The Minimum Wage Gap

So I feel like I should weigh in on this. Let me set this up for you. Apparently, all the employees at three separate Ohio Sonic restaurants walked off the job when the company changed their pay to $4.00. I typed that number out in numeric form so you could see just how silly it looks. I mean, four is a pretty good-looking number if you ask me. It’s not as sexy as the eight, but it’s got its points. But I sure as shit don’t want that to be the only number before the decimal in my pay scale.

See, here’s the thing: they say, “Oh, your pay will be $4.00 an hour because you make tips.” And my bottom line, my one sentence that could close this whole thing off to where you wouldn’t even need to read any further would very simply be the following sentence: That’s none of your damned business.

Oh, you’re still reading? Okay. Well then I need to think of some more stuff to write. You see, that was supposed to be my knockout punch.

But seriously, why is that anyone’s business? The way I look at it is that any tips I might or might not receive are basically like tiny little silent contracts between my client and me. And that’s it. And let’s not forget, not every customer will tip. I know that when Sonic converted to their current model where I could pay at the board, they somehow dropped a major ball of being able to write in a tip. And I almost never carry cash. So on those rare occasions when I eat fast food – and the even rarer subset of those when I go to Sonic – I find myself digging around in my purse or my ash tray trying to find a quarter or two. I mean, I like to think of myself as a guy who tips well. And at regular restaurants I do. Always twenty percent, unless they just suck. But at Sonic, I don’t do as much.

The main reason is because they don’t do as much. They bring me my food. That’s it. If I want ketchup, or a refill, I have to push that red button and wait for someone to come on the speaker asking what I want. And then transfer that message to someone in the building who will skate out there and bring me my catsup. It might not even be the same skater boy. They don’t come back and check on you. They don’t ask if everything came out all right. They just hand you a bag of heart attack and skate away. So, yeah. I’m all right with a fitty-cent tip.

But back to the lecture at hand. On those very frequent occasions where I don’t have any change or paper money on me at all, the poor Sonic skater gets nothing. No tip at all. And I know I’m not the onlyest guy on the planet who only does transactions with his bank card. It’s so much easier and faster than cash. Not to mention safer. If I get stuck up (good luck with that) then they get a card from me. To which they won’t know the PIN. And if they use the chip, it will be too late. I will have logged onto my app and shut off the card by then. They don’t get any cash from me.

And let us not forget those cashiers who give you the wrong amount of change. Those Sonic carhops who think that a twenty is worth a five and a ten. If I pay with a card, I don’t have to worry about being short-changed. So I only carry my cards. And I know a lot of other people do, too. So you’re telling me that you feel good about cutting some poor skater’s wage to four dollars because you know they get tips? Dude. Seriously?

Not only is it none of your effing business whether or not they get a tip, or how much that tip might or might not be, it’s just bad business to assume they’re going to get enough of them to make a good hour. These people need the money. Just pay them for it and stop whining about a few dollars. You run a multi-million-dollar empire. You can afford to pay them more than four dollars. Trust me, I know. I’ve seen how much you charge for a chicken sandwich. Every time I buy one sandwich, I’ve paid two employees’ hourly wage for the hour.

I think no matter whether you think you know they’re making tips or not, and whether or not you think that’s any of your business, you should be paying these kids at least minimum wage to skate out there and give people their food. These lazy asses who drive up to get food because they’re too lazy to get out of their cars and serve themselves will pay whatever you ask. I think 9 bucks is fair. And damn, ain’t that a sexy number?

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