The longer you wait, the less you work

“Hi, boss. I can’t go to work today. I’m now downtown, waiting in line to buy a new AC…”

In the last two weeks, lines at Venezuelan businesses have been front and center in our daily routines. Queues for electric appliances, lines for clothes, waiting for tools… they are the new normal.

Not that we weren’t standing in line before, but Maduro’s economic offensive shifted the nature of these. People keep rushing to stores and shopping malls so they can enjoy these State-sponsored mandatory sweepstakes.

For example, marabinos are waiting in line for six hours just to get an AC system or a brand new TV. Sometimes, the lines are only to get included in a list and then make another long line the next day. Many of them admitted that they’re skipping work.

And the catch is that this is becoming a trend. Last week, a representative of the Venezuelan Industries’ Confederation (Conindustria) told El Nacional that labor absenteeism has more than doubled since the start of the line-up frenzy (with Daka’s defacto occupation on November 9th and which has been formalized just today).

Labor absenteeism was already a serious concern after the passing of the Organic Labor Law (LOTTT) in May 2012 which basically prohibits employers from firing absentee workers, but it looks like the recent economic offensive has simply worsen it.

But that’s not the only issue. From businesses forced to assume serious financial losses to workers concerned about the safety of their jobs, we still haven’t seen the worst consequences of this surreal binge-shopping craze.

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