A word of caution to striking fast food workers

posted at 1:21 pm on August 30, 2013 by Bruce McQuain

You can be replaced:

McDonalds recently went on a hiring binge in the U.S., adding 62,000 employees to its roster. The hiring picture doesn’t look quite so rosy for Europe, where the fast food chain is drafting 7,000 touch-screen kiosks to handle cashiering duties.

The move is designed to boost efficiency and make ordering more convenient for customers. In an interview with the Financial Times, McDonald’s Europe President Steve Easterbrook notes that the new system will also open up a goldmine of data.

Automation becomes more and more of an option as our technology advances continue to expand exponentially.  And automation usually is used to replace low-end, low-skilled workers – like those in fast food restaurants.  That’s an unfortunate truth.  Automation becomes a viable option when the job it would replace becomes too expensive to the employer when using traditional means.  That is, a worker.  If the worker can be replaced at a reasonable cost with a machine or system that is reliable and in the end makes that operation more efficient and profitable, chances are the employer will take that option.

$15 an hour certainly pushes any number of fast food jobs into that range.    The McDonald’s kiosks are simply a fast food version of ATMs.  The list of what they don’t require is quite extensive.  They don’t require scheduling, benefits, sick days, or even pay.  They’re efficient, consistent, and while they might break down occasionally, they’ll never demand a vacation or time off.  Oh, and no ObamaCare costs.

~McQ

 


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“Random” question of the day – If it whistles in one ear hole and out the other with no loss of velocity, is it really an insult?

Steve Eggleston on August 30, 2013 at 3:10 PM

I may have been part of the last generation to handwrite large amounts of text.

MelonCollie on August 30, 2013 at 3:05 PM

Tell me about it. I’m writing a book longhand, because I can think/write faster than I can type.

RushBaby on August 30, 2013 at 3:11 PM

You can be replaced:

…no they WILL be fired, and replaced.

TX-96 on August 30, 2013 at 3:12 PM

if an automaton replaced bruce mcquain, this blog would not be any duller.
 
sesquipedalian on August 30, 2013 at 2:56 PM

 
Careful there sesquipedalian, you are an expendable.
 
Bmore on August 30, 2013 at 3:08 PM

 
Ha. The Sesquipaton.

rogerb on August 30, 2013 at 3:14 PM

The morons have also been claiming that Australia has a $16 minimum wage and everything is butterflies, unicorns, and lollipops.

First, Australia has a STAGGERED minimum wage and treats the disabled and those with experience differently.

Second, how would you like to pay $9 for a Happy Meal? Do you still believe the toy is free, by the way?

Resist We Much on August 30, 2013 at 3:16 PM

They don’t require scheduling, benefits, sick days, or even pay. They’re efficient, consistent, and while they might break down occasionally, they’ll never demand a vacation or time off. Oh, and no ObamaCare costs.

And, the robots don’t require training. For my business, a new employee takes at least 3 to 6 months to get in the groove. Until then, he/she is often marginally profitable. I imagine employees of fast food restaurants probably ramp up faster because the systems in place are more efficient and requires less skill.

Pazman on August 30, 2013 at 3:18 PM

The reason is more than the automation part for the strikers to be weary of.

It seems the ‘low teen employment rate’ is just made for the striking fast food workers. Wanna strike? OK, Good bye.

TerryW on August 30, 2013 at 3:18 PM

sesquipedalian on August 30, 2013 at 2:56 PM

You could try one of the Syria threads.

rogerb on August 30, 2013 at 3:04 PM

..or just go live in Syria. Period.

The War Planner on August 30, 2013 at 3:19 PM

If you don’t like it, go and invest in your own fast food joint!

rjoco1 on August 30, 2013 at 3:20 PM

Sesquibot?

Or in general…trollbots?

22044 on August 30, 2013 at 3:22 PM

MontanaMmmm on August 30, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Not money related but just as bad. The better half and I were going through the checkout line in Walmart. The cashier picked up a bunch of radishes looked at it strangely and then asked us what they were. It was hard to keep a straight face.

chemman on August 30, 2013 at 3:24 PM

You could try one of the Syria threads.

rogerb on August 30, 2013 at 3:04 PM

One thread Sesqui will NOT be trying again is this one.

