ONTD Political

McDonalds Tells Workers To Budget By Getting A Second Job And Turning Off Their Heat

1:03 pm - 07/15/2013


McDonalds has partnered with Visa to launch a website to help its low-wage workers making an average $8.25 an hour to budget. But while the site is clearly meant to illustrate that McDonalds workers should be able to live on their meager wages, it actually underscores exactly how hard it is for a low-paid fast food worker to get by.

The site includes a sample”‘budget journal” for McDonalds’ employees that offers a laughably inaccurate view of what it’s like to budget on a minimum wage job. Not only does the budget leave a spot open for “second job,” it also gives wholly unreasonable estimates for employees’ costs: $20 a month for health care, $0 for heating, and $600 a month for rent. It does not include any budgeted money for food or clothing.

Basically every facet of this budget is unachievable. For an uninsured person to independently buy health care, he or she must shell out on average $215 a month — just for an individual plan. If that person wants to eat, “moderate” spending will run them $32 a week for themselves, and $867 a month to feed a family of four. And if a fast food worker is living in a city? Well, New York City rents just reached an average of $3,000 a month.

The sample budget is also available in Spanish. On another section of the site, it concludes, “You can have almost anything you want as long as you plan ahead and save for it.”

Neither McDonalds nor Visa returned requests for comment by the time of publication.
Last year, Bloomberg News found that it would take the average McDonalds employee one million hours of work to earn as much money as the company’s CEO. This immense wage disparity in the fast food industry has sparked a series of protests and walk-outs by low-wage workers working at fast food chains around the country — in New York, Chicago, Washington, and Seattle, to name a few cities, workers from chains including KFC, McDonalds, Burger King, and Taco Bell have spoken publicly about the need for serious wage increases across the industry.

(H/T Low Pay Is Not Okay)

[Source]
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chaya 15th-Jul-2013 07:34 pm (UTC)
It does not include any budgeted money for food or clothing.

booksforlunch 15th-Jul-2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
Took me a moment to get this pic. Then I laughed like a loon.
tabaqui 15th-Jul-2013 07:41 pm (UTC)
Wow. So - I can't heat (or cool) my super-cheapo apartment (or my single room i rent in an aprt/house), and i have to have a second job.

Awesome.

Or, you know....McDs could try and, maybe, I dunno....pay their employees a living fucking wage?

ASSHATS
deviantfantasy 15th-Jul-2013 07:46 pm (UTC)
I'm confused about the "spending money" line. To me, spending money is the extra money I have left over that I spend on going out or buying stupid shit. If that's what it is to them, then wow. I wish I had that much a month to spend on crap.

Anyway, I worked fast food for a few years when I was in college, and the work is shitty, and there's never enough money. There was one guy I worked with who was supporting himself and two kids, and he would actually lie and take stale hamburgers home instead of throwing them away.

Edited at 2013-07-15 07:47 pm (UTC)
saygoodnight__ 15th-Jul-2013 07:51 pm (UTC)
That always really bothered me. I don't understand why fast food restaurants insist on throwing food away when it's still perfectly good. The fact that they even have these procedures in place tells me that they know they aren't paying enough for employees to feed themselves and their families, which is even worse.
gambitia 15th-Jul-2013 07:47 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes. The "you can totally do it! What, you didn't do it? Well then the problem is with you, not us!" argument.

Student loan payments are another thing conspicuously missing. Mine personally run $250/month, which is a huge fraction of what they've shown here.

And I do so enjoy how they're apparently budgeting for a single person. Where's childcare expenses? Preschool? It's been thoroughly disproven that the average fast food worker is a kid working for pocket change.
saygoodnight__ 15th-Jul-2013 07:54 pm (UTC)
I noticed that too. And since they don't offer insurance (last I checked), I don't see a spot for healthcare. Or god forbid if a woman is pregnant, where's the spot for $120 ultrasounds once a month? Oops. I just noticed that there's a spot for insurance. $20? Seriously? Again, that covers nothing. Heck, my prenatals are $40 a freaking bottle.

And wait a second. The spot for groceries is missing too. If you're a parent, chances are you're feeding one or two children and groceries are going to cost waaaaay more than the $100 listed in the 'Other' section.

Seriously, fuck McDonalds. This is why I haven't eaten there since I was a teenager.

