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To the wage ‘experts’

Douglas Schuda | Tuesday, February 23, 2010

 In the “living wage” debate, I had decided to sit in silence and laugh at all the silly college kids thinking they knew all about the real world and a “living wage.” But I can’t hold it in when an alumnus with clearly insufficient experience of his own implies Mr. Easley’s lacking experience is a counter-argument (“Get some real experience,” Feb. 22).

Mr. Witt, you attempt to debunk Mr. Easley based solely on his (lack of) experience. Where, may I ask, is yours? I’m assuming from your letter that you have a good “9-to-5” job. But I did not glean from your letter if you understand that the food industry is not on “9-to-5” shifts. Working the eight-hour block makes it much harder to take a second job. Hence, it often pays better. The food industry has varying hours, which allows workers to alternate jobs throughout the week, either by day or by shift. Your “experience” in this issue is a whole nine months of a better job than any non-managerial food worker in America. You haven’t even been out of school one year. You have no experience with long-employed food workers.
Now, why am I not just another ignorant college kid? Thanks to not being in school for all of 2007, I was able to get a job waiting tables. Having worked during breaks, I have accumulated about 17 months there. I have not only waited tables, but also bussed, worked carry-out, hosted, dish-tanked and worked as an expo. And you know what? You can live off of it. I did. I had an apartment for six months in 2007, and not only was I able to live and eat comfortably, but I was able to save extra money.
The fact is that you can live on $9 per hour, if you’re smart and careful. Saving can be just as valuable as earning. Do your best to limit/quit smoking. Don’t screw around (literally) and have a child out of wedlock. Limit/quit drinking. These are just a few that I picked up around my co-workers. There are more ways to save money that most of us can’t see.
I do not claim to be the wisest on this issue. Nor could I, simply based on my limited experience. But I have more than Mr. Witt, Mr. Easley and nearly all of the rest of you. Times will be tough; that’s part of life. But one can live off of this type of job, especially if you take Mr. Easley’s advice by working hard and seeking help from family.
Douglas Schuda
O’Neill Hall
Feb. 22