By Paul Big bear
Let us look back in our lives, what was your first job for a paycheck? That first job, with taxes taken out of your earnings, how old were you, and what were you paid per hour? Mine was working as an usher at the local movie house, where I averaged twenty-one hours a week at $1.25 an hour. I went to school where I bought my own lunch, saved my money and eventually bought my first car for $200.00. I did not expect that I would make enough to move out, get my own place to live, get married, and raise a family.
I was happy be making money but I wanted more, more things in my life therefore more money, so I took other jobs. Another job mowing lawns at $1.50 an hour (another 20 hours a week) and I was bringing home roughly $50.00 a week. Today I keep hearing that the minimum wage should be $15.00 an hour, and at first I did the math and realized that since I was starting out in the work world the hourly wage has not skyrocketed. Reality check! One Christmas I was shopping and one of the gifts on my to buy list was a music CD, I went to the music CD store and was greeted by a young male with multicolored, multi length hair and a ring through his nose. He greeted me with “Hey Dude want can I get you?” I showed him the CD title and he said “Heavy Dude” and walked away, he returned with my CD and walked away. I went to the register where a young girl rang my purchase up. As I watched the register was entered with the cost of the CD, the tax, the total $18.92 and the twenty dollar bill I handed her, it then went $000.00. She muttered “Again.” And walked off, returning with the manager (I know he was the manager his name tag said so) he said “Again” and produced a small note pad and a pencil, pulled out the register tape and wrote $20.00 – 18.92 = at this point I stopped him and said what are you doing? He informed me he was figuring out my change. I took my twenty dollar bill back and went home.
Sadly this is not an isolated incident the most recent involves a local pizza house. My wife and I were out running errands and decided a pizza for dinner would be good so I called and ordered a large pizza with bacon, pineapple, and extra cheese for pick up at four and gave them my name. I asked how much but they had hung up. At four I entered the pizza place, mask in place, and gave my name, a 14” pizza box was placed in front of me, I was looking at boxes ready to be filled 12” 14” and 16”, I said I wanted a large and was told that was a large. I said then what is a 16” pizza and was told “Bigger” The order was repeated to me “Large pizza, pineapple, bacon, extra cheese, and extra garlic butter.” I confirmed this was correct and paid $25.00 and left. Upon arriving home we sat down to have our dinner and opened the box to find very little pineapple or bacon and a handful of cheese and no extra garlic butter. I called the pizza place to complain and my response was “What do you want me to do.” My wife hung up so my response was not heard.
I have worked many jobs in my life, I took each job at an agreed upon wage, after working somewhere for a time if I felt I was worth more per hour I went to the boss and we talked, negotiated if you will, I never felt $15.00 an hour was a magic number, especially for an entry level, learn to work job. I would say people skills, math, phone skills, and properly representing the company you work for should be entry level skills to be learned and more per hour earned.