems to me, it would be no different with microphones:  All states allow for the monitoring of conversations when all parties agree to it.  All they have to do is put up a sign at the entrance saying "We monitor audio at our checkout stations for your protection" or some nonsense like that, and you've given your tacit consent to be monitored if you then purchase something.
 
2018-07-12 08:43:20 AM  

ChrisDe: maddan: They should absolutely do this...and broadcast it live!  I would finally be able to enjoy the relaxing ambiance of my local Walmart without getting all dressed up and driving there!

This would make a hugely popular cable channel, and sadly, I'm not kidding.


You're not wrong.  It's already a pretty popular website.
 
2018-07-12 09:47:26 AM  
They already monitor employees like prisoners. This is just going the extra mile really. I worked at a Walmart right after high school and found out that they monitor all their employees on camera 24/7. The same loss prevention employees who watch the cameras for shoplifters are also tasked with watching the employees. If you work there someone is watching your every move Big Brother style. Ready to tattle on you at a moments notice. Adding audio to that is just covering their bases.

I found this out after being reprimanded after a slow day where I was taking a magnet attached to a keychain and idly attaching it to the countertop and removing it over and over while standing at the register. You know, just the kind of mindless fidgeting one does when there's nothing to do and you're stuck in one spot for eight hours. Walmart expects you to just stand there blankly and not move until a customer approaches. So I was considered in violation and written up for playing with my keychain.

I waited two weeks to stash away some money and walked out after that. If you want a robot for an employee then buy the damn robot and don't waste my time.
 
2018-07-12 09:58:28 AM  
If you work at wallmart then you probably gave up on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness long ago.
 
2018-07-12 10:00:24 AM  
BumpInTheNight:
And then there's this half of the problem too, Walmart wouldn't be able to deploy these in very many locations, at least without making it very clear they're doing so to each customer as they decide if they're going to enter the store or not.

All the placards around the parking lot and entrance warning customers of video surveillance hasn't stopped people from shopping there.  I figure an additional placard warning of audio surveillance won't have much effect on shoppers (and might serve as sufficient notice in states that require two-party consent).
 
2018-07-12 10:20:28 AM  

koder: The technology, which Walmart calls "listening to the frontend," aims to increase employee efficiency

Maybe pay them a living wage and ensure they get enough sleep so that? Use your lobbyimg arm to pay for it with subsidies otherwise earmarked for building new/useless military tanks? Nevermind. Evil technology it is!


You do know, don't you, that Walmart generally pays the same as any other slog retail position in any other b&m store? Plus, they even offer limited medical benefits, which is more than can be said for many smaller mom-n-pop retailers. Is their pay atrocious? For retail, objectively and relatively, no. To the overall economy? Yes, but singling out Walmart from every other big box and chiseling mom-n-pop operation is just stupid.

Why not talk about, oh, say, Lane Bryant, where your bathroom breaks are timed and you get docked if your supervisor thinks you are taking too long to wipe your butt, and where your half hour lunch includes 25 minutes walking to the food court and standing in line, with 5 minutes to gulp down your greasy cold mall food (because Lane Bryant does not have lunchrooms or fridges for employees). Bonus: During the Jebus Season, Lane Bryant turns you into a serial killer from having to listen to - literally - the same six Christmas songs, on loop, playing for the 7-1/2 hours of your workday over and over and over and over.... (Oh yes, that 7-1/2 hours per day is on purpose; that's so they don't have to offer you any benefits.)
 
2018-07-12 10:22:20 AM  

Bonzo_1116: This probably violates all sorts of wiretapping type laws, because the *customers* haven't consented to being recorded and their voices analyzed.  Never mind the employees.


You are in a public place with no expectations of privacy, and you voluntarily entered the store.
 
2018-07-12 10:25:56 AM  

winedrinkingman: Grillsergeant: My whole working life I have said "if you don't trust me enough to not spy on me I shouldn't work here." This goes too far.

Yeah, but you have a choice about where you can work.  Walmart employees typically fall into the "take any job you can get because you don't want to be living in a van" category.


citation?
 
