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Scoot's Blog

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Scoot: The mentality of minimum-wage workers

As the demand for increasing the minimum wage gets louder, it is fair to wonder how many minimum wage workers deserve an increase?
Many minimum wage employees are conscientious and have a strong work ethic, but we have all encountered countless minimum wage workers who make us consumers feel like we are nothing more than an inconvenience. We all experience employees who are apathetic, lazy and more interested in talking on their cellphones or to co-workers than in serving the customer. It is disheartening and also perplexing as to why there are so many minimum wage employees who lack a strong work ethic.
Are incompetent young minimum wage workers a necessary burden for employers because there are simply not enough high quality teenagers seeking employment? Is it because the minimum wage is too low? Or has today’s young generation been so pampered and coddled by their parents and society that they lack the basic work ethic of past generations?
Regardless of the reasons for the overwhelming number of apathetic minimum wage workers, there are too many businesses that seem to tolerate lazy incompetence.
Since many businesses, large and small, do find, train and maintain a staff of young minimum wage workers who have a great attitude, it is difficult to believe that enthusiastic young individuals are not available. The amount of the minimum wage should not be a factor either, since minimum wage should be an entry level wage, and no one should get the idea that they can raise a family on minimum wage – even if it went to over $10 an hour.
I refuse to accept the argument that if young people were paid more they would work harder. The only way anyone should be promoted or offered a better job is if they work hard in the first place. If you think it is a legitimate argument that young people would do a better job if they were only paid more – then you must also believe that any Saints rookie should only perform based on his salary, and not until his salary increases should he do the best job he can do on the field.  Great performance leads to an increase in salary.
There is no shortage of excuses for lazy, apathetic young minimum wage workers – from the passive behavior encouraged by cellphones, computers and the Internet to an economy that has not been kind to everyone. The problem is that too many parents accept these excuses as an explanation for their teenagers’ attitudes, rather than considering how they have failed to instill a strong work ethic in their teens.
I was having an iced coffee while writing yesterday at Puccino’s, one of my favorite spots in Metairie, and ran into David Varnado, the manager of all 5 locations. I complimented him on his staff and how I often think about the example they set as a well-trained and personable staff when I talk about the attitude of minimum wage workers on The Scoot Show.
Mike Williams is a smart and savvy business owner, who has never been afraid to be unconventional, and Puccino’s is among his business successes. In my conversation with David, he talked about how Mike has commented that parents should pay them for teaching their teenagers how to perform in the workplace. David confided in me that there are teens who are hired and do not have the basic understanding of doing the work that must be done. Talking on cellphones, twirling their hair, lacking a friendly demeanor with the customers is never tolerated. Many young teens have actually been grateful to Mike and David for teaching them a strong work ethic – something that should have been taught by their parents!
There are other businesses like Puccino’s, and other owners and managers like Mike and David, and these are the businesses we should patronize. That is a way of using positive reinforcement in the marketplace to inspire more businesses to demand more from their minimum wage workers.
I have been frequenting a big box store for a few items that cost less than at another store. Without exception, the employees at that location are lazy and get away with doing nothing but going through the motions of performing their jobs. It is obvious that management provides no leadership or demands excellence from the employees.
I realized it was wrong for me to continue to go to a business because that rewards the lackluster job performance from the employees and even though I will pay slightly more for an item – the extra I do pay is worth the statement it makes about how American society is too willing to tolerate mediocrity.
In Japan, minimum wage workers take incredible pride in their work and I don’t know what the minimum wage is in Japan, but it is still minimum wage. There is a commitment to excellence in Japan, even at the minimum wage level, that is not as common as it should be in America. This is not criticism of America as much as it is acknowledging what we can do better.
Theoretically, we – the consumers – have the power to manifest change when it comes to work ethic. If consumers made the effort to do business with those businesses that hire and maintain a competent staff and refuse to do business with those businesses that accept apathy, then, in theory, the businesses losing customers would be forced to hire and train a better staff.
If we – as consumers – made the effort to compliment those employees that are doing an excellent job – then hopefully, businesses will reward the outstanding employees with more money or a better position. In theory, that should lead to the best employees seeking employment at those businesses that recognize and reward a strong work ethic.
I have seen how this works from first-hand experience. When I got my first job bagging groceries, bringing in grocery carts and cleaning up the store, I worked hard and was offered a better job with another store in the neighborhood. When the store I was working for found out I was considering leaving, they immediately sent me to cash register training and I was elevated to cashier – ahead of many others who been there longer.  I can also say that this worked through much of my radio career, as well.
