Our family eats at McDonald's way too much. The last time we were there, though, I noticed something strange, a giant poster in the window that said McDonald's: Committed to Being America's Best First Job, with details on how to apply to your local McDonald's. On the very same day, I read an article on cleveland.com about workers trying to force McDonald's to pay a 'living' wage (below).
Now let me be clear. If I worked at McDonald's would I like $15 an hour? Sure. Would I deserve it? Ah, that depends. I will circle around to my point in a minute. But first, since you weren't in the car with me when I saw that McDonald's help wanted sign, I figured I'd go online and share it with you. Lo and behold, I found a similar ad really quickly and you can click on the link below to prove I wasn't up to some photoshopping shenanigans. If I had to guess the age of the young lady in the ad, I would guess 17. That point will be relevant in a moment....
Okay McDonald's, lets take you at your word. You are committed to being America's best first job. That means you'll be changing your hours. No more 24 hour restaurants. Would you let your 17 year old child work until 3 a.m. on a school night? Of course you wouldn't.
Instead of coming up more examples, I'm going to keep moving, because it's a moot point.* McDonald's isn't changing any of their hours, or policies, or directives in their "commitment." What they are doing is angling to not pay that $15 an hour for a "first job." Again, when I get my Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Bagel in the morning, McDonald's is NONE of those ladies' first job. By changing the narrative, they are hoping to swing public support in their favor.
They aren't fixing the problem, they are re-positioning the argument. First of all, I'll briefly stick up for McDonald's. Briefly. Just because a lot of the good paying jobs left the country, doesn't mean McDonald's should have to pick up the slack.
On the other hand, there's a McDonald's in every city. How did they made all that money? Well, mostly by underpaying their employees. Again, the 16 year old who can't get your order right and asks the manager a half dozen questions before you get your food doesn't deserve much more than minimum wage. But what about the worker who works every weekend for 10 years and does a great job? Basically McDonald's wants them to go away because they don't want to pay them. Do they deserve $15 an hour? Maybe. If McDonald's wants to be a 24/7 business, they should have mechanisms to reward loyal employees instead of mechanisms to get rid off or not pay their employees.
Should the government force that on McDonald's? No. But they're an easy target because they're everywhere. They are a symbol of corporate greed. I hear these adults scream "maybe I'll quit my job and work at McDonald's for $15 an hour." Of all the arguments I've heard, that one's the most farcical. You would quit your job, to work the drive-thru? I'd like to see that. Dealing with the angry, irrational public with a timer constantly ticking in your ear. I do think that some hardworking, committed McDonald's employees do deserve that money.
But I honestly believe that McDonald's would rather have cheap bad workers than well paid good workers, which reinforces why they've rolled out this "first job" campaign. Wow! McDonald's is going to pay me to learn how to work. What a great deal! - Said absolutely no one.
So this article solved nothing.
And it provided no answers.
And McDonald's will continue to underpay it's workers.
And the irrational will continue to demand an arbitrary $15 an hour.
Everyone advancing their own agendas and no one is willing to compromise to find a real solution.
For fun I googled: Successful people whose first job was McDonald's and I was surprised that Jeff Bezos' name came up. Most of the others on the lists that I found were celebrities or obscure leaders. So I read what Bezos' learned at his best first job: "one of the great gifts I got from that job is that I can crack eggs with one hand."