2018-07-12 10:27:59 AM  

Esroc: They already monitor employees like prisoners. This is just going the extra mile really. I worked at a Walmart right after high school and found out that they monitor all their employees on camera 24/7. The same loss prevention employees who watch the cameras for shoplifters are also tasked with watching the employees. If you work there someone is watching your every move Big Brother style. Ready to tattle on you at a moments notice. Adding audio to that is just covering their bases.

I found this out after being reprimanded after a slow day where I was taking a magnet attached to a keychain and idly attaching it to the countertop and removing it over and over while standing at the register. You know, just the kind of mindless fidgeting one does when there's nothing to do and you're stuck in one spot for eight hours. Walmart expects you to just stand there blankly and not move until a customer approaches. So I was considered in violation and written up for playing with my keychain.

I waited two weeks to stash away some money and walked out after that. If you want a robot for an employee then buy the damn robot and don't waste my time.


They will. Patience.
 
2018-07-12 10:38:24 AM  

Harlee: They will. Patience.


The new Wal-Mart neighborhood market (grocery format store) near my house only has 3 registers for employees and I have only every seen one staffed.  Everything else is self-checkout.  We are already there.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2018-07-12 10:58:52 AM  
Where I live, video surveillance is generally legal in public places without notice, subject to some privacy restrictions like not placing cameras in showers and not shooting up the skirts of standing women.

The law here prohibits secret audio surveillance. Case law suggests that clearly visible video cameras are adequate notice that your voice is being recorded.
 
2018-07-12 11:01:24 AM  

Harlee: Why not talk about, oh, say, Lane Bryant, where your bathroom breaks are timed and you get docked if your supervisor thinks you are taking too long to wipe your butt, and where your half hour lunch includes 25 minutes walking to the food court and standing in line, with 5 minutes to gulp down your greasy cold mall food (because Lane Bryant does not have lunchrooms or fridges for employees).


OK, I had a really snarky reponse to this, but upon re-reading it, I decided to hold off on saying that if you aren't smart enough to figure it out then you deserve to be working at a place like Lane Bryant, and instead to offer you a practical suggestion based upon what I do.

I bring both my breakfast and lunch to work, and while I do have access to a fridge and a microwave, I almost never use either.  Breakfast is generally a Greek yogurt and some trail mix (nuts and fruits, no chocolate), or maybe a fruit cup.  Both of them survive the 1 hour commute and my 1 hour pre-work exercise regimen fine without refrigeration.

Lunch is generally a salad consisting of lettuce, and mixed frozen vegetables.  By the time lunch rolls around, the veggies have defrosted.  Dressing on the side in the provided cup.  I get these containers:

https://www.glad.com/food-storage/cont​ainers/glad-to-go-snack/

Also, I generally bring a small can of low sodium chicken breast or a low sodium individual tuna pack.
None of these things need refrigeration, and it's approximately six and a half hours between when I make my lunch and when I eat it.

But even setting all that aside, making a sandwich or two ahead of time so that you have a reasonably healthy lunch ready to go for your lunch half-hour seems like a no-brainer to me.  Most sandwiches don't have to be refrigerated, but even if they did, they make small, flexible coolers like these that would do the job perfectly well:

https://www.igloocoolers.com/collectio​ns/soft-coolers/small

If you break the lunch problem down, all you have to do is optimize your lunch experience within the given parameters (half hour, no breakroom, no fridge).  Does this mean some preparatory work?  Yes.  But I think you'll find it's worth it.
 
2018-07-12 11:05:34 AM  

Harlee: winedrinkingman: Grillsergeant: My whole working life I have said "if you don't trust me enough to not spy on me I shouldn't work here." This goes too far.

Yeah, but you have a choice about where you can work.  Walmart employees typically fall into the "take any job you can get because you don't want to be living in a van" category.

citation?


No, generally an Econoline, but sometimes an Aerostar, Caravan, or a Town and Country.
 
2018-07-12 11:10:03 AM  
The Wal-Marts I have been in, the cashiers barely speak english or mumble or just say nothing at all. Not sure what Wal-Mart thinks it is going to record.
 
2018-07-12 11:47:16 AM  

dittybopper: Harlee: Why not talk about, oh, say, Lane Bryant, where your bathroom breaks are timed and you get docked if your supervisor thinks you are taking too long to wipe your butt, and where your half hour lunch includes 25 minutes walking to the food court and standing in line, with 5 minutes to gulp down your greasy cold mall food (because Lane Bryant does not have lunchrooms or fridges for employees).

