The minute Walmart increased its starting salary to $11 an hour, the countdown began.
How long would it take before members of the Trump Administration booked passage to Bentonville, Arkansas?
Rachel Brand, the third highest ranking official in the Justice Department, became the first to jump ship this week when it was announced in a Walmart press release that she would be leaving her position to become the executive vice president, global governance and corporate secretary, reporting directly to CEO Doug McMillon.
While her job title will probably take up all of the space on her business cards, it still has to be better than waiting for Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to get the ax.
Granted Brand’s new position is likely to pay millions more than the $11 an hour a beginning worker gets paid to stock the shelves, she probably would have bolted for Walmart even if the salary was not top shelf.
While her new job duties, which include being responsible for Walmart’s legal, global ethics and compliance, and global investigation, security, aviation and travel departments, do not sound anywhere near as exciting as dealing with terrorists, mob kingpins, and civil rights violators, the new job has its advantages.
Consider that Brand will not have to worry about her immediate supervisor, Rosenstein, being fired and then being faced with a decision on whether to fire the special counsel, and she will never have to call Jeff Sessions her boss again.
Plus, she will likely be able to use her company discount to build her wardrobe. Those fall specials are spectacular.
Life is good for Rachel Brand.
Knowing how competitive Walmart is, Brand may not be the last D.C. fixture to land in Bentonville.
Some appear to have already been practicing for jobs with the nation’s largest employer. Certainly White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s daily dealings with President Trump have prepared him to clean up that spill on aisle four.
Former Exxon CEO and now Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would fit right in with Walmart’s Automotive Department. He would be back around oil and not have to mess with North Korea, Kim Jong Un, or the type of “morons” he deals with in Washington.
If Doug McMillon wants government officials to join his company, all he has to use is three words: “I don’t tweet.”
After that, it is just a matter of settling on salary.
People have been leaving the Trump Administration in droves since its inception, with the number expected to grow as uncertainty continues about the shelf life of the president and as the Mueller investigation continues to flourish.
When people work for Walmart, they seldom have to hire a lawyer to help them deal with any grand jury proceedings or possible indictments.
Unfortunately for those people at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Walmart may not be able to accommodate all of those who are seeking new positions, whether they leave on their own or under pressure.
The company is closing 63 of its Sam’s Club locations, according to Business Insider, and it has done away with all of its co-manager positions and now that it is willing to pay $11 an hour, people are going to be beating down the doors to don those blue vests.
One position that seems to come open on a frequent basis, though, is the one that has become Walmart’s calling card, the greeter; often an elderly person with an impish smile, who offers a welcome to shoppers as they come through the doors and then offers a cheery goodbye when they leave.
And that could be a nightmare for Rachel Brand as she enters her new position.
Could there be anyone who would be more suitable for that job than her old boss, Jeff Sessions?