How to earn a living wage:
Step 1: Lower your standard of living until it matches your paycheck.
Step 2: Try to ignore any feelings of remorse and discontent until you die.
As you probably know, the minimum wage in the United States is kind of sucky. It’s a hot button issue, as well. Many people have complained that it simply isn’t enough to survive on. On the other hand, many people say that minimum wage jobs are only meant for teenagers who are just beginning to work. In response to that, many people say they are trapped in these “beginner” jobs and need a living wage. Which, in response to that, the other side says that if they want higher pay they should have stayed in school.
And so on and so on, and nothing would ever really happen. That is, until recently. Across the nation, many people and unions have gone on strike to demand higher wages. The common demand is for $15 per hour, which is much higher than currently.
Large, multi-billion dollar companies are caught in a conundrum. What can we do? Pay these workers that much money? That will cut into our profits! But they’re on strike, and that’s cutting into our profits, too… Oh wait a minute! It’s the 21st century!
Forbes reports: Earlier this month, McDonald’s announced the nationwide roll-out of touchscreen self-service kiosks. In a video the company released to showcase the new customer experience, it’s striking to see employees who once would have managed a cash register now reduced to monitoring a customer’s choices at an iPad-style kiosk.
It’s not just McDonald’s that has embraced job-replacing technology. Numerous restaurant chains (both quick service and full service) have looked to computer tablets as a solution for rising labor costs that won’t adversely impact the customer’s experience. Eatsa, a fully-automated restaurant concept, now has five locations—all in cities or states that have embraced a $15 minimum wage.
Well, that was easy! Instead of minimum wage, soon people will just be getting no wage!
On one hand, this seems like a callous and uncaring thing to do, replacing human workers who need that paycheck with a computer. On the other hand, I also get it. You don’t have to pay a computer, and isn’t life all about accumulating wealth? It’s a classic capitalistic problem: Humanity = cost, and cost = bad.
So, are we seeing the long-dreaded robot takeover? Will we live to see a future of millions on the streets because an iPad can do their job for them?
Maybe… But at least the cost of my Bic Mac didn’t go up because some teenager wanted $15 an hour to stand in front of a cash register!