Fast Food Workers and the Slow Death of Hard Work

Updated: September 4, 2013


By Tommy Batboy

“I deserve a living wage.” D. Merritt, a 24-year-old fast food worker.

I about spit coffee up on my computer when I read that quote in an article on Yahoo! explaining that fast food workers were going on strike to “demand” better pay, to the tune of a 108% pay increase over the Federal minimum wage.

I couldn’t help thinking: Deserve? Why?

Please explain to me what is owed to D. Merritt. What is owed to anyone because your parents completed the most basic biological function and procreated? Why are you owed a “living wage” here in the United States, or anywhere, and who owes it to you—the person(s) who gave you employment? Is it the American people who are sharing a society with you? Is it the government because you happen to be born inside this country’s border?

The answer: none of the above. You owe it to yourself to seek an opportunity and to work hard to achieve something in life. It’s not the other way around.

There is this increasing fallacy in our beloved land that the “life, liberty, happiness” section of the Declaration of Independence entitles us to something as Americans—it doesn’t.

All we have been granted under that writing is the notion that we can breathe the air in the United States of America’s territorial borders; attempt to make our way through this land as we see fit inside the confines of her laws, and that our government won’t unduly restrict our abilities to do so. Argue the last point if you must, but it muddies the water to the tragedy that some segments of our society are becoming.

Tell me, why does anyone deserve a 108% increase in their pay, for doing the same job, the same way, one day to the next? Your sense of worth and notion of entitlement doesn’t mean I need to see it the same way. You need to—to borrow an Unapologetically American phrase—Earn It.

The concept of working for something ties nicely into the second theme that seems to be pervading this latest movement of so called social justice.

big mac“It’s not fair that the top managers of [fast food] businesses make enough to put their kids through prestigious colleges, buy houses, and live well, and I am on food stamps and need public health care,” S. Roberts of Oakland, California as told to the San Francisco Chronicle.

What the hell does fair matter? Life isn’t fair, lady. It never has been and it never will be.

Personally, I don’t think it’s fair that my teacher friends in the state of North Carolina (where I live), who had to earn a bachelor’s degree to get their job only make $31,200 a year. It’s not

fair that to make more than $31,200 they must get another degree or work more than eight years in the public school system.

Nor is it fair that my friends saving lives as EMS technicians and nurses with anywhere from 2-4 years of school in the state of North Carolina make just under or just over $31,000 a year to start. It sure as hell isn’t “fair” that everyone in our military system E-5 or below with less than four years are risking lives for less than that overseas—the same with most local starting salaries for law enforcement in North Carolina.

Fair has nothing to do with it.

Fair is the bullshit notion that people made up a long time ago to whine about something they didn’t like in the vain hope that if they cried about it long enough, someone or something might change the circumstance. Fair has nothing to do with right or wrong, justice or unjust, good or evil; it is simply an individual measuring stick that people hold up like a red card when they don’t like something. The dirty little secret about “fair” is while the 1st amendment gives you the rights to tell me you think something is “unfair,” it also gives me the right to tell you stick it up your ass.

Yet, in remarks published in the USA Today on Labor Day Thomas Perez, Secretary of Labor, said “The rungs between the ladder of opportunity for so many people are feeling further and further apart, and it’s our job to bring those closer and closer together.”

No Sir, it is not. Your job is to ensure that companies are not breaking the law by hiring children. Your job is to ensure that workers are treated with dignity and respect, and accorded the basic human rights outlined by our Founding Fathers and the laws of the United States. Your job is to make sure that America has a growing and vibrant workforce. It is not your job as a member of the executive branch to decide that we all need to be more equal to one another. You are the referee enforcing the rules, not the creator of the game we’re all playing.

It is the job of the individual to figure out what is special about them, what skill or skills they have that sets them apart from others and how to market those skills to earn a living. It is your job to make sure that there is nothing illegal to prevent them from doing so.

If you want it, go get it. Sweat for it. Hustle for it. Build It.




  1. Murphy

    September 4, 2013 at 3:57 am

    You know, I was feeling kinda down tonight. Haven’t had a beer and was thinking about it, just kinda feeling down, you know?
    Attitude check accomplished; motivation remembered.
    Good call,

  2. umberto

    September 4, 2013 at 6:04 am

    Totally agreed. My mom worked at mickey d’s. She worked over 60 hours a week for over 10 years. She never bitched and complained about pay or that she should unionize. She did her job. She taught me the value of hard work and seizing opportunities when theh present themselves. Nobody owes you shit first rule look cool second rule make it happen.

  3. JoeC

    September 4, 2013 at 9:18 am

    If the pay at McDonalds sucks so bad you can always go get a real job….Oh, wait. No, you can’t because you have no skills, no ambition, no ethics, no core values, no self worth and no desire to better any of these things for yourself. We are now reaping the crop that we sowed with the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality. We are seeing what the first generation that got a trophy just for showing up is going to be like for the next 50 years and it isn’t going to get any better for the forseeable future.

    • Jeff

      September 4, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      Have you worked fast food? Its hard work. One of the hardest jobs I have ever had. And I have hustled and worked everything from farm labor, chopping tobacco, baling hay, working on a 1000 pig feeder pig operation. I know what hard work is. I have worked my way to corporate America, but I am also lucky and I know it. I have been 2 weeks away from having no place to go with my family. Have been without health insurance. So I can not take this smug its their fault mentality. Because our economic structure depends on millions working at sub standard wages. Wages that are too low to allow them to meet basic needs, much less pay for an education. God forbid they get sick or their family gets sick, there is a disability or the economy goes into the tank. But many assume that if others aren’t as well off as they are, they somehow lack ambition. No matter that what I see in the corporate world are workers that can’t hold a candle to those minimum wage workers at McDonalds holding down 2 jobs.

      • Pete

        September 4, 2013 at 5:42 pm

        Jeff you are a retard… What would happen if everyone at McDonald’s just quit? The answer is NOTHING! They would just hire some high school kids to take their places. I work 50-60 hours a week doing commercial an industrial hvac work… A job that actually matters in society and you mean to tell me that some retard at McDonald’s deserves to make as much as some of my apprentices that slave on roofs where it gets to be over 150deg for more than 8 hours a day then they get to go to school 2-3 nights a week for 3 hours to better themselves by learning the trade? NO SIR! You are a douch nozzle, if they don’t feel they make enough money they should look for better jobs at real restaurants if they enjoy cooking so much.

        • Peter

          September 5, 2013 at 4:57 pm

          Pete, that is some ignorant and hateful talk right there. It’s NEVER as simple as just, “Oh I don’t like it here, I think I’ll get another job.” The job market is in the shit right now and ignorant, old economy, self-important men like you have the gall to spew your shit all over people that you know nothing about. You are the epitome of what is wrong with America. Shame on you and all the people that generalize.

          • William

            September 10, 2013 at 12:35 pm

            Peter, grow up. There are *always* jobs to be had, no matter how moribund the economy. But when people think they’re better than the jobs offered, they start saying (and believing) that there are “no jobs”.
            Fast food isn’t hard work in comparison to construction or a lot of factory positions, but it is a foot in the door. It teaches teenagers how to show up on time, do the job they’re paid for, dress appropriately, and interact professionally, as opposed to the schools that fail to teach all these things.
            When I worked hotels and restaurants, we often saw applicants who would never get hired. They came in in casual dress (torn jeans, t-shirts with messages), with inappropriate hairstyles (mohawks, dreadlocks), visible tattoos, and acting like they were doing us a favor by offering our company the chance to hire them.
            Now, in society, these things are more socially acceptable than they used to be (which is good), but in business, these are still not the way to get hired.
            Once hired, you have to show up, do so on time, learn what your job entails, do it, do it right, and do it cheerfully. All too often, that isn’t seen as necessary anymore.
            I went to a Taco Bell recently. One employee was on the headset with the drive-through, talking – ok, they’re busy. Two employees preparing food, and working hard at it. OK, they’re busy. Three employees wandering around the back, avoiding eye contact with the front, pointedly not hearing “Hello?”. One of them went to the register, opened the till to drop a piece of paper in it, and retreated, all without looking up or acknowledging me or the other customers waiting for service. Those three were completely in the wrong, and should be fired. So I went to Wendy’s. The guy at the drive-through was busy, so he said “Welcome to Wendy’s; I’ll be with you shortly. Please wait”. He did it right, so i asked for his manager and explained how, not only did his employee know customer service, but the only reason his store got my business was because Taco bell did *not* understand customer service. I also went back to the Taco Bell the next day to explain to the manager why I and my friends would not do business with them anymore.
            Forget the entitlitis, and learn that fast food is an entry-level job, which does not deserve career wages.