Other people – and life – can take a lot of things from us – but one of the things that can never be taken from you is your work ethic – your willingness to apply yourself and always reach beyond doing the minimum in you job.  A strong work ethic and commitment may not always pay off when you want it to – but eventually, if you continue to maintain the right attitude – it will reward you.
There are millions and millions of young, minimum wage workers across America who set an excellent example of what it means to have a strong work ethic. But there are millions and millions more who refuse to apply themselves because they are not paid a higher wage. Though that may be their demand, I seriously doubt that an increase in pay will turn the innately apathetic minimum wage workers into workers who suddenly strive to do their best.
Parents have the responsibility to teach their children what it means to work hard and not expect something for nothing. Life has never been fair, but the only way you can expect to improve your place in life is through hard work. It is also important to teach young workers that no one starts at the top. You work to get there - and you work to stay there.
A sense of entitlement in America transcends having babies for government money – it also encompasses those who expect that their desires and demands should be met without the application of a commitment to excellence – even when it comes to doing those jobs that are not glamorous.
Lazy, apathetic individuals who felt they were entitled to something did not build America. Individuals who were dedicated to getting the job done right - no matter what it took to do the job built America.
That’s that America we should all expect today!

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People : Mike Williams

05/19/2014 10:45PM
Scoot: The mentality of minimum-wage workers
Please Enter Your Comments Below
05/20/2014 1:08AM
Scoot, I agree with the bulk of what you say and are getting at in this blog, especially when it relates to certain groups of young people. However, there is a nuance to this issue many people overlook. A lot of the critique of wages at retail and fast food has arisen because of the people who are ending up in these types of jobs. The historical cliche of it being young people flipping burgers or sacking groceries has been upended in many parts of the country due to the recession. There are McDonalds locations deluged with applications from out of work adults who have college degrees, in many cases masters degrees. There are more people competing for fewer jobs, but those people aren't always "starters." Many of them have been out of work for long periods of time, downsized, and are adults who are in fact hard workers, taking any job they can get even if it is "below" their level of qualification. It is these people in these circumstances that our retail and service economy need more consideration.
05/20/2014 1:17AM
Walmart Costs Taxpayers
Another issue is employers like Walmart. One of the best performing retailers in the world. Scoot, Walmart hires people full time but keeps their hours just under benefit level in many cases. Walmart management encourages their staff, many of them young women with children (I know this from personal experience) to accept federal benefits and supplement their income with food stamps. A study done in Wisconsin provided proof that if every Walmart employee at ONE location that qualified signed up for food stamps and healthcare to make their life more livable it would cost $900,000 a year to taxpayers. ONE STORE. Expecting taxpayers to subsidize a living wage isn't moral when your company could very well do it privately. These aren't lazy kids acting entitled. These are parents, working families, older people, and some youth - and they should be paid for the profit they create for Walmart, one of the world's richest retailers - NOT be shuffled off onto government assistance so Walmart can pass the buck. Google "one Walmart's low wages could cost taxpayers 900,000 a year" and you can find the study. I'm waiting for one of our "anti entitlement" politicians to call out this disparity and speak up on behalf of the worker, but I doubt they will do so.
05/20/2014 1:21AM
Meanwhile Costco is openly proud of offering an above average wage and benefits package. Guess what? Their employees stick around longer, costing less in training and turnover expenditures, and Costco still profits nicely. I'm a business owner and I believe my long term wealth is directly related to treating my hard working employees with respect, dignity, and fair reward for their work. They're happier, I'm happier, and everyone wins. Fiscal responsibility is a good thing, but squeezing a penny till it begs for mercy is bad for the long term, bad for families, and bad for communities. If more business owners stopped whining about the government and stepped up to do the right thing, maybe "class warfare" wouldn't be an issue. Let's hope more people get the message and stop looking only for their next big payoff at the expense of the people who help actually run their business.
05/20/2014 7:57AM
If you paid me more...
I was a manager of a Grocery Store, I heard it all the time from my employees, "If you paid me more, I would work harder." That usually meant they would be looking for a new job soon. Prove you can work harder and then you will get a raise.
05/20/2014 8:04AM
A raise? Really?
If the worker is worthy of a raise - performing well in all phases of their assigned duties - they deserve a raise and will get one. What most don't realize is a business owner pays for performance, not just showing up on the job and standing around or sitting down when there is work to do. I could purchase a mannequin if that is what I need and pay them nothing. Too often, workers think they have the right to slow down or otherwise not work as hard when they don't make what they want. In that case, I usually fix their problem and put them back in the unemployment line. Look, too many unemployed people want your job. I have no problem filling positions. Despite what your "teachers" have instilled in you through more than a decade of programming, if you don't produce you don't get paid. No paycheck - and definitely no raise - for just showing up.
