Minimum wage has always been a hot topic it seems. I have heard about it all my life.
Companies that rely on cheap labor in their financial model oppose raising it; people on the other side say they deserve a living wage. Bottom line is that both parties want to make more money! You may call it greed if you want, but then call both sides greedy.
Take Walmart for example. Any manufacturer/distributor who has ever tried to sell to Walmart will tell you what a hard bargain Walmart makes if it purchases their product. Some say it is the biggest blessing to sell to Walmart; others say it was the biggest curse when returns decimated their business. So it’s not just the employees that have a gripe with Walmart, but also some vendors.
So why does Walmart behave this way? Answer is simple: to sell their products to consumers at the lowest price possible! Consumers are sharp buyers, they know prices and value for the most part. Are consumers to blame? Maybe. And maybe the same ones who want minimum wage increased!
Folks complain about products coming from China too. But how many consumers would pay $10 more for a $50 shirt made in America? How many consumers buy from mom and pop shops for a few bucks more to support local merchants?
So back to the minimum wage debate the other part I don’t understand is why anyone would want to take a job at a minimum wage unless one was in school, it was a second income family job, or that is all they are capable of doing. In the first instance, many college and high school age kids need jobs, to make some money and learn how to work. The costs of training and turnover plus incompetence do not justify higher salaries. Second, as a second income job Walmart presents a clean working environment, set hours, and a financially sound source of a paycheck. I notice how many retirees work at Walmart for a second income as well as to give them something to do every day. They got used to work and liked it! And third, the folks that are capable of a better paying job can often find it. There are lots of companies that pay above the minimum wage if the employee is worth it.
The bigger issue to me is the concept of working one’s way up the ladder of income levels. Many people I know started out on the bottom, many even at minimum wage. As they demonstrated skills and values above and beyond their peers they got promotions and raises as rewards for their efforts. And some of them did very well! Notice I didn’t say hard work; that is a given. Values and skills are perhaps more important, and often lacking.
I also have to assume that Walmart has opportunities for promotions and salary increases for its people. They need supervisors, store managers and others who have proven they are capable of doing more. Instead of complaining about minimum wage why don’t the folks seek better positions and pay? A gripe I often hear from business owners is that it is hard to get good help. They reward the ones that are good! Not the chronic complainers.