The Company Store

Talking with people fresh out of college, or even some that have been out for a while, I have found that most are falling prey to unscrupulous companies that are working around Universal Health Care by hiring practices that are, well just wrong.

In order to protect the company from spending too much money on labor they are working these people at part time jobs.  Instead of hiring enough full time people to do things in a normal fashion “during daylight hours” they are in fact working several part time employees in several shifts.

While shift work is not unheard of, the amount of part-time employees is.

These companies, mostly retail, are hiring these people at just over the minimum wage working them for just under the amount of hours that would be considered full-time.  In this fashion they don’t have to give them any type of benefits’ including health care.  They don’t accrue vacation time and they must often find at least two jobs to make ends meet. They will in actuality be working more than a 40 hour week and possibly work a 50 or 60 hour week for multiple companies.

The carrot seems to be a verbal recognition of their “potential” for a management position “down the road.”

The other carrot is “in retail anyway” that they offer them discounts on any merchandise.  Knowing something about this; their margin is most likely 40 points and since a lot of this “stuff” comes from China, I would bet that their margins are closer to 60 or 70 points with the larger stores getting larger margins.

The discount to the employee is anywhere from 10% to 30% meaning that the company still makes money on the employee purchases. I know a lot of folks that work in retail who work for a particular store because they like what they sell.  This is probably a trait among those who work in retail.

What is it  like where you live?  Do the food service industry companies treat their employees the same way?

Which companies treat their employees well?

Which are the worst?

Why?

I hear a lot of people complain about how they can’t make ends meet and minimum wage needs to be raised to $15 an hour.

The economy took a hit and the unemployment numbers were off the charts.  A lot of folks who are now employed are working these types of jobs that are really intended for kids in school and not college graduates.  That is why they are minimum wage, because they were never intended to provide a living wage. On the flip side, these companies are now getting college graduates for pennies on the dollar.

Minimum wage does not need to go up to some astronomical number, as that will tank the economy.  Every action that congress takes has consequences.

“Universal health Care,” you know that 2000 plus page bill that we have to “pass before we read it;” had consequences.   The people who crafted the bill and the Democrats’ who pushed it down our throats will not be affected by this however.  They actually crafted language into the bill to the effect that exempted them from any of its mandates.  Why would you  vote for people like this?

One of these consequences now has people working as slaves for minimum wage jobs that are for school kids.  Companies are not in the habit of loosing money and getting bailouts unless you are “too big to fail,” aka a campaign contributor.  They work their business so that they make money.  If they do it right they not only make a profit for the stock holder and all of those who took a risk.  Their end goal is not to provide employment, just make money.  Employees are a necessary evil, as far as they are concerned.

Congress needs to fix this.  Companies will not fix this themselves, because they have no reason to.

I would argue that language needs to be crafted in a bill that would only allow a company some small percentage of part-time employees, and the same should be true of “contractors,” which is another way to scam the system.

Capitalism

People don’t create companies because they want to give people jobs.  They create companies because they see a need, and they know how to fill it. Employment opportunities come when the need is great enough that they cannot fill it by themselves.

Mechanization takes away many jobs.  Today the grocery store is a good example of job loss through technology.  Self-checkout kiosks are everywhere.  Either you as the customer check and bag your own groceries, or you wait in a long line where a minimum wage clerk will check you out.  They purposefully (so it seems to me anyway) only have a few working the register so that there is a wait.

I am one that will wait in line as, I want there to be a need for this person behind the counter.  The stupidity of this is that the kid behind the counter gets angry with you; because you won’t do the self checkout!  I am trying to save this idiots job and he is angry because he has to do it!  This is the attitude of this generation today.  Once I get out of school I go to the company of my choice and go get the corner office, boss people around and get a big paycheck!  One has to wonder what they are teaching is school.  I am thinking it is how to roll the perfect joint.

Robots have been taking jobs for years in the automobile industry and other manufacturing. Robots can work longer than 8 hours, don’t belong to unions, don’t need healthcare, don’t go to the bathroom, need breaks, and a host of other reasons to automate could be made.  There is also an ROI and a TCO.  With employees that is not the case.

An argument could be made that these robots had to be created by workers, software engineers etc.  To that I would agree.  The rub is that many of these things were done outside of this country.  While most reasons to do this are economical some would argue that Americans are not smart enough to do it.   Looking at school from when I was in school to now I would agree that something needs to change in the methods and materials that we teach.  Some of these kids today are real “low information people.”  It is like “Hey, don’t confuse me with the facts!”

Unless you can put groceries on the table with things that you purchase from the retail outlet from which you work, buying things from them is something you should most probably resist.

They tell everyone that they see management potential in them, and get them to “commit in their mind” to working months without so much as a raise.  They don’t get them to sign a contract or anything, they simply lead them to believe that there is a future for them.  After several months of being a slave, you come to realize that the light at the end of the tunnel was nothing more than a lighting bug.

You are quasi self-deluded and are “nudged” into thinking that this is going to turn into something.  Some companies do promote from within and Enterprise Rent a Car comes to mind.  These folks start you out cleaning cars and work you up from the bottom.  If you have it within you, that is a good company.

What other companies are out there that treat their employees well?

Ask around I would like to know.  We can make a list….  I would seriously like to give credit where it is due.

Here is the catch my young friends; you only have so many years to live.  Life is not eternal! One day you will wake up and realize that there are so many things that you wanted to do; and now it is too late.  It will be that day when the epiphany hits you that there are more days behind you, than in front of you.  That will be the day that you will get serious about your faith, if you are not already.

In school the weeks seem to never end, when you have a dead-end job, the weeks also seem to drag on.  When you have a job that you like “time” seems to move a little faster.

When you get out of college at 22 or so, the world is your oyster.  It is not long before the grand children are left with you while your kids take some much needed rest from working and raising kids.

As you look into their young innocent faces, you remember with fondness the days that you were that childlike.

I titled this piece “the company store” because when I was young there was a song on the radio that told the tale.

Tennessee Ernie Ford 16 Tons

Some people say a man is made outta mud

A poor man’s made outta muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that’s a-weak and a back that’s strong

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one mornin’ when the sun didn’t shine
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine
I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal
And the straw boss said “Well, a-bless my soul”

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one mornin’, it was drizzlin’ rain
Fightin’ and trouble are my middle name
I was raised in the canebrake by an ol’ mama lion
Cain’t no-a high-toned woman make me walk the line

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

If you see me comin’, better step aside
A lotta men didn’t, a lotta men died
One fist of iron, the other of steel
If the right one don’t a-get you
Then the left one will

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

Many of you reading this wont know the tune, so I am posting a link for you..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Joo90ZWrUkU

Years ago the company indeed had a store.

Typically these were in small towns that employed most of the people in that town.  They were remote enough that they could price their goods in such a fashion that they were not competitive.  There were no Wal-Mart’s back then. This led to the store extending credit, thus keeping the employee indebted to them.  Once you worked for the mine; in this case, you were there until they buried you. You either died of black lung, or cave-ins.  It would be interesting to know how many coal miners actually died of old age.

There is a lesson in this and I wonder how many will figure it out.

Guys, when you don’t know history you are doomed to repeat it, time and time again.  Either the schools are inadequate, or the books are lacking or possibly there is an agenda to give folks just enough information to be productive but, not enough to think. As always I would appreciate your thoughts.  Keep it clean, respectful and so forth, and we can talk about it.

-Best to you…

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