McDonald’s Clearly Drove Its Employees Insane
OK, so it’s not just McDonald’s, but they definitely brought about a billion straws to test in finding the breaker for that old camel’s back! If you don’t live in one of a handful of major cities, ranging from a metropolis like New York City to a corpse like Detroit, you might not be aware that thousands of fast-food employees went on strike this week. And no, it wasn’t because they read the monthly jobs report and saw that 162,000 jobs were added last month, but most of them were part-time food service jobs…hmmmm, wonder if that’ll cut into someone’s hours at a fast-food joint so that someone’s manager doesn’t have to dish out for insurance in January of next year? Interesting…
…Anyway, these folks are taking to the streets and striking during peak service hours in hopes that they’ll pressure their numerous fast-food gods into paying them a living wage. Now, lots of people have food service experience somewhere along the way in their curriculum vitae, but many don’t. As a result, they don’t understand that food service is an often thankless job that instills a severe hatred of people in its employees while paying them a single notch above chicken feed for the honor of serving the public some food to a public that would be much better served by just learning the simple fucking skill of cooking. Some people see it as a menial, horseshit job, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a much more high-pressure endeavor than one might think, and I side with the sentiment of the striking workers. Yes, they should be doing better than minimum wage. In fact, I think that some measure of psychiatric hazard pay should be given to the workers who work a lunch or dinner rush.
Unfortunately, the pressure of working in one of these fast-paced hellholes has clearly eroded the sanity of these striking food workers. Before I get into that, though, let’s take a gander at this picture:
This is what the folks over at McDonald’s have to work with, friends. That net pay for their McDonald’s job? Yep, that’s a full-time work week. So McDonald’s fully expects all of their employees to have another part-time job that pays nearly as well as they do. Passing the buck a little bit there, Mayor McCheese? Get your fucking house in order, you bread-headed chump.
Also on that sample budget that, once again, McDonald’s actually released themselves, you’ll see that Grimace and the gang reasonably expect that their employees are truly able to sock away $100 a month into savings. In most housing markets, we have to hope they have a roommate (or roommates) or they’re squatting in that crack hotel from the 1991 hit film New Jack City. I have never heard of $20/month for health insurance, and if it does exist, it probably only permits that a sick employee’s dead body be washed with reclaimed water from a shady municipal source. They don’t get to have heat in the winter, because who needs to be warm? Cable/phone should be cable -or- phone, and the “other” line item isn’t going to even come close to covering the marijuana they’re going to need to make their lives bearable. So it’s no fucking wonder they’re striking.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, they have been driven to a state of incurable madness. With the current minimum wage set at $7.25, a 40-hour week doesn’t even clear $300/wk gross. But instead of going for $10 or $11 an hour in these metro areas where profits, demand for the product and metro-related costs all add up to a wage like that being very reasonable, they’re pushing for $15.00 an hour. Ladies and gentlemen, as much as I want to side with the abused underdogs here, they’re out of their fucking gourds.
Is $15 an hour a living wage? Absolutely. Here in Philadelphia, studies have been done to show that a fair living wage for living in this city should actually be $16/hr. A place like New York City, in comparison, must have a significantly higher demand/cost-of-living scenario that should be able to bump these folks into some measure of higher wage. Not $15 an hour, though.
And why not? There are a number of reasons, one of them certainly being that such a pay increase would completely unravel the system. Say you go to college, learn a great deal, put in a lot of effort, load yourself up with internships and extracurricular volunteer activities, and then you get out of college and take a job as an associate IT specialist. You’d probably start out at a salary of about $30,000 a year, and that might be if you’re lucky. To pay off the student loans, you have to take a night job in…food service!, and your co-workers have been making the same $30k as you in your day job for doing something that takes about 10% the actual brainpower and almost no cultivated skill. Yes, it’s a tough job, but it’s not tough on the skill-set end. Customers, picky-eating assholes and generally rude motherfuckers who think that you are their plaything to be abused are the hazards involved in food service, not a learning curve.
And this is the precise point where this whole situation starts to get really hairy. One has to wonder, I have to wonder, “do they really think their efforts are worth that much money? Do they think they should be seeing the lion’s share of the profits in their bank accounts when a publicly traded company like McDonald’s holds its completely sociopathic obligation to pay off the shareholders that continue to put faith and money into their business model?” I’ve established that they’re insane, so delusions of grandeur wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities, but I almost feel like they’re pulling a Christmas List move.
When I say that, I speak only of how I made Christmas lists as a child. We were ridiculously poor, and so I knew I wasn’t going to get the Super Nintendo, the Sega Genesis, all of the wrestling figures I was missing, $200 hard cash, video games to go with the systems, a samurai sword and a German Shepherd. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t itemize every single bit of that stuff on my list, including stores where they could be purchased and their phone/address info.
“I might not get it all,” I would think, “but if I get one thing on the list, I’ll be happy…unless it’s a Super Nintendo game with no Super Nintendo.”
So if our fast-food pals are going with that tactic, I’d offer the criticism that they’re not children anymore…but they should be. This leads me to my biggest gripe with these strikes, which is that these people are looking to be paid salaries that should be paid to people looking to make a career out of something, all the while working at establishments that should have high turnover rates. If you really like McDonald’s, learn the skill set that will get you into management, or run your own franchise. That way, when you make a living wage, you’ve actually earned it. People ultimately get paid minimum wage (and better than minimum wage in major cities, let’s not kid ourselves) for working in fast food because it’s supposed to be a starter job. The workforce for those positions SHOULD be in their first jobs, should be essentially unskilled, and should be mostly teenagers learning their first lessons about work ethic, diplomacy, money management and yes, humility. “Fry cook” is not a career unless you choose it, and “fry cook” is simply not a job description that’s worth $15.00/hr. To think that it actually is might be one of the most shockingly entitled & narcissistic viewpoints I’ve ever heard.
So, do I wish them well or not? Well, so many people want to clear things up in yes-or-no terms, and that’s unfortunate, because so many things don’t fit that one-or-the-other paradigm. I do wish them well; I hope they get paid more, because the job’s tough in hard-to-measure ways and a person shouldn’t have to jump between one source of crippling stress and another for the entirety of their lives.
However, I absolutely don’t wish they’d make 15 dollars an hour. That’s fucking nuts. Personally, every person on the planet is worth more than that, and that’s something I truly believe. But in a job market, someone who uses a hot surface to make food change color until it’s safe for human consumption is not worth $15 at all, unless they have credentials to back up their talent.
It’s a true problem, trying to navigate the worth of a person. It’s nothing but insulting to devalue a person, but a person also needs to be realistic about what his or her true value actually is. If the two sides could sit down and find the place where the corporate agenda meets the individual’s aspirations, nothing but good could come from it. As it stands, however, McDonald’s is an asshole company and its employees are deluded maniacs. “Good luck” is probably the closest I can get to finishing my thoughts on them, it seems.
So, “good luck,” employees and employers. Stop being shitty, teach our government a lesson and compromise to find a fair solution.
Posted on 08/02/2013, in Perennial Trouble in Paradise, Uncategorized and tagged 15 dollars an hour, Detroit, entitled, fast food, fast food strike, Flint, living wage, McDonald's employee budget, McDonalds, Milwaukee, minimum wage, narcissism, New York City, no money for heating, protest, St. Louis, strike, unions, unskilled. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.