It’s hard not to sympathize with fast food workers, especially since so many of us have been them. One of the first real jobs I ever got was getting hired by a friend who managed a pizza restaurant of a small chain. I made and delivered pizza in the suburbs for minimum wage plus tips, blasting electronic music like Front 242 and goth classics by Bauhaus on my boom box riding shotgun as I drove my Dodge Omni into the ground. Meanwhile I attended college, and took more interest in my extracurricular studies than I did my job. I even let my hair grow out, and when the franchise was taken over, my new owner fired my friend, then demanded I cut my long hair. I refused, was fired, and with typical 19 year old drama told him to kiss my ass.
Looking back on the experience I learned quite a bit, how to handle rude people, the importance of being on as well as managing my own time. But most important I learned to get the skills I needed so that I never had to work fast food again.
When I go to fast food restaurants, I expect to see kids working. I don’t expect to see people making a career in them. If someone is above 30 and still slinging burgers through a drive thru window, I think that person has made a wrong turn somewhere. Perhaps they are a working mother trying to get some skills under her belt or a drunk trying to work and remain sober, or maybe an ex-con who is trying to reintegrate herself into society. Even with these people the job should be a temporary station in a long winding journey where they develop skills, get experience and move on to something better.
Sure the jobs suck, I’m not disagreeing with that. But they are supposed to be temporary; if you are working in the industry for years without moving up the corporate ladder then something is seriously wrong with you that doubling the minimum wage isn’t going to cure.