They Just Want Their Slaves Back

Application Results Pie Chart

I hear people don’t want to work in America. At least that’s how the stories in the media are painting the picture.

Employers are claiming they can’t get people to even apply for work because unemployment benefits are so generous that people don’t NEED to work. Never mind that the federal unemployment add-ons ended in September and many states ended paying them out in June or July. According to many employers people are just too lazy to work when the federal government is handing out the cheese.

I’ll be nice and just say Bunk. And I’ll add in, I’m insulted.

Not that I’ve been looking for a job. I’m employed doing what I love to do, give tours. I will say that a lot of the companies that employ me to do tours are saying it’s hard getting tour guides right now. Well part of that is many of the guides who worked in the industry had to get into new industries when our industry collapsed because of COVID. I call that industrious. The employers understand that and are making adjustments to accommodate the fewer number of guides available. Some of the guests we are hosting though, well, they have that “nobody wants to work” attitude.

On the other hand, there are a few employers in the business who don’t want to pay the going rate for good tour guides. Never mind that it’s the same rate we all were charging in the before times, these employers were expecting us all to “just be grateful” for the employment we’d work at any price.

Guess again Sparky.

You may have seen a story from Business Insider that was making the rounds of the internet last week. In it a Florida man, tired of hearing how businesses couldn’t find people to work, applied for sixty (60) entry level jobs. Out of the sixty, he got one (1) interview. That interview was from a construction company that advertised a payrate of $10 per hour, but when he went to the interview he was told the pay was actually $8.65 per hour (the Florida minimum wage) and that “with seniority” it would rise to $10. He was qualified for all the jobs he applied for, in fact he made sure to only pick jobs he was qualified for and not over qualified for. He was trying to make the sample as pure as possible. I think he should apply for a job as a statistician.

What’s truly amazing is that all those companies were ones complaining they couldn’t get people to apply. If that was the case our friend should have been inundated with interviews since according to these companies he would have been practically the only one applying for the job. 20% sent back an email acknowledging the application and nothing else. 5% called him but did not invite him in for a face to face interview. Only the one actually had him in for an interview. See the graphic at the top.

His theory of why only the one interview?

“58 applications says y’all aren’t desperate for workers, you just miss your slaves.”

That’s right, slaves. Wanna be nice call them (us) wage slaves. This is the law of payback is a bitch at work. Mr. Employer you treat people like crap for years, deliberately underpay them, tell them they have to be available on a full time basis but only give them enough hours to qualify as part time workers, don’t give them benefits but give them the heave ho when sales are down and then expect them to be grateful because you want to hire some of them back? I don’t begrudge anyone saying no to those jobs. As well, this article in Daily Kos points to the similarity between which states have the most openings and which states have the least restrictive COVID workplace rules. No surprise that they are nearly identical.

But there is something else at work here. I don’t think these employers really want to hire anyone. At least not yet.

I think they are looking at the post-COVID world and saying you know what, people are getting used to having to wait longer for service or have less available products and we’re still making a profit so hey, good on us! Obviously this is not all employers. I don’t think any small business could afford to think that way. The diner down the street or the local toy store still needs waitresses and GI Joes, but Denny’s is doing just fine without Wanda or her replacement and Target says we’d rather have you buy online anyway and you can complain about how long it’s taking to the guy in India manning our complaint line.

The point is that things aren’t going to change until we, the American Public, change our ways. We need to stop being docile slaves; to employers, to the media, to our own consumption. Stop going to Denny’s for a Grand Slam Breakfast ™ and start going to Wanda’s for her breakfast special (2 eggs, 3 slices of bacon, hash browns, toast, and coffee). Stop buying stuff from Amazon and spend your money right there in your home town. Yeah, maybe it’s more expensive, but that might put an airbrake on your total purchase of crap you don’t really need. Go to the local hardware store instead of Home Depot or the local stationer instead of Office Depot (hopefully you have both still in business near you).

As for the media, stop buying into the narrative they want to spin. The days of Walter Cronkite methodically reading the day’s headlines while mom cooks dinner so it’s ready before dad gets home from work are long gone. There is literally no one dispassionately providing coverage of news events. It doesn’t matter what side of the political spectrum you lie on you are not getting an unbiased view of the days events. So the only way to get a real handle on what’s going on is to think for yourself. I know that can be difficult, it’s much easier to have Rachel Maddow or Tucker Carlson tell you what you what to think, but a true democracy needs more laconic cowboys wary of either side and less corporate yes men happy to regurgitate what someone else opined.

More importantly stop accepting only what the boss man wants to give you. His business is YOUR business. You are the ones who make it work. Jeff Bezos isn’t  manning a check stand at Whole Earth, and the Walton family isn’t wheeling around products at Wal-Mart. Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t written code in years, Bill Gates and Larry Ellison even longer. It’s you. You’re the ones who should be benefiting from people coming in and purchasing goods and services or from the objects you created.

When we do all three of those things we will find the business owners treating us more equitably. People will be employed and society will be safer. But it won’t happen until some changes are made.

So here’s Ann Reinking, she of the legs that go all the way up and all the way down, to give voice to that sentiment.

Shapiro Out



One thought on “They Just Want Their Slaves Back

  1. One of my employers sure responded fast at 9:00 pm last night when I offered proof of a pre-pandemic pay stub showing a higher hourly rate than what they were trying to pay me this week. Oops? Did we accidently cut your pay by five bucks an hour? Our bad! We have stay vigilant and hold their feet to the fire and not let them get away with it.

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