Monday, December 7, 2015

E.D Miller returns !

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

$15 an hour!?!

Hi everyone!
         So I've been seeing a lot of memes and lazy thinking floating about my Facebook feed concerning people pushing for a minimum wage hike to $15 dollars an hour from $7.25. The main gripe I see from people who are against it is that they have been busting their asses going to school for years and have worked hard to get their own wage to $15 an hour. I understand that, I would be pissed as well. My question is, are they focusing their anger in the right direction?
         I think there are many contributing factors to this problem, greed being the main one. Greed of Business owners, Wall Street, Property management companies, basically anyone who makes a business decision and never has to look at the effects of their decisions in their daily life.
         - Owners. They have a huge weight on their shoulders, we can't argue that. They workered harder than most of us, smarter than most of us and I don't think we should spite them for wanting to do better in life. My grip isn't with the owner who created a fair business model, who sees the value in his/her employees and compensates them accordingly. My grip is with the guy who has a shitty business model and they only way they can make it work is by underpaying his/her own countrymen. One of the best excuses I've ever heard to underpay someone is saying that a job is only meant for a teenager. Work is work Party People. We all can't be management, we all can't be specialists, or doctors, or business owners. Some people just want to work and live a simple life, does that mean they should live in poverty? Does that mean they shouldn't be able to raise a family? Or be able to work one job of 40 hours a week so they can spend time with their family? I think everyone should be able to live on their own in a shitty apartment of of one job at 40 hours a week. If you have to work 50-60 hours to make ends meet do you really think you're a free person?
         - Wall Street. A place where being a sociopath is respectable, for not caring about anything but yourself is considered a virtue. When the company you work for is publicly traded the management is responsible to the share holders first, make no mistake about it. If the share holders insist on seeing quarterly growth in a business like food service but don't see that growth they will "cut spending". One of the best ways of doing that is cutting labor, consistently. If I can make you work twice as hard as two people then it makes sense to do that as working the shit out of you saves my bottom line.
            For some reason my friends in the medical field have been very much against the wage increase. Seeing as how they owe money to student loans and they get paid $15 bucks an hour and to get paid the same as a fast food workers would be a slap in the face to them. I would be more pissed that the multi-billion dollar medical industry thinks that $15 bucks an hour is a fair wage for an educated worker.
           - Property Management companies. You hear the ads on the radio that says you could become rich and solve all your problems? How do you do that? Easy! All you have to do is learn how to flip houses! You too can make money by inflating the value of homes and apartments by using the modern day magic of "Potential value"! That's where you by a house at $50k but sell it at $80 because it could go as high as $100k! What's so awesome is that the next guy who buys it at $80k? His potential for that house is $120k!!!! Can you believe it? Let's hope so because at some point people will realize that the $120k house is only worth $50k and someone is going to feel the bite. (*see the last housing crash).
             I bring this up because a property management company can do the same thing. You know how much money you can make selling a house? Imagine selling an apartment complex! You'd have to take out a huge loan to do it and in order to be able to make those payments you'll have to charge more rent than the place is worth. So who is going to feel the burn? People who can't buy a home and have to live in an apartment. The higher the rent goes, the less fair a person's wages seem. You can screw over the workers, or maybe the property management companies, or maybe even Wall St, in the end we all get burned.
             What got us into this mess? Greed.
             What can get us out?That's a good question. I don't have an answer to be honest. I'd like to think if we started looking at all the contributing actors we'd have a better shot at fixing this.
            Then again what do I know? I'm just someone you saw on T.V.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Thoughts on Minimum Wage

Morning Everyone,
             So I'll start off by saying I'm not in the best of moods. A lot of my anger revolves around money which of course makes me even angrier because I'm letting money decide how I feel about life. To be specific I'm waiting for my direct deposit to go through so I can move into my new apartment. I'm hoping that I have enough on my check so I can do this so this anxiety is killing me at the moment.
             To kill time I do what most of us do and check out Facebook to see if there is anything positive that could take my mind off all this angst. That was of course a mistake. I'm seeing a lot of people post articles about raising the minimum wage with the underlined theme of "Fuck the poor and stupid!" That's me paraphrasing but you get the general idea.
             I understand why some people would be offended by such an idea of having people who work general labor getting paid close to the same amount as they do. I worked as a salaried manager for years while people who had less responsibility than I did make more money than me, so I get that anger. However my frustration was directed at the people who were (I felt) underpaying me, not to the people who were under me. My servers and cooks didn't decide what my income was, the company I worked for was trying to get the most out of me while paying the least, so as much as I might be jealous of my staff I didn't go to them asking for a raise.
            Here's a question, if we found out that companies could survive paying general labor a better wage, a wage close to skilled labor, does that mean the skilled labor was either getting duped into working extra hard for nothing or the company had been underpaying them for years and let them think they were making a good wage only by comparison to general labor?
            A sentiment I see a lot is something like," I worked hard to get an education and rose above the norm to get to where I am at 17 an hour and now you're want to pay someone who didn't work as hard as me 15?"
            I should also mention that most of the people on my timeline who are pissed off about this tend to work in the IT department or some tech related field that involves a headset, case of redbull, and a failing liver.
            What I find interesting about all of this is that the discussion tends to be not about people being able to live off working 40 hours a week, being able to provide a decent home for your kids, or hell even about not teetering on the edge of homelessness. It's about how people don't want someone else to have it easier than them in life. One of the side effects about this whole debate it that it's turning the 99% against each other rather than on our paymasters.
            I should also mention I have no answers for this other than people should stop being greedy assholes, that goes for me as well as everyone on the planet. Other than that I've got no ideas that don't involve someone getting worked over to help someone else.
            Until next time I hope the company who you work for is treating you well, I hope they pay you more than enough to be happy as well as be financially set. Keep up the good work because people like me need to see that good bosses do exists and that it's possible to have a better world.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Let's talk about philosophy and business models for the food biz.