      • Gregg

        September 4, 2013 at 6:34 pm

        “It’s not fair that the top managers of [fast food] businesses make enough to put their kids through prestigious colleges, buy houses, and live well, and I am on food stamps and need public health care,” S. Roberts of Oakland, California as told to the San Francisco Chronicle.

        So this person that has worked hard and established themselves thru education and experience and become a manager so they can put their children thru college should what? Should they hire people of the street with no education and experience and pay them the exact same wage as they get simply to be ‘fair’? How is that fair? It is not. What it is is a person unwilling to do what is needed to make more of themselves.

        I have worked fast food I started when I was 14 and have at times had 2 jobs at one point I had 3. I worked hard and put in the times and developed my skills with school and hard work and now I make a decent wage and have a job with great benefits. So I have been exactly in these peoples shoes that claim they should get something for nothing. I never thought I deserved more than I had earned. These people are pathetic.

      • JoeC

        September 5, 2013 at 10:04 am

        No, I have not worked fast food. I’m from a small town that didn’t have fast food. I felt lucky to have a job mowing lawns, chopping fire wood, hauling hay, building fence, repairing equipment, or whatever else I could find that someone would pay me $5/hr to do. You’ve apparently chewed some of the same dirt, so do you honestly mean to tell me that working fast food is harder than a day spent in the fields for the same money? I don’t see the guys in the fields working for minimum wage (and often less at the end of the day) bitching about it.

      • Shelby

        September 5, 2013 at 11:02 am

        Amen, Jeff. I don’t usually comment, but I had to this time, because nobody was saying what needed to be said. Just know you are supported. And to everyone who is talking about fast food workers bettering themselves with education– when are they going to find the time (let alone the money) to educate themselves while also making enough money to put food on the table? I’m not saying it can’t be done, I’m saying that in many cases, in this current reality, it’s a lot more difficult to get out of theses minimum wage jobs than you seem to think it is. We don’t know everyone’s situation, so let’s refrain from accusations of “no ambition” etc and remember the delicate balance/ everlasting battle between agency and social structure.

        • William

          September 10, 2013 at 9:25 am

          Let’s NOT refrain. I’ve been there. Lousy economy, few jobs, low wages, etc. These are entry-level jobs, NOT breadwinner jobs.
          If you’re a breadwinner, work 2 or 3 of these jobs while looking for the job you think you deserve. Sign up at temp agencies and show them you deserve to be on their hot list, not their shit list.
          But don’t tell me you deserve better. You don’t.

  4. john

    September 4, 2013 at 10:51 am

    you want 15 bucks an hour? make me a burger that looks like the one on the picture!

    • Russell

      September 4, 2013 at 6:33 pm

      My thoughts exactly and without the attitude.

  5. Bailey

    September 4, 2013 at 10:52 am

    I have been trying to explain this time and time again, and you have stated it all perfectly clear. I completely agree! We don’t deserve anything we don’t work for. I’ve had a constant job since I was 13, and my savings is to show for it. I’ve worked damn hard for what I’ve got, why should I give anything to some punk who thinks they are owed and deserve everything, yet do so little? Y’all keep on keeping on, I love this group and everything it stands for.

    • Kat.

      September 5, 2013 at 12:01 am

      I agree with you about how people shouldn’t get more if they work less. But, I can agree with some of the people to where there are a lot of hard workers that do get unrecognized. I mean I worked at a MD’s in Chicago and I was upset that a new employee came in and just because that person had little management experience but didn’t want the management position and stayed as a “crew” was given a $0.50 raise and didn’t do hardly anything, was slow at everything literately intentionally. I was kinda mad just cause of that, and I worked my butt off and even stayed late to help the other shifts when it was busy. I had many complements of how well I was doing and all but no raise and I was there over a year. But anyways it’s not just MD’s, look at Aldi’s their starting pay is $10 in some areas and so is Target’s and most Walmarts and they have it less…a lot less… stressful and they get paid more. I’m just saying that there are some people who work their butts off just to try to make a living….sometimes they have to start at a fast food restaurant just to try to get on their feet, but in some states/counties like where I live min wage sucks and it’s very very hard to try to stay on top of things. Especially for a single parent like I am. I’m not saying ya or na for these people, I’m saying people need to start recognizing the ones that actually do want to work and do want to move up and get credit that they deserve. If there are people who want to be working but be lazy and think they are going to get a free ride…go somewhere else, fire them, let the ones who actually want to work and try getting back on their feet for the right reasons….reward them.

    • Jonah

      September 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Really, “we don’t deserve anything we don’t work for”? So what’s your rationalization for the millions upon millions of dollars paid to the corporate executive aristocracy, who make bad decisions merely to enrich themselves while nearly destroying the economy?

      • Murphy

        September 5, 2013 at 8:19 pm

        Dude, trust me:
        Unless you know somebody personally who makes millions of dollars, don’t pretend to know what they do for a living, or what it takes to make that kind of money.
        I’m not saying that bail-outs are good things.
        But seriously: try not to presume.

  6. Jack

    September 4, 2013 at 10:56 am

    If he deserves a living wage, why is he seeking it with a business that makes no bones about paying minimum wage? Burger King is not the only place to earn a living, my friend…

  7. Patrick C

    September 4, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Thank you for bringing this up. I love the part about teachers. Our society today is putting too much emphasis on making sure everyone is happy and receiving something and not on working their asses off to achieve a sense of self worth.

  8. Mike Hauben

    September 4, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Its hilarious that the worker doesn’t understand that his entry level burger flipping position is not worth the same amount as the manager running the whole place.

  9. Jeremy

    September 4, 2013 at 11:17 am

    The biggest part of the problem is that there is no “decent” paying manufacturing jobs to go to out of high school. Not everyone is cut out for college, and some people I wouldn’t trust with a Lego set let alone a wrench. But these people STILL need the means to support their families. I would think that the more infuriating issue to this mess would be the fact that many of these workers draw welfare. If a CEO or board of directors earns multi-million dollar BONUSES while their workers (whose labor BRINGS IN the money) are on Food Stamps, then this should be the real issue. WE as taxpayers are SUBSIDIZING these CEO’s bonuses. Why doesn’t that piss you off? Should McDonald’s employees get $15/hour? No not really, but it should be a possibility after earning it through hard work.

    • JoeC

      September 4, 2013 at 11:53 am

      If you can’t afford a family on a McDonald’s salary don’t start a family on a McDonald’s salary. Problem solved. If you can’t affor birth control you sure as hell can’t afford a kid. Keeping it in your pants or keeping your legs together is free. If you already have a family and fall on hard times I feel for you, but guess what. It isn’t McDonald’s responsibility, another business’s responsibility, the government’s or your responsibility to make sure those people’s families are cared for, it’s theirs. If McDonald’s ups wages to $15/hr they will be done, then where will those lazy ass people that think they “deserve” better go? I won’t eat a McDonald’s burger now and I sure wouldn’t eat one if the price went up to $8 to support doubling their employees salaries. There isn’t a single store level job at McDonald’s worth $15/hr. If you want more, either work your ass off to move up or work your ass off to move on. Some people are just screwed and can’t do either, but that’s still their problem and nobody else’s. We are entitled to the PURSUIT of happiness, not guaranteed it.

