‘Deserve’s’ got nothin’ to do with it

by Sonny Bunch on November 29, 2012

From the Washington Examiner:

“I feel I deserve $15 an hour,” said Linda Archer, 59 a McDonalds cashier. “I work very hard.” Archer currently earns $8 an hour and averages 24 hours a week.

From Unforgiven:

Having spent my teenage years as a McDonald’s employee, I feel some measure of sympathy for Ms. Archer.* But the simple fact of the matter is that it would be economic suicide for McDonald’s to pay entry-level employees $15 an hour and disastrous for the employees such a policy is meant to help. There’s no surer way to institute a death spiral for the shop: Prices would skyrocket and staff would be slashed, meaning people would be paying more for crappier service. So customers would stop going, leading to further staff reductions and, before you know it, the restaurant is out of business. Pretty basic economics.

*Although I have less than you might think. Fast food is the sort of industry where if you show even a modicum of competence/dedication to your job you’ll quickly rise the ranks within the store.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

rearadmir0l November 29, 2012 at 11:20 am

RE: “modicum of competence/dedication ” — at one of my post college jobs , I cannot remember how many times I was offered promotions and told I was “management material” simply by showing up on time, giving advance notice if I needed to call in, and just “doing my job”.


Sonny Bunch November 29, 2012 at 11:23 am

Exactly. The baseline level of competence required to earn raises/promotions in the fast food industry is exceedingly, exceedingly low.


Will November 29, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Which is actually pretty disturbing, because it seems like there’s a lot of people out there who simply don’t have the social capital to succeed at even the most basic jobs.


Sonny Bunch November 29, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Yup. But the answer isn’t “Well, screw it, we’ll force businesses to pay borderline-incompetents more money.”


Will November 29, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Yeah. This is one of those intractable social problems that lacks a clear remedy.

Joe November 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm

To be fair, I’m in a professional government job firmly in the middle class, and I’m both shocked and appalled at how little effort and proficiency is needed to be considered a great employee. Meaning, yes, career government jobs have expectations similar to those of entry level service jobs. Awesome.

And that line is Clint Eastwood’s best, and most quotable, ever.


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