So last week the wife and I were driving along and we stopped to get something to eat. I noticed the place had a ‘help wanted’ sign in the window, and that it had been there for over a month. I spoke what I thought was just a throw away comment, “Help Wanted. I see that everyone lately. I swear kids around here don’t want to work anymore”. Well, Mrs. TPoP was in a mood to fight or something because she challenged me with “That isn’t true, you don’t know that!”. Well sure, my statement was a generalization and not meant to actually be ALL kids, but I thought it was pretty observant. So I pointed out that not only did the Mexican restaurant we were going into have a sign, but so did the Jimmy Johns and Jet’s Pizza in the same strip mall, as well as the McDonalds across the street. These are all businesses that typically employ ‘kids’, and if the kids wanted to work, they wouldn’t be having to keep advertising for help.
She just left it there, but like a scab, I couldn’t leave it along, and pointed out every place on the way back that had help wanted signs out. Mariano’s (grocery store), White Castle, a car wash, Panda Express, Aldi’s, Arby’s and Jiffy Lube. And that was just in the 3 miles to get back home. She was not happy with me, as you could guess. However I think I made my point. Now some of these jobs may pay pretty poorly. However the Arby’s one posted $11 starting pay and the McDonalds was $12 according to the sign, both well above the state minimum wage.
So what has changed? When I was a kid, just about everyone tried to get a job SOMEWHERE. My buddy and I even lied about our age and got jobs at the local Dairy Queen when we were 14. Needless to say they didn’t do great background checks back then. So at 14 I was waiting on customers and flipping burgers. For $4 per hour. Before I turned 18 I worked in a factory for my father (for $5 per hour!), a painter’s helper ($5 per hour, cash!) and at a bowling alley 3 nights a week. Most of my friends also worked somewhere, most of us for minimum or close to it. But we worked and had our own money and were proud of it. Fast food restaurants were loaded with teenagers, as were grocery stores, pizza places and K-Marts. Now you see jobs open, and the ones filled are filled by adults. It can’t be that the adults ‘took them all’ because there are still tons of openings. If you can’t get ANY job around here, you are not trying. So what has changed? Do kids around here just not want to work? And if so, who/what is to blame? And remember, there are always exceptions. I know of several younger people who work their butts off. However I can point to 10 times as many that don’t.