The Corner

Like Anna Kendrick, We’re Going to Miss McJobs When They’re Gone

From the last Morning Jolt of the week:

Like Anna Kendrick, We’re Going to Miss McJobs When They’re Gone

Be careful what you wish for; Kemberlee Kaye points out, “Being replaced by machines is probably not what the Raise the Wage! crowd had in mind, but here we are. Again.”

Coming soon to Wendy’s and other fast food restaurants near you: ordering kiosks.

The technology dreams of Wendy’s Co. will become a reality for consumers this year.

The Dublin-based restaurant chain has been testing a number of new technologies in restaurants and at its 90 Degree Labs venture here in Columbus and Tuesday said those new options, including self-serve ordering kiosks and an upgraded mobile app, are going live.

“We’re going to be using the first half of this year to get really operationally good at the way in which the kiosks work and to ramp up production,” Chief Information Officer David Trimm said at the company’s annual investor conference. “We expect that to be in general availability in the second half of the year.”

Banks and airlines, among other businesses, have conditioned customers not only to use self-service but to expect it, he said, citing a survey by research firm Gartner Inc. where 75 percent of respondents said as much.

Farewell, McJobs. The ladder connecting our culture’s beloved extended adolescence and full-time adult employment has been creaking and warping for a long time. Finally the living-wage crowd arrived with chainsaws to cut those lower rungs to pieces.

Way back in 1986, Amitai Etzioni argued “McJobs Are Bad for Kids” lamenting, “as many as two-thirds of America’s high-school juniors and seniors now hold down part-time paying jobs.”

You Millennials won’t believe it, but that was life in the Reagan era: people complained that too many people were working. Etzioni’s op-ed blurred obvious common-sense concerns about teenagers’ ability to balance a job and schoolwork with the notion that the ritual of getting the first job, first responsibility, first boss, first mistakes, and first paycheck was somehow harmful to teenagers.

Wait, it gets better; back in the 1980s, Etzioni complained that these afterschool and weekend jobs were leaving teens with too much money:

Today, the teen pay may be low by adult standards, but it is often, especially in the middle class, spent largely or wholly by the teens. That is, the youngsters live free at home, (“after all, they are high school kids”) and are left with very substantial sums of money.

Where this money goes is not quite clear. Some use it to support themselves, especially among the poor. More middle class kids set some money aside to help pay for college, or save it for a major purchase — often a car. But large amounts seem to flow to pay for an early introduction into the most trite aspects of American consumerism: Flimsy punk clothes, trinkets and whatever else is the last fast-moving teen craze.

“Stop going out and earning and spending that money, you brats! And get back onto my lawn!”

Fewer teens work summer jobs compared to past generations. I hope the McJob critics are happy.

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