Unfortunately, I don’t have a better post lined up for today.  Mother’s Day Weekend is always a busy one, so you’ll have to forgive me for today’s fairly dry post.

Anyway, Mrs Thrill’s desire this past weekend was to do absolutely nothing.  The kids and I handled all the chores and meals (including breakfast in bed) for her.  For yesterday’s lunch though, she asked me to grab her something from Wendy’s plus lunch and a couple of chocolate Frosty’s for the Thrill-lings.

I personally don’t eat a lot of fast food when I can avoid it.  Mostly because of the quality of the food and how it makes me feel after I eat it.  There’s more to it though.

When I arrived at the drive-thru, there was only one car ahead of me, but it took almost a full five minutes just for the driver to get her order in.  When it was my turn to pull up, it took a couple of minutes before the young lady spoke to me through the box.  It was a bad sign.

Sure enough, she had trouble getting my order accurately recorded and then told me that I couldn’t get chocolate Frosty’s since the machine wasn’t set up.  “Will vanilla be okay?” she asked.  I said it would be fine.

Once she got the order right, it was almost another five minutes waiting for the car ahead of me to get her order at the window.  I also had another prolonged wait.  When the same young lady who took the order made it to the window, she informed me that the vanilla Frosty’s weren’t available either since they couldn’t get the machine going.  I had to get lemonade for the kids.  Okay, whatever.

From there, she also had gotten part of the order wrong, of course.  It seriously took almost ten minutes to get my stuff and move on.  I stayed polite all the way through.  I’m always respectful of low-paid workers, particularly when they’re handling my food.

All that aside, my mozzarella chicken salad was alright.  The lettuce was browning a bit, but not excessively so.

The whole experience was awful and it made me think about how crappy service has become in our service-based economy.  Has anyone else picked up on how much worse service is at many fast food and retail establishments in general in recent years compared to ten, twenty years ago?  I still find a few places where it’s exceptional (my local Dunkin Donuts is fantastic), but those are very much exceptions to the rule.

Putting all economic considerations aside, I’m wondering if that whole $15/hr minimum wage thing would be worthwhile IF it means that service will improve.  I’m sure some of you on one side of the argument will throw some statistics at me showing how it would tank the economy while those on the other side will explain that the minimum wage hasn’t kept up with the pace of inflation and it’s a moral imperative to raise it and et cetera.

I just wonder if the problem is that the quality of the minimum wage workforce really is that employers are ending up with the best workers that they’re willing to pay for.  Who can say though.  Maybe I’m wrong to blame the employees, but it seems like with how efficient the fast food industry model is along with the technology they have to work with, they should be operating better than they were a generation ago, not worse.

Anybody have any feedback on this?  Am I just a victim of my own perceptions?  Has anyone else tried the mozzarella chicken salad?  Was the lettuce fresh?

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I stayed polite all the way through. I’m always respectful of low-paid workers, particularly when they’re handling my food. Anyone that has seen the Road Trip french toast scene agrees with you. For those that haven’t seen it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4ZXRlcoEW8c I don’t have statistics at the ready but my assumption is that where there is better pay/benefits, employees will be more willing to fight to keep those jobs. When every job pays $7.25/hr the same folks are competing for all of them. You will get the bottom of the barrel. I am working on whether or not I will keep patronizing… Read more »

As for buying the billionaire’s shit, it looks like we’ll be arguing over universal basic income again! Well, the topics are related but it wasn’t my intention to restart that. I have never gotten a satisfactory answer to the question. I understand economics but endless MBA thinking is going to put everyone out of work until someone decides to value the work that line people do for them. I agree with you though on minimum wage increases not having much effect on service quality. That will only come about with companies paying more than minimum wage voluntarily. I reread my… Read more »

kevinmkr

There were two Burger Kings by my house. Both about the same distance. Both in the same relative “quality” of neighborhood. At one, I got smiles and quick service. At the other, I got cashiers who were on their cell phones and didn’t even respond to *my* pleasantness. The crappy one eventually went out of business. (Seriously, when does a BURGER KING go out of business?!?!) I think it all depends on how hands-on the owners are. It’s the only thing I can think of to explain the difference above. If I own the place and want to sit back… Read more »

kevinmkr

The labor pool won’t change. You’ll still be getting the bottom of the barrel.

Yes!

Thrill

Sounds like Gordon Ramsay needed to go down there and kick some ass.

Thrill

Voluntarily really is the key word there. I’ve never run a small business or franchise so maybe I’m just idealistic and naive, but I would honestly make it a point to pay top wages.

