It is cotton season, and handbills advertising cotton-picking jobs are visible everywhere. If they cannot provide bags of their own to carry the cotton they pick, migrants who take the jobs are forced to pay for the bags on credit.
Forcing the workers to buy the bags they use to do work for the farmers is yet another creative way that farm owners take advantage of poor laborers.
The workers are desperate to save some money for the impending winter, but it is often difficult to earn money picking cotton because there are so many workers competing with one another. Moreover, unscrupulous plantation owners are known to use crooked scales to weigh the cotton. Workers counterbalance this by putting clods of earth in their bags.
Cotton picking often forces the Okies to compete against one another for pay, harming the community of workers and, as a result, reducing their pay. The laborers’ own deceptive tactics comes only in response to larger-scale dishonesty from the farm owners.