OK, I had a really snarky reponse to this, but upon re-reading it, I decided to hold off on saying that if you aren't smart enough to figure it out then you deserve to be working at a place like Lane Bryant, and instead to offer you a practical suggestion based upon what I do.

I bring both my breakfast and lunch to work, and while I do have access to a fridge and a microwave, I almost never use either.  Breakfast is generally a Greek yogurt and some trail mix (nuts and fruits, no chocolate), or maybe a fruit cup.  Both of them survive the 1 hour commute and my 1 hour pre-work exercise regimen fine without refrigeration.

Lunch is generally a salad consisting of lettuce, and mixed frozen vegetables.  By the time lunch rolls around, the veggies have defrosted.  Dressing on the side in the provided cup.  I get these containers:

https://www.glad.com/food-storage/cont​ainers/glad-to-go-snack/

Also, I generally bring a small can of low sodium chicken breast or a low sodium individual tuna pack.
None of these things need refrigeration, and it's approximately six and a half hours between when I make my lunch and when I eat it.

But even setting all that aside, making a sandwich or two ahead of time so that you have a reasonably healthy lunch ready to go for your lunch half-hour seems like a no-brainer to me.  Most sandwiches don't have to be refrigerated, but even if they did, they make small, flexible coolers like these that would do the job perfectly well:

https://www.igloocoolers.com/collectio​ns/soft-coolers/small

If you break the lunch problem down, all you have to do ...


Are you actually, you know, conscious?
 
2018-07-12 11:48:03 AM  
Uh, that's called a microphone. That's nothing new.

/and you better believe that is illegal in some states.
 
2018-07-12 11:53:08 AM  
But who will watch the watchmen?
 
2018-07-12 12:13:52 PM  
you wanna speed up productivity up front... open more than 2 god damn lanes at a time.
 
2018-07-12 12:21:20 PM  
I don't like when there are patents for things that haven't been made.
 
2018-07-12 12:54:22 PM  

dittybopper: Harlee: winedrinkingman: Grillsergeant: My whole working life I have said "if you don't trust me enough to not spy on me I shouldn't work here." This goes too far.

Yeah, but you have a choice about where you can work.  Walmart employees typically fall into the "take any job you can get because you don't want to be living in a van" category.

citation?

No, generally an Econoline, but sometimes an Aerostar, Caravan, or a Town and Country.


But there are some who prefer the wide open range of the GMC Savana
 
2018-07-12 01:20:27 PM  

Harlee: Are you actually, you know, conscious?


When someone biatches and moans about stuff that is completely and utterly under their own control, I tend to try to be helpful.  I'm sorry if that offends you.
 
2018-07-12 01:26:48 PM  
Just talk gibberish as much as you can to confuse the system.
 
2018-07-12 03:52:16 PM  
I don't understand the flimsy pretext on this. Is 20-30 people in each of the 3 open checkout lanes not sufficient to know employees are moving too slowly and/or understaffed?
 
2018-07-12 04:43:45 PM  

akede: I don't understand the flimsy pretext on this. Is 20-30 people in each of the 3 open checkout lanes not sufficient to know employees are moving too slowly and/or understaffed?


I suspect because its audio they're homing in on making sure the cashier is following the script, including all the "Would you like subscribe to the latest partner's bullshiat sketchy rewards system today and royally piss off everyone behind you?"  "Now let me ask you 10 questions regarding your contact and address info" etc etc.

Nothing good will come of this and whoever green-lit this idea will be golden-chuted long before the company realizes how this is going to play out.
 
2018-07-12 05:03:37 PM  

Shaggy_C: You're there to work, not chit-chat. Want to talk sedition and bite the hand that feeds you? Do it on your own time.


Well if you feed a dog half of what it needs to live it's going to eventually bite out of desperation or hunger.
 
2018-07-12 05:04:44 PM  

Intrepid00: Just talk gibberish as much as you can to confuse the system.


Start reciting pieces of Lovecraft's poems when no customers are around.
 
2018-07-12 05:56:59 PM  
spy on every employee conversation

The easy way would be to give them Chinese-made cell phones. Difficulty: getting the Chinese government to share the data.
 
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