    • Mr. Twisted

      September 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm


      Please explain how tax payers are subsidizing the bonuses of a McDonald’s/Burger King/Wendy’s CEO. Ready….go.

      • Mr. Smith

        September 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm


      • Jeremy

        September 4, 2013 at 3:40 pm

        Gov. pays welfare to people who are either working low-paying jobs, are disabled and unable to find a good job within the limits of their disability, or in the more rare case, people who are just too lazy to do the right thing and find a job. We taxpayers pay taxes, (duh?!). A portion of our tax revenues goes toward Welfare programs. So the people who ARE working but collecting welfare to make up the shortfall of their earnings vs. expenses are doing so because their employers refuse to pay a livable wage. The cost of living has SKYROCKETED in recent years while the Minimum Wage has stayed the same since 2007. Meanwhile, the CEO’s and Board of directors are making money hand over fist while their employees draw GOVERNMENT assistance. The money saved by not paying employees is passed on to the company in the form of profit. CEO bonuses are usually paid FROM profit. Hence, the CEO’s bonuses and salaries are subsidized by the gov.

        • JoeC

          September 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm

          Argument fail. Their CEO gets about $30 million. They have about 2 million employees. If you take his entire salary away and redistribute it to the employees their average raise would be $15 for the year. That isn’t going to change their welfare status at all. The CEO gets that money for making the business profitable. If he does his job well, why shouldn’t he get paid for it? It isn’t his problem that the money they pay doesn’t raise a family of 4. It isn’t supposed to. Working fast food is intended to be what someone earlier said. It’s for gas and party money for teenagers. You are not guaranteed a job or financial well being. If you want to blame welfare on someone, blame the government for implementing it. Don’t blame the CEO of a major corporation for doing his job.

          Who is going to benefit from an increase in minimum wage and for how long? The only people that benefit from an increase in minimum wage are those that get it. Everyone else suffers from it because it increases the costs of labor in unskilled positions, which increases the cost of living. In other words, increasing minimum wage is its own worst enemy.

          If you really wanted to make a decent argument for your position you should have said the government subsidizes the cost of beef and grain, two things that McDonald’s depends on for their business, to the point that the out of pocket costs to buy them is a fraction of what it would be in a free market. That is the only real way the government susidizes the salary of the McDonald’s CEO, but even when we look at it this way the numbers are stupid. Their revenue is about $30 billion. That makes the CEO salary a whopping .1% of their revenue. How much of that revenue do you think they spend on beef(?), bread, produce, taters, etc.? How much of what they buy is heavily subsidized by the government? Easy answer: all of it! The CEO’s salary in the grand scheme of things is meaningless. Everybody always wants to bitch about what the heads of SUCCESSFUL and PROFITABLE businesses make just for doing their job and at the end of the day it doesn’t mean anything.

          • Tanner

            September 4, 2013 at 5:17 pm

            Your argument fails as well JoeC. Mcdonalds corp is currently worth over $90billion. They dont just have one person making in the millions, they have multiple high level execs making collectively well over the $30million mark… then they also pay out to Share holders (where the high up ones consistently try to buy back as much employee stock as they can get their hands on, I dont have the exact numbers.. but this is where a hell of alot of their money goes) and Mcdonalds employs 1.7million workers worldwide. Now I am not advocating raising the minimum wage, because while I do know that Mcdonalds could def shift money around and pay a minimum wage while still maintaing lavish lifestyles for their VIPS… not every small business or franchise can. And if a company like Mcdonalds or Walmart sets that standard… others may well go under because of it. Its a shitty truth, but its a dog eat dog world.. and someones gonna lose. Pay the workers more, Walmart and Mcdonalds def could… but while you gain some good paying jobs there… you will def loose jobs overall if the minimum wage takes out other business’s whose total profit margin isnt as high as what those two companies are.

          • Tim

            September 4, 2013 at 6:43 pm

            Haha, you think CEO’s only get paid well if they actually do well at their job. How quaint.

            America is an incredibly unequal society. If you’re born rich, you’ll almost certainly die rich. If you’re born poor, you’ll most likely die poor.
            But yeah, no, it’s a great crime that people working 60 hours a week (apparently this doesn’t count as hard work in your mind) for basically nothing would like you to pay an extra dollar for a hamburger so that they can keep the heat on in winter. How dare they.

        • Matthew

          September 5, 2013 at 11:18 am

          Jeremy, you do realize that these restaurants are independently owned franchises. Their employees salaries are not paid by the McDonald’s corporation but by the owner of that restaurant.

          • Caryn

            September 7, 2013 at 3:47 am

            THANK YOU! Franchisees would never be able to afford that, mcd’s would be out of business IMMEDIATELY if the workers were paid $15/hour to do NOTHING. Then they’d be on the street complaining again.

    • Jeff

      September 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      Well said Jeremy.

    • Jeremy

      September 4, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      It’s like this. We pay taxes. A portion of those taxes goes toward Welfare programs. Welfare is a type of government subsidy. Many people who are on welfare work at these low-paying jobs. CEO bonuses usually come from profit the company makes after expenses. Employee pay is a company expense. If they keep the pay as low as legally possible, it will inflate the profit margin, (not by a lot usually, but some,). These employees who draw gov. assistance and work a low paying job are SUBSIDIZED their earnings shortfall. The companies benefit when the gov. makes up the difference, (when TAXPAYERS make up the difference). Hence the CEO gets gov. subsidized bonuses.

      • Mr. Twisted

        September 4, 2013 at 6:34 pm


        Number one, capitalizing certain words for emphasis adds nothing to the conversation. Either your argument is valid or it is not; yelling with a keyboard doesn’t change that.

        Number two, your argument was made invalid the moment you brought up welfare programs. Yes, welfare programs exist; but that is an entirely separate issue and totally unrelated to how much the board of directors at a large, publicly traded company decides to pay their executives. As JoeC said, if you wanted to make the subsidies argument, that would be entirely valid, but then that would be wholly separate from the topic of wages.

        Saying that low-wage workers are having the rest of their income subsidized by taxpayers is an argument against social welfare; not against the salaries or bonuses of corporate executives. If those welfare programs were to stop tomorrow, would McDonald’s or Wal Mart suddenly start paying their employees a higher wage? Everyone knows that they would not; that is not how a business works.

        There is a vast difference between cause-effect relationships and correlation. People too often look at multiple factors coexisting in a system and automatically assume that one caused the other; this is not necessarily true and, in this particular case, it is demonstrably false.

        The ironic thing here is that, even if you were right, raising wages would not be a solution at all. Simply paying people a couple dollars an hour more does not magically fix an economy, nor does it stem the tide of masses who vote for people who will institute social welfare programs that, ultimately, make matters worse and not better.

        • Jeremy

          September 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm

          I’m not into the lingo of caps=yelling. I was emphasizing certain words in my argument. When I yell on the ‘Net, it’s caps+a lot of cussing. The fact is, that we have a culture that demonizes the working-class. We look down on them as second-class citizens and it’s pathetic. The only reason that working adults in these fast food places are struggling because there are no good paying manufacturing jobs left. Instead of paying unionized workers decent pay and benefits, they would rather have Mexicans do the work for a fraction of the pay, (real patriotic I might add,). There was a time when we looked out for each other, (as the Army taught us,) and we helped our neighbors, we done great things and built wonders of the imagination. Today, we shit on people down on their luck, we call them lazy, we kick them when their down. This is not the America promised to us. It’s a dark shadow of it’s former glory. We were a country that explored space, built the Hoover Dam, the TVA, invented the computer and the internet. Nowadays, we belittle accomplishment. I’m tired of this “tough shit” attitude we’ve developed. Do I think fast food workers deserve $15/hour? No, I don’t. But the doors of opportunity are closing fast and something needs to change. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness? Not if we keep going the way we are and not change our attitudes about our fellow Americans. We can’t do that though, because that takes courage.

