Couple Charged for Tying Up Girls. That’s the headline on an Associated Press story out of Des Moines, Iowa. According to the AP, a couple has been arrested and accused of keeping their two daughters tied up in a motel room while they worked at night. The daughters were 10 and 5 years old. Their parents left them at home wearing harnesses that were tied to furniture with leashes, like they were dogs. According to police, the children appeared to be healthy. They had room to walk around but couldn’t leave the room. The news story identifies the two parents as Wal-Mart “associates”: Donald Ray Melton Jr., 26, and Kimberly E. Melton, 27. They were charged Sunday, September 17th, with child endangerment and were being held in lieu of $13,000 bail each. The couple was arrested at the Wal-Mart store where they worked. Melton had been tying up his stepdaughters — Ashley Porter, 10, and Sherrie Porter, 5 — for two or three weeks, police said. Police said the girls’ mother was arrested for allowing it.
Wal-Mart says it has over 885,000 employees — so of course there are going to be stories like this of associates who can’t manage a family. But Wal-Mart spends a great deal of money to create an image about their workers, and the “family” sense at their stores. Maybe they’d want to spend a little more money on their employees’ wages and benefits, instead of their $1 million a day TV ads campaign. This couple was working the night shift at Wal-Mart, while leaving the kids home at night on a leash. The next time you see one of those Wal-Mart Mr. Smiley ads, with greeters and happy associates, remember the real story of the Melton family, and what was happening back home to the kids.