I’m big on getting good service at places I patronize and don’t mind paying more for it. I like to think I’d retain that mentality if I were on the other side of the transaction.

kevinmkr

Although, I should allow for the fact that raising wages above a certain level would potentially attract some quality workers back into the work force. For example, a stay at home mother who figures that working – daycare would be a net zero might come back to the work force if work – daycare is a net positive. So, it’s not 100% true that raising wages won’t raise the quality of the worker pool. But, in general, it probably won’t.

kevinmkr

I am going to take a minute to rant about minimum wage. I have always been supportive of minimum wage increases. Small, occasional increases. However, the jump to $15 has given me a lot of pause and conversations with pro-$15 zealots have effectively sealed my position. One specific example comes to mind. I shared a story with a pro-$15 Facebook friend about my first job. I was a bagger at a grocery store. I hadn’t really grasped the role of a worker within a company. It was a means to spending money for me. I don’t dog myself for feeling… Read more »

Zurvan

Putting all economic considerations aside, I’m wondering if that whole $15/hr minimum wage thing would be worthwhile IF it means that service will improve.

Chik-Fil-A

Poor service at a fast food joint is not about the pay.

Zurvan

I will almost always be in favor of a reasonable increase. But nobody should ever strive to subsist forever on minimum wage. It’s the lowest rung on the ladder and isn’t meant to provide a living wage.

Bingo. If you are trying to support a family on minimum wage for an extended period of time, the problem is not minimum wage.

kevinmkr

#3 was the catch all so, really, give me your best idea. This guy was either was too lazy to think constructively or so blindly faithful to #4, either of which were enough reason for me to sneak away from the conversation to eat a few lead paint chips.

kevinmkr

I’ll one-up you — I’m not even sure you should be able to support *yourself* on minimum wage.

This is where my feelers towards conservativism take the biggest hold — why the fuck should lazy 15 year old me be able to afford a car, an apartment, internet, an iPhone 7, and my craft beer habit?

You want better things? Provide better things.

Judge Dredd, Pro Se

In n’ Out pays their employees well above minimum wage, trains them and treats them well. And guess what else? They’re Christian conservatives! They print biblical passages on all of their packaging discreetly to spread their faith and are quite famous for it. The thought of this should blow any Christian conservatives mind, that there’s a wildly successful company out there that treats their employees fairly and with repect (like Jesus would have done), offers the public quality ingredients that are fresh because they’re honest (like Jesus was), and isnt so filled with soulless greed and blind alliegence to politically… Read more »

Judge Dredd, Pro Se

Well, I shouldn’t say they’re Christian “conservatives.” They’re christians in the true sense of the word, not the callous and dishonest Republican Party meaning of the word.

Now that I am no longer a pauper I think the same way. At the festival this weekend (and every year that we go) I went out of my way to buy a few baubles from the hardworking vendors as mementos. They are expensive but I appreciate the effort to make and lug around these items and that many of them live on it. Years ago I simply couldn’t have afforded that attitude. Same with local shops. I try to patronize some of the local shops if they have something I need and they are friendly. Zurvan is correct that… Read more »

kevinmkr

That’s the kind of out of the box thinking that I’m talking about. This isn’t an easy brute force issue. If it was, it could have already been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.

if you are over 25 year of age and you are still working in fast food, service and making minimum wage, the problem is not the wage, its you.
Ask a person in such work, how many jobs they have had, and why they left them…unvariably you will get a lot of lip, bitching, excuses and whining and moaning about the man, the system how things are unfair, ect ect..

even now at 15$ a hour you are getting bottom of the barrel types in all industries..

the subsides will just drive the cost of daycare even higher.

kevinmkr

Howso, Grendel? Sometimes my economic theory isn’t sound but I would expect the opposite. If there are subsidies provided to daycare, more people would be able to afford daycare. With more kids available, more daycares could exist. With more daycares in the marketplace, there would be more competition. With more competition, there would be pressure to have lower prices, higher accountability, and overall higher quality.

Where am I tripping up?

Zurvan

Where am I tripping up?

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Notice any correlation? If the government starts dumping money into something, costs tend to rise. Where’s the incentive to decrease costs or fees if the Government is paying for it with “free” money?

kevinmkr

I’m not being snarky here — where’s the chart showing the increase in the amount of money that the government is dumping into college? The first one shows an increase in tuition. The 2nd shows an increase in the loans used to pay that tuition. You’re correlating that to some sort of government subsidy but I’m not familiar with it, offhand. You’ll need to explain it to me.

Zurvan

The 2nd shows an increase in the loans used to pay that tuition. The overwhelming majority of which is federal money guaranteed by the Government…made available to students by the Government…more money = increase tuition costs. If your disagreement is that those are loans intended to be paid back, ok. The point being if the Government starts dumping money (loans or otherwise) into something, what is the incentive to decrease costs? In fact, it gives educational institutions an incentive to make education as expensive as possible because the Fed is either providing the money, or ensuring the person will pay… Read more »

Zurvan

Fixed.

Thanks! My kingdom for an edit button!

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