A few days ago my family and I decided to go to Dunkin Donuts to grab breakfast before running errands. We went through the drive-thru expecting it to be a quick trip. It wasn’t. It began when I ordered a number four, hold the sausage. The person taking our order responded that it came with sausage and if I wanted to the sandwich without then I couldn’t get the meal. She just didn’t understand that you could have the sandwich, with the meal WITHOUT the meat. We tried to explain the concept. She didn’t get it.
I explained how I wanted my coffee made, using percentages. 75% coffee, 25% milk. She didn’t understand that either. When we drove around there was another employee trying to understand the concept of the meal without the meat on the sandwich but thankfully someone had figured out how to make the coffee at least.
They didn’t have hash browns ready so we ended up waiting in the parking lot for half an hour for the rest of our meal. My husband had to eventually go inside and get them. When he got back to the car, rightfully annoyed at what our short stop had become, I turned to him and said, “This is why these people need to be paid $15 an hour.” He looked at me like I was crazy until I explained.
“Do you want the girl who couldn’t figure out taking meat off of a sandwich to be in charge of your grandma’s medication?”
The common argument is that people who work in low skill jobs don’t deserve to make a living wage. That they should better themselves in order to earn more. Never mind that we still need people to flip our burgers and sweep our floors and also forget about the fact that those low skill jobs are often very, very hard work.
What that argument ignores completely is that not everyone is bright. That some people really are best suited for unskilled labor. Because we ignore that not everyone is suited for every job, we end up with a lot of people in careers that they just shouldn’t be in becuase that is what pays well and no one wants to be poor.
The fact of the matter is, being a fast food worker, a retail associate, or any sort of unskilled worker may be the best job for some people. They may be a great customer service rep or excellent with their hands. They may just really like the low responsibility these jobs offer so they can focus on their family. Or, they may just not be that bright. And all of those people deserve to make enough money to live off of.
Imagine the group of people who were in charge of my family’s breakfast in any other situation. The same group of people who collectively didn’t understand substitution, basic percentages, and were unable to get an order of hash browns out in a timely manner as your medical staff, your legal support team, the people in charge of your social services.
Do you want them in those roles? Probably not. Neither do I but I also don’t think they deserve to struggle just because they’re not as talented as other people.
I want people who care about those professions to be in them. I want people who have a passion for medical issues and legal work to work in those fields. I don’t want someone handling the paperwork for my case who is only doing it because it pays more than flipping burgers.
If you keep them happy where they are then they will stay there ensuring that people who really want to work in a field go into it. Which means you’ll have workers who are loving what they do more often than just people who are going into a field because they don’t want to starve.
So next time you hear about workers going on strike for higher wages and you think that they don’t deserve it, think about the dumbest person you know. Then ask yourself, do you want that person in charge of your medication or do want them happily working a drive thru window?