Sen. Tim Scott: I wasn’t invited to speak at the March on Washington commemoration

And, Sesqui and liveenslavedthendie are going to howl when they see on what I’ve been working…and, unlike Obama and his adhan, it really will be the most beautiful sound on earth.

Resist We Much on August 30, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Maybe they could get an app for that and charge it to a CC at the same time. If a machine can help put a car together how hard would it be to flip a burger.

Kissmygrits on August 30, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Often I wish there was a kiosk, I can’t understand the employees many times.
Give me a choice of a $15 an hour uneducated, mumbling kid or a kiosk…no contest.

Raising the wage doesn’t raise their intellect.

right2bright on August 30, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Maybe they could get an app for that and charge it to a CC at the same time. If a machine can help put a car together how hard would it be to flip a burger.

Kissmygrits on August 30, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Harder than you think, especially when you’re talking compacting it all into a small and inexpensive enough unit to be viable to small restaurants.

There are good reasons this is only now being seriously talked about.

MelonCollie on August 30, 2013 at 3:40 PM

one of our local theaters has an ordering kiosks. works really well, no need for an order taker, pay with a credit card and just pick it up.

RonK on August 30, 2013 at 3:46 PM

if an automaton replaced bruce mcquain, this blog would not be any duller.

sesquipedalian on August 30, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Whew. What a relief. Just when I was concerned that you might have come up with something worthwhile to contribute to a discussion…

The Schaef on August 30, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Sitting at a bar having my lunch and reading these comments.
The bartender is nice, efficient, and quite hawt and brought me my meal and beverage quickly with a smile. She will get a good tip. Is she worth $15/hour? No and she is several notches up from the morons at McDonalds.

Frankly if I owned a fast food joint and one of my employees went to one of these protests I’d fire their butts with a note saying: “There will always be another one to replace you!”

Bubba Redneck on August 30, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Yeah, but in Europe, the customers can read.

The Rogue Tomato on August 30, 2013 at 1:45 PM

reading not necessary, you can use icons

RonK on August 30, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Three $2 bills.

Oldnuke on August 30, 2013 at 2:28 PM

if you try to pay for a purchase at Best Buy with 2 dollar bills you might get arrested for counterfeiting

RonK on August 30, 2013 at 3:55 PM

So the president did have a point after all about folks losing their jobs to ATMs and such? He did actually though it was a lame excuse for his party’s failed economic policies and crookedness.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 30, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Sesquibot?

Or in general…trollbots?

22044 on August 30, 2013 at 3:22 PM

They’re all part of the same leftist bigoted hivemind anyway. That makes his comment all the more amusing.

CurtZHP on August 30, 2013 at 4:11 PM

I’m curious, since no store I have seen shows the slightest indication of striking workers — is this just a ghetto-neighborhood, black minister/SEIU publicity stunt/hoax, or are there actual, functioning workers striking for $15 an hour french-fry jobs?

Jaibones on August 30, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Why invest in Kiosks, when almost all of your customers can place their orders on their own cell phones or computers? The cost of the order is automatically charged to the credit card they have on file and the receipt is sent by email.

No cash, no paper, minimal number of employees.

wren on August 30, 2013 at 3:02 PM

So essentially you are demanding an upgrade for Obamaphones and credit cards for a bunch of people who have no business holding credit cards. Really bad idea!

But let’s talk about receipts a minute. Why do we automatically get a receipt for things like a cup of coffee or fast food? I understand that some people need receipts for work or tax purposes but what about the rest of us. An utter waste of paper. I do wish that more businesses would offer email receipts. It isn’t like the NSA doesn’t know what we are buying anyway.

Happy Nomad on August 30, 2013 at 4:41 PM

I’m curious, since no store I have seen shows the slightest indication of striking workers — is this just a ghetto-neighborhood, black minister/SEIU publicity stunt/hoax, or are there actual, functioning workers striking for $15 an hour french-fry jobs?

Jaibones on August 30, 2013 at 4:27 PM

I suspect not. I suggest that the ‘strikers’ are protesters-for-hire or greedy SEIU thugs.

