The federal minimum wage is $7.25 and hour. A lot of people think it should be raised to $10.10. Seattle now pays $15 an hour, and the The Freedom Socialist Party is demanding a $20 living wage for every working person. What do you think about the minimum wage? How much do you think a Big Mac will cost if McDonald’s had to pay all their employees $20 an hour?
Back in 1979, I was working as an usher for United Artists at a multiplex in Baltimore. The minimum wage was $2.90, and I earned every penny.
When I wasn’t tearing tickets in half and stopping kids from theater hopping, I was cleaning out the bathrooms, emptying the trash, and scrapping dubious substances off the theater floor with a putty knife. I wore a silly outfit and smiled unnaturally, usually for the entirety of my shift. I worked 18 hours my first week, mostly after school, and earned $62.20. Before taxes. But I was also learning the importance of “soft skills.” I learned to show up on time and tuck my shirt in. I embraced the many virtues of proper hygiene. Most of all, I learned how to take shit from the public, and suck up to my boss.
After three months, I got a raise, and wound up behind the concession stand. Once it was determined I wasn’t a thief, I was promoted to cashier. Three months later, I got another raise. Eventually, they taught me how to operate a projector, which was the job I wanted in the first place.
The films would arrive from Hollywood in giant boxes, thin and square, like the top of a card table, but heavy. I’d open each one with care, and place each spool on a separate platter. Then, I’d thread them into the giant projector, looping the leader through 22 separate gates, careful to touch only the sides. Raging Bull, Airplane, The Shining, Caddyshack, The Elephant Man – I saw them all from the shadowy comfort of the projection booth, and collected $10 an hour for my trouble. Eventually, I was offered an assistant manager position, which I declined. I wasn’t management material then, anymore than I am now. But I had a plan. I was going to be in the movies. Or, God forbid, on television.
I thought about all this last month when I saw “Boyhood” at a theater in San Francisco. I bought the tickets from a machine that took my credit card and spit out a piece of paper with a bar code on it. I walked inside, and fed the paper into another machine, which beeped twice, welcomed me in a mechanical voice, and lowered a steel bar that let me into the lobby. No usher, no cashier. I found the concession stand and bought a bushel of popcorn from another machine, and a gallon of Diet Coke that I poured myself. On the way out, I saw an actual employee, who turned out to be the manager. I asked him how much a projectionist was making these days, and he just laughed.
“There’s no such position,” he said. I just put the film in the slot myself and press a button. Easy breezy.”
Borderlands Books, a much-praised science-fiction and comic-book store in San Francisco, owner Alan Beatts, “Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to the minimum wage.”
Thus Borderlands Books is closing.
Something like 77% of their customers voted for the city’s newest minimum-wage law which sunk this bookstore.
$15/hour is more than the workers bring in at this store, but that’s the mandated wage to start work under the new law.
Maybe they’ll learn the hard way.
Mike Rowe’s is a great story.
I have no problem with some level of minimum wage, but it certainly shouldn’t be so high that it drives businesses out of business and it should be a business with some minimum no. of employees. I think of the business owners that don’t make a minumum wage but want the opportunity to put the effort into it to try to grow a profitable business.
Mike Rowe said it right. Those wanting a $15-20/hour minimum wage, you have to want more than working at McDonald’s, Burger King, or some other low, entry-level job for the rest of your life.
My first job was going around the neighborhood to cut grass. When someone decided they wouldn’t mind paying me $5.00 to cut their grass and bag the clippings to put in their trash can, that was a good day. The better day was when you got to cut grass during the hot spell – that usually meant earning $15-20.
Minimum wage is just that; the minimum. It is a start, a gimme-job, something anyone could do. From there, you advance, if you are worthy.
The left would like to make entry-level jobs a living. If so, what would be the point of going to school? To college? If you can mop floors and make $40,000 a year, why waste time getting an education?
These are the people Democrats want out there; uneducated, ignorant people that will believe anything they are told because they don’t know any better. People that will believe that a vote for the left is a vote for more money in THEIR pockets. After all, making a living mopping floors was pretty easy; why wouldn’t voting for more spending money be just that easy?
People with no knowledge of history or the mechanics of how life actually works. Dupes. Liberals.