Corporate Man is called in to investigate reports of vile, unethical business practices at Great American Business Company. What he finds there just might destroy him (except we all know the ending to The Tragic Death of Corporate Man so it should be fairly obvious that it can't really destroy him, though it can come close).

Enslaved by the Bonus Whores is an all new Corporate Man Adventure Serial. Chapters will post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

After nearly a decade of imprisonment, Corporate Man returns to find the economy in ruins and his deadliest enemies in control of all but a fraction of society's wealth. He embarks upon a quest to set right the wrongs of the business world; a task that will ultimately destroy him.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chapter 21

Tanya led them through a variety of departments, filling up their shopping cart with various supplies.  The look of disgust never left Mr. Jones’s face.  He overheard a manager speaking with a very sullen looking employee.
“I’m sorry Sally, but there’s really no room in the budget for raises.  Waldos is what you’d call a ‘penny profit’ organization.  With such great discounts and low prices we really don’t make much money.  Have you looked into government assistance?  There are many programs suited to someone of your income level.”
Sally tugged at her ear lobe and sighed.  “But sir, I got kids that–”
“The government will help you with.  The government loves kids.  That’s why they have the programs that they do.”
“Can’t you just ask H.R.?”
“I do.  All the time.  The answer is always the same.  Now don’t you have some Price Drop Downs to get done?”
“Well… yeah.”
“Better get on it then.  I’ve got to cut some hours from next week’s schedule.  Only those that show me some hustle are gonna be working.”
“Yes, sir,” Sally said and scurried off.  The manager smirked and brushed the leg of his navy blue pants.  He then fiddled with the cuffs of his scarlet shirt and checked to make sure his vest was still a smudge-free white.
Mr. Jones stood in the aisle, his face expressionless except for his eyes, which failed to mask a seething anger.  The manager finally noticed him and said, “Welcome to Waldos, sir, where we’re dropping down prices.  Is there anything I can assist with?”
Mr. Jones cocked his head to the side. 
“Don’t do it,” Tanya hissed in his ear.  “We’re trying to keep a low pro–”
“I’m not sure you can,” Mr. Jones said.
“Oh, well I’d like to try,” said the manager, smiling.  His eyes did not smile with the rest of his face.
“Would you, truly?”
The manager’s eyebrows narrowed.
“I sure would,” he said.
“That’s wonderful,” said Mr. Jones, walking toward the manager.  “How about you start by giving that poor woman a raise?”
The manager’s smile vanished.
“I’m afraid that’s none of your concern,” he said.
“Company policy, I’d imagine,” said Mr. Jones.
“That’s correct.”
“Is it company policy–”
“Don’t do this,” Tanya said.
“–to hire everyone at part time status to avoid offering them health care benefits but then ask them to work extra shifts so you end up getting a full forty out of them, but then never have to actually qualify their status to full time so they don’t receive the benefits of that designation?”
The manager’s jaw released and his mouth gaped for a moment.  “I… I… That wasn’t even what we were discussing.”
“Yes it was,” Mr. Jones said. “She was asking for a raise and you told her that the company was too poor to afford it.  I doubt a quarter more an hour would sink the Waldo fleet of… How many stores is it now?”
“Eight thousand three hundred and twenty-two,” Tanya said.
“Christ.  That many,” said Mr. Jones, stunned by the figure.  His gaze hardened.  “I’ll bet Sally’s still making minimum wage, too.”
The manager straightened his shoulders, set his jaw, and said,” Now that is untrue.  Sally’s been with us for nearly three years and has received her annual percentage increases.”
“And what percent is that?  Two percent?”
“I’m not at liberty to say,” the manager said, averting his eyes.
“Wow.  Less than two. So either one percent or, worse, a half a percent.  That’s despicable.  What do you make a year?”
“I’m not at–”
Liberty to say,” Mr. Jones cut in.  He leapt forward and grabbed the manager by the shoulders and yelled, “I bet it’s considerably more than minimum wage.”
And then a strange moment occurred between the two men.  A slight pause where neither man struggled.  Not to escape the other’s grip; not to maintain a grasp upon his opposite. 
Mr. Jones broke the silence.
“You make 140K a year,” he said.
The manager’s eyes went wide.  He opened his mouth but no words came out.
“Plus store performance bonuses,” Mr. Jones added.  “A percentage of sales less overtime hours, payroll totals, and insurance costs.”
The manager yanked free of Mr. Jones’s grip.
“They reward you for exploiting your employees,” Tanya said.
“How… How did you–” the manager stammered.
The sudden flood of financial knowledge shocked Mr. Jones as well.  He turned to Tanya, his eyes wide and confused.
“Don’t you know who this is?” Tanya said, abandoning her plans for keeping a low profile.  “This is Corporate Man.
 “Oh God, you’re from Corporate?” the manager said.
“No,” said Tanya, shaking her head.  “Corporate Man.  Capitalism’s hero.  Champion of the working class?
“I don’t know who that is or what this is or what your two are trying to pull, but I don’t like it.  I’m calling the head office.”
“Yes, that’s right,” said Mr. Jones, recovering his focus.  “Better call in, protect your position.  After all, you’ve got plans to buy another vacation home with the salaries you steal from your employees.”