On January 1st of the new year, the minimum wage was raised in 18 states. The $1.50 an hour compensation I received for lugging beach chairs 50 years ago has risen to $13 an hour. Are the beneficiaries of the raise worth it? I’m not an expert on the subject. But I will give you some anecdotal material to ponder.
I have a K Mart in my neighborhood where I will often pick up stuff at the service desk I order online. Said desk is (judging by their performance) manned by minimum wage workers. So just yesterday, I hiked over to the store to pick up my order and was received by a not-too-swift black woman of maybe 50 or 60 years.
As usual, I presented my drivers license for verification whereupon she ambled over to the locker and began sorting through numerous packages which appeared to be completely disorganized (not her fault, I assume). After a minute or two, she returned with what was clearly the wrong merchandise.
“Excuse me! This isn’t my order,” I informed her affably enough. (I was prepared for her to fuck up as I sensed from the start she wasn’t exactly ready for prime time.) In a somewhat short but not entirely rude tone, she answered “Well, it has your name on it.”
I looked down to see that the package was destined for a woman named Shante Williams…and let the employee know. Her answer: “Well you have the same last name,” said she to excuse her mistake. To which I responded “My name is William Mersey. Hardly the same last name.”
Now I ask you…how many licenses does this woman look at every day? A dozen? A hundred? I mean…everybody who picks up a package offers ID and I have to think that most present drivers licenses, right? Yet still, she didn’t know which was the first and which the last name on mine!
Well…there’s your minimum wage employee right there. Slow and dumb! Is she worth $13/hour? If I were the store manager, she’d have been fired right then and there. But then again, her replacement could be even worse. Such is life with minimum wage employees. Good thing I’m not the store manager. The axe would be falling constantly.