Friday, October 7, 2016

French Fry Wages

A seventeen year old male student walks into class. His path crosses mine exactly, so I hear him say, "I finally have money in my account!"

His exuberance invites inquiry, so I ask, "Did you just get a job?"

"No, I have a job, I just got paid."

"Where do you work?"

"At McDonalds."

It's just after lunchtime and I haven't eaten, so delicious golden french fries pop into my mind.

"Do you get free french fries?" I ask.

"No, that's the bad thing, we still have to pay for food, but we get it half price."

"That's a perk."

I need to interject that this young man hasn't always been the most engaged in class and the work he turns in (late) has always been under par. I haven't had much time with him, so I hate to label him, but he's not a star pupil---yet.

Always preparing students for upcoming discussions, I ask him, "I bet you're happy that both candidates are pushing for an increase in the minimum wage." I'm sure this assumption will put us on the same page.

But his answer surprises me.

"No, not at all."

"Why not?"

"The economy needs jobs like I have in order to motivate us to seek more education and better opportunity. If I can make $15 an hour at McDonalds, then why should I seek for something better."

He continues to explain that if a technical engineer only makes three more dollars per hour, why would anyone go through the struggle to become more.

I'm impressed with his perspective and wisdom, and I wish someone else was listening besides me.