          • Mr. Twisted

            September 5, 2013 at 12:43 am

            “We look down on them as second-class citizens and it’s pathetic.”

            First, who is the “we” you refer to, and second, according to whom? Just because you have a vague notion that something is a certain way doesn’t make it so.

            “The only reason that working adults in these fast food places are struggling because there are no good paying manufacturing jobs left.”

            A lot of people don’t realize this, but guess what jobs are some of the most promising career fields right now? Those that were once considered only “blue collar” like over-the-road truck driving; plumbing; electrician work; welding of various sorts, and numerous other skilled labor jobs. Do you know why they are so promising? Because there is currently a massive shortage in those fields due to the younger generation thinking they are all too good to get their hands dirty. This isn’t anecdotal; this is reality.

            “Instead of paying unionized workers decent pay and benefits…” I could easily turn this into a thread on how bad unions have screwed not only themselves but the country as a whole, but it’s decidedly off topic.

            “There was a time when we looked out for each other…” This is mythologizing the past into being something that it never was. Or would you like to argue the thesis that everything in the world was great and wonderful until the last few years?

          • Jonah

            September 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm

            Mr. Twisted quotes Jeremy “We look down on them as second-class citizens and it’s pathetic.”, then asks: “First, who is the “we” you refer to, and second, according to whom? Just because you have a vague notion that something is a certain way doesn’t make it so.”

            Mr. Twisted, just talk to any tea party conservative, who acts like the teacher down the block or the cop across the street or the fireman around the corner is stealing from him because they belong to a union. Check with any of the corporate oligarchy, who continually demonize the working man, and pay lower and lower wages, because they want the working class of America to be on par with the worst Third World country.

          • Mr. Twisted

            September 6, 2013 at 9:17 am


            You wrote “talk to any tea party conservative…” Is Jeremy a tea party conservative, and are tea party conservatives a mainstream organization? The latter is certainly not the case, and based on his words, the former isn’t, either.

            A couple of points to address your intent rather than what you wrote because yours are pretty scattered thoughts.

            One, generalizing what you think a certain political group stands for only shows a lack of understanding for current political trends. Name a policy or an actual piece of legislation this group gets behind and we can discuss that; vague generalizations do no good for anyone.

            Two, “any of the corporate oligarchy” is as broad of a stroke in stereotyping as there is. Implying that every CEO of every major company has even remotely similar political interests displays a heavy bias on your part and shows that you don’t have any specific point other than to be mad at those who “have” vs “the nave nots.” Stating that the “want the working class of America to be on par with the worst third world country” does nothing to further the conversation; rather, it shows you have a deep animosity towards people who own large businesses. Alas, that is not something that can be fixed with legislation or the government as you see fit.

        • Jeremy

          September 4, 2013 at 10:16 pm

          Actually, paying people a couple a dollars more an hour WILL fix the economy. People will have more to spend. Spending is at the heart of a good economy. People buying wigits creates demand for more wigits, thus the company needs to hire more people to make wigits, which in turn drives up the cost of the wigits creating more profit for the company. If the company was smart, they would raise the wages of their wigit makers so it would induce higher productivity, and the end result wigit makers are spending more, and the cycle continues. I learned this in 12th grade economics. It’s not a hard concept to grasp, to make more money, you have to spend more money.
          These people forget to invest in the people who make their money, the workers. That’s the heart of the problem.

          • Mr. Twisted

            September 5, 2013 at 12:48 am

            “I learned this in 12th grade economics.”

            Yes, I’m quite sure you did. You learned it from a teacher who went to a college that was enamored with Keynesian economics, which is at the root of most of our current problems.

            Do yourself a favor and Google “Ludwig von Mises” and the topics of economics and also “minimum wage.” And understand that most of what you were probably taught in economics is based on the premise of a system that ultimately contradicts some of your previously made arguments.

          • Livin it

            September 5, 2013 at 6:55 am

            FAIL. Jeremy, you missed a few steps from 12th grade. Yes the basic supply and demand. However, if you read what you wrote you could see it does not even make sense. Simply re-written: people buying, creates demand for more(true) the company needs to hire more people which drives up the cost *(read that part one more time!) creating more profit for the company(???????) how will they profit more when they are paying more people? I did not give a sh*t about economics in school however i have LIVED in the real world and WORKED to support myself and my family and from that i know that when i made $4.25 an hour and gas cost $.90 per gal. A gal of milk was a buck and a loaf of bread was 50 cents so very roughly you could get 2 gal of gas ,1 gal milk and a loaf of bread for one hours pay. CURRENTLY: say you make $9.00 per hour? Gas is $3.45? Per gal milk is $2.50? Bread is $2? You cant even get 2 gal of gas if you buy milk and bread with one hours pay. When wages are raised, EVERYTHING is raised to cover the new costs of wages. You might make more but you have to pay more because you are making more. I personally cant afford to make more money. Unless those newly hired wigit makers work for free its a vicious circle spiraling downward. But if you know any wigit makers working for free send em my way k?

      • Gregg

        September 4, 2013 at 6:50 pm

        The companies also pay taxes and usually at a much higher rate than the individual. This theory also requires that all the 2 million employees are working AND getting welfare which is not always the case. Usually these workers are part-time and live with mom and dad while they finish high school or some form of higher education. Once they finish they move on to higher paying jobs making room for others to work and creating more jobs. ANYONE that thinks they are working at a fast food place for a career is disillusioned few people start as a fry cook and move up the ladder. Not because there is no way to do this but because there are only so many jobs as you climb. McDonald’s for example has 14000 or so stores (US) so that means there are only 14000 manager jobs and a requirements for at least 20 other employees below that to cover all the shifts of a 24/7 business. So let us say that all 20 are competent and hard workers and exactly what McDonalds is looking for in a manager there is not room for all twenty to be promoted. So 19 people will either have to accept their current place or move on. McDonalds is not a place that should be seen as a career job location. Typically it is a stepping stone toward a better job with higher pay and better benefits. A guy/girl flipping crappy burgers does not deserve the same pay as a guy/girl in charge of making sure that a business stay afloat and stay profitable.

    • Murphy

      September 5, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      Actually, I think that a simple Craig’s List search on this topic has proven it false.
      There are, in point of fact, at least 100 job openings in manufacture (basic) for over $12/hr in the first 20 cities I checked.
      Also, it seems that there are a TON of jobs currently open for people who have an Associates of Applied Science. Anybody who is physically present in the US (e.g.- not even a citizen, just here) can get a grant to go to school to get an AAS.
      There are literally thousands of colleges – nearly 100 in every state! – that offer this degree, and there are no people taking the opportunity.
      You can get one with the Pell Grant alone, and nearly every person who can be employed qualifies for it.
      I’m not saying that you’re wrong, OK? I respect what you are saying.
      I think that some of this stuff is not really being noticed, though; and it can paint a somewhat different picture.

    • William

      September 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      There are plenty of “decent” jobs, but they are *not* for beginners with no work history. McDonalds is not for breadwinners, either. 30 years ago, you could show a paper route, lawn business, snow shoveling, etc, as your intro to the work world. Nowadays, instead of 20 kids on bikes, paper routes are covered by an adult in a car for half the city. “Landscapers” take exception to teens “intruding” on their business.
      And now, these kids who didn’t work in high school think that fast food jobs are beneath them, but if they can’t get a better job, then we should pay them what they’d *like* to be paid? No, they need to be told to their faces that they do not yet deserve better, that the way to deserve a btter job with higher pay is to do the job you can to the best of your ability, and learn to be a more worthwhile employee until you can get that better job. IOW, earn your way.

  10. Pete

    September 4, 2013 at 11:22 am

    if they had marketable skills and werent easily replaceable they wouldnt earn shit wage. true story.

