Woe is Them!

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the beach season where The Curmudgeon lives – or the shore season, as locals like to put it, and as reliable as clockwork, Memorial Day weekend saw an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about how shore store owners are having a hard time finding people to work for them.

Let The Curmudgeon tell you about these people.  To them, EVERY year was a bad year: the weather was bad, the economy was bad, newspapers scared people off.  They’re full of excuses they use to hide their disappointment that even though they were raking in money hand over fist and essentially earning a year’s living in just three months, they’re bitter that they didn’t rake in even more.

Rodeo Drive it is not

The reason these business owners have such a hard time finding help is simple:  they want something for as close to nothing as possible.  A lot of resort-area businesses actually import teenagers from Europe (the white countries only) to scoop ice cream, wait tables, take the tickets at the ferris wheel, and ring up purchases of cheap t-shirts.  The visas that enable these kids to enter the country for a few months to work are in shorter supply this year, though – a situation that almost certainly will change in the near future because the Trump Organization, which operates numerous golf courses and resorts, is a notorious consumer of special visas to important cheap labor for work that absolutely could be performed by Americans.  That won’t help these particular resort-area businesses this year, though, so the business owners are wringing their hands with worry: “What are we going to do? We can’t find people to work for us.”

Here’s an idea:  offer better wages.

The Inquirer article noted that

New Jersey raised its minimum wage in January from $8.44 to $8.60 an hour – which prompted some Shore business owners to look for more experienced employees.

 “Because the minimum wage continues to go up, we can’t afford to hire younger kids,” said Chris Kazmarck, the manager at Surf Mall.  “We can’t afford to train them for as long as we used to in the past.”

 So, if we’re to believe Mr. Kazmarck, a 16-cent increase in the minimum wage – 16 cents! – has necessitated a complete change in his approach to hiring.

He must’ve said this in a telephone interview because there’s no way he could make such a statement with a straight face to a reporter standing right in front of him.

It seems to The Curmudgeon that there’s a pretty simple solution to this problem:  pay your help better.  If $8.60 doesn’t bring in either the quality or quantity of applicants you seek, offer $9.  If $9 doesn’t do the trick, try $9.50.  It’s the law of supply and demand, plain and simple:  keep going until you get the help you need – help raking in all that money you’re making.  And if you have to pay so much that you can’t make any money?  Well, you need to find another line of work.

The problem is that these store owners are greedy. They’ve set themselves up to expect to earn a year’s income in just three months, which is pretty damn lazy, and they’re so greedy for every last dime they can rake in that they refuse to pay their help a decent wage.

The Curmudgeon, for one, finds it impossible to sympathize with them.

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  • barbelaine421@mail.com  On June 6, 2018 at 11:33 am

    I have no sympathy either. In fact, I’d like to see a reporter examine the industry and the exploitation of these kids.

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