I remember the first time I saw a commercial for MyPillow. Toward the end of the ad the announcer guy stated that they were proudly made right here in the U.S.A., with no outsourcing. I can tell you that that is very true because I saw them being made in Moose Lake Prison in the same building that I worked in sewing men’s briefs. Why ship jobs overseas when you can exploit prisoners right here?
I will tell you right now that I don’t have all of the facts pertaining to the MinnCorr industry in Moose Lake penitentiary but I can write about my own experience and what I heard from some of the offenders that worked on the MyPillow line. They were paid minimum wage which I believe is still at 7.25 per hour, much better than the 50 cents per hour that I made less than 200 feet away. The catch is, the prison takes half of the pay right off the top for the cost of confinement. There can be other deductions from F.I.C.A., MN income tax, and federal income tax. The workers are left with just over two dollars per hour, a pretty good amount for prison wages. Our saying on the brief line was that we earned our pay within the first five minutes of work every day. I say that because they sell our briefs back to the inmates at a cost of $3.25. I could sew together 200 pair per day. Not all of them were sold to us. They have big contracts with other facilities like jails and institutions that buy them cheaper in bulk, but, there’s huge profit to be made with cheap labor.
I’m not saying all of this because I’m mad at the prison for what they paid me. I’m actually in shock from looking at the MyPillow website and seeing what they charge for pillows made by people (prisoner or not) that work hard and will never get a raise, a bonus, stock options, or even a free fucking pillow. Just for kicks, and because the website is not at all up front with the pricing, I placed a mock-order that finally took me to the checkout page. It said that for two queen size pillows, my order came to $199.94!! That’s before tax and does not include shipping. It also does not include the pillow cases which can be purchased for…… only ……. $49.97. What a steal! Or maybe rip-off. Now I should mention that they did have some buy-one-get one deals but I would have had to enter a promo code which they had no further information on. I’m sure I could have found it if I was actually interested in buying one. Even so, those are some expensive pillows.
Is there a point I’m trying to make here? Meh. I don’t know. I enjoyed having a job while I was incarcerated. It paid the bills so to speak. And I certainly hope that my work lessened the burden to the taxpayers. But how come the MyPillow commercial shows workers in a factory all happy and smiling when that is not even where they are made? Made in America? Yes. Made proudly in America? No. Actually made most likely by child molesters and murderers. I guess that wouldn’t have been a good advertising slogan.
In other news… Today I learned that I am only 36 years old. For the past 11 and a half months, I thought I was 37. Somehow I just decided to skip a year. Now I only get to be 36 for two weeks, then I actually turn 37, which sounds way older. But not as old as 38 which I thought I would be very soon. Sometimes I think I’m losing my mind. Really, I do. I will stop dead in a sentence and not have a clue what word I was about to say. It sounds like 38 year old problems, not young 37 (or 36). That’s all I have for tonight.
Coming up on the next post: A look back at some of the stranger things I saw in prison. Things that I can’t un-see.