I appreciate what you are saying here, and have a few differences, but you're right, we took similar paths, and both seemed to end up ok....Let me just say that retail is a hard business to do anything substantial as far as wealth creation goes...Like I said my father owned a Pharmacy, that also sold convenience items, and liquor as well, and his store although provided a good living, he wasn't a rich man by any means. I am struck by the old adage that 'you can go into business to create a job, or you can make a difference and be rich'.... My father's business although we didn't want for anything, we were no where near rich.
But the point where we have a difference is that an employer's responsibility to its workers, IMHO, is to pay a fair wage for work done (doesn't mean a livable wage), provide a safe work environment, and reasonable hours. Other than that, I think the responsibility stops there. The business doesn't adopt the person for goodness sake....You mentioned that you were also in car sales of some sort, and a manager for used cars, right? Knowing that business, I am sure that you saw your share of salesmen under you, that struggled to sell a car, or maybe every car they sold was a 'mini deal' where they made very little for moving it....But that is the business right? A car dealer pays people on commission so it is up to the person to sell the car, the more they sell it for, the better money they make. The ability to make the money is totally on the salesman....Now, do you think that if a dealer has a salesman that every car they sell is at cost, ie; 'giving them away', should then draw a living wage from the dealer if the dealer is making NO profit? And how long would that salesman last?
So, when you cite the raw number profit, ie; $16 Billion, $17 Billion etc...I think you are making the mistake of looking at raw numbers, and not percentages...3 to 4% is not a hell of alot of money....Considering they are the largest retail employer in the US with over 4,000 stores, and over 2 million employees. Plus, if you think that they are too big, and should be gone, what would that look like? Prices for everyone would go up, and 2 million more unemployed....Great.