  11. Alex

    September 4, 2013 at 11:51 am

    The worst part is that these employees don’t understand that if you work hard and show ambition in your work you could get promoted and start earning more money. What’s just as bad as the entitlement society is the absolute lack of ambition and constant deflection of responsibility in the youth today. I’m only 29 but I was raised in a family that valued hard work and responsibility, if you jacked something up you sure as hell better take responsibility for the problem. I hate dealing with the youth today (I’m a police officer) and having kids blame all their problems on their parents or other people. Wish I could give them a dose of basic training corrective action just for making America look bad.

  12. oldSquid

    September 4, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Right on, Batboy! You’ve hit the nail square on the head with this. Being an oldfart, I can say that (most) ‘kids’ today have developed an entitlement attitude, with a gimme gimme complex…Sux big time

    • Jonah

      September 5, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      Yeah! They’re not like the old people with the entitlement attitude and gimme gimme complex when it comes to Medicare and Social Security.

  13. Dustin

    September 4, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    I love this article! Just wrote a paper on entitlement and you hit the nail on the head! This “trophy generation” is going to be driving us nuts for years to come. Everyone has such a sense of entitlement but GOD FORBID they work hard and achieve fucking anything in their lives!

  14. Tammy

    September 4, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I am tired of people crying about the CEOs making so much money and the poor worker being on welfare. Then they draw the conclusion that our taxes are supporting the workers. Have these workers ever thought about the reality that if they started making $15/hour (which is about $30K/year) they will lose most of those welfare benefits? And probably be worse off?

  15. SPC L

    September 4, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I love hearing civilians complain about how hard their lives are, and then seeing their eyes widen and jaws drop when they hear about actual hard work. Forget getting good pay, I would rather be satisfied with a hard days work done well. If I am compensated well for it, then that’s great.

  16. Ohiobob69

    September 4, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    There only 2 kinds of fair in this country, STATE AND COUNTY.

    Get over it.

    • Whitey

      September 6, 2013 at 7:25 pm


  17. Ben Garbe

    September 4, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I agree, but…

    Part of what is keeping job and wage growth down is that the deck is increasingly stacked against the little guy. That became painfully obvious in 2008 and hasn’t changed. The Boomers have royally screwed the Millennial generation and have siphoned a ridiculous amount of wealth. Until that’s fixed…I understand some complaining.

    • TommyBatboy

      September 4, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      Ben, your point is completely valid. If you want to go to a second level argument about the evolution of the job market, the increasing movement of manufacturing overseas, service vs product driven economies, that is a hell of a discussion and one that bears having if we want to see the US improve.

      My issues with the whole fast food crowd, which I really tried to hammer home are:

      1. What they are asking for, in the specific jobs they are in, is absurd.

      2. Relevant social forces aside, there is an element of entitlement and “do it for me” that’s appalling to me.

      That’s really what I can’t handle. It’s why I wrote it. Truly hard working people have some beef in this economy, no doubt. The notion that our tax dollars need to subsidize the least skilled segment of our work force to a base level of 31k, that’s insane.

  18. Ted Seeber

    September 4, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    If you don’t believe that human beings deserve food, clothing, shelter and water just for being human, then never claim to be pro-life.

    • JoeC

      September 4, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      Define deserve. I used to work at a place with a neverending stream of panhandlers in front of it. I used to tell them if they would come in and sweep the place up (45 minutes-1 hour very light work) I would give them $20. In the 7 years I worked there guess how many takers I had? Zero. Never a single one and I made the offer dozens of times. If you do everything you can to survive you definitely deserve those things, but if you are doing that you probably don’t need a hand out. If you’re a lazy bum that won’t do anything and what you are able to beg from people you drink, smoke or snort you don’t deserve anything.

    • leftoftheboom

      September 4, 2013 at 10:42 pm

      Holy crap you are full of self righteousness. If you are so pro-life and think that anyone deserves something just for existing, prove it. Lead the way yourself. Go to your local fast food joint and offer to pay the workers out of your own pocket the 7.50 an hour to make their wage a living wage.

      If you don’t do it, you’re a hypocrite. And you are not pro-life. Show that you are willing to do the “right thing” out of your own pocket. You do not get the right to demand it comes out of mine or anyone else’s.

      And while you’re at it, ask Russia how well Communism worked out. The Worker’s Paradise where everyone was equal.

    • William

      September 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      Don’t tell me what to do. Nobody deserves food, clothing, shelter, or water. Ever. They earn them, make them, steal them, or do without.
      Pro-life does NOT mean “I support giving people what they need or think they need”.
      Your philosophy is communism; you should NOT call yourself an American, because you manifestly do not hold American values.

  19. Frank Boland

    September 4, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Hey Tommy, here is a question that I would love to ask these morons. I graduated with Honors from Le Cordon Bleu. That was 2 years of my life and quite a bit of money to learn proper cooking techniques. I drove cross country and worked for 60+ hours a week for 3 months for free in Napa for my externship. If a highly qualified, experienced culinary school graduate cannot find $15 an hour in an entry position, what makes him think he qualifies? I am currently opening my own restaurant and can state with certainty that my labor costs wouldn’t bear those wages! These idiots and their entitled attitude are only surpassed by the window lickers in the current administration that support this bullshit! This is what you get when you Secretary of Labor has never run a successful business! Thanks for the great read!

    • JoeC

      September 4, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      And let’s say your annual revenue at your restaurant is $1 million and you might get to keep 10% of that for yourself as the CEO and half a dozen other titles. You will be making $100k per year. Nobody will have any problem with that and will quickly point to your hard work and dedication to justify you getting that. There will never be any question that you deserve that money because you do. But when we start talking about the CEO of a huge corporation making a fraction of a percent of his company’s revenue people get pissy about it.

  20. JT

    September 4, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    As usual, the rhinoden never fails to satisfy. I must take issue with one small piece. Where you mention “the ‘life, liberty, happiness’ section of the Declaration of Independence” you get it wrong like so many others before you. The common mistake is assuming that happiness is a given. But if you read carefully, our “rights” are Life, Liberty AND THE PURSUIT of Happiness. Being an American does not guarantee happiness, but it does mean that you are free to find whatever makes your ass happy. That is all.

    • TommyBatboy

      September 4, 2013 at 5:19 pm


      You are correct, Sir. I shortened it down to common parlance because I didn’t want to detract from my over arching point.

      I probably should have cleaned up the “attempt to make our way through this land as we see fit inside the confines of her laws, and that our government won’t unduly restrict our abilities to do so.” to be more acknowledging of what you said, Sir.


  21. SSgt Abrassive

    September 4, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Someone earlier mentioned the rising cost of living. I wonder what the affect of raising the wages of every fast food worker to $15/hr would be. I certainly wouldn’t patronize any fast food establishment after the pay raises took effect due to the certain rise in the cost of their products. If the majority of ‘Merica felt the same way i do and stopped going to fast food joints, some would go out of business, then more people would be unemployed and hop back on the government teet. Then what job that requires no decernable skills would they be picketing for higher wages?

    • Nicole

      September 4, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      Agreed. Had this same discussion with my husband when we first saw the fast food “strikes” on the news.

    • Zach

      September 5, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      Oh, they might raise prices in protest of a minimum wage hike, but when the CEO triples his salary to $14 million and prices don’t go up… yeah, I don’t buy it.

      • William

        September 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm

        Tripling the salary of a CEO is a miniscule line-item in the budget. Doubling the hourly wage of millions of employees is a huge addition.

  22. Alison

    September 4, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    So, I’m all for a good rant about the entitlement of America’s youth, BUT.
    I’m a 23 year old woman, busting my ass waiting tables for crap pay, sometimes as much as 60-70 hours a week, all while attending school full time so I can be a pediatric surgeon and make a difference in the world. There are months where I choose between paying the electric bill, and buying groceries. I don’t own a car, I go to the library to use a computer, my cell phone is 8 years old, I shop in thrift stores. I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs, and I’m broke. Like, so broke I have no idea how I’ll pay for heat this winter. School is expensive. Food is expensive. My crapartment is expensive.

