Almost every Friday I have two donuts for breakfast. It’s not a particularly healthy way to start the day, and that’s why I limit myself to once a week. Usually.
Last week, at my favorite donut shop, my usual no. 1 — two donuts and a medium coffee — was $2.69 plus tax, which leaves me a bit of change from three dollars. This morning, I ordered the usual, had my three one-dollar bills ready when I got to the register, and was a bit shocked when the woman who’s been ringing up my orders for years said, “$3.71.” I looked at the price board, and sure enough the no. 1 had gone from $2.69 to $3.39 — a 26% increase, if I did my math correctly.
On my way out of the store, I noticed the tiny sign I missed on the way in:
Ivory-tower “experts” in the media have been telling us for years — in defiance of even a casual knowledge of fundamental economic principles — minimum wage increases are simply paid for out of the excessive profits of greedy corporations. Those same experts probably eat the shitty, stale, day-old two-dollar donuts in the plexiglass case at Starbucks. The hard-working immigrants who own this real donut shop in the real world apparently didn’t get the memo.
Will three extra dollars a month change my life? Well, it would probably be better for my health if I saved the money and ate two fewer donuts a month, but if customers all started thinking that way, it wouldn’t be good for the owners or for the employees.
However, I’m not the average customer at this donut shop. Based on the work uniforms I see other customers wearing, the majority of them probably earn just enough that they will see no personal benefit from the minimum wage increase, but they’ll face the same brutal price increases regardless. Is this what they call fair wages?