There’s an opportunity there for some real investigative journalism, so I don’t expect we will ever know the truth.

slickwillie2001 on August 30, 2013 at 4:42 PM

I’m curious, since no store I have seen shows the slightest indication of striking workers — is this just a ghetto-neighborhood, black minister/SEIU publicity stunt/hoax, or are there actual, functioning workers striking for $15 an hour french-fry jobs?

Jaibones on August 30, 2013 at 4:27 PM

This is an union initiative. Creating a “living wage” is the first step toward organizing the workers into the Brotherhood of French Fryers or something. But it isn’t a stunt. They are thrilled to contemplate a day when putting potato products into oil is a “career” choice. As was noted yesterday, at $15/hour a fast food worker can make over $30K a year. Very close to the starting salary for those losers that spent four years in college getting their teaching credentials.

Happy Nomad on August 30, 2013 at 4:46 PM

f an automaton replaced bruce mcquain, this blog would not be any duller.

sesquipedalian on August 30, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Takes one…..

itsspideyman on August 30, 2013 at 4:47 PM

No one, and I mean no one, is having the conversation about the serious trend of technology replacing jobs. Yes, this article mentions the replacement of order takers/cashiers at McDonalds and the article points out that many low-end, low-skilled workers are replaced by automation. However, many on both the right and left either want to point fingers at Obama for high unemployment or they want to blame the corporations/small businesses/entrepreneurs for failing to expand and provide greater and better employment opportunities.

The current strikes taking place at fast food businesses really don’t concern me at all. As many have pointed out, fast food jobs were always meant for the teen workers or for those seeking part-time employment for income in addition to one’s full time job. It was never meant to provide enough income for a family of any size, unless one entered into management positions. Bottom line for me…I could care less if most fast food joints went out of business entirely

Back to technology and automation…both of these issues need to be part of the overall discussions on the high unemployment picture. I’ve seen too many workers replaced at the assembly lines by robots, too many inspectors and final packaging people replaced by optic sensors and robotic packaging devices and it is only going to become more automated in businesses around the world.

I’m not advocating that automation should be slowed or come to a halt. In the long run, automation usually provides a much better and more reliable product for all consumers. But as the costs go down for businesses with fewer employees replaced by technology and automation, then maybe it’s time for these businesses to ante up and pay higher contributions to unemployment insurance. I don’t know…it’s just time to start having these conversations and time to stop pointing fingers.

metroryder on August 30, 2013 at 4:51 PM

So the president did have a point after all about folks losing their jobs to ATMs and such?

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 30, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Not really. The folks losing their jobs to ATMs didn’t disappear from the workplace. They adapted to other employment.

The common B-school example is the demise of buggy whip manufacturers in the early 20th century. To be sure that products changed but I don’t recall history telling us about a march on Washington by displaced buggy whip workers who had no other skills but making whips.

But let’s not forget that in the 1990s, IT professionals went through churn. People with skills in certain programming codes found their skill set obsolete. Some retired, some retrained, some adapted by choosing a new career. But the reality is that if society does not need bank tellers, there are other opportunities.

Of course that means a willingness to change on the part of the worker. I was amazed when I was living in Michigan and the local Electrolux plant closed after a century. Despite all sorts of ways the workers could get help with training for another job, many refused saying that they were factory workers and not interested in learning more about computers or whatever.

Happy Nomad on August 30, 2013 at 5:00 PM

f an automaton replaced bruce mcquain, this blog would not be any duller.

sesquipedalian on August 30, 2013 at 2:56 PM

On the other hand, replacing you would likely be a great improvement!

Meremortal on August 30, 2013 at 5:04 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago,

So the president did have a point after all about folks losing their jobs to ATMs and such?

No. As with almost every other subject this president pontificates on, he doesn’t have a clue. The financial institution I work for recently upgraded all of our existing ATMs from the older cash withdrawal only machines to the self service models with advanced features.

We haven’t laid off any of our drive thru tellers. Aren’t planning to either.

Mike Honcho on August 30, 2013 at 5:06 PM

Yeah, but with the touch-screen kiosk you lose the “personal touch” of a barely literate, surly cashier when you order your Whammy-Burger” . . .

tpitman on August 30, 2013 at 5:06 PM

metroryder on August 30, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Nail – meet hammer.