    Maybe I don’t DESERVE anything, but it sure would be nice if the paycheck that I bust my butt for could actually keep a roof over my head, food in my tummy, and clothes on my back. I don’t mind sacrificing for my dreams, I made a choice, and it WILL be worth it in the end.

    What I DO mind is when people talk shit about folks working minimum wage jobs. To all the asshats who say “Get a better job”, you can go right to hell. Better jobs get kind of pissy when you need time of for finals. Better jobs require better educations, which most people working minimum wage jobs can’t afford. I DO have skills, ambition, ethics, and I sure as hell have plenty of self worth and a desire to improve not just MY life, but the lives of people around me. But I need a job, and the only job that works for me right now is a crappy minimum wage job serving entitled, self-righteous, self-important “adults” day in and day out.

    So before you judge someone working a minimum wage job, and tell them to sit down and shut up about the crap pay, maybe take a second and ask yourself–what if it were you? What if your life suddenly flipped upside down, and the only job you could get paid minimum wage. Wouldn’t YOU want to be able to support yourself and your family? I’d LOVE to see some of you condescending jerks try and eek out a living at the national minimum wage, and be happy about it.

    • Jared

      September 4, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      You know, there are other ways to pay for an education than getting a minimum wage job… A lot of us that post on this board did it this way. You’re probably not going to make it very far crying about how much your life sucks when you’re talking to a bunch of people who routinely had their lives interrupted for a year or more at a time in some hellhole country for $30k/year and a “Free” education…

    • Connor

      September 4, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      As a fellow student, I feel for you. Full-time student. I put it roughly like so: I go to school from 9 AM- 5:30 PM. For the sake, let’s just say 9-5. Eight hours. Each day of the regular school week. My total class hours is 16. I put in 3 hours outside of class (minimally) for every one of those hours every week.

      8*5=40. 16*3=48. 40+48=88. Now that’s just school. I spend roughly 88 hours a week on school. Just FYI, there are only 168 hours in a week (24*7). So 168-88=80.

      I know that I only sleep five hours every night, so 5*7=35.


      Those 45+ hours (when I work on theatre productions) I spend running a highly successful MMA website that just signed a contract with Alienware, I work at a grocery store, and I do odd jobs around campus (videography, production, etc).

      Literally, my life is consumed by doing things to better my situation. It sucks ass working and going to school, I doubt anyone will deny it, but I keep pushing through it because there’s something better next, and I certainly don’t start trying to unionize my workplaces to make my life easier. Would I like a raise? Hell yeah. Am I going to say it’s a gross injustice that I don’t get one? Hell no.

    • JoeC

      September 5, 2013 at 9:45 am

      Most of the people posting here have been where you’re at. It’s called life. As you indicated, your current situation was your choice. You don’t have to have the life you’ve got right now, but it is what you have chosen for yourself with the prospect of a big reward on the backside of it. If you want people to feel sorry for you because of your choice I think you are looking in the wrong foxhole.

    • shirene

      September 5, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      I agree with you. There’s 2 factors that pits against the people that work min wage jobs, or just middle class in general. 1) it’s a well known fact that college tuition that means anything had inflated to a ridiculous point. 2) The healthcare situation is so scary that I constantly have anxiety toward “what-if”. The biggest anxiety is even if I do buy health insurance I’ll still get stuck with a bill i can’t pay for.

    • Whitey

      September 7, 2013 at 2:25 am

      I started off working a job that required me to 96 hours per week, plus lots of mandatory overtime for chickenshit pay. While working that job, I was taking 15 units of school, and this was before the days of online classes. I was also taking every job-related class I could find to better myself in my career field. In other words, I was working my happy ass off. Yeah, it sucked. Yeah, my first home was a fabulously shitty rented single-wide (no apartments around here). And I understood that the only thing ANYBODY owed me was my last paycheck. So I sucked it the fuck up and continued working my ass off until I got my degree, got a promotion (with a small raise), got a less-used vehicle, got another promotion (with a bigger raise), got a new vehicle, bought a house with a yard, and am now doing more or less okay for myself and my wife.

      If I can do it, so can you, because this IS America. To quote our hosts here at the Rhino Den, RTFU and stop complaining. Because as I said before, nobody owes you a Goddamn thing other than your last paycheck.

      You CAN make it. Yes, you have it harder than some. Guess what? Many out there have it a lot harder than you. But you “deserve” something by EARNING it. The question here is: do you possess the courage, integrity, and intestinal fortitude to persevere? If the answer is yes (and I hope it is), then you will eventually get what you deserve. If the answer is no, then you don’t deserve shit. And that is the one thing in this world that actually is fair.

    • William

      September 10, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I worked construction, office jobs, hotels, restaurants, factories, had a lawn business all through school, and did a variety of other jobs. Then I enlisted, at 28. I just retired, and am looking for work in the maritime industry. But if nothing I want comes through by the end of the month, I’ll be asking ‘want fries with that?” until I do find the job I want. I have a family to support, I can’t let my ego and sense of entitlement stand in the way of doing whatever work will pay the bills until I can move up. I did it before, I’ll do it again, and I’ll still tell you to quit sniveling.

  23. Ben

    September 4, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    The largest corporations in the world that get by with paying their employees the least are making record profits. They’re also paying lobbyists to spread the rungs as far as they can to give them loopholes in the government. Private equity firms have been doing this for decades growing massive wealth at our expense and rungs have never been further apart than they are now. Our middle class is disappearing and many are going into poverty which is devastating our economy. Kids are definitely more lazy than they were and have more of a sense of entitlement, but that’s not what’s wrong with the world. The most recent generations grow up with different values of themselves and the work they do reflected in the world of products they’re surrounded in and what is required of them. We respond only to meet the demands of our drives. With the advancement of materials and technology our quality of life is constantly getting better, and many demands are either being reduced or changing to something else. Life will continue to get easier and more things will become free as technology and materials improve as well. It doesn’t mean the more recent generations are less good or wholesome as older generations because they didn’t have to suffer as much. I think you resent new generations for this fact.

  24. RINOVirus

    September 4, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    No, Mr. Batboy, fair is not “some bullshit notion.” It’s true that everything can’t be fair, it’s just not possible. But then there are people like YOU who make the bullshit suggestion that we shouldn’t even fucking try. Of course the whole debate is transparent as air. This is nothing more than a long term strategy by assholes like “Americans for Prosperity” and their fascist founders the Koch Brothers. Their goal is to turn the middle class against the lower class and to accelerate the same class warfare that their ilk started during the Reagan era. The wealth of this country is being slowly extracted and sent offshore by a pack of sniveling traitors, traitors that YOU support Mr. Batboy because they’re “job creators”. But take heart, one day the Kochs in their infinite generosity might just give you a discount on the shovel for the grave that your kind are digging for this country. Our entire economy has been designed to channel money directly to the top and to leave the rest of us at the bottom fighting each other for scraps.

    • Mr. Twisted

      September 4, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what’s called “jumping the shark” in a comment thread.

    • William

      September 10, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      Whoa! Down boy! Bad doggie! Also completely wrong, but so far off the deep end, not worth educating.

  25. Eve

    September 4, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    People that are hired on at fast food, places or Anywhere else for that matter Know what the salary will be.. If its not to your liking and you don’t need a Honest way to make a Living.. It’s simple.. Don’t Work There!! If you decide to work there.. Then Work and Thank GOD you even Have a job!! Stop the whining as MANY people would Gladly take your place!!

  26. A Christain

    September 4, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Surely you must be an atheist to write this article – but somehow I’m guessing you consider yourself to be a Christain – consider being the key word.

    • leftoftheboom

      September 4, 2013 at 10:30 pm

      I don’t think Christian (which you misspelled by the way) means what you think it means.