05/20/2014 8:59AM
yall dont get it
While I agree you work hard if you want a raise, there is one major error in this thinking. Companies like groceries and retail and food run on a fixed profit margin. This means that the rouses bakery dept for instance has a set goal of a 42% profit margin.so labor is based on the sales of that store.labor has to stay under 2% to accomplish that. I know what are thinking work hard sales go up so your wage goes up. nope, the work increase causes them to hire another person for that dept which in essence eats the extra money gained by the hard workers that were there. The company has to take less profit to raise pay and good luck asking them to do that
05/20/2014 9:05AM
caterpillar to butterfly
The minimum wage is just a starting point. minimum wage will morph into a living wage. when the minimum wage is finished will look just like Cuba everybody will make 20 what you do.
05/20/2014 9:16AM
The minimum wage does not reduce poverty.
Switzerland has no minimum wage and the median income is $37 an hour. Poverty is rooted in liberal policies that have destroyed the family unit especially in the black community where government has replaced fathers and a lack of education.
05/20/2014 9:18AM
Heil Obama! He will save us!
People should not have to work for a living but if they must they should be paid $25 an hour at a minimum.
05/20/2014 9:22AM
90,609,000: Americans Not in Labor Force Climbs to Another Record
Obama has made it possible for many of us not to have to work. The government takes care of us. Praise ye Obama!
05/20/2014 9:28AM
The more government gets involved in the private sector the more misery
that is created for business and labor. Democrat politicians keep the ignorant workers stirred up hating their employers and pass laws and regulation that limit small business success as the government leeches take more and more for themselves.
05/20/2014 9:30AM
Work is for suckers.
The government will take care of us. Obama said so.
05/20/2014 9:37AM
Ever since I was ten I wanted to work the drive through counter at Burger King.
It is all I ever talked about growing up. I used to pretend with my friends I was waiting on customers as my buddies rode their bikes up to my cardboard box counter, and I served them hotdogs my mom made. Oh, what a glorious day when I turned sixteen and finally got to work at a real Burger King. My goal had been achieved and my future was set. Last year I received an award for 37 years of service working the drive through. They should raise the minimum wage so I can afford to marry my long time sweetheart.
05/20/2014 9:43AM
Hey "Comment" ... the failure of Obama’s policies is not the responsibilty of private bu
You want business owners to eat the failures of Democrat economic policies by paying people more than the market will allow. Perhaps if you educated yourself and did not vote for such loons, the economy would be free to grow and labor could prosper alongwith business. You would be the first to whine about a $10 hamburger.
05/20/2014 9:52AM
Work is over-rated.
If you have an Obama phone with unlimited texting, an EBT card, and live in government housing, life is good. What else could one possibly want except maybe to meet Justin Bieber in person.
05/20/2014 10:06AM
There is a solution to all this that would be a win-win for minimum wage workers.
Minimum wage workers should simply adopt the gay lifestyle. They could have all the sex they want and not get their partners pregnant thus, not increasing their expenses. One can see now the wisdom of Scoot in encouraging young people to consider becoming gay.
05/20/2014 10:11AM
Michael Sam could be the spokesperson for the newly formed Minimum Wage Workers Gay Alliance.
Scoot we are onto something. Creating an army of gay minimum wage workers that will be able to limit their expenses and actually live successfully minimum wage.
05/20/2014 10:14AM
Perhaps a good chant for members of the Minimum Wage Workers Gay Alliance …
I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! (coffee break) … I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama! I am gay on minimum wage and here to stay! Praise Obama!
05/20/2014 10:17AM
Nice try, Scoot!
The snake is eating its tail in this conundrum though. Pay more = cost more is going to occur and increasing tax on business and higher income will do the same. Mike Williams' example is fine but his operation is SO much smaller than Walmart as to render it ALMOST moot. (DON'T STOP, MIKE!) Multiple franchise owners too often do not know what the conditions are in their outlets nor how their staffs perform. Also, at this point, replacing every low performing employee is a tedious undertaking in many places. Your idea of not spending in poorly run establishments is good with the limitation that MANY folks endure the poor service because they MUST conserve every dollar. The end is NOT in sight!
05/20/2014 10:25AM
You leftist pseudo-intellectuals need some business experience so you can get educated
on the real world. Of course most of you lack the courage and work ethic to start and build a business.
05/20/2014 10:37AM
You folks need to stop shopping at Wal-Mart and pay a little more at
a smaller vendor. Oh, yea, your greed will not allow that .... LOL.
