Monthly Archives: July 2013

Fries with that?

I must be getting old.

When I was a kid, my parents informed us that we should go to school to learn a trade/occupation/skill that would allow us to make a living and support ourselves and our families. We all had jobs in high school and in college that helped to pay for tuition and extras, and were rather menial in nature: clerking at the Big Name drug store, filing at Dad’s Place of Work, spending a summer making pots and pans at the factory, working in fast food, landscaping. We all recognized that these jobs didn’t pay well because they were essentially unskilled, unlike that of a nurse or engineer. If you wanted a better-paying job, my parents would inform you, you had better get that education so that you could do so. End of story.

Now there’s a lawsuit going on in which workers at various fast food restaurants are suing because they don’t make a living wage.

I agree that $7.25 an hour wouldn’t be enough to live on, much less to support a family. But when did we start to think that unskilled labor – and that’s what these jobs are – should be paid the same as skilled labor….just because?  I understand that college isn’t for everyone. However, these folks could get a different job that pays better. Or get an education to learn a trade that pays better. Why is it the fault of the fast food industry that fast food workers aren’t paid well? That has always been the case – which is why in the old days, fast food workers were mostly high school and college kids.   It’s why “do you want fries with that?” has become the punchline of jokes.

I know it’s hard out there. (From very personal experience – but that’s another post.) But personal responsibility needs to come into this at some point, yes?

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