      Or are you a cry-stain and a whiner?

    • MandaJane

      September 4, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      Please tell me you are kidding “a christian”??!! Wanting people to take responsibility for their lives and and make something better of themselves doesn’t mean you can’t “consider” yourself a christian.

      Part of being a good Christian is encouraging others to make the best of themselves and working hard to love others the way our Lord wants us to.

      A good example would be comparing two sets of parents who love their child:

      One set pushes them to make something of themselves…teaching them that it takes hard work to earn something worth getting.

      The other set gives the child what they want…teaching them that life should be easy. Why should they have to work hard for something…don’t they just “deserve” it?


      I’m pretty sure that is exactly what being a Christian means…otherwise wouldn’t God just give us whatever we pray for? Because I “deserve” to win the lottery right? LOL….right.

  27. Kjhwk

    September 4, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    I sit here reading all your crappy attitudes towards sharing some of the wealth of major corporations. Well, I hope you never find yourself asking for a raise because those of us on the higher end just might be saying the exact things to you. So proud of the ignorant, selfish, mean comments on here! I’m sure at some point this will come back to bite all of you!

    • Scott Glynn

      September 6, 2013 at 10:33 am

      One does not simply ask for a raise because “well I’ve been here 3 months, I should ask for a raise” You indicate to your supervisor that you deserve a raise due to your contributions to the company and your ability to make the company more profitable using cold hard data. Your decisions to reduce waste, your ability to run your position more efficiently, etc. By showing your worth you can demand more compensation. If it is not given, then you have material for your resume to see what the competition would be willing to offer you.

  28. leftoftheboom

    September 4, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Back in the good old days, if there ever really were any such things, blah blah blah…
    You were born with nothing, you will die with nothing.

    In the middle, you are on your own and no one owes you a damn thing. If you have a fast food paycheck, you need to adopt the dollar store lifestyle. Most kids want the lives they had while they were still living with their parents. Only now they want everyone else to be their parents because the world is so cold and cruel to them. THERE ARE NO PARTICIPATION TROPHIES FOR REAL LIFE. Sorry to disappoint.

    And for A Christian, God helps those who help themselves. I am not God but I do have some suggestions:
    1. You don’t need a phone, which is a luxury.
    2. Learn to walk, it is good for you.
    3. If your wallet cannot afford the latest fashion, don’t buy the latest fashion
    4. You can eat well on very little money, rice, beans, eggs, sardines, spam, and cereal are actually good food. Lower that Red Lobster standard and eat just fine on what you can afford.
    5. You don’t need an entertainment budget. Get a library card and read a book. It is free.
    6. The latest video, game, or electronic device is a LUXURY. Luxuries are purchased with disposable income. Disposable income is money left over after necessities have been paid for.
    7. Don’t by name brand anything. Store brands are just as good and far cheaper.
    8. Don’t have a kid that you cannot afford, condoms are cheap and we don’t need another whiner to add to the list of reasons you don’t have enough money.
    9. Collect (legally) scrap metal and recycle it. Pick up aluminum cans and recyclable glass.
    10. Buy used items. They are cheaper and you can find great deals.

    Lastly. When you want to blame someone for your troubles in life, go look in the mirror. The person you see is the one that is responsible for everything wrong in your life. If you need to blame someone else, call your parents. Whine to them that you are not equipped to live in the world without their financial support and be pissed at them for not preparing you or being a millionaire and forcing you to work.

    • leftoftheboom

      September 4, 2013 at 10:45 pm

      Sorry I yelled. I had the volume up to loud on my headphones.

    • SealyGirl

      September 5, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      Well said! I even forgive the yelling.

  29. rose

    September 4, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    I almost hope they DO get a raise .. my no good ex husband will actually have to pay decent child support since he works at McShit to be able to keep up his alcoholic, part time, loser lifestyle.

  30. Rob

    September 5, 2013 at 12:17 am

    I agreed with you up to the point where you started bringing in degrees and work into it. Just because life is unfair doesn’t mean something shouldn’t be done about it. Take your teacher friends for example. How much are they paying for those degrees? Probably more than they are making in a year? (seriously asking, I don’t know tuition in NC).

    I can tell you from professional and personal experience that with the cost of university in the US compared to most of the world American are being judged more on the size of their wallets rather than the quality of their work, and it’s putting people like your teacher and EMS friends much farther behind than my teacher and EMS friends here in Korea (and much of the rest of the developed world).

    I agree you need to “earn your keep” but when you bust your ass off just to turn it into debt in order to get a low paying job, there’s something wrong with the system.

    Complacency is just as big a fault as sloth.

  31. steven craft

    September 5, 2013 at 2:19 am

    Amazing article. Too much do we set aside common sense and the reality of life to try and make things “fair”. You know what, I am 24 years old, I have a GED and I have my own place and my own car and I do not worry about my finances. I worked my butt off and did something with my life and it sickens me when Americans who have a whole lot more opportunities than a majority of the world claim “its not fair” they are why America is the way it is, everyone wants something in return for nothing and they don’t want to work to get there.

  32. Jeff

    September 5, 2013 at 4:23 am

    Maybe the author should read this link before demanding people “earn it”


    If one can’t afford to improve upon their situation how can one earn anything?

    • Mr. Twisted

      September 5, 2013 at 9:44 am


      So one of the most progressively-liberal states in the country has created a paradox whereby minimum wage workers can’t afford to live there, and the solution of progressive interest groups (like the one you linked) and the politicians they support is to…institute more progressive policies and legislation? Hmmmm…

      The answer to solving problems created by progressive policies is not to fix them with “more.”

    • TommyBatboy

      September 5, 2013 at 9:47 am

      Actually, I have.

      In fact, I grew up in Chicago, graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Poly Sci and my parents still live in the burbs (as do my brother and sisters for that matter). I understand very well the political axe to grind an organization like Progress Illinois has.

      When you pick through the way they set that study up it’s flawed in three major ways:

      1. They assume a two bedroom apartment, run the study again with a one bedroom or a studio, number drop is HUGE

      2. Chicago and it’s suburbs skew the data tremendously. People don’t need to live in the Gold Coast or Finance district of the city, or, Glenview, North Brook, or any of the North Shore burbs, you earn your way there. Putting the median price of the hyper affluent areas into a study like this grossly inflates the numbers.

      3. Illinois has one of the highest min. wages in the nation, has one of the highest state tax bases in the nation, and is one of the brokest states in the nation. So how can on argue conclusively that if you raise the minimum wage you won’t see the rapid inflation that is already plaguing the state, and how is it not going to lead to an even larger increase in state debt?

      That study has massive holes in it and the article was done by an organization with major, defined, historic political agendas.

  33. Milton

    September 5, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Long story, short version:

    MacDonald’s should not be, and is not, a lifetime career path.

    MacDonald’s is only one step on the yellow brick road to Oz(Success). You have to earn each brick to keep ahead of the witch (Low Wages).

    If you want to see the Wizard (The American Dream), you have to make the trip, its not a free ride and nobody can do it for you.

  34. one of the youth

    September 5, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I get kind of tired of the entitled youth argument. This statement suggests that there were not lazy people 24 years ago at the start of the previous generation or another generation before it. Now we cannot honestly believe this to be the truth. The fact is that people work more hours per week in today’s society than any decade before us. The utility of the minimum wage is that it sets the local minimum wage rate that a single adult could meet of his/her required basic needs with 40 hours of work. Do I believe this could be done at 7.50/hr? Not really, do I think it takes $15/hr? No, it may be time to raise the minimum wage, but I don’t think we need to make it 15 dollars an hour either.

    • Rick James

      September 5, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      Yes, there have been and always will be lazy people. That is a sad truth that many of us deal with every day. Do you really think it is a fact “that people work more hours per week in today’s society than any decade before us”? You might want to open a history book. There were young children in the U.S. who worked longer hours than most have ever worked today.

