A lot of us don't put much thought into who makes the things we buy. We'll see tags saying where a particular product may be from, but that's about the extent of consideration we put into a product's manufacturing. A woman in Arizona got a nasty surprise when she opened a purse she bought at Walmart, it wasn't a tag she found, but a letter asking for help.
Laura Wallace's mother-in-law found a note written in Chinese letters. She took it to her daughter-in-law, unsure of what to do next. Wallace had it translated, which is how she learned the disturbing truth.
The note was apparently written by a prisoner in China. They describe horrible conditions that are unfit for any prisoner, regardless of crime, including 14 hours of work, every day without breaks, limited food, and next to no pay.
Wallace had the letter translated twice more to be sure of the contents, each time returned a similar message, so now she's sharing the letter on social media.
"I don't have the means or the access to help in any way. So I think this was my way of putting in my two cents," she said. She added that she didn't want this to be an attack on Walmart, saying "this is happening at all kinds of places and people just probably don't know."
Walmart was asked about the incident, but couldn't comment on it. A spokesperson did say that they require suppliers to uphold a certain standard as to how they treat their employees. Including that all work be voluntary.
What Comes Next
Sadly not much is expected to come of the note for help. It'd be nearly impossible to connect the note with the prisoner who wrote it, and China does not traditionally bow to pressure, even if the government decided to make a deal out of this particular instance.
A full translation of the note is below:
“Inmates in the Yingshan Prison in Guangxi, China are working 14 hours daily with no break/rest at noon, continue working overtime until 12 midnight, and whoever doesn't finish his work will be beaten. Their meals are without oil and salt. Every month, the boss pays the inmate 2000 yuan, any additional dishes will be finished by the police. If the inmates are sick and need medicine, the cost will be deducted from the salary. Prison in China is unlike prison in America, horse cow goat pig dog (literally, means inhumane treatment)."