Later today, fast food workers, convenience store clerks and retail employees will be walking off their jobs in Milwaukee and Madison to attend rallies in support of an increase of the minimum wage. The protests are being organized by a group called Wisconsin Jobs Now--which is pushing for a $15 and hour minimum wage--more than double the current rate. During that rally, we will likely hear that everyone who works deserves a "living wage"--regardless of their age, skill set, value of the product made or service provided and performance on the job. We'll also likely hear about the "sacrifices" that should be made on the consumer end to ensure that things are "fair for all". Well there are a number of sacrifices I am willing to make if the minimum wage was to ever go to $15 an hour.
First, I am willing to give up fast food. Let's be honest, McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's are all nice for a quick meal--but I could grill up a few extra burgers on the weekend and just as easily bring them with me to work to heat up in the microwave. If I'm going to pay $10-$12 for a burger, fries and a shake, I'm going someplace better--like Kroll's West, Mihm's or Five Guys. Perhaps if Mickey D's and the other chains come up with an automated kitchen model (which is in development) and we order and pay at a touch screen, I'd keep going if the prices stay about the same.
I am also willing to get all of my gas at automated pumps. I can't remember the last time I paid cash for gas. The only reason I go into the little hut at Fleet Farm is because that is the only way to use the 4-cents off coupon. If they put a little bar code on the coupon and scanners on the pumps they could probably still give me that discount in the future. And if I need a soda or a snack while on the road, I can just as easily get them from vending machines next to the pumps as I can from fully-stocked shelves and coolers.
I could also put up with more Self Check Out Lanes at the store. All I would ask is that they change things so that we don't need "authorization" to use coupons and that they make it easier to bag things up in paper bags--since I'm not a fan of my groceries all rolling around in the back of the Jeep because plastic bags are useless for stacked item. I also have no problem taking my items off of pallets left on the display floor instead of having everything neatly facing out in the same direction in a display case.
To expand this even more, I'm ok with not having my bedsheets changed every day when I'm staying at a hotel. I don't change (or make for that matter) the bed at home every day--so why do I need that on the road? If a sit-down restaurant wants to serve my meal on a heavy plastic plate that we just toss out on the way out the door--I can live with that. And if everything can't be open 24-hours a day 365-days a year, I can usually wait until morning to buy whatever I need.
Would all of these "sacrifices" make life a little less convenient? Sure. But it's the least that I (and likely hundreds of millions of others) are willing to do to make sure that everyone is paid what they are TRULY "worth".