Edited at 2013-07-15 08:04 pm (UTC)
scriptedending 15th-Jul-2013 07:50 pm (UTC)
So fucking gross. Pay a living wage, you can afford to!
darlahood 15th-Jul-2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
Where can you get health insurance for $20 a month? Fucking Narnia??
bushy_brow 15th-Jul-2013 07:59 pm (UTC)
That was my first thought, too.
thelilyqueen 15th-Jul-2013 08:07 pm (UTC)
Good grief... I've seen a couple people elsewhere defend this by saying it's not really a suggested budget, just an example of how to use the budgeting tool, but so what?! Even if that's true it's still incredibly tone-deaf of whoever put it together.
roseofjuly 17th-Jul-2013 01:45 am (UTC)
I don't believe that. First of all, it's not even a good example because it doesn't include food, clothes, and entertainment. Any good budget has at least those extra categories on it. Second of all, the rest of the numbers are too close to what a well-off person thinks life is like for a poor person. If you were really just trying to make an example, leave them blank.
themistressmoon 15th-Jul-2013 08:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, convenient timing. I just saw this on Facebook about half an hour ago and just finished typing up a rant about it here on LJ.

It just screams that same old rhetoric of, if you're not making ends meet it's because you're not working hard enough or budgeting smart enough. Which I think we've well established by now is absolute bogus. But, you know, those poor CEOs of McDonald's, they work so much harder than any of their employees ever would, so they shouldn't have to take a pay cut just so their employees can afford groceries!
vanishingbee 15th-Jul-2013 08:24 pm (UTC)
Any budget that doesn't include food isn't a good budget.
crossfire 15th-Jul-2013 08:39 pm (UTC)
This budget is complete and utter bullshit. As the article states, it's got nothing for utilities, food, or clothing. It's also missing things like internet, transportation (gas for the car, or bus fare), personal care (hair cuts, etc), or entertainment. Here's a real budget:

ItemAmountNotes
Rent/Mortgage1000A more reasonable amount than the $600 mentioned. I know I'm paying more, but I live in the Bay Area.
Food400$100/week for a 4-week month or $80/week for a 5-week month. Assuming 3 meals a day, that gives you $4.75/meal or $3.80/meal, which is doable.
Utilities150Gas, electrical, water, etc. In some places this would be a lot more.
Car Payment150Again, I know I'm paying more.
Car upkeep200Gas, maintenance, etc.
Auto Insurance100
Mobile phone100Ditching the loltastic "cable/phone" category in favor of something people will actually have.
Clothing allowance50I typically don't spend my clothing allowance every month, I save it up and buy clothes once a quarter. But you have to buget for it.
Health Insurance215Using the figure from the article
Entertainment50Once a month, go to a movie. Or go out for dinner. Or have drinks with friends. (But just ONE, because bootstraps.)
Misc Expenses100Laundry, hair cuts, random shit like parking tickets, etc.
Savings100lol
Total2765oops


And of course that's for one person. Got kids? Just about every one of those categories will increase, and you'll get to add new categories like child care, health care copays (for regular preventative visits to doctor and dentist), school supplies & expenses, birthday and holiday presents, etc.
gambitia 15th-Jul-2013 08:47 pm (UTC)
I scratched out my own budget and found much the same story. I even slashed out the entertainment category, and car payment (assumed public transit), and reduced food to $20/week (I've done it, but expect to eat a lot of watery soup), and I still came up several hundred over the McDonald's budget.

TBH I'd like to see the CEO's budget. What's so important that he can't share some of his $8.75 million/year?

iolarah 15th-Jul-2013 08:42 pm (UTC)
That's mind-boggling. I...that's just insulting.
lickety_split 15th-Jul-2013 09:13 pm (UTC)
LMAO @ rent being $600/mon. Where??
lickety_split 15th-Jul-2013 09:17 pm (UTC)
Well I guess you wouldn't need a kitchen since you're apparently not eating or buying food, so maybe you save.
callmetothejedi 15th-Jul-2013 09:20 pm (UTC)
:[

I noticed that a line for student loan payments, and a line for groceries are missing from this budget. And how the heck do they figure that people spend $0 on heat? I guess they figure either people don't live where it gets cold, or people are going to be fine with not turning their heat on.

And $800 for spending money? Hah! That's a joke. Even the people I know who make twice the minimum wage don't have $800 in spending money per money because they're busy spending that money on groceries, stuff for their kids, student loan debt payments, childcare/pre-school, etc.
lickety_split 15th-Jul-2013 09:38 pm (UTC)
I'm starting to understand more and more why lots of people from my generation are just flat out not paying back their student loans.
magicpebble 15th-Jul-2013 09:34 pm (UTC)
This is ridiculous and unrealistic.
layweed 15th-Jul-2013 09:38 pm (UTC)
Hrm. Parts of this budget seem to mimic my own. I'm not sure if that's sad or not. Of course, while the income is similar, that's after deductions for social security and 457 plan and stuff. But still..

