…and a $2.50 Sam’s Club Combo Lunch
Despite Louisiana’s 9% sales tax, I went shopping at Sam’s Club today… at lunchtime. As planned, I had a pizza-slice-and-coke combo. However, things are different at this Sam’s Club, way different and a harbinger indeed. I immediately thought of Kathleen Wynne – the Premier of Ontario – and of every other liberal politician who failed Economics 101 and would sell his/her soul for a vote, if s/he hadn’t already sold it ten times over.
The secret to getting to know an as-yet unknown woman in a bar or any meeting place is not a good pick-up line. Although your break-the-ice comment has to be one that will interest her, it is the follow-up comment that holds more weight. If comment number one gets her attention, then what? You can’t stand there like a witless idiot astounded that she’s actually willing to talk to you, you need somewhere to go following the initial reaction. My father was an Industrial Engineer. He taught me that for every one process that you change, five other processes are affected downstream. Liberals, after going home from the bar without a phone number, don’t seem to be able to grasp that.
The Ontario Liberals have begun the march to a $15/hr minimum wage. ‘Hail fellow, well met’ they proclaim patting each other on the back, believing that they have bought more votes and helped a poor soul in the process. Payroll is most every company’s number one expense. Who is going to absorb this expense?
The first sign that things were going awry was the Tim Horton coffee shop owners who tried to share the expense by saying that employees’ half-hour lunch would no longer be paid. Horror of horrors!! Well, people, stick your hand outside to see if it’s dark. These folks are running a for-profit business, not a charity or worthless government agency. If a business’ expenses rise, it must either raise prices or cut costs.
The next cause-and-effect sign of the foolishness of the $15/hr minimum wage was when my mother recently went for a haircut at one of these places inside a Wal-Mart store. She was charged 10% more than the last time… $22 instead of $20. When my mother asked why it had gone up, the hair-cutter replied, “Minimum wage”.
The simplicity is mind-boggling.
If you arbitrarily increase a minimum wage earner’s pay by 20%, the cost of doing business by those who hire minimum wage earners increases by 20% therefore his prices increase by 20%, clawing back the effectiveness of the original, arbitrary 20% increase. The person now making $15/hr has to pay more for his coffee, more for his cheeseburger, more for his groceries, his oil change and his haircut. He’s no further ahead. In fact, he quite possibly might be worse off, if the increase has put him into a different tax bracket.
That’s the good news.
Here’s the bad…..
In the picture immediately above, notice the bank of Self Service check-outs. No cashier, no helper. You scan your own Sam’s Club card, then the merchandise you are buying. Insert your credit card, get your receipt and Bob’s your uncle. There appears to be nine self-service check-outs. Lets round-out the staffing to three part-timers working four hours each to cover the store’s opening hours. That equals 27 minimum-wage jobs gone, removed, vanished, never to return.
Here’s the first picture again. Probably not noticeable at first is what I have highlighted in the yellow box below. Underneath their mammoth ‘menu’ is a sign that says “Order Here”. The “Order Here” sign hangs above four self-serve kiosks where you use the touch-screen to select your meal, pay by cash or credit card, get your numbered receipt then take it round the corner where a single worker has it ready.
Louisiana’s current Minimum Wage is $7.25 but there is a bill in the State Legislature to raise minimum wage to $8.00 in 2018 and $8.50 in 2019. This Sam’s Club is in Lafayette Louisiana. “Where?”, you ask. Yes, in a city that you have most likely never heard of before, in a state that’s ‘down there somewhere’… so in Podunk Louisiana they are replacing $7.25/hr minimum wage jobs with a kiosk. Just how more quickly will a job disappear in an area where the threat is $15/hr.
Just as John Deere replaced slavery, touch-screens and scanners will replace countless, no-longer-affordable minimum-wage jobs.
The ultimate liberal economic irony: when a business can’t afford a minimum-wage job.