Oddly, yes. I do think that the minimum wage should be raised so that people can afford to live, but having worked in a job where I wasn't happy (and I knew I wasn't ever going to be happy), the only real answer is to find another job.
I got a better job. Just a high school education and i'm making 20$ an hour doing tech support for a security company. I don't even own a car, I rely on the bus, which exuded me from many many jobs, but I kept up and managed to find decent jobs in my 20s and 30s. Havent had a need for a food handlers permit since I was 22.
Good links.

A problem is that decades ago McDonald's set their business model to operate under the assumption that they would employ youngsters in their first-time job experience. This enabled them to offer low wages, part-time hours in exchange for training young people at their first job. This business model earned them millions of dollars.

However, this business model no longer works in a post baby boom society. It should be eliminated. Other fast food franchises have been able to adapt (Dick's for example).

Also, I think some posters missed the quote in the first link "I love fast food," Porter says, "because you get to see all kinds of people—I don't want to be a pencil-pushing person."

She could continue to be happy in her job with a livable wage and a strengthened social safety net.
so hungry
Something that gets me every time I read articles about part-time work: I was a retail manager for about a decade, and when I worked for chains, I was consistently told to keep people's hours under 32/week, because we might have to provide benefits if the person worked full-time. Keep the hours low even for my best employees. Even if those best employees had said they were available for full-time hours and I knew they could use the money. It was apparently a better choice to hire two or three less-than-wonderful people for 13 hours a week than one great full-time worker.
Anyway. The bottom tier of wages should be higher. And CEOs should think about the human cost of their bonuses.
CEOs don't care about the human cost of their bonuses. We'll die if we hold our breaths waiting on CEOs to give up a bonus in order to provide raises for the people who work for them.

Instead of waiting on that to happen, while we're pushing for living wages, we should be pushing for a legal ratio of companies' highest paid employees to their lowest paid employees. Say 40 to 1? If you're a CEO who wants to make $20,000,000/year, find a way to pay your lowest paid employees $184.91 an hour. If you want to pay your lowest paid employees $9.19/hour, you may earn no more than $764,608/year.

Of course in this political climate instituting a CEO pay ratio limit has as much chance as implementing a living minimum wage. Still the outrageous incomes CEOs get, even when their companies are failing, should be part of the conversation.
Fast food used to be a place where teens learned their work ethics. Now that the minimum wage has increased employers no longer want to hire and train teens. They go with the more reliable adults that are willing to take the job. Fast food was never meant to be a career. The solution to this problem is to set a lower minimum wage for 16 & 17 year-old kids. This will get the kids back into fast food and force the adults that are there now to go to trade school where they should already be enrolled. I say this not as some heartless asshole but as someone who worked in fast food as a teen. Someone who has had a job since age 13. Christ kids aren't even paperboys anymore because of minimum wage. This new generation is going to have horrible work ethics.

You've got it exactly bassackwards: employers aren't hiring more adults because the Minimum Wage has increased (if you'd bothered to read the articles, you would know that in many states and at the federal level, the MW hasn't even kept up with inflation over the past 20 years), they're hiring more adults because, with the high unemployment rate caused by the 2008 recession they now represent a larger portion of the available labor pool, and they're so desperate for jobs - any jobs, including low-paying retail level positions - that employers don't HAVE to hire inexperienced, unreliable teenagers for the same wage, when there are so many adults who NEED the work to support their families, and so aren't going to be in a position to complain, or just not show up if they don't feel like it.

Lowering the starting wage for teenagers will only have ONE EFFECT: to drive down the cost-of-labor even more than it is already, because those adults are still going to need the jobs, and this will put them in direct competition with kids making less than they do, creating even more of a downward spiral as adults are forced to accept lower and lower wages just to hang onto the crappy fast food jobs they already have.
@6: your pay ratio limit is too complicated. Just make income taxes more progressive. Set up four or five income brackets with rates ranging from something negative to 50-60%, no deductions. Simple.
One thing I wish Brendan had clarified in his story: are the three teens all her kids? If so, then Brendan failed miserably at telling the real story here (34-year-old mother, 3 teenage kids, works a fast food job a few cities away).

I guess trolling for sympathy is just easier.
So sick of hearing people gloat about how *they* know better than people who are stuck in minimum wage jobs, how *they* got out and *they* did better for themselves so it obviously has something to do with merit.
Even assuming that were true, WHY does being more or less intelligent entitle you to be treated fairly or not? If you are capable of showing up and doing your job well, every day, you are entitled to a fair wage for the work, whatever that work might be.
By saying that people who aren't "smart enough" to improve their lives don't deserve to make a living wage you are actually making a much broader statement about who in our society matters and why... that is not just a slippery slope, it's a dive straight off the fascist deep end.
Dori Monson will change his mind when they pry his head from his cold, dead ass.
It starts off by her saying she doesn't want to be a pencil pusher. Sounds like she made the choice not to work jobs that pay better.

