Star Member Butch McQueen (39 posts)
I Raised The Mimimum Wage to $10.80 Today!
Well it was only for one hour and it was only for 3 people, but ya gotta start somewhere
I had to do some running around in town today and thought I'd try this little experiment. I did this both out of personal curiosity and in the hopes that maybe if even just a few people get to talking...
For background, I live in what I think of as TPOT (Tea Party Occupied Territory), a small town in Arizona with a population of around 20,000. These are people that (for the most part) are proud that their representative in the state legislature (Brenda Barton) recently publicly compared President Obama to Hitler.
In every business that I went into today, I asked every worker that I had an interaction with if their pay was something "pretty close to minimum wage". They all answered that their pay was right around minimum wage ($7.80 an hour in Arizona). I then commented:
"You know there are a lot of people in this country that don't even believe your labor is worth even that much. There is a Republican Representative in Texas named Joe Barton (maybe he is Brenda's brother or something!) who has actually said he would support eliminating minimum wage completely and letting your employer pay you whatever they want to. But President Obama and I both believe the minimum wage should be somewhere between $10 and $11."
At which point I handed them $3.
Reactions were varied. Out of 4 people I had this exchange with, 3 of them took the money.
A. Young man in his late teens working in a fast food franchise: "Hey thanks man!"
B. Middle aged woman in a big box home improvement store: "Really I can't take it" I told her it wasn't a tip or a bribe or anything and that it was just my way of trying to do what I thought was fair in my interactions with other people. She took the money and thanked me, but I think it was more because she just wanted to get the weird guy to leave her register!
C. Young woman at a "Dollar" store: "You don't have to do that". I explained that I believed everyone deserves a decent wage and that the current minimum wage isn't even close to that. She thanked me for the money and said that what she really appreciated was knowing that someone out there actually understood how hard it is to make ends meet on minimum wage.
D. Young man in his early 20s at the same big box home improvement store who I had cut some 2x4's for me: He all but ran away as soon as I explained what I was doing and why I was doing it.
I understand that some of these places would probably fire someone for taking money from a customer, so I went to great lengths to make sure there were other employees who could witness that this was entirely my doing and that the employee was in no way responsible for my actions.
The larger point here... I don't know. Like I said, maybe if it just gets people talking. Maybe if it makes someone stop to consider that their labor is worth more than $7.80 an hour. Maybe if it makes someone realize that the we have people in positions of power in this country who actually believe there should be no minimum wage. I'm far from wealthy, more like lower middle class at best, but my inclination is to continue doing this. I can afford the few bucks it would cost me. I figure that here in TPOT this makes me a regular revolutionary - LOL.
And then there is always Alice's Restaurant:
And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said Fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and
Walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement. And that's what it is , the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement
Help me make up my mind here - Is this just misguided "do-gooderism" on my part, or is it practical small (very small!) level local activism?