Happy Nomad on August 30, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Exactly. People need to adapt to the skill sets needed.
ATMs may put bank tellers out of work, but now you need people to build, program, install, maintain, and refill the ATMs. Instead of handling cash at the bank counter as a teller, you’re handling the cash going into the ATMs.

There are a lot of industries where the people just can’t be eaasily or totally replaced just yet. But regardless, every place a machine is created that replaces a worker, different workers are required to build, program, install, and maintain those machines.

While the auto manufacturing line has become more automated, I don’t yet see a machine capable of automatically (no people involved) bringing a car into a repair shop, diagnosing a problem, replacing a part or doing body repair work, and such. So if you lose your job in the GM plant – take whatever skills you, enhance them any way possible, and go into the auto repair industry.

dentarthurdent on August 30, 2013 at 5:14 PM

In my younger days, I was a fast food worker, and then a fast food manager (before I got wise and aimed for something more skilled and better paid), and I kind of understand the demographic. These days twenty years on, I can’t remember the last time I spoke face to face with a bank teller. My banking is done online, my income is deposited online, and when I need cash, I get it out of an ATM. When I get gas for my car, I stick a credit card in the pump, and pump my gas, without ever going into the gas station/convenience store for anything but a candy bar or a lottery ticket. When I go to a Big Box Store, I can make my purchases at a what we used to call a “dumb terminal” (designated by the Big Box Stores as “self-service”) by scanning the bar codes and presenting a credit card to the scanner, or putting some cash into an automated cash acceptance device ( still alerting the machine by pushing buttons, andI figure even that’s going to be obsolete in a few years).

This is the New World. Technological education is required, but also an ability to recognize those slippery directional changes and adaptation to them. Future aspirants of human advancement, robots, and robotic systems, are your friend and your enemy. Adapt accordingly.

RebeccaH on August 30, 2013 at 5:39 PM

The McDonald’s kiosks are simply a fast food version of ATMs. The list of what they don’t require is quite extensive. They don’t require scheduling, benefits, sick days, or even pay. They’re efficient, consistent, and while they might break down occasionally, they’ll never demand a vacation or time off. Oh, and no ObamaCare costs.

~McQ

fine an atm is ok if I want to get a few bucks out but I don’t use it for much else. And if McDonald’s put these things in their stores I sure as hell am not going to order food from them. The price of their slop now is about the same for a sit down place where you know they have people that bring you your food to your table. I’ll much rather pay a couple dollars more for better food and service.

unseen on August 30, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Yep….robots.

How long before they unionize?

I’ll bet McDonald’s and other fast food places are already only hiring the robots for no more than 30 hours to avoid O-Care.

Maybe the robots can held the IT geeks get the exchanges up and they can get a subsidy on premiums.

Just looking…down the road.

KirknBurker on August 30, 2013 at 5:43 PM

, and go into the auto repair industry.

dentarthurdent on August 30, 2013 at 5:14 PM

that’s what amnesty is for. To take the jobs of Americans they haven’t been able to outsource or automate

unseen on August 30, 2013 at 5:46 PM

Diego some of us can handle it.

CW on August 30, 2013 at 2:37 PM

But most cannot, and it defeats the purpose of the self-checkout lines.

James on August 30, 2013 at 5:49 PM

I think the fast food industry is about done no matter what they do. the food sucks, the two things it had going for it were fast service and cheap food. the price of the food nowadays isn’t much of a difference to regular restaurants. I can go to a fast food place spend about 8 bucks or I can go to a place like Chilis and spend about 10 plus tip.

So It’s isn’t cheap and if you take the service out of the equation there really is no reason to ever step foot inside one again.

unseen on August 30, 2013 at 5:51 PM

But most cannot, and it defeats the purpose of the self-checkout lines.

