(MONEYLAND.TIME) — Smiling seniors playing golf or mah-jongg under a bright warm sun served as Americans’ dominant image of retirement 30 years ago. More recently, the vision has been of smiling retirees greeting customers in front of a Walmart.
The Sun City idyll self-destructed years ago, done in by our surprising longevity and a flawed pension system. Now the greeter image is fading too, even if what the position came to symbolize — low pay and mundane labor to make ends meet in old age — is more relevant than ever.
Millions of under-saved seniors still need to work. In a recent Wells Fargo survey, 74% of middle-class Americans said they expect to work in their retirement years; 25% said they expect to work at least until age 80. They’ll just have to find their opportunity somewhere other than a Walmart entrance.
This month, Walmart began relocating day-shift greeters to high-traffic areas inside the store, where they’ll have new duties. They will still be expected to greet shoppers with a smile — but also to help them find what they want and navigate crowded aisles.