Argue for raising the minimum wage, sure. But arguing that non skilled employees shouldn't be paid it? Nah.
Three teenage kids and she's only 34? Wow, what an over achiever, who'd imagine her life would be shitty!

I don't suppose the baby daddies are anywhere to be found, or is it politically incorrect to ask such things?

Nope, zero sympathy. She should have ordered a pack of condoms or tubal ligation with her man-burger.
First article is just fluff. Take aways: only privileged white people know who Paula Deen is or cares what she says or thinks and people protesting fast food can't articulate why they are protesting.

Second article has some interesting content. Take aways: retail and fast food should go back to employing highschool kids and wives looking for pin money. And that at least one liberal has figured out that "above all, you have to get consumers to accept significantly higher, and steadily rising, prices" if you want a higher minimum wage. Good luck with that!

Were these articles supposed to change my mind on something??? Because they are both completely void of any persuasive argument.
But don't you see? A living minimum wage with mandatory health insurance and paid vacation is the reason there aren't any restaurants at all, let alone fast-food restaurants, anywhere in Europe or Australia! I mean, except for the fact that thereare, and they are doing just fine. The unemployment rate in Scandinavia ranges from 3.5% in Norway to 7.9% in Sweden. In Australia, it's 5.7%. But don't let the evidence get in the way of a good dogmatic, libertarian, free-market assertion! Just keep on believing and pounding the table!
@7 kids aren't paperboys anymore because of the minimum wage? Try because people are dropping newspaper subscriptions and there's barely enough density of subscribers to support a kid on a bike.
#12 I think you are putting words into peoples mouths. I don't see anyone on here who is saying the people in fast food aren't "smart enough" to improve their lives. #2 was able to get a better job with just a high school education in the tech field. I went to vo-tech and got a better job. I also only have a high school education. The world is changing. There are fewer and fewer unskilled jobs available. There are very few warehouse jobs anymore. But there are plenty of jobs that are available if people would learn a trade, skill or improve their technical knowledge. It has nothing to do with smarts and everything to do with motivation and drive. What we need to do as a society is to encourage people to better themselves, encourage people to get into trade school, to help people see the potential inside.
To All Those Who Say Fast-Food Workers Should Just Get Better Jobs...

"Shut your fucking moron face." not good enough anymore?
@ 19, before the internet made newspapers superfluous, they had long transitioned to adult delivery because all the evening papers were morning papers by the early 80s. Grownups could deliver to 500 or more subscribers apiece because they drive, compared to 60-80 for teens.
My really good friend worked in K-Marts and the likes her whole life. She hated the work but it is all she thought she could get. Through the encouragement of her family and friends she applied to Boeing and was hired at age 46. She could not be happier. It is a year later and she still has a smile on her face every day at work. She is so happy and so productive they made her a lead.

If someone does not see the potential in themselves that is where friends and family should step in. But if someone is happy in fast food or that warehouse job. I mean truly happy then that is a form of success because they are happy in what they do. All the power to them. But if you are miserable use that misery as motivation to get a job that will make you happy.
Those of you who still say fast food workers should just get a better job: Do you have any idea how difficult it is to break out of an industry when that is all you have on your resume? I'm willing to bet a grand sum of money that your answer will be no.
Oh, and if you think that we already get fair wages, I highly recommend that you make your own lunches and dinners instead of relying on us for those. That's super simple to do, right?
Removing capital from the stagnating pools of the top 20% through...

1. A simple, fair & progressive gross income tax for businesses and a similar tax for individuals with a universal deduction per person of 1x the annual income of a full time employee making the prevailing minimum wage - that's it, no other deductions, loopholes or complications.)

2. A living, minimum wage based on cost of living in each state and adjusted for higher/lower average in each city.

3. Universal health care

4. Worker owned co-operatives/corporations, which get a 20-year relatively tax-free headstart like internet commerce did (think Amazon)

...would increase distribution & circulation of capital, increase overall market growth, stabilize market fluctuations, increase number of owners and strengthen the democracy.

So, do you want to live in a strong democracy of financially stable, healthy and informed owners, or do you want to continue the exploitation game of haves and haves nots of plantation capitalism in the hopes that you end up a servant in the master's house instead of the fields?

...with the fool's belief that the life you enjoy because of what the powerful do to others somehow won't be done to you?


We are either in this thing together, or we are all in it alone.
The total amount of money that changed hands worldwide in 2005 was 59.38 trillion dollars.

So if everyone made the same amount of money worldwide, everyone would have made $8,428 dollars.…

These numbers show that it is the minimum wage workers who are paid a correct and fair salary.

And no one else.

That's why the papers are full of justification upon justification about why someone is a Superman or genius, who deserves each and every penny of his billion.

Worker owned co-operatives/corporations,"

Worked well in the USSR, North Korea and Cuba! Everyone's equally poor!

