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“Living Wages” and Unexpected consequences

I have been doing some traveling recently, just road trips.

These trips have given me a special opportunity to experience the great American institution – fast food restaurants.

What could be better?  The food is hot, delicious, cheap and, most of all FAST.

However, at not one, but two fast food restaurants in completely different parts of the state, the service wasn’t fast.  The service was actually, well, slow.  Both times, it took 20-30 minutes to get my bag full of greasy deliciousness.

It reminded me of Europe.

At cafés in Europe, people are paid a living wage.  Sounds great, right?  These people work hard; they should make a “living wage” right?  Well, let’s just put it this way, try getting good service at a restaurant in Europe.  Since people aren’t working hard for tips, the service is terrible.  The government has propped up the service industry and taken away the desire for people to work hard.

When I worked my first job, at Denny’s from 6 pm to 4 am, I learned the value of hard work.  I also learned that I really did want to go to college and get a degree and a much better paying job.

I am afraid that the same thing that has happened to the food industry in Europe could be happening to our fast food industry.  This could be an unintended consequence of all this minimum wage hike talk.  Instead of people working hard at a low wage job to get a better, higher paying job, we have started class warfare.  People believe they deserve to be paid $15 an hour no matter how good (or crappy) the service is.

Each time I was handed my cholesterol-laden bag of goodies, a glassy-eyed teen handed it to me with no smile, no apology.  They didn’t care.

Is this yet another fundamental transformation of America?

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Julie Love

Julie Love is a former CPA who currently home-schools her two children. She earned her MS in Journalism from Ohio University in 2002. She was raised in rural Ohio and now lives in the big city of Cleveland.
You can see more of her work at Http://
Or follow her on Twitter @loveredneck

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