Now, is that a social media fail, or a marketing fail, or a just plain tragic any-way-you-look-at-it fail? Whatever it is, you just stay classy, Zimbabwe, you stay classy!
Can your family survive on fast food worker wages? That’s the question do-gooder icon Mother Jones put to readers recently, and although it’s a cliche, the answer really might surprise you. It might, in fact, horrify you. It sure did me.
Struggles by fast food workers for a living wage have been in the news for some time. Unlike waitstaff in traditional restaurants, they either don’t earn tips or earn negligible amounts ($15 a week was average when I worked for Starbucks twenty years ago).
Minimum wage is survivable provided one has a secure, affordable living situation and guaranteed hours, but guaranteed hours are a rarity in the industry. In the UK, McDonalds has made front page news for its commitment to so-called zero hour contracts which offer the workers anything from no work to overtime, as it suits the employer. Labour MP Andy Sawford responds, “In the ordering of their food they know how to identify customer levels so they cook the right amount, so they could use that same information with staff levels and give employees more certainty.”
This week, fast food workers around the country are set for escalating job action in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Flint, demanding a wage of $15 an hour and the right to unionize without management interference. The actions are supported and coordinated by the Service Employees International Union. “We are slowly dying,” striker Terrence Wise told Democracy Now.
So what does it actually take to live on a fast food salary, if the right wing media is to be believed and granting the wage increase would cripple the nation’s Happy Meal capability, leading to a dangerous international burger imbalance?
The Mother Jones calculator queries your household size (just me and the cats, but they’re big eaters), your state (Canuckistan, but I picked Washington because, well, I’ve been there and it looks a lot like Vancouver), your city (provided your household is larger than one; singles it seems can fit in anywhere), and how much you make in a year (good question; I estimated $30,000 this year). Then it spits out a rather shocking statistic.
To earn $30,000 a year working as a fast food worker, I’d have to work 64 hours a week. The average number of hours a fast food employee receives is less than 25, and I have seven years at Starbucks that confirm it.
A household like yours in Washington needs to earn $18,245 annually to make a secure yet modest living. A fast-food worker working full time would have to earn $8.74 an hour to make that much.
The average fast-food employee works less than 25 hours a week. To make a living wage in Washington at current median wages, s/he would have to work 39 hours a week.
In 39 hours, McDonald’s serves 112,125,000 customers and makes $122,394,480. That’s about 30,598,620 Big Macs.
As author Barbara Ehrenreich pointed out in her book Nickel and Dimed, while companies repeatedly claim their employees like the flexibility of the scheduling, interviews with the actual employees indicate a labor force that would prefer standardized hours, preferably full time. With an increasing proportion of breadwinners vs students in the staffing pool, that demand is a very real call to action and challenge to the industry. ThinkProgress reports that if hourly wages on the front line doubled, the price of a Big Mac would go up a whopping (see what I did there) 68 cents.
While six-figure think tankers continue to wrestle with the problem, the Pew Research Center reveals that women are the primary breadwinners in 40% of US families, and that the average income for a single mother who has never married is $17,400.
She’d better get a second, or a third, job.
Ah, AutoDM spam! That takes me back; back all the way to 2009. Mariah Carey wants to know what love is. The Glee cast found somebody to love. Alicia Keys and Jay-Z were in an Empire state of mind.
And spammers had just discovered Twitter.
The revolting Auto-DM, in which a marketer automatically privately messages some “Like us on Facebook and ask me about MLM marketing” garbage, is a noxious remnant of that time, clinging to its loathsomely recrudescent existence with brittle, shattered claws, refusing to let go, refusing to acknowledge that, in fact, it is noxious spam.
And today I got one.
Now, I’m not cruel. Okay, sometimes I’m not cruel. And people do get hacked, do authorize apps which then go bad and start DMing spam. So I generally give them a heads-up along the lines of “oh, and did you mean to send that spam?”
And so it was on Twitter today, when I got an autoDM from @Hvacrpro, a self-proclaimed “World Shaper, Media Shaker,Game Changer & Innovator’ Progressive Democratic Union Party. Love my Country, & Christian, Live2Tweet&Love2Live,Teabagger whisperer” and Blogspot blogger. Oooh, colour me impressed!
It went something like this.
Hi! You can auto follow back, find unfollowers, unfollow inactive users, check for fake followers, and more FREE at bit.ly/14quajJ
Or I could become offended by this spam
spam is sales, promotion and marketing… this is not the same its an automated message, get with the times.
research before u put your foot into your mouth.
Whereupon I unfollowed him, wondering what in the UNIVERSE had ever induced me to follow somebody who thought self-righteous spam, insults and “:P” were advanced marketing techniques.
Not exactly sure what his brand of “conservative corporatism” is meant to conserve, but I don’t know many corporations who’d be happy to admit they’d hired this loosaire.
Okay, Venezuela: wait for it. Once they get their troops back from Iraq and Afghanistan, you’re about to face the oldest, most PTSD’d army on the face of the Earth.
So, one evening I was hanging on Twitter with hacktivists and freedom fighters from around the world (as one does) when one of them came up with a brilliant plan. Not only will it garner huge media coverage for its salacious possibilities, but it will raise money for WikiLeaks and Assange‘s lawyers at the same time as contributing in a very direct way to making the world a cleaner, more attractive place.
Thanks to @Treisiroon for collating them all, and @SeasangJ, @Pandymonium01 and @AssangeC for playing along. Your cheques are in the mail. As for the rest of you, put your suggestions in the comments section.
And yes, I DO know I’m opening this up for trolls.
Announcing WikiLeaks personal care products!
Contradiction fragrance, a woman’s perogative.
Clean as a Whistleblower soap.
Mendax fragrance, the scent of danger.
Mendax fragrance, nobly untruthful.
Mendax fragrance, From Melbourne to Nairobi, Cambodia to London, The Truth Will Set You Free.
Mendax cologne- because you pwn it.
Mendax cologne… awesome audaciousness.
Mendax cologne, The Scent of Freedom.
Mendax cologne, Get A Whiff of the Truth.
Mendax Gentleman’s overnight bag slash travellers case.
Mendax condom for all night lulz. [hmmm, I foresee difficulty marketing a condom which causes one or one's partner to collapse in fits of laughter. Or is that just me?] specially treated so no DNA remains ….”Swedish tear test approved DS9001.”
Mendax condoms, because he knows he’ll need it.
Mendax condoms, love the audacity.
Mendax: Dare to Wear it! [unsure whether this refers to condom or cologne, so suggest gift packs containing both, just in time for the holiday season]
Julian, transparent masculinity. [I rather think this is a condom as well. Either that or some kind of macho wrestling body oil]
Redacted deodorant, because not everything should be shared.
Asylum fragrance, too hot to handle.
Silver Fox haircare. [can we get Anderson Cooper as a spokesmodel?]
Oh, the possibilities are endless. Thanks to all who participated in this crowd-sourced effort to diversify WikiLeaks. Remember, united we stand, diversified we profit!