This post was written by Connor Balough
Minimum wage is a big topic of conversation in America. Here are seven jobs eliminated or automated after minimum wage laws were set or hiked.
1. Bag boys
While not entirely gone, bag boys used to not only be a sure part of a grocery store, but the bag boy was a entry level service job where the bag boy would being the customer’s bags out and load them into the customer’s car. It never paid well, worth well below what any regular or basic skilled job required, but it was an extra job a grocery store owner could create for that little extra service to the customer.
As minimum wage laws passed, it made no sense for every cashier to have a bag boy. Rather than raise costs to keep providing the service, employers dropped it altogether.
2. Paper boy
The famous paper boy. If they weren’t delivering papers door to door, they were selling them on the street corners. The low wages for this extra service was worth it to the newspaper companies, and it was a very common first time job. When minimum wage laws passed, newspaper businesses found the replacement that you now see everywhere that a paperboy once stood: a metal box.
Another job put to death by minimum wage laws. Back in the day, it was cheaper it to have your milk delivered this way. And it was an entry level job that became an integral part of suburban life. After minimum wage laws past and milk delivery costs went up to pay the forced salary hikes, people stopped using milkmen, and the job disappeared.
4. Gas attendants
Unless you’re in New Jersey, this job isn’t something you’ve seen in a long time. But it used to be another entry level service job provided by every gas station in the country. Minimum wage laws saw the demise of it, except in New Jersey where there’s actually a law that requires all gas stations to have attendants.
Although not completely gone, it’s a position that is a shadow of its former glory. Going out to eat at any restaurant was once an experience. And part of that experience was that you weren’t served by just a waiter; you were a served by a team. It was standard for every waiter to have their own busboy, just as every grocery cashier had their own bagboy who ran groceries out to the customer’s car or every gasoline pump had it’s own attendant.
The waiter took the orders and coordinated food service, but the busboy kept plates and dining utensil changed between courses, had appetizers or salads serviced, and dishes cleared and tables set. The tradition died slowly, and now being a busser is nothing like what the actual position once was.
Valets are still seen today. Hotels and casinos use them, or they’re a service for the wealthy. But back in the day, most mom and pop restaurants and every Inn or hotel would provide the service to customers. It was slightly more complex than other entry level jobs because it required driving, trust in someone to take care of vehicles, and coordination over different customers and their cars. but it was still a cheap extra service businesses both large and small liked to provide. With many minimum wage laws, the Valet disappeared almost overnight.
7. Bowling alley pin boys
The pin boy did exactly what it sounds like. He set up pins in boiling alleys. Bowling alley didn’t mind paying a few bucks for the service, and the jobless teenager or homeