February 26, 2013

"We are professionals, we have to dress nice, but we are paid less than kids who work at McDonald’s."

Says Tammy Williams, a woman pictured in a highly sympathetic light of the front page of the NYT today. The article is "Low Pay at Weight Watchers Stirs Protest as Stars Rake It In." You see, celebrity weight-losers like Jennifer Hudson get big money to lend their credibility to ad campaigns but ladies who hold the little meetings in their homes only make $18 each time they have people over.

Why on earth does Williams think what the stars are paid has anything to do with how much she should be paid? Those stars are selling their reputation and attaching that reputation to a product. Jennifer Hudson = Oscar-winning actress dieting. It costs money to lure someone into making a swap like that.

But more importantly, it's not obvious that the "kids" who work in fast-food restaurants don't deserve more money Williams. Nothing's stopping her from applying for a job at McDonald's. Obviously, she looks down her nose at the noisy, greasy counterwork. She seems to think what she's doing is genteel. That's part of the benefit of the job. She likes it. She can "dress nice," and not in some tacky uniform. She can remain cosseted in her home. She doesn't to  expose herself to the riff-raff that show up for cheeseburgers. That's why she's paid less.

It's absurd to whine about being an oppressed underclass while looking down on workers who do genuinely difficult jobs.

And, by the way, those "kids who work at McDonald's" are engaged in the business of making customers for Weight Watchers. Show some respect!

33 comments:

Peter said...

A New York Times journalist doesn't understand why a job that's relatively pleasant (no hamburger grease) pays less than one that isn't?

If you think that's bad, you should analyze some of their hard science reporting sometime.

rhhardin said...

You're paid not what your job is worth but less than your job is worth.

Otherwise you couldn't be hired.

If you're also paid more than your job is worth to you, you wan't apply.

The difference between what your job is worth to your employer and what it's worth to you is new wealth, and raises the standard of living of the nation.

That's where wealth comes from.

Specialize and trade.

Paul said...

They just are trying to get the 'equal pay for COMPARABLE WORK' shtick going again.

See the theory is if they judge your work as 'comparable' in, uh, whatever then the wage ought to be the same.

Catch is, who judges what is comparable to what?

But you are right Ann, this is a free country, if you want a better wage, go where the wages are.

That is why I became a computer programmer 30+ years ago instead of a Park Ranger (and I'd love that job but the pay stinks.)

Scott M said...

and I'd love that job but the pay stinks

So does bison dung, rumor has it.

Henry said...

Poor Tammy Williams makes a hell of a lot less money compared to a coal miner.

campy said...

Catch is, who judges what is comparable to what?

"Studies" majors, of course.

EMD said...

Fatties gonna hate.

Except for food. No hating on food.

FedkaTheConvict said...

I'm pretty sure Jennifer Hudson did NOT lose weight through dieting (Weight Watchers). Judging by the photos I saw she showed the typical signs of rapid weight loss caused by surgery.

MadisonMan said...

If you don't like your job, or your pay, or your boss, then get a new job.

People don't want to hear you complaining. Well, except readers of the New York Times, apparently.

southcentralpa said...

Tammy Williams has just found out how Vietnamese shoe workers feel about LeBron James ...

Henry said...

Like Paul, I make my living as a programmer.

Become a programmer and you can work at home (unless you work for Yahoo). You can wear whatever you want. Even more to Ms. Williams' complaint, there's no inventory, no driving, no setting up chairs, no handling cash.

Larry J said...

southcentralpa said...
Tammy Williams has just found out how Vietnamese shoe workers feel about LeBron James ...


Probably not. When I visited Vietnam two years ago, I noted that while the government is communist, the people are some of the most capitalistic you'll find anywhere. It seems everyone is trying to make and sell something. They know that if LeBron James helps sell more shoes, they get more work in their factories. The pay scale there is lower than here in America but among the best in Vietnam. They fight to get those jobs.

