I don't believe the construction of minimum wage was meant to provide funds for fun stuff. Also, in a way, a low minimum wage is helping fight male and female stereotypes. With a low minimum wage, it means it's more likely that both adults in a household need to work, fighting the idea that the man is the moneymaker and the woman is a housewife. In regards to your personal salary, think of what you are actually doing. With the rise of online shopping, do we need retail store workers anymore?
Let’s break this down, because each sentence is its own brand of asinine, and I can’t just tackle it all in one go.
- “I don’t believe the construction of minimum wage was meant to provide funds for fun stuff.” In 1938, the night before FDR signed the law establishing the federal minimum wage, he said, “Do not let any calamity-howling executive with an income of $1,000 a day…tell you…that a wage of $11 a week is going to have a disastrous effect on all American industry.” The cost of living back then was significantly lower, even when adjusting for inflation. When a movie ticket cost twenty-five cents ($4.20 in today’s dollars), I doubt anyone was making a huge deal out of someone going to catch a movie, unlike today, when a movie costs an average of $8.17 (and here in NYC, is at least $12.50). And if someone did complain, and the person decided to go to Harvard and get a degree in the hopes of making more, they’d just have to raise $420 a year ($7,047 a year in 2015 dollars) to go. Back then, the money just went farther. And there were fewer bills to pay–cell phones and the internet didn’t exist, the only things contributing to light bills were literally lights, and so on. If you could pay for your basic needs on a minimum wage and have an extra twenty-five cents a week to see a movie or grab a beer, I doubt anyone would care. Aside from that, the inherent cruelty in seeing low wage workers as labor drones who don’t deserve happiness is p disgusting honestly.
- “Also, in a way, a low minimum wage is helping fight male and female stereotypes. With a low minimum wage, it means it’s more likely that both adults in a household need to work, fighting the idea that the man is the moneymaker and the woman is a housewife.” This is peak heteronormative white capitalist feminism. “If it takes two people to make the income of one person, then we can destroy the patriarchy by all being exploited equally!” I’m actually impressed by how goddamn stupid this concept is.
- “In regards to your personal salary, think of what you are actually doing.” What I was doing (the post made it abundantly clear it was a former job) was spending nine hours a day (we had an hour break which had to interrupt our eight hour shift rather than being factored in) plus three hours daily commute (an hour and a half each way) on a job wherein I was required to run (literally, because if a customer complained about it taking too long for me to get back from the stock room, I could have my hours cut or be suspended or fired) between five stock rooms across three floors making up 36,000 square feet. I had to memorize the locations of items on the floor I worked on and the ones I didn’t, the list of color codes, different folds for many different items, prices for at least the most popular fifty to a hundred items, and so on. I had to keep 15,000 feet of displays and shelves and tables fully stocked and perfectly folded and sized while people were shopping, and if I was standing around while something was unfolded across the store, I could have my hours cut or get suspended or fired. I had to do all of this with a smile on my face, because if a customer complained about my attitude, even if it was just for frowning, I could get my hours cut or get suspended or get fired. If the store did less than $250k a day in business, people’s hours were getting cut. I’ve done much higher-paying jobs since and they’ve been much easier.
- “With the rise of online shopping, do we need retail store workers anymore?” Yes, obviously. Online shopping is for when you’re casually shopping but don’t feel like going to the store, or if there’s something non-vital you want a better price on. If you need something for an event tomorrow, you’re going to the store for it. If you don’t know your size and want to try it on without waiting a week, sending it back, waiting another week for it to get to them and have them ship it back out, and another week before you get the other size, which may or may not be right, you’re going to the store. If you want to touch the garments and see how they feel, or try them on in front of a mirror to make sure the cut and colors look good on you, or get a second opinion from a (more or less) neutral party. If you want to wander around from shop to shop and see what you can find. If you want to go to a thrift store. Plus, if we branch out of retail, fast food isn’t going away because of the internet, nor are servers or bartenders or housekeepers or custodians or grocery store cashiers or deli workers or anyone else who does a service that people use but are underpaid for their labor.
At the end of the day, there will always be workers in positions that are currently underpaid. If every McDonalds worker decided tomorrow to get a STEM degree and were given the means to do so, there would still be only a certain number of STEM jobs and a need for fry cooks. And those fry cooks deserve to be able to meet their basic needs just as much as anyone else.