05/20/2014 10:41AM
Min wage should not go up!
It should not be increased at all. The whole minimum wage mentality is what causes the decline in work ethic, and productivity. That whole mindset of "I'm owed a certain amount for showing up" is killing us. Minimum wage is the least that a human being can be paid to do a job. You want more money for your work? Them perform. You don't want to be a minimum wage employee? Them perform and dream and become better. The irony of it all is that when minimum wage get raised, the extra cost is passed along to all consumers. Everybody loses. Wake up, get some common sense back people.
05/20/2014 10:43AM
"Lazy, apathetic individuals who felt they were entitled to something did not build America. In
Sad that the majority of Obama's base support is made up of these lazy people. Over 53% of Americans are living off the other 47% whether individual or via corporate crony capitalism that has grown in leaps and bounds under Obama
05/20/2014 11:04AM
Real greed exists primarily in Washington DC and among the lazy poor.
Taking even more money out of the private sector and sending it to Washington DC will not improve anyone’s life.
05/20/2014 11:12AM
Despite the propaganda by Democrats ...
the backlash is coming and has already started. Obama’s systematic destruction of the middle class and his crony capitalism stealing billions to give his friends is having an affect on voters. Democrats have pandered to the lazy for years and run up debts that cannot be repaid buying their votes. Taking on 20 million illegals is their next big vote buying scheme. The Dems and Republicans who support expanding the welfare state will pay in November in places where there are still people who actually work and produce something.
05/20/2014 11:22AM
The scientific community has become one of the fastest growing welfare
entitlement groups in recent years living of promoting lies and fairy tales about man-man global warming, cooling and whatever new name they come up with. Yelling "fire" is the way many in this community make a living getting government grants (tax dollar) to publish junk science based on models and not empirical evidence.
05/20/2014 11:41AM
Too many Obama Zombies and not enough people who want to work for a living.
The lazy have discovered they can vote themselves a paycheck on the labor of others.
05/20/2014 3:07PM
Too Many Gun Zombies
Tolerate nonsense like this - http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/05/19/germany-may-pursue-case-foreign-exchange-student-killed-in-montana/?cmpid=prn_o_o
05/20/2014 6:13PM
higher minimum wage is necessary
Today's minimum wage workers are silent modern day slaves with big bosses Walmart, apple, McDonald's, etc taking advantage. We need big unions back to save america
05/20/2014 7:15PM
Well Saints fans should not get too upset over losing the Super Bowl bid.
The Saints will have a winning record but they won't make the big dance. Enjoy what you have.
05/20/2014 7:18PM
"higher minimum wage is necessary"
Unions and big government will not increase wages. They will only serve to limit or reduce them. Economic growth is what has been lacking. Obama has lived off a credit card piling up massive debt which shrinks the size of the private sector that creates real wealth and jobs. You sir are ignorant and likely will die that way.
05/20/2014 7:20PM
American is becoming a nation of losers ... so much excitement over MINIMUM wage.
People used to want to actually succeed.
05/20/2014 7:28PM
I worked for two years giving away the service and products I wanted to eventually sell
while working at another job. The hobby of giving away my time and services become a successful business. Making money at what you love doing is a pipe dream for most because of fear and believing others that say you cannot do it. Easy, NO, but worth the adventure to try. Young people are being sold into the slavery of dependence and misery today by politicians and a general lack of positive leadership everywhere in this country. Sad we do not have a "CAN DO" leader in the White House. The country is desperate to break out of the doom and gloom and just hanging on and really grow our economy and bring back respect for entrepreneurship and free enterprise.
05/20/2014 7:28PM
union pride
Without the unions, this country did not have jobs with workmen comp, insurance or benefits. Big business is against the wage earner and wants slave labor
05/20/2014 7:31PM
union pride ... you will always be bitter and a losér.
Sad for you.
05/20/2014 7:34PM
Public sector unions are bankrupting cities and entire states.
Time to stop paying people not to work.
05/20/2014 7:59PM
Well, someone has to stand up for the hardworking Americans. One person alone can't stand up to a corporation. Strength in numbers. But most unions aren't dealing with minimum wage unskilled workers, either, so it's an issue aside from what Scoot addressed here. Still, a union has its place - one person can't bargain against Walmart without some sort of representation and organization. There has to be checks and balances. Total dismemberment of unions will just result in people working more for less, and shrink the middle class. The ones that actually build and buy things and fuel the economy. Without a strong middle class, our country and ultimately our economy suffers.
