I like to think of myself as a competent writer. Even fancy myself better than your average schmoe. But there are times when I want to write about something, and I know how I want the reader to feel after reading what I have written, but I do not know how to write about the thing and create the desired feeling. Sometimes, this is because of degree of difficulty; other times it is due to my lack of skill. Maybe those are the same thing. Either way, this is one of those times.
When I saw it, every thought in my mind instantly became “Blerrgwhaaaa? Bullshit!” and I took a screenshot knowing I would eventually vomit my anger into a blog post. We truly live in a time when everyone seems to be pacing around in a small circle with a look of tight-lipped frustration on their faces
If I were a better informed and more deft writer, I would introduce this promoted ad by talking about Citizens United, the deification of “job creators” (a nonsense term since customers are job creators too) and how we may be reaching the logical conclusion of the 40-hour work week/2-week vacation model which has resulted in professions replacing personalities in American culture. And if I were a better writer, this paragraph wouldn’t be 85 words split into two sentences.
Instead, I’m going to show you the picture. Then I’m going to describe it, even though you have just looked at it, because, holy shit, this cannot be real, and I need to talk about it to make sure that I am not hallucinating.
That’s it. It is an advertisement for Indeed, a website designed to help people find employment and employers find people. They are offering gift cards in exchange for photos of businesses that have posted “Help Wanted” signs. They have called this position Job Spotter.”
We need to shut it down before the wealthy and their enablers pay an immigrant chef to turn that shark into an $85 bowl of soup and then cover the fin in gold leaf. This ad has made me a socialist.
Hillary, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and everybody to the right of them need to shuffle off. Anyone who said “How about $12?” in response to the Fight for $15 needs to get fucked. Anyone who thinks that a minimum wage is government overreach and companies should be able to pay as little as the market will allow should have already gotten fucked.
Don’t get me wrong, finding and aggregating a list of job openings is a fine endeavor. I myself have used such websites. That organizations providing this service would want people on the streets looking for “Help Wanted” signs in restaurants or small businesses that might not post job openings on every job site makes sense. You know what else makes sense? Paying people in legal tender.
And let’s not pretend that being a “Job Spotter” could be, or is intended by Indeed to be, someone’s sole source of income. It’s a side hustle. And a side hustle is something that modern day robber barons are all too happy to see come into fashion. Side hustles are the thing that you would like to do to earn a living but can’t, at least not yet. It could be DJ-ing or homebrewing. You make a little money, but mostly it’s a passion project, and you have your regular job that you will leave as soon as the side hustle becomes viable. But a side hustle could also be something you do to supplement your current income, because that alone can’t meet all of your basic needs. That kind of side hustle could be a paper route. Or taking pictures of goddamned “Help Wanted” signs.
Why wouldn’t they want us conditioned to believe that normalcy is having two part-time jobs to survive? No benefits, no PTO, and guaranteed income.
You can take those gift cards and sit on them.
Paying people in gift cards reeks of company store fuckery. If you are unfamiliar with company stores, they were when one company, say an oil company, created a town near an area of manufacturing and set up a store that sold basic necessities. The store would accept vouchers or credit rather than money. According to the Wikipedia article, “Company stores have a reputation as monopolistic institutions, funnelling workers’ incomes back to the owners of the company.”
Rather than pay employees money, they could give them credit to spend at the store, so the salaries being paid out would still come back, in some portion, to the company. People didn’t like company stores, because they would drive people into debt and limited purchasing options.
So, when Indeed pays me in Buffalo Wild Wings gift cards for snapping a photo of the “Help Wanted” sign in the window of Slice Slice Baby, I now have no option but to eat lunch at B-Dubz. Then the HuffPo editorial board gets to drop another Why Aren’t Millennials Investing? article out of their toothless maws. Why? Because Charles Schwab doesn’t accept Blazin’ Challenge shirts, you sycophants.
Maybe it’s just Indeed for now, but I think we have a large enough data set to know that corporate and capitalist greed cannot be satiated. It’s why they’re still rebranding trickle-down economics and acting like anyone who doesn’t buy in is a dope.
If they can get an extra 40 cents by paying you in Dave & Buster’s tickets, they’ll fucking do it.
We have to stop allowing these things to slide. If we let Indeed get away with this, then more companies will try it to. Then other companies will bid to be your employer’s denomination of choice. And guess what? Walmart probably wins that bid. Which is fine, because they sell groceries. Until they do what Walmart always does, which is undercut the competition until the competition withers on the vine. Then they won’t have to offer such a great deal to your employer. Your employer starts looking for a different corporate partner. They announce that, starting next week, your biweekly credit ration will only be valid at Bed Bath & Beyond. Except, the one on 95th Street at Oak Park Mall went out of business, and the nearest one is over in Greenville. And do they even sell food there? Yeah, I think they started selling pita chips, wine, and organic cane sugar soda. Oh, and that kettle corn I like. Fine, but I can’t be driving an hour just to go to Bed Bath & Beyond. Maybe we can swap with the Thompsons; I think Carson gets paid in Kroger Kash.
Screw that. It’s time to stop acting like the weekend and overtime pay occur naturally and aren’t rights that real people like you and me fought and bled to wrest from the hands of white men with jowls and pocket watches.
The way to resist isn’t to throw our weight behind bland centrism advocating for only a little oppression. Tell these people to eat shit when you see them in line at Au Bon Pain and then do everything you can to steal whatever power they have. Whether it’s voting against them or refusing to pay for their goods and services.
Sharpen your guillotines. Call up Scandinavia and ask them how it’s done. Humans are not a natural resource to be used up.