McCriticism

We as a society have decided two things:

  • to not work when you can do is lazy, abusive and damaging to society and
  • working at McDonalds means you are a failure and should be mocked

There are countless memes and images and comments and posts about how working at McDonalds is degrading. We frequently are told in our youth that we need to work hard or else we will end up serving fries at McDonalds. Those of us bullied are told our abuser will not amount to anything and end up serving burgers at, you guessed it, McDonalds.

I have never worked at McDonalds. I had an interview once but I would have had to shave off my beard and I was young and proud of the fact I could grow facial hair so I turned it down. But that is the reason I turned it down. Because I would have had to shave and I didn’t want to. Mainly because I was a dick. Though even now I would have an issue with it because lets face it my facial hair is awesome. Even when clean shaven. My refusal had nothing to do with it being McdDonalds.

But lets just spend a moment to look at this ridiculous notion. Yes, calling them “McJobs” is silly. Yes, trying to promote a salad when your burgers are probably healthier is daft. But none of this relates to the actual work.

People at McDonalds work fucking hard. You, as a customer, walk in there and order a burger and fries and get it within minutes or even seconds. I have never waited more than a few minutes to get my food at McDonalds. Those people are running around like Sonic the Hedgehog on crack to get you your tasty treat and they do not need your scorn.

If the food takes a little while to arrive, joking about how fast food isn’t that fast is a joke they have heard several times that day already. And looking down on these people who work hard and contribute to society is appalling.

I have done some bad jobs. I have done various things. I once spent a morning as a bin man when I was doing agency work. That is a physically demanding job, one that makes you get up at ungodly hours to run around and man handle waste. You will end up with beans down you at some point- I assumed it was beans, my disgust would not register anything else.. But it is an essential job and it should never be ridiculed. Have you ever considered what life would be like without bin men? Think about that before you mock them. They are more essential to society than your job at Big Marketing Firm Dot Com.

I do a lot of bar work- usually for companies making millions in profit but who only pay minimum wage. So why do I not get a better job? Well first of all, it is a buyers market. Recessions are great for big companies because there are so many people needing work that when one leaves there are a dozen more to take their place. If you are making tens of millions in profit you should not be paying your staff minimum wage, period. And lets not get into the ridiculousness of paying a 16 year old half of a 22 year old for the same job.

We talk about how we should better ourselves, but there is nothing dehumanising about working a job. You are working, you are contributing, you are slogging your guts out for a low wage so those earning 50K can tell you that you are nothing. And even if the stupid argument that you can do better is true (and what is “better”?) and even if everyone gets out of working at McDonalds… we are still always going to need people to serve us our burgers, to stack out shelves, to sweep our streets. You ridicule and attack those people who are providing services we need.

Maybe we don’t “need” McDonalds specifically. But we need something similar. Walk into the Edinburgh Princes Street McDonalds any lunch time and you will see many suited and booted people buying their lunch. Or how about Subway? They make great sandwiches.

We should never ridicule someone for doing a job. If a job exists it is because there is demand. And those ridiculing are those doing the demanding. Yes McDonalds could be run more ethically, yes it has problems. But none of those are the fault of the people working there.

There is nothing wrong with doing a job if you can do it. And we should stop ridiculing those who provide us with the service we demand. To eat a Big Mac and ridicule a McDonalds worker is vicious. These people, these human beings are doing a job. They are earning. They are paying in to society. They are the backbone of Britain.

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One Response to McCriticism

  1. simonaperry says:

    Agree wholeheartedly that we should not stigmatize low paid work, but wanted to address your point on the ethics of paying low wages. It’s not as simple as [company x] makes a lot of profit, so they should pay more. Market rate wages actually provide society with a valuable service – that of efficient resource allocation. If McDonalds were to double the wages of their staff, they’d attract more applicants. People who have valuable skills (e.g. qualified teachers or nurses) may start applying to work at McDonalds because the pay is better, and McDonalds would of course employ the best people available at that wage. This would create two problems for society (i) we’d have more difficultly finding nurses/teachers, and (ii) many of the people who now work at McDonalds – those who are least skilled and find it most difficult to get work – would be unable to get a job there. So paying more may actually makes things much worse for the people who are currently in low paid jobs.

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