Friday, March 18, 2011

McDonald's - food ATM

I went to McDonald's tonight. Besides regretting my decision to consume 10x my average sodium intake, I have been thinking about how automated it is. Since I paid by credit card, the only work the cashier did was say hello, type the number 8 into the checkout terminal (I had a #8 meal), and pass me the receipt and a paper cup.
Impressive, but I think the transaction was as unhealthy for the cashier as it was for me. It can't be good for your mental state to be a cashier who doesn't count change or even swipe a credit card.
Maybe if there were just food ATMs instead, McD could elimnate cashier positions and then pay the people making the food a living wage? I guess the company would just pocket the savings.
It may seem harsh to alk about firing all these cashiers, but I'm not sure how the cashier's responsibilties can ever justify more than minimum wage. I don't know if this is valid economic reasoning, but it seems like having half as many employees earning twice as much as they do now, covering twice the responsibilities would be good.
The workers would have more interesting work and make a better living. The country would have fewer minimum wage jobs (assuming all McD employees are min wage), but many more living wage jobs. McD would have happier employees, which almst certainly means happier customers. In a way, Starbucks proves this with their employment model. Starbucks pays a living wage, provides benefits, and in my experience has better service than any fast food chain.

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