James on August 30, 2013 at 5:49 PM

I don’t have a problem with self-checkout lines. but every time I use one I feel like I’m being robbed as the companies have never lowered prices to make up for their reduction in service. All of the costs they reduced went to their bottom line not mine. You show me how I’m saving money using them and I’ll use it each time. Until then I make it a point to shop at places to have a human touch. to each their own I guess.

unseen on August 30, 2013 at 5:54 PM

that’s what amnesty is for. To take the jobs of Americans they haven’t been able to outsource or automate

unseen on August 30, 2013 at 5:46 PM

In many places, yes.
However, I take my cars to a mechanic whose entire shop speaks fluent English as a first language, and same for the entire crew I just had over to take out a bunch of trees. Several of the tree guys were very young – looked about 18 to 20 or so – and seemed very happy to have a job – even one involving lots of hard sweaty work outside.
On the other hand, the last time I had a new roof put on after a hail storm, I don’t think ANY of the workers out there spoke English.

dentarthurdent on August 30, 2013 at 5:58 PM

I don’t have a problem with self-checkout lines. but every time I use one I feel like I’m being robbed as the companies have never lowered prices to make up for their reduction in service. All of the costs they reduced went to their bottom line not mine. You show me how I’m saving money using them and I’ll use it each time. Until then I make it a point to shop at places to have a human touch. to each their own I guess.

unseen on August 30, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Well, the thing is, and this relates to what I’ve said about the jobs: How much do those self-check machines cost to buy or lease, and maintain? How does that price compare to the cost of a couple minimum wage workers?
People often talk about cost comparisons of people versus machinery, but the equation doesn’t always favor the machinery when you look at total cost of ownership. Same computation that shows hybrid cars are NOT a good long term investment – fuel cost may be lower than gas cars, but total cost of ownership is higher.

dentarthurdent on August 30, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Same computation that shows hybrid cars are NOT a good long term investment – fuel cost may be lower than gas cars, but total cost of ownership is higher.

dentarthurdent on August 30, 2013 at 6:06 PM

I agree. I think the bean counters have not factored in the price of lack of service costs them. It means they don’t get quick feedback from their customers. It means people no longer place value on your brand because if it’s a machine how much loyalty do you as a customer have to a machine. I think the shipping of customer service jobs overseas had the same impact. sure it reduced their costs shorterm but I think they lost much more then they got. Of course most CEO’s today are in the 3 month wall street earnings frame of mind and don’t care about how their decisions will impact their business 5 10 years down the line. Also cutting out your workforce here means the people as a whole have less purchasing power to buy your product. When one or two did it it wasn’t a big deal but when the entire country did it the jobs left and while some people found new jobs they lost a boat load of purchasing power and turned to credit to make up the difference the recession IMO is the end result of that.

unseen on August 30, 2013 at 6:22 PM

These strikers are demanding more than my USAF son makes, actually doing somethingbeneficial to the country.

ladyingray on August 30, 2013 at 6:29 PM

These strikers are demanding more than my USAF son makes, actually doing somethingbeneficial to the country.

ladyingray on August 30, 2013 at 6:29 PM

Well, frnakly, I’ve been frustrated for awhile now that people who can throw a baseball or football, or tackle someone, or pretend to be someone else all make 1000 times more than actual useful people – like our military, and engineers, scientists, cops, firemen, teachers, etc etc….
And when you put burger flippers above any of those people on the pay scale – well, we’ve got some real problems with our society…

dentarthurdent on August 30, 2013 at 6:37 PM

These strikers are demanding more than my USAF son makes, actually doing somethingbeneficial to the country.

ladyingray on August 30, 2013 at 6:29 PM

That’s a whole new problem. It’s outrageous that some corrupt paperpusher in the IRS thugocracy makes more than someone in the US armed forces.

The US military should have the same healthcare plans in their benefits package as the NSA clerk that’s reading this.

slickwillie2001 on August 30, 2013 at 6:38 PM

So essentially you are demanding an upgrade for Obamaphones and credit cards for a bunch of people who have no business holding credit cards. Really bad idea!

Happy Nomad on August 30, 2013 at 4:41 PM

No need to upgrade the Obamaphones! Let’s not give Obamabots any ideas about being entitled to phone upgrades.

For those who don’t have smartphones (like me), The Melt allows you to set up an order on their website via any computer and then print out a confirmation that has a QR code on it that I can use to scan my order when I arrive at the specific Melt location where I want to pick up my sandwich.

I enter my credit card information (and can chose whether or not I want them to keep my card # on file for future orders) on their website and while they seemed to confirm that it was a valid credit card number when I entered it, they did not charge my credit card until I scanned my order at their sandwich shop a couple of days later.