05/20/2014 8:36PM
new stadium
Waste of money
05/20/2014 9:01PM
Unions don't stand up for anyone. The bosses make big salaries and play politics
funneling dues from hard-working folks to politicians that often their members do not support. Union membership is in decline and that is a good thing. Union bosses are mostly corrupt and have out-lived their usefulness. Certain people posting here have just been raised to hate business owners and entrepreneurs.
05/20/2014 9:14PM
The same people obsessed with anti union sentiments generally support corporate spending on political campaigns without the consent of the employees or stockholders. So unless you're willing to put a stop to that too, don't be hypocritical. FYI I own a business, employ people and pay them well - and would not be threatened if my staffers unionized, though there isn't a union for my type of business at this point. We don't all think the same about what's best for business or the long term approach, so don't be making assumptions.
05/20/2014 9:18PM
It is a myth that worker fuel the economy. They are a result of the work of entrepreneurs.
Workers do not start businesses and take the risks necessary to create a business. They are a natural result of an idea that gets developed. They have great value, but they are not the dreamers, risk-takers and creators.
05/20/2014 9:20PM
The suggestion that the middle class are union members is myth. They are
hardly one in the same.
05/20/2014 9:32PM
Create wealth. Walmart wouldn't sell a single thing without manufacturing, supply, truck drivers, stockers, and cashiers. Everything that's sold has to be produced. Unless you're talking about professional knowledge economy where the production is more tied to the individual, what fuels growth is labor and spending. And a stronger middle class produces more and spends more. You cannot have more wealth without stronger middle class earning and spending power. Period.
05/20/2014 9:33PM
Originated and operate to protect the blue collar worker - not the upper class specialist professionals. Unions are, in intent, for middle class workers and lower to provide upwards mobility and negotiation power. Which your average worker doesn't have vs a Walmart or the like without the union.
05/20/2014 9:43PM
The corrupt union bosses made insider deals and supported the disaster
called ObamaCare then found out they were duped ... LOL Glad to see them have to pay high rates and suffer for their corruption. https://www.ijreview.com/2013/05/55003-unions-turn-against-obamacare-we-were-duped/
05/20/2014 10:31PM
Americans are soft and lazy and very much in debt.
05/20/2014 10:38PM
Some people don't understand recession and economic contraction. Actually, consumer debt has been lower than normal the past few years too, but the Scoot blog tends to attract the inept and underinformed trolls.
05/20/2014 11:02PM
To above
You must be an uninformed troll too. You are reading and participating in this blog. What a hypocrite.
05/21/2014 12:04AM
To Above
Just tired of people not backing up their nonsense with facts.
05/21/2014 12:20AM
eye of a needle
It is harder for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than it is for a selfish rich man to get to heaven
05/21/2014 12:39AM
Yea. Scoot it would be nice if there were consequences for leftist who enage in hate speech.
Of course there is none. Liberals can slander and insult at will and they are celebrated so I guess you can shove your rant up your sorry àss.
05/21/2014 12:46AM
It's "Chi Pote Lay." http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chipotle
05/21/2014 12:47AM
Up Your
What is it with the right and the back entry? It's a recurring thing with them. Really obsessed with the back door play, they are.
05/21/2014 12:59AM
Is a mortal sin. Repent and go to confession
05/21/2014 9:09AM
POLL: 47% of Unemployed Have 'Completely Given Up' Looking for a Job...
Obama and the Democrats are Dog SH!T ... despite their propaganda and the lap-dog press that lies for them, they will suffer greatly in November and should.
05/21/2014 12:52PM
I Thought
The right says government doesn't create jobs - so why are you blaming Obama for the unemployment rate?
05/21/2014 12:57PM
Obama upset about the VA ... LOL ....
"When I hear allegations of misconduct ... I will not stand for it," Except for Fast and Furious. Except for the IRS targeting. Except for the DOJ wiretapping. Except for the DOE "green" loans to my campaign bundlers. Except for the GAO conference scandals. Except for the Benghazi scandal. Except for the healthcare.gov scandal. Except for the fiat illegal alien amnesties. Except for the criminal illegal aliens released in America. Except for the .......... Obama is a cat tûrd.
05/21/2014 3:05PM
The IRS thing is settled. 501C4s are not supposed to be political groups, they are supposed to be social welfare organizations. The IRS received a ton of similar applications that were appearing political. They ultimately approved all of the "tea party" ones and denied at least 2 "progressive" groups. The point is - if you want to run a PAC, file as a PAC. Not a 501C3 or C4. The rules are clear and meant to clearly separate tax exempt charity from political groups. Don't like the law? Sorry, them's the breaks. The "apology" was politics, IRS didn't do anything wrong.
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