Our tour guide told us something interesting. He said, "After Reunification (in 1975), we were a socialist country. You know what socialist means? It means that is I work hard and you don't, we get the same thing. So no one worked hard. About 20 years ago, the rules changed and people who work hard earn more. Things are much better now."

edutcher said...

Sounds like the ones who produce most make more - Stantz's Law.

Henry said...

Like Paul, I make my living as a programmer.

Become a programmer and you can work at home (unless you work for Yahoo). You can wear whatever you want. Even more to Ms. Williams' complaint, there's no inventory, no driving, no setting up chairs, no handling cash.


Only if you're a lone wolf developing apps or other utilities.

Most work as contractors or for a larger firm. The lone wolf has the cost of his software (which can be expensive) and all the other headaches of the entrepreneur (health insurance, retirement, etc.).

Old RPM Daddy said...

Oh, for Pete's sake, looking down on McDonald's workers again! Can we all agree that the counter kid at McDonald's actually does have an important job? How else are you going to get your food? Holler back into the kitchen? That kid does more important work than a lot of people with degrees do.

My middle daughter told me that when she mentioned to a girlfriend's mom that she was thinking about being a flight attendent, the mom told her that such a gig was beneath her. This, from a family with trendy-lefty bumper stickers plastered all over their cars.

SJ said...

Is she saying that

1. McDonald's workers earn more than $18 per hour?
2. Those meetings are for 2 or more hours?
3. Those meetings require more than 1 hour of work?
4. McDonald's workers work more hours than she does?

Unless at least one of those statements is true, she can't be correct when she says that $18 per meeting is less than what a McDonald's worker makes.

I'm going for #4, the simplest explanation. Although one of #2 or #3 might be true, also.

Jay said...

Why on earth does Williams think what the stars are paid has anything to do with how much she should be paid

Years of liberal indoctrination, perhaps?

The left for example has whined for years about CEO pay and compared it to the "average worker"

Why would you be surpised she would think this way?

Robert Cook said...

"If you don't like your job, or your pay, or your boss, then get a new job."

Awfully glib considering the nation has been hemorrhaging jobs for years. Reminiscent of something said long ago by another privileged no-nothing...what was it?..."Let them eat...cake?"

Shanna said...

4. McDonald's workers work more hours than she does?

That's probably the one. Leading a WW meeting doesn't sound like a terribly hard job. Rah rah, weigh in, eat your veggies. Class dismissed.

Scott M said...

Awfully glib considering the nation has been hemorrhaging jobs for years.

The administration and the news media that support it disagree with your obviously racist assessment of the current jobs climate.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If you don't like your job, or your pay, or your boss, then get a new job

Or.... create a job for yourself. Become an entrepreneur. There are NO jobs in our area for young people for many reasons. Depressed economy, closure of existing industries by Government fiat, seasonal work which is not enough to support a growing family, family owned farms and businesses that are just not hiring....many reasons.

So young, and middle aged, people have some choices.

1. They can sit and whine that life isn't fair and complain about the hemorrhaging jobs (note: not disputing that there are less jobs).

2.They can lower themselves to taking a job that pays less than they want or one that is icky and hard....and try to hone their job skills to get something better.

3.They can take several part time jobs to equal full time pay. Everyone in the family can try to work.

4.They can MOVE to another area where jobs are more plentiful, like Wyoming (most of the young people from here have taken this option since the culture and climate is familiar).

5. OR...they can become creative and create their own job. FOR EXAMPLE: a son of a friend has put together a building and yard maintenance business to fill the niche of taking care of properties for absentee owners and for the retired elderly who can't do the 'heavy lifting'. He started out as just a summertime job in high school and now at the age of 26 has a full time business covering several hundred square miles and has 6 employees. He could have taken option #1..... He didn't.

SO the attitude isn't "let them eat cake". It is "get off of your ass and quit whining."

Are times easy right now? Nope. Are some people suffering? Yes. Are some people making it more than others? Yes. Life isn't fair. GET OVER IT. If you don't like it, make your own opportunities.

Times have been hard in the past. Times have been HARDER many times in the past than now. Stop whining.

Seeing Red said...

