Granted the pay is no longer pennies a day or fifty cents an hour, grill and fry work in some places pay fifteen dollars an hour, not shabby money for an entry level job, I worked the grill and fryer when I was learning the fast food business (I believe I was making $3.50 an hour) this lead me to deli sandwiches, breakfast cook, lunch and dinners as I moved to new eateries. I value the things I learned with each of these jobs and the independence an income provides. This of course does not mean I don’t think we have a duty, responsibility to protect our children from harm both physical and emotional. I have learned a lot working various jobs but I am glad I never traded my childhood for money; penny candy, comic books, ice cream from Louie the Ice Cream man, Saturday matinee’s, and caps for my six shooter cost money and little jobs provided without robbing me of time to be a child and enjoy my purchases
by Paul Big Bear
When you look back on your childhood, are there memories of happy times? Were you free to play outside, ride your bike, go fishing, swimming, camping, or, on rainy days read, play board games, perhaps you drew or painted. Did you have chores to do? How about your entry in to working for income? Paper route, magazine sales, cut lawns, rake leaves, maybe just offered your services to do odd jobs for people. Were you given an allowance? Perhaps you were lucky and your parents gave you spending money.
As you grew into your teen years did you take on a job with a paycheck and taxes? My first taxed income was working as an usher in a movie theater, free movies, free popcorn, soda, soda, and more soda and I was paid in the high two figure hourly rate.
Of course I heard stories of “When I was young kids your age worked in the fields, factories, or coal mines for pennies a day.” This was to illustrate how good we had it. Today in this post COVID19 time I am hearing about child labor laws and children working. Ten year olds in Kentucky are working nights at McDonalds. Forty percent increase of children working in hazardous conditions, 3,800 minors employed in violation of labor laws just since 2022, an increase of 140% since 2017. Ten states are rolling back child labor laws. Youngsters being taught to cook on grills, in fryers, and mechanical prep, slicers, peelers all considered possessing a risk of harm. These skills also open them to being available to work nights there is talk of sixteen year olds serving liquor.
Restaurants in response to the higher costs of business, food costs, climate control, food preparations, employees, amenities i.e. take out boxes, cups, no longer offer bread on the table, some places now charge extra for more butter, extra dressing, gravies, even a glass of water.