The rent portion really depends on where you live though. $600 could get you some ok places to live in many cities. Of course, in a big city like NYC you're just plain fucking out of luck.

The whole idea that McDonald's is telling their employees to get a second job is totally bogus though. Wtf. And if that $1100 that they're getting paid is full time? Ain't nobody got time for that.
saygoodnight__ 15th-Jul-2013 09:49 pm (UTC)
At most fast food restaurants, only managers get full-time. They'll work regular employees to 39 hours a week just to avoid paying another person benefits for working full-time.
shoujokakumei 15th-Jul-2013 10:22 pm (UTC)
And if you're not lucky enough to find this magical $20 health insurance, because chances are neither of your part time jobs are going to offer it, you make too much money to qualify for Medicaid. Have fun with that!

Hell, even my good health insurance at my last job that fucked me over was $40/mo, and it was heavily subsidized by the company.
alryssa 15th-Jul-2013 10:50 pm (UTC)
Hello, serf class. How we haven't missed you.
darlahood 16th-Jul-2013 01:24 am (UTC)
Neo-feudalism. Seriously. I think sometimes how we're headed for another dark ages... then I think how we may have never truly come out of the LAST dark ages.
blackjedii 16th-Jul-2013 12:02 am (UTC)
Dude I budget regularly (for a given value of budget at least) and... hah. I just got lucky enough to get full time but there's now a I could afford an apartment right now on top of saving up for a car, food, credit card debt, etc.

Just... seriously. Who made this?
ebay313 16th-Jul-2013 01:09 am (UTC)
This reminds me of when I was talking with a professor about doing a PhD program, and I said I didn't see how I could afford to live on what was being offered for assistantships (<$2,000/month gross) without any other income. Her response was that it was more than enough- I could spend $800/month on rent and the rest is spending money!
I still think about that because I still can't wrap my head around in what world everything besides rent is spending money.

And $20/month on health insurance? I don't have insurance through work, and it costs me $500/month for insurance. (Can't get anything cheaper right now because of pre-existing conditions :-\) Then actually using it costs me on average $100/month, assuming nothing goes wrong and I don't need to go to the hospital or have more frequent appointments than expected.
foureyedgirl 16th-Jul-2013 03:12 am (UTC)
Wow..I guess they didn't remember what it was like when they were a student?? $800 for rent if you're lucky. ugh.
robintheshrew 16th-Jul-2013 02:12 am (UTC)
What the actual fuck?
365reasonswhy 16th-Jul-2013 02:19 am (UTC)
Fuck these companies. I actually laughed out loud when I got to the car payment $150 part. In what fucking world? Even used car payments are more than that, and that's only if you can qualify for financing.
sitakhet 16th-Jul-2013 02:22 am (UTC)
So basically you're screwed if you make less than 1000$ a month.
beetlebums 16th-Jul-2013 02:40 am (UTC)
Why I will never live on my own again tbh. Roommates are great help in times like this but it sucks to know I refuse to be independent because of shit like this.
foureyedgirl 16th-Jul-2013 03:14 am (UTC)
I'm honestly scared of living on my own (without help from my dad) after I graduate. I don't know most people do it these days.
atheistkathleen 16th-Jul-2013 03:00 am (UTC)
wow mcdonalds is stupid
missingalphabet 16th-Jul-2013 03:07 am (UTC)
$90 electric? You could live in the dark, taking cold showers every day, and eating beans out of a can and my hometown would find a way to bill you $100 a month for it. Electric bills there are $200-300 a month. They also charge you for everything. They'll charge you $50 if they have to send you a notice that your lights will be disconnected. A NOTICE. If they actually turn them off, it's another $50. It's so bad they keep uniformed police officers on their premises.

kyra_neko_rei 16th-Jul-2013 03:51 am (UTC)
That reminds me of MY attempt at apartment living.

They told me when I signed the lease that the heating bills average around $30 a month in winter.

I get my November gas bill and it was $120.

Which was bad enough, but the way they built the place! There was no insulation---I shit you not, they REQUIRED you to have the thermostat set to at least 55 so the pipes wouldn't freeze in the exterior walls. And it was heated with forced air, and the heat vents were up at the ceiling. Hot air rises. So I was basically shelling out $120+ a month to add heat to the people above me (I was on the first floor.)

A couple years later I came back because a friend and I were weighing being roommates and she wanted to check them out again. And they showed us one of the apartments where the heat is included in the rent (they had both). Cue us touring a downright cozy boiler-heated apartment with visibly thicker walls (you could tell by the windowsills). Oh fuck do they do it right when the heat is their responsibility.
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