By now, you’ve seen all the various posts on Facebook, the pictures of the different signs, all of them saying something similar: “Closed because no one wants to work”.
That’s an absolute lie. It’s not that people don’t want to work. They have no desire to break themselves for wages that aren’t worth the time of a twelve year old, let alone an adult. How do I know? Because I worked those jobs, with those awful wages, nearly thirty years ago.
My first job was Taco Bell; I had it for two months and I hated it. During the entire two month stint, I had one eight minute break. I made minimum wage, had to pay for the uniform, and worked until well past two in the morning most nights. I had my schedule changed without my knowledge. The managers treated me like dirt on their shoe. When my great-grandmother’s health took a sudden turn for the worse, I quit, giving them three days notice.
If I could have given them less, I would have. I owed them less than nothing.
My next job was Blimpie. Again, I made minimum wage. I stayed there for two years; in that time, I saw my ex get fired, the manager having an affair with the district head, my worked hours reduced by the manager, and multiple early call ins because my coworkers didn’t show up or work. On the day my great-grandmother died, I was called in hours early, because my coworker didn’t want to work at Blimpie, but rather the convenience store. Then, one morning, the manager came in with a bad attitude and fired me.
Three days later, the manager called me and asked if I wanted my job back. I took it, but only for a month. I refused to stay there for much longer.
Although I got a job with a bookstore, that didn’t last and I found myself at Krispy Kreme. Again, it wasn’t much over minimum wage and I had to deal with an abusive, toxic coworker. I was the one who did most of the work while everyone else sat around and did nothing.
My thirteen year stint in Walmart? I was making $10.40 an hour when I was terminated. Subway and Target? I made $8.25 an hour.
In almost every case, I was expected to break myself for what amounted to nothing. The wages weren’t even close to the effort. But I was expected to show up, with a plastic smile on my face, and cheerfully do whatever management asked.
If I were stuck in any of these jobs now, I would tell them to piss off. They aren’t worth it. They never were. The wages aren’t worth it. It’s not like I couldn’t have been paid more, but that would cut into profits and we can’t have that, now can we?
No, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for these businesses. I was the one busting my ass at some of them when I was younger. I know these assholes screwed me over and I can’t force myself to care that they’re getting screwed.
Pay your workers. Pay people. They’ll stay around. I should know: I’ve been at Costco for almost five years. I’m making $25.50 an hour. I’m not going anywhere, if I have anything to say about it. Because I’m making an actual, living wage now and I have no desire to lose that.
It would be nice if some of these other businesses paid attention and tried to do the same. But I doubt they will.