It is a very cool, efficient and customer friendly system that will probably be used by almost all fast food restaurants within a couple of years.

wren on August 30, 2013 at 6:43 PM

These strikers are demanding more than my USAF son makes, actually doing somethingbeneficial to the country.

ladyingray on August 30, 2013 at 6:29 PM

Absolutely – I didn’t make $15 an hour as an Air Force 2nd Lieutenant with a BS in engineering – granted that was 30 years ago, but still….

Base salary for 2013 for a 2LT in the military (which requires a college degree, and successfully surviving basic training of some type, and risking your life to defend the country) is $33,941.
$15 / hour at full time (1920 hours per year), would be $28,800 per year – for a burger flipper.
What’s wrong with this picture????

dentarthurdent on August 30, 2013 at 6:45 PM

What’s wrong with this picture????

dentarthurdent on August 30, 2013 at 6:45 PM

I don’t think any of them will ever get 1920 hours/year at the same restaurant (the employer mandate under ObamaCare). But a few hours flipping at McDs, a few at the BK, a few at Wendy’s…

teejk on August 30, 2013 at 7:18 PM

I don’t think any of them will ever get 1920 hours/year at the same restaurant (the employer mandate under ObamaCare). But a few hours flipping at McDs, a few at the BK, a few at Wendy’s…

teejk on August 30, 2013 at 7:18 PM

Oh for sure. I was just trying to make a straight-up comparison of salary for “full time” positions.
I agree with you that thanks to obumblecare, a person making $15 / an hour flipping burgers would probably need 2 or 3 jobs to get up to 1920 hours a year (what I know as typical “full time” = 2080 hours per year, at 40 hours/week for 52 weeks, minus 4 weeks (160 hours) for holiday, sick and vacation time).

Although when you’re in the military, your actual work hours are typically much longer….

dentarthurdent on August 30, 2013 at 7:45 PM

When was the last time a kiosk sued because it thought someone may have at some time used the “n” word around it?

When was the last time a kiosk sued for sexual harassment?

When was the last time a kiosk sued because the coffee was too hot when it got spilled?

Not only are the fast food workers going to be replaced but they’re going to lose a *lot* of their victimhood excuses for a fast buck, too.

NahnCee on August 30, 2013 at 8:11 PM

When was the last time a kiosk sued because it thought someone may have at some time used the “n” word around it?

When was the last time a kiosk sued for sexual harassment?

When was the last time a kiosk sued because the coffee was too hot when it got spilled?

Not only are the fast food workers going to be replaced but they’re going to lose a *lot* of their victimhood excuses for a fast buck, too.

NahnCee on August 30, 2013 at 8:11 PM

All good points, to which I will add, ‘when was a company ever sued for not hiring robots of a certain color?’

slickwillie2001 on August 30, 2013 at 8:28 PM

McDonald’s other venture, Chipotle, already has an ap for that. Who needs a kiosk if you can order from your smart phone? (More sanitary, too)

Count to 10 on August 30, 2013 at 8:54 PM

There are other entree vending machines available too. I can envision fully automated food courts with wifi…

dogsoldier on August 30, 2013 at 10:00 PM

There are other entree vending machines available too. I can envision fully automated food courts with wifi…

dogsoldier on August 30, 2013 at 10:00 PM

I picture the Carl’s Jr dispensing machines on the sidewalks in Idiocracy….

dentarthurdent on August 30, 2013 at 10:04 PM

1.) Fast food workers will be getting $15/hour soon enough. When the inflated money supply causes the money to be worth much less. Of course they won’t be any better off because all prices will go up.

2.) If fast food jobs paid $15/hour now, the present workers wouldn’t have jobs for long because better skilled workers would take and keep those jobs.

3.) If it cost $15/hour to hire someone to take orders and flip hamburgers restaurants would soon find ways to get the job done without the worker.

imshocked on August 30, 2013 at 10:52 PM

It’s all about service,which happens to be the fastest growth component of America – and has been for over 30+ years.

Every generation can get nostalgic about manual anything… its the change and tech that drives us forward as bi-peds.