      You ever see you kids walking around with Scareface on it? You ever wonder why some of our youth idolize a fictional character who was a bad guy? Or in this case "The Bad Guy" as it were. I never understood that, maybe it was because that character had made it farther out of the ghetto than they think they will so in that respect he's someone to look up to. You know who another villain a lot of people look up to? Gordon Gecko from the movie Wall Street. You remember the line right?
       "Greed is good. Greed is right. Greed works"

         So many people who watched that movie took those words to heart forgetting that Gecko is the villain of that story, that the only reason he was there was to fool people into believeing in him so he could take control of the company and sell it off. It's as strange as the people who look up to Tony Montana even though he kills his best friend in a jealous rage because he wanted his sister for himself. It might be time to realize that maybe greed isn't as good as we think it might be, perhaps it isn't always right, it might not even work.
         That's not to say we should all start community businesses and not strive to any type of wealth. Of course we should! That's why most of us are in the food biz right?
          What I'm suggesting is that with the world changing, with technology changing, with they ideas of what it means to be human changing then we should start looking at new ways we see success.
         I don't think the success of a restaurant could be seen solely in a PnL sheet. I think a lot can be seen in the quality of life of everyone in the company. It can also be seen in the turnover of the associates as well as in the guest's faces. This quality of success has been lost in many of the corporate businesses I've worked for in throughout the 20 years I've been working.
          Let's get to the whole reason why I'm writing this post. Some of you might have read an article of a popular company selling it's 150+ stores for 8 million dollars. I won't say the name of the company seeing as I still know many people who work for the company and I don't want them to get in trouble for this (myself included). Truth be told I don't even want to lash out at the company itself, I don't think anyone was in a tower somewhere twisting their mustache trying to think of new ways to screw their employees over. They are humans with thoughts and feelings who make mistakes just like any of us do.
           That being said, I think it's important for the industry to look at what happened here, what went wrong, and how we all can move forward. I think the first question a company should ask is what is the concept really selling? I know it's selling food, but is it the quality? The freshness? Is it the service? I know we all say that's what all of them do but let's be honest, they don't. If you walk into a Denny's during a dinner shift and only see 3 servers for 40 tables then they don't care about service, if they did they would pay for it. If a fast food concept is using a shit load of chemicals to make the shittiest type of beef edible then they don't care about quality, if they did they would pay for it.
           "So what should we do Dave? Just throw money at the problem?"
           Absolutely not! Rarely is money the magic bullet that fixes everything, that's not to say that it's not a factor. In the case of the company that was sold, one of the aspects of the concept was service and quality. Both of those aspects suffered greatly every quarter as they cut and cut and cut some more, all the time wondering why their bottom line was sinking. Now I wonder if a lot of this has to do with being a publicly traded company. Perhaps a food concept that depends on having quality FoH and Boh (as opposed to a quick serve or fast food concept) shouldn't be publicly traded? I say that because the full service concepts aren't like a McDonalds where you don't need skilled staff to work in the kitchen as opposed to a saute station in a full kitchen. 
             A full service kitchen means you need to spend more time training which means more hours and more money. If a company isn't willing to do that then quality is going to dip. You might save money for that quarter but you'll never make that same money again as long as that trend consists.A good example of a publicly traded company who spend a lot of time training their staff would be Starbucks, they have the most comprehensive training I've ever seen in any food concept.
           I'm not sure how to end this, I don't want to point out every mistake that company had made, if I were in their position I might not appreciate it, then again I might. I'm a comic so I'm used to failing then picking myself up again and moving forward. I understand a lot of people aren't willing to do that.
           You know what would be interesting? If the magazines who wrote the stories on the sale this week would talk with some of the employees. They could ask them what they think went wrong. At least we could get a better picture of what had happened, we could all learn from it, we could all evolve from it. Just a long winded thought.