Sweat. Shop. – SHORT STORY


Sweat. Shop.

The fluorescent glow
Was her worst enemy as it incessantly showed
Toy parts smiling twistedly, along with the rest of the clones
They’d be leaving and she wouldn’t, the evil grins let it be known
As she painted ironic smiles on their leathery domes
It only served to remind her that she’s miles from her home
Parents gave her money to go, and quitting now won’t pay off the loan
And sitting down? A loss of two weeks wages like the signs have shown
Internally, she sighs and moans, looking at the clock swearing time has slowed
Feels like a week since she awoke from a 4 hour sleep
Co-workers glower, they don’t have the power to speak
These females, a dirty secret in retail, cower and peek
Invisible, discrete, helpless at the feet of the powers that be.


 Inhaling chemical emissions from their positions
12 cents a day isn’t worth a pittance working in the worst conditions
She’s losing weight working 14 hours straight, so what gets served in the kitchens
Coupled with being worked to the last nerve furthers the wishin’
For a breath of fresh air, but her attention is concerned with the itchin’

That’s turned red and is blistering, emerging all over, why tell? nobodies listening
Being malnurished furthers the inhibitions & murders the women’s ambitions
To break free from this prison, where doll parts blur in their vision
To eventually end up churlishly given, to a spoilt brat for behaving well
It’s not the dolls but the workers souls that were made to sell
Contractually compelled not to tell, so it’s ok for the factory owners to bathe in hell.


The reality of sweatshops where sweat drops and is turned into wet mops
It’s where breaths stop and souls slowly pop when it gets too hot
Sweltering in the heat at desktops, but it’s not on computer screens
It’s where hands welt and swell for a Toys’r’Us shelf and consumer dreams
The tide of life is governed by illness and poverty, not lunar schemes
And the rumours seem, to die with the workers in a tumourous theme
The West doesn’t want nightmares, it wants YOU to dream…

…and in an act of defiance one worker painted from the heart
hoping and wishing for the change it could start…

*a ship container, one week later, a girl in a shop*


Why does this one have bags under it’s eyes?
The hairs all dirty and its hands are tied.
Why is there a frown instead of a smile?
Why’s the skin scarred, blistered and vile?
The lips are bleeding, why’s there no make up?
Why is one eye half closed, the other stays shut?
How come the hands are gnarled and swollen?
The left one’s ok but the other one’s broken.
The clothes are ripped and dirty, the frame is frail
It’s worth a year’s wages to a factory worker.. and it’s on sale. 

 (2013 repost) © LionAroundWriting

14 thoughts on “Sweat. Shop. – SHORT STORY

  1. This hit me pretty hard ;n;
    I really like your blog, by the way. Worth the follow!

    And guess what we are talking about in my Psych class today?
    Classical conditioning.
    What a coincidence ;}

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers for reading!
      Classical conditioning is fascinating, the best lectures I ever had.


      1. Conditioning of any kind is interesting to me, as it can be used for nearly anything- not to mention it can explain many things, like phobias, philias, and social behaviors.
        Then there’s the fact that conditioning is used unconsciously all the time- telling someone they did a good job is conditioning even if you don’t mean it to be.
        And then we could get into behavioral reinforcement and all that jazz… But I’ll save you the eyeful X3

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Very disturbing that this still goes on. I’m not sure what the solution is, but our current environment has incented many of these companies to move their production to China in the name of profit and lower wages.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah that is true, but then, modern day wage (if it can be called that) salvery, has always been sourced in Asia from Pakistan, to China, to Taiwan etc.
      Not sure when it all started – maybe the 50’s? 60’s?
      Sadly there is no end in sight, and I am a hypocrite as a consumer of goods, likely made in those very conditions. There’s no easy answer.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I seriously believe we could reduce the number of sweat shops if we didn’t buy so much junk from communist countries

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True. The West creates the market. And not to excuse the situation at all, but plenty of Chinese will be purchasing products of slave labour by their own people. Anyone with an apple/samsung product is feeding the machine at Foxxconn factories to name one of many examples.


      1. Many cell are “badged” Motorolas and Samsungs…meaning some lessor companies put their name on Motorola and Samsung products…and China,as an example, funnels most of the money into military projects

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I didn’t know that…I don’t have bad feet I’m gonna try and solve this problem at lunch…thank God for Wal-Mart


  4. Wow! That was one powerful piece, Lion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mary! Very glad you enjoyed it
      I actually wrote that circa 2008, and its one of my favourite rhyming pieces I’ve ever done.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can see why it’s a favorite. Not often do I read something of this length that is strong from beginning to end. And I’ve always liked pieces that rhyme–if done well. Which you did.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you kindly. It was from my rapbattle era, we’d battle with stories and people would vote on it, declaring the victor. Fun times.

        Liked by 1 person

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