    • JoeC

      September 6, 2013 at 11:20 am

      Have you done the math on $7.50 an hour? That’s $1200 per month and probably about $900 take home. Around here that will easily take care of rent, bills and groceries on a one bedroom apartment and have money left to put clothes on your back. You won’t be living like a king, but you’ll be living. Add a spouse/significant other at another minimum wage job and you are in pretty good financial shape. I think it’s pretty common for people to forget what they actually need to live. It doesn’t include a car, cell phone, TV, BluRay, X Box, Jordans, designer jeans, etc. It includes a roof over your head, clothes, food and water.

  35. Zach

    September 5, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    There seems to be this assumption that people honestly choose fast food (or any other minimum wage job) as a career plan rather than a last resort. Everyone’s probably imagining a bunch of teen and twentysomething, pizza-faced, moronic losers who want something for nothing and have no ambition in life aside from squeezing out a couple of dependants.

    You wouldn’t believe how many people in retail have bachelor’s degrees or better. You would think that the lady with two kids is just stupid for having kids on a McDonald’s budget… but she used to have a much better job, a real job, one you can build a career on, when starting a family was feasible… and lost it in the crapper we call an economy.

    People would rather believe in a myth about undeserving, self-entitled underwear stains -a load of crap the media is more than happy to keep serving to you- because it flatters the ego. You got shitty service and a flaccid slider from one dumbass teenager at the Dairy Queen and that’s how you view everyone on minimum wage, an image society loves to prop up.

    “… all wear green,” said a soft but very distinct voice, beginning in the middle of a sentence, “and Delta Children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I’m so glad I’m a Beta.”
    -Alduous Huxley, Brave New World

    • JoeC

      September 5, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      So are you suggesting that a burger flipped by a degree holding 40-something with a mortgage, two kids and a dog is somehow more tasty and worth more money than the same burger flipped by a highschool kid with no real responsibilities? It doesn’t work that way. You get paid based on the work you do, not the degrees on your wall or the things you are responsible for in life.

      Life shits on all of us from time to time. It happens. Been there, done that. After 9/11 I went through 4 jobs in 3 months. Three years ago I was unemployed for 5 months. You want to talk about screwed. I wanted to work somewhere for minimum wage for those 5 months, but I couldn’t without losing access to the excellent job search functions the state provides. Thankfully they have changed that now.

      • Zach

        September 6, 2013 at 9:05 pm

        I’m not saying they deserve it for having those things. What I’m saying is that people working minimum wage are not usually the unambitious, uneducated and/or unskilled dullards that people have in mind.

        I guess my comment was less of one on the column than certain posters here spewing ignorant stereotypes with the clear implication that they’re inherently better than people making minimum wage. Like you said, life shits on us all from time to time. It doesn’t mean “you have no skills, no ambition, no ethics, no core values, no self worth and no desire to better any of these things for yourself.” It might, but there are tons of people out there working minimum wage jobs, not because they lack those things, but simply because that’s all that’s available to keep a roof over one’s head.

        I know someone who, despite their degree, skills, work ethic and qualifications, has spent the last two years job hunting and interviewing, and only now was able to get a good one. First, because the job market in the area sucks and they weren’t able to move. Second, because their previous place of work liked their work ethic and ability so much, they actively sabotaged them; when potential employers called the store for references, their manager referred them to corporate, who of course had never heard of them.

        All that hard work and ambition weren’t rewarded with upward mobility, a raise or even more hours. They was stabbed in the back, because they was competent, and the manager didn’t want to lose her only reliable closer.

        Yeah, sometimes all those things get recognized and people get rewarded for the work they put in. Too often, they’re screwed. And that could happen to any of us.

        I’m just glad I don’t have to worry about the civilian job market. Yet.

  36. Brat

    September 5, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Have not waded through all the comments, but always strikes me in these “I deserve it” and the “gimme just because you have and I do not”, is this:

    The first day ANY employee shows up on a job they have interviewed for, and been accepted for, is an implicit agreement to the terms (and wages) offered for that job. Once on the job, any job, you do not get to change the goal posts, just because you “deserve” it. You deserve it when you have earned it, and the boss – the guy who invested their own money to create that business – decides that a) they are generating enough income after taxes and overheads to give you a raise which b) you have EARNED with your work ethic by contributing to the success of said business.

    If the boss/business owner pays the employees more than the business can bear, then ALL employees will be out of jobs, as the business has to close down. It is not rocket science, but ECON 101.

    And yes, I have been both an employee AND an employer.

  37. grow up

    September 5, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    I dont understand why it is inconceivable for someone to take out school loans to go to college as a way to better themselves and get out of a minimum wage paying job? Kids do it every day! I was in school for 11 years; took out loans for all 11; no cosigners needed because government loans done require one. So what is stopping these people from taking out these loans and going to college? motivation. period. stop making excuses and go to college. and dont just go to college, go to college with a plan to major in something that will pay you what you want to be paid so you can stop bitching about what is fair and what is not

    • JoeC

      September 6, 2013 at 11:09 am

      As with anything, a loan should be a last resort. Getting out of college and being in debt is a terrible way to start life. Many students suffer through college so they don’t have to suffer after. They put off a family because they can’t afford it and having a loan to pay for school doesn’t change that. Then they get out of school to find that paying off those loans makes it financially irresponsible, if not impossible, for them to start a family, buy a house, buy a car, etc. Even with a degree, payments on $50k in loans at 7-8% interest take a huge chunk our of your take home pay.

  38. MikeD

    September 6, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Mother on welfare with four kids because father left them. Mother is forced to go to job counseling and gets job as secretary in 1982. Mother raises all four children on that salary and retires in 2008 from same job. All four children graduated high school and have become tax payers and none have ever collected gov’t benefits since childhood. I am the youngest of those four. I have high school diploma and that is all. I joined military and learned a skill. I got out and expanded upon that training. I have NO college diploma. I chose NOT to live in workers paradise of Michigan where wages are going down and business is NOT welcome. I choose to live where the jobs are. I have moved my family of 5 to follow the work. Currently I hit 6 figures with OT working as a Networking Engineer for one of the largest computer companies in the world. No one gave me shit. I worked shit jobs as teen just to afford my clothes, car and gas to put in it. I worked a shit job to support family right after High School. I saw there was no future in it. I’ve hustled and scraped and sacrificed. I’ve been in 3 combat zones. I will sit here and tell people if I made it, anyone can. And for those who think I didn’t do it on my own, fuck off! There are a lot of people looking for good, dependable people to work for them. These jobs are NOT minimum wage. You just have to show some initiative and motivation and hustle to get what you want. You really think that CEO didn’t hustle? Put the pipe down and come back to reality. Minimum wage jobs are for minimally skilled people. You have more skills? Sell it to someone and you won’t be minimum wage earner. OR, keep bitching about how things are harder now, and how you are working more hours than anyone ever(WTF?), and you GUARANTEE my teenage children will crush your ass in the marketplace once they complete college. Because we have taught them the world isn’t fair and that they will have to sacrifice to achieve their dreams.

  39. James

    September 6, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    A truly sad amount of Republican and elitist thinking on the comments of this article. The old ‘get a better job’ argument is very naive and willfully ignorant. People suck.

    • Whitey

      September 7, 2013 at 2:51 am

      Does your utopia have building inspectors in it?

      I haven’t told anybody to do anything I haven’t done, and neither has anyone else here. And what is it that we’ve done? Embrace the suck, work our asses off, and improve our situation. Period.

      My collar is as blue as they come. I grew up without most of the luxuries my friends in school had, because we couldn’t afford them. I worked a minimum-wage job pretty much all of my spare time in high school so that I could actually have some spending money. I now work in the same career as my Dad and Grandpa before me, as is often the case amongst the less-rich. And I’ve managed to do alright in it, but it wasn’t easy.

      I just don’t care for people who piss and moan about how hard it is to do exactly what I did, and neither does anyone else here.

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