Too much emphasis is put on “what is lost” when the fact is – gain is what is won. If I asked you 30 years ago to pay $125/month for a phone and email in a small device – you would have said “no way” Now guess how many hundreds of billions or created in that industry alone, compared to the comparable hundreds of millions for the manual option. Factor is quantity usage… and yeah – there you go.

“Poor” 30 years ago was poor. “poor” today has more tech, comfort creatures and necessities that would rival an upper middle class or rich person back then.

The fact people spends billions of dollars a year, while grossly obese,to do jumping jacks and push-ups lets you know how tech, wealth and change advances us through services.

Odie1941 on August 30, 2013 at 10:53 PM

I suspect not. I suggest that the ‘strikers’ are protesters-for-hire or greedy SEIU thugs.

There’s an opportunity there for some real investigative journalism, so I don’t expect we will ever know the truth.

slickwillie2001 on August 30, 2013 at 4:42 PM

Copy that. Daily Caller has some enterprising young writers…maybe one of them will venture out with an armed guard.

Jaibones on August 30, 2013 at 11:16 PM

Yeah, but with the touch-screen kiosk you lose the “personal touch” of a barely literate, surly cashier when you order your Whammy-Burger” . . .
tpitman on August 30, 2013 at 5:06 PM

Not to mention, how is a computer going to spit in our food, or drop ice cubes in the fryer just for fun?

Maddie on August 31, 2013 at 1:33 AM

True story. I was in a fast food place one night when, for whatever reason the register was not working correctly. The cashier actually handed me more in change than I had paid her. And the sad part is that she didn’t even stop to think about it. One should never question the wisdom of the register I guess.

Happy Nomad on August 30, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Back in the late 80′s, my wife and I ate at a restaurant (not a chain) in north Denver.

The first time, both of our meals were about $16.00 and change. I gave the cashier a $20, and got about $14.00 and change back. I asked him why, and he couldn’t seem to figure it out. I figured if they were too stupid to figure that out…

The next day, we ate there again, and the same thing happened.

Not sure if the place is still open. I’ve been through Denver a few times, never took the time to stop and see if they are.

91Veteran on August 31, 2013 at 3:18 AM

Food kiosk? Brilliant.

At most McDonalds, I order something at the counter, the cashier punches a button that identifies the product by a picture, takes my debit card (I never, ever carry cash), swipes it and gives it back to me. Then another fast food engineer hands me my order.

Tell me, what is there to be gained in my particular transaction by having a human being involved, other than to ask me if I want fries with that?

BigAlSouth on August 31, 2013 at 8:36 AM

Hey, if SEIU thugs want to make eating a political issue, I’m happy to accommodate them… BigMac for lunch, Chick-fil-A for dinner.

Ventura Capitalist on August 31, 2013 at 9:43 AM

At most McDonalds, I order something at the counter, the cashier punches a button that identifies the product by a picture, takes my debit card (I never, ever carry cash), swipes it and gives it back to me. Then another fast food engineer hands me my order.

BigAlSouth on August 31, 2013 at 8:36 AM

Right out of the movie Idiocracy.

dentarthurdent on August 31, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Amen to the lack of customer and employee interaction. McDonalds and Burger King’s speed of service sucks canal water. They started by preparing hamburgers only when ordered instead of having a few under the warmer. It takes longer to get the food than ever before.

Corporations have developed the attitude that their floor associates are to be utilized as “cannon fodder”, lied to and generally abused for the bottom line.

hamradio on August 31, 2013 at 11:17 PM

I don’t have a problem with self-checkout lines. but every time I use one I feel like I’m being robbed as the companies have never lowered prices to make up for their reduction in service. All of the costs they reduced went to their bottom line not mine.

unseen on August 30, 2013 at 5:54 PM

This is my frustration as well. They’ll reduce you to pushing buttons like a monkey at the zoo, insist you’re getting the same ‘value’ by charging exactly the same, and the money saved goes to pointy-haired pencil-pushers for their brilliant idea that ‘saved’ the company so much.

I have yet to see a company that tried to make its customers happy by actually lowering prices when one of their rare original thoughts that reduces costs significantly. They just pocket the change and keep going as usual.

MelonCollie on September 1, 2013 at 1:03 PM

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