I didn't read the article, but does it seem to be saying Mickey D's pays more than minimum wage in NYC?

Seeing Red said...

Well, one just might hemmorhage jobs when one makes one uncompetitive.

elkh1 said...

"ladies who hold the little [Weight-Watchers] meetings in their homes" are professionals? They do even less than the Avon and the Tupperwares ladies who don't get paid for their meetings.

Ann Althouse said...

"2. Those meetings are for 2 or more hours?"

Yes. She says that in the article. They're supposed to be 2 hours, but all the setting up of chairs and so forth make them perhaps go more like 2 and a half hours.

The pay is based on 2 hours.

There's additional money if you have a larger number of people and there are also commissions for product sales, so I'm detecting bullshit, even in the NYT effort at sympathetic treatment.

Henry said...

@edutcher -- Most big software companies I'm aware of have liberal work-at-home policies. That's why Yahoo's refusal to do so is news. The general take of the engineers in my office is "that's going to kill their recruiting."

The article states several times that these Weight Watchers Leaders are highly educated. That's part of the grounds of their complaint.

Quote:

The leaders, often highly educated professionals who were hired after losing dozens of pounds in the program...

Quote:

Teri Weatherby began leading meetings in Hartford, Conn., after retiring from her job as an insurance company’s senior vice president...

Hullo! These people don't have minimal skills. Why are they investing so much time and energy in a job that takes minimal skills?

If one of these women went into acting would they complain they're not paid like Meryl Streep? They'd be in the same union, even!

Paul said...

But look guys, the point is I became a programmer cause I WENT WHERE THE MONEY WAS!

I could have been that park ranger but hey, the money was not there. So I studied and got a BBA in Business and minor in Computer Science. And so.. here I am!

Yes it take hard work to go into a field that makes more (unless you are a politician, ambulance chasseing lawyer, or pimp) but that is why they make more. It's... DIFFICULT.

The work is not 'comparable' or any of that BS. My wife, a registered nurse and administrator, makes more than I do but she has quite a hard job.

So the lady in the article needs to, as my Computer Science Professor once wrote on a test I failed, GET WITH IT.

Seeing Red said...

I am credentialed, I am educated, I should be compensated for it.

Those little bourgeoisies who aren't, those barbers, salon owners, mani/pedi shop owners, butchers shouldn't be compensated more than me because I AM.

Seeing Red said...

Uh, oh, from Greg Mankiew's blog on the 23rd:

Saturday, February 23, 2013
Gender and Human Capital Returns
Here is an interesting fact: Women earn a higher rate of return from a college degree than men. In particular:

After controlling for various demographic factors, the researchers found that female graduates earned more than $6,500 more per year than women with just a high school diploma, and more than $4,500 more than women who dropped out of college. Male graduates, by contrast, earned only about $2,700 more than high school graduates, and about the same amount as male college drop-outs.
The findings are consistent with past research, which has showed that jobs are much more gender-segregated in low-education occupations. Female drop-outs tend to concentrate in low-paying service-sector jobs, whereas less-educated men are more likely to find work in better-paying industries such as manufacturing and construction

Methadras said...

OH NOES!!! WAGE DISPARITY CRISIS!!!

Baron Zemo said...

Jennifer Hudson had lap band surgery. She did not lose the weight from Weight Watchers.

On the other hand Jennifer Simpson's weight issues are real and she has benefited from the program.

jr565 said...

I see the point in one sense. They are dressing up and allowing people into their house
As if its some upscale thing, and yet are getting paid less than McDonald's employees which is
Pretty much the lower tier of employment.

But, as sucky as it is, that's the job. If you don't like it don't work there.

jr565 said...

I see the point in one sense. They are dressing up and allowing people into their house
As if its some upscale thing, and yet are getting paid less than McDonald's employees which is
Pretty much the lower tier of employment.

But, as sucky as it is, that's the job. If you don't like it don't work there.

jr565 said...

Assuming of course that everything is exactly as the Times says it is. As others mention, there may not be the parallel in pay that the Times is suggesting
Due to different hours worked, etc