From Off The Beat:
It is possible to stuff a Sony PlayStation 4 in your pants – all six pounds of it, according to an arrest affidavit.
But it could be argued that whatever sense of accomplishment Christopher Caldwell, 36, may have enjoyed by fitting the gaming console in his trousers, it was overshadowed by being thrown in jail.
A loss prevention officer at a Walmart Supercenter on South U.S. 1 in Port St. Lucie told Port St. Lucie police July 7 he saw Caldwell in the bike department.
Caldwell, of West Palm Beach, is accused of sticking the PlayStation 4 in his pants.
“Christopher then began concealing the accessories into his pants as well,” the affidavit states.
He left without paying and was stopped.
Released in November 2013, the PlayStation 4 is 2.09” x 10.83” x 12.01,” and weighs 6.17 pounds, according to engadget.com.
Pants fitting that description include so-called Hammer pants, which are strikingly generous in the thigh/crotch area and were popularized by the 1990s rapper M.C. Hammer (real name Stanley Kirk Burrell).
Harem pants, often worn by belly dancers, also fit the bill. A November 2012 article in “Vanity Fair” talks of Justin Beiber’s affinity for harem pants and describes them as “a supremely unflattering style of trousers that droop above the knee like an oversize diaper before tapering down to the ankle.”
That article explores a variety of possible origins for harem pants, concluding it’s unclear.
In any case, they did not began with Caldwell, who was arrested on a felony grand theft charge in connection with the pilfered PlayStation 4.
Caldwell also was on federal probation, the affidavit states.
A mother who hired a photographer to take photos of her breastfeeding her daughter says the local Walmart refused to print the images because they were “inappropriate.”
Iris Litterio met photographer Jennifer Luna in a New Hampshire moms’ group and hired her to commemorate her journey through nursing. “Originally, I just wanted to make it six weeks, and my daughter and I ended up getting the hang of it and we’ve made it almost 15 months,” Litterio tells Yahoo Parenting. “I wanted to celebrate that.”
Jennifer Luna, a nursing mother herself, says she offers photo shoots with breastfeeding moms because she wants to capture the bond that nursing creates. “You only have a few months, or maybe a few years, of your child’s life that you do this,” she tells Yahoo Parenting. “You will never see this look in their eyes again, and that’s what I want to offer.”
But when Luna went to print the photos at Walmart, in order to use them for a poster to raise breastfeeding awareness at a local latch-on event,she had no luck. After trying to print at a kiosk, Luna says she got the attention of an employee who she hoped would assist her with the machine. “The printer was cutting off the sides of the collage, but the employee told me, ‘It doesn’t matter that they aren’t printing right, you cannot print them here — it’s against company policy because you can see nipple,’” Luna says. “But that is not the case. The nipple is inside the child’s mouth; you can see a little bit of areola.”
Luna said she asked to speak with a store manager, and while she waited for the manager to arrive, the employee grabbed each of the photos — Luna had originally tried to print 30 — from the printer before Luna could get to them. “She was snatching them away to be sure I couldn’t get ahold of them,” she says. When the manager did arrive, Luna says he was equally unhelpful. “I tried to explain the pictures to him, but he said it didn’t matter my reasoning, the pictures were against company policy and that in the future I would have to take my business of this type elsewhere.” The manager also referred to the photos as “inappropriate.”
Luna says she eventually had the pictures printed at Staples, where she encountered no issues.
Erin Hofmann, a Walmart spokesperson, says the retailer has since reached out to Luna and apologized for her experience. “There was a newer associate who was operating under misinformation. We do have policies in place that prevent us from printing certain types of photographs, but breastfeeding does not fall under that category,” she tells Yahoo Parenting. “We strive to provide a good customer experience, and unfortunately that didn’t happen here. We sincerely apologize for the customer’s experience. The policy has been clarified to the employees. We have tried to make it right.”
Luna says she received an apology from the store more than two weeks after the incident, and only after the story was covered on the local news. When members of her local moms’ group originally lodged complaints on Walmart’s Facebook page, Luna says they were told that employees had the right to refuse to print any photos they deemed “obscene and indecent.”
Litterio says she was especially surprised at the photo Walmart deemed indecent because it was her favorite of the bunch. “You can see my daughter looking at me, and that face she has when she is nursing is my favorite thing about breastfeeding,” she says. “That look has been what has helped me through this journey — it brings tears to my eyes. It’s so filled with love and contentment and pure trust and this feeling of being utterly safe.”
That Walmart would call photos of breastfeeding obscene and indecent “really offended me,” Litterio says. “They weren’t sexual photos. I felt disappointed because they were treating them like they were pornographic. Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing. I would be just as surprised if they had removed a picture of my daughter taking a bottle. I feel like Walmart took for granted what an accomplishment it is and what a hard thing nursing is — it’s not always easy and it’s definitely not always enjoyable.”
Luna agrees. “We aren’t taking our tops off or bringing bras down to pose for nude photos for Playboy,” she says. “We are feeding our child like anyone would feed a child.”
Both women feel that the larger issue is that mothers shouldn’t be shamed for breastfeeding. “It’s 2015, babies need to eat, and when my baby wants to eat, she wants it now,” Litterio says. “Would you rather hear my daughter scream or see me nurse? Because I feel like, either way, I will be getting dirty looks. I don’t deserve dirty looks for feeding my child. Walmart should not make women feel uncomfortable for using their bodies for their intended purpose.”
Five months later, that victory is turning into a double-edged one for the company, given that the raise isn't reaching every Walmart store employee equally. Some workers are complaining that new employees are receiving relatively big step-ups in pay, bringing the recent hires' pay close to their own. Others aren't seeing any raise at all, according to Bloomberg News.
"It took me four four years to get to $10.80. When minimum wage goes up we don't receive a pay increase unless we are under the minimum," one worker wrote in a comment on Walmart's corporate blog. "Now our 2 newest associates are making $10.75 and my annual raise is going from 40 cents down to 26 cents. Apparently experience does't get rewarded."
Under Walmart's pay hike, all current workers are slated to earn at least $9 an hour, or $1.75 higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Next February, wages will rise to at least $10 an hour. New hires are also now starting at $9 an hour and moving to $10 an hour in 2016, which is one reason why more senior employees are feeling burned.
"You work someplace for five or 10 years, and you get these raises that are cents per hour -- then the company does this thing they get praised for, but you aren't seeing a benefit from that," Mackenzie Barris, a field organizer for Jobs With Justice, a worker rights nonprofit whose campaigns include Change Walmart, told CBS MoneyWatch. "Of course you'll feel that's not fair."
One employee wrote on Walmart's blog that she does "not appreciate" receiving the same pay as a new worker. "What incentive do I get for my experience and knowledge?" she wrote.
Some employees told Bloomberg News they believe their hours have been cut and annual raises lowered in order to pay for the higher wages for new workers. The company told the news organization that it's making sure all workers have the chance to step into higher-paying positions.
Whether Walmart executives should have foreseen the hard feelings caused by its uneven pay raises is debatable. On the one hand, the company had been under pressure from labor activists and policy makers to boost its pay, given that many of its workers are forced to rely on public assistance to make ends meet.
As America's largest private employer, more than 1.3 million people work at its stores, meaning that any pay increase will likely have a positive impact on thousands of families and communities.
"We had more than 500,000 associates who received two raises this year. Every associate at Walmart at least once a year receives an annual increase -- the 500,000 were people who received an increase on top of that," a Walmart spokesman wrote in an email.
Walmart U.S. human resources chief Kristin Oliver told Bloomberg that it understood some employees would feel left out by its wage increase. She added, "We weren't prepared to go forward with any additional increases but have continued to look at it to see if there is something else we should do for those in the middle."
Workers are sensitive not only to what they bring home in their paycheck, but also what their co-workers are earning. That's a lesson that was learned by Gravity Payments founder Dan Price, who earlier this year was lauded for his decision to boost pay for all workers -- regardless of experience or skill -- to $70,000. At the time, he told CBS MoneyWatch that one employee had expressed concern that lower-ranking workers would see pay increases, while others would not.
While Price was seen as a fighter for income equality, his pay raises didn't turn out to be as successful as he had imagined they would be, according to The New York Times. Two of his highly valued employees quit, partly because they felt the pay hikes were unfair when more senior staff had received little or no raises.
Like Gravity Payments, Walmart appears to be hampered by the unintended consequences of its pay move. Still, Jobs With Justice's Barris said that many Walmart employees have felt the company's management doesn't listen or respect them, with the latest snafu just another example of that behavior.
"Raising that bottom wage is symbolic, but doesn't respond to the men and women who work that their stores for years and years, feeling they aren't fully respected," she said.