In other news, liberals are surprised that a lifetime of shitty choices leads no where. Apparently before even turning 20 our heroine squirted out three fatherless sprogs. How about a raise if she gets her tubes tied?
@25 I am super sympathetic to your point, but that is the stupidest thing I've ever seen in a comments section. Yes, it is absolutely simple and easy to make your own lunch and evening meals, and nothing in the fast food or casual dining world represents anything like a culinary skill. I've had every one of those godamn jobs. They are frequently demeaning, difficult and stressful, but they do not produce a product that is superior to the sandwich a 10 year old can make at home for 1/3 the price.
" if you think that we already get fair wages, I highly recommend that you make your own lunches and dinners instead of relying on us for those"

Well hopefully more people will stop eating that shit and teach themselves to cook fresh, healthier and cheaper food (that's right, cooking at home can be cheaper). But of course if everyone stopped eating junk food, then you'd be out of work with that shitty resume of yours.
Sorry, Cienna, but story #1 does not tug at my heartstrings. I think she lost me at "Every blue moon. I catch myself doing it every two weeks, or something like that. We go to the Cheesecake Factory. "

Please. When I moved to Seattle 10 years ago and I was working at a retirement home making $9/hour, I NEVER went to restaurants that weren't named Taco del Mar. I would have NEVER gone to the Cheesecake Factory. And 20 years ago, when I was freshly graduated from college during the early 90s recession, I never went out, and neither did my friends. I have to wonder how "poor" this woman is if she can afford to go to the Cheesecake Factory twice a month.

And I know that all of you Slog snobs think that every person deserves to be able to go out to eat all the time. But for GenXers like me ... you know, we grew up thinking that eating out was a special thing that you did once in a while, not every week, but maybe once a month , if you really saved your dough.

Sorry to sound like an old fogey, but us Gen Xers grew up with the expectation of living beneath our means, not just within them. When I was making very little money (not so long ago), I just gave up the idea of going to restaurants, because I knew that my $$ would be better spent elsewhere.
@31 don't you know, going to a Cheesecake Factory very two weeks is a right! In Seattle it's part if our social justice plan!
@6 That is a lovely thought, but most companies will simply turn all their low wage staff into contractors, so they don't count, the same way that they depress staff hours to keep workers from counting as full-time employees.

That is not to say that regulations couldn't be crafted to limit techniques that render the underlying idea meaningless or harmful, like counting labor-hours instead of full-time staff members for health care provisions, but the complexity does make it extremely unlikely that anything good will be implemented.
@5 - Costco pretty much proves you can buck that "low wage costs beats all" approach.

I really liked the Surowiecki article - I like his commentary every issue - and it points out the real issue: these are no longer teenager jobs; they are now disproportionately head-of-household jobs.

The problem is that as we get more and more efficient, rather than spreading the productivity gains out in increased compensation and reduced time demands, we simply shrink the pool of workers. Too many people now who could once find labor demand for their skills have no other options...they're excess capacity, except as consumers.

As the number of people needed to achieve the same revenue keeps dropping, all the earnings from those productivity gains get distributed to a smaller and smaller group of people.

We are reverting to a new Guilded Age where excess agricultural labor became a huge pool for domestic servitude. Fast Food workers are merely the domestic servants in our new economy. It's horrific and the decreased expectations going forward will lead to social and political unrest.

What's it like being a witless fool who accepts the disingenuous use of misappropriated words in a tyrannical government's vocabulary?

Ownership of a business by those workers (aka - employees) whose labor constitutes the business is NOT in any way the same as an entity that is owned and controlled by the government.

Use the dictionary until you have a command of the language.

Eschew obfuscation.
My response has always been- do you want your burger or not? (someone has to fill the jobs) and- do you actually read the news? It's The Economy Stupid! Translation: of course you can't "just get a better job", or, you know "just inherit thousands of dollars and win a trip to SeaWorld" or "just develop super powers and become a famous circus act". I want some of what they're smoking if they're so optimistic about that sh*t. Not to mention: low-wage workers work just as hard as everyone else, if not harder, so why shouldn't their work at least pay enough to survive?

In response to the whole p/t problem mentioned above: I used to be in that trap- I was trying to support myself (single, childless adult living with roommates), and discovered the jobs that will only give you 30 hours max to keep you p/t will also pitch fits if you try to make their schedule work with a second job- and the second job will pitch the same fit every time you can't fill in because of your first job. Rent notwithstanding, your 30-hour job will whine and threaten to fire you for not having your schedule fully available to them. Me? Bitter? Nah...
Read both of those pieces and yes, I still feel the same way. If you have the skills to work in fast food well (juggling multiple priorities, accurately taking orders, good customer service, stamina), you can get a job as a busser in a restaurant - minimum wage plus tips. Then you work your way up and start to make better money. Even Tom Douglas made a remark that he gets workers from McDonalds.

Please wait...

Comments are closed.

Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

Add a comment

By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.