I am a germaphobe who can think of few tasks more odious than cleaning a heavily used public washroom facility. That being said, my wife and I recently opened a pub and coffee shop in Priddis and while things are going great, we still are on a budget that requires that we do many things ourselves in order to keep staffing costs to a minimum. Among those tasks are janitorial duty which requires my getting down in there and ensuring that our clientele does not have to endure a nasty washroom. My fiscal need outweighs my loathing of such tasks.
I was in a recent discussion regarding minimum wage and I used the term “toilet scrubbers”. I did not mean that term in a derogatory way by any means. Toilets need to be cleaned and as I have pointed out, I certainly will do it at need.
All the above being said, I sincerely look forward to the day when we develop our business to the point where I can pay somebody else to clean those toilets. I will not pay a lot to a person for that task as while it is challenging to one’s sense of personal cleanliness, it is not what could be called a highly skilled art. Training if required means pointing out where the cleaning items are and asking that the bathroom not be exited until it doesn’t smell poorly any longer and no evidence of previous use can be seen.
By the numbers right now We have employed 14 people, most of whom were previously either unemployed or under-employed.
11 are women…
5 are students
4 are single parents
1 AISH recipient
None of them are earning minimum wage. In fact some of them, when you factor in tips have earnings that rival those of journeyman plumbers (particularly on wing night).
We are not employing these people out of altruism. We opened this business to make money for ourselves. I am not demanding a medal for my efforts by any means. I am happy and proud that we could develop and maintain a business that employs all of those people and won’t display false modesty over it.
Now to cut to the chase. As minimum wages rise I will be doing one or more of a couple things. I will be raising prices and I will be reducing hours for staff. Tasks from toilet cleaning to waiting tables will increasingly land on my lap while my staff will enjoy less hours of work with a higher cost of living. This is not theory. This is exactly what is about to happen so who is winning here?
I just needed to get that rant out to those simplistic souls who somehow think that we can legislate everybody into prosperity. It simply doesn’t work.
These foolish “tax the rich!” chants and demands for raising minimum wage will not either help the current minimum wage earners nor hit those apparently evil fat cats who run the world. These ideals only ensure that middle earners like myself scrub more toilets while my staff cut back on their own budgets due to reduced hours while consumers see a higher cost of living.
A strong economy is the only way to increase the general standard of living and constantly attacking free enterprise will not give us that sort of economy.
My rant is now done. I have to go clean by beer lines before opening the pub.