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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Just in time for the holidays, your low-wage employer wants you to know it really cares. And would you mind tidying up the condiment stand on your way to the soup kitchen?

Once again, McDonald’s is showing its brilliance at employee relations. In July, recall, the company haplessly offered a sample budget for its employees, omitting the costs of gas and groceries and projecting fantasy monthly rents of $600, car payments of $150 and health insurance costs of $20.

Now the company has favored the working poor with advice on stress relief, savings and health. On a website it hosts for employees, called McResource Line McDonald’s had this sage advice:

–Sell unwanted items on eBay or Craigslist to make some extra cash.

–Breaking food “into pieces” can help you feel more full.

–“Pack your bags” and take a vacation! Because, you know, people who take at least two vacations a year can cut their chance of heart attack by 50 percent.

You can almost picture the comfortable college graduate who pounded out these helpful “tips.” That person probably takes a nice vacay at least once a year, along with long-weekend trips a plane ride away. He or she isn’t likely depending on two part-time jobs at $7.75 an hour to raise a family.

Not to be outdone, Walmart, another favorite target of living-wage agitators, had the curtain lifted on its own Dickensian reality to kick off the Season of Giving.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that in an employees-only area of a Walmart store in Canton, Ohio, bins were set out to collect food for fellow employees. “Please donate food items here, so associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner,” read a sign placed over the bins, as featured in a photo in the Plain Dealer.

“This is part of the company’s culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships,” a company spokesman told the Plain Dealer.

Too bad it’s not part of the company’s culture to pay living wages. Or maybe it’s too bad that it’s not part of Americans’ political culture to raise the minimum wage.

To be fair, these gaffes came from a good place. But what rankles, in addition to that whole low-wage thing, is the condescension.

Please, corporate mandarins, spare your poor employees your wisdom on scrimping and saving. They know waaay more about that topic than you do.

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