Beware The Mob

You hear something.  It’s posted on Facebook.  You have no reason to doubt it, so you believe it.  Then you pass it along. Repeat.

The next thing you know, the flames are fanned and it’s cool and popular and hip to pile on and agree, or to show people just how progressive your thinking has become.

Then it’s revealed that the basis of this viral idea really ISN’T true.  That’s when all involved drop the subject and act like they were never part of the social media mob.

Beware the mob.

A great example–the push to force fast-food companies to raise the hourly rate they pay entry-level workers to $15 an hour, deemed “a livable wage.”  Feels good, doesn’t it?  “Yes, I’m FOR a livable wage!  Fast food workers deserve that!”

It’s simplistic and ignorant to believe that one socially-conscious act will suddenly make the lives of millions of people better. In the short-term, it might.  But your long-term thinking is extremely flawed.

You’ve decided that employees at a company should be paid more.  A “livable wage” of $15 an hour.  Have you heard of shoplifting?  You do realize who pays for that, right?  If you’ve gone to sleep at night, dreaming of the evil store owner getting his dues, you’ve missed the reality bus.  Produce spoilage, shoplifting, stolen grocery carts are all factored in when coming up with a “how do we make a low-margin of profit” business plan.  All those factors, along with the cost of the merchandise, the shipping it takes to reach the store, etc. are all factored in on the price.  So–newsflash–YOU pay for it.  It’s the thievery tax or the spoilage tax you never see and that doesn’t appear on your receipt.

Now, force a fast food franchise owner to jack up his minimum wage to $15 an hour and you’ll see the prices of what he or she sells go up.  After a while, because anyone and everyone regardless of work ethics or service has to be paid that much money, customers notice a rise in prices paired with a reduction in the quality of service.  So, they quit coming.  When they quit coming, there are cutbacks.  And now that $12 an hour job you bumped up to $15 has gone away.

If you’re not making $15 an hour at a fast food restaurant, quit.  Find something else.  Go to, Craigslist, and search the Internet for your options.  It can be done.  But don’t go to Boeing and try to get a $15 an hour entry-level job.  Some of those start at only $14 an hour.  Go to South Carolina, and that’s $13 an hour.

So, before you go doing the business plan for someone else’s company, do a little homework.  This is true of most social issues.  Know what is true, not what someone on Facebook says is the gospel.

For example, those stats about how easy it would be for fast food places to bump up their minimum wage to $15 an hour?  Read on.

To the entitled generation, get a grip.  I’ve worked for $3.50 an hour in my college days.  My salary after 4 years of college in 1976 was $4800 a year.  Seriously.

You work, you get paid, and look towards the future, figuring what you can do to advance.  And then you just keep pushing.

Or, just choose to repeat after me: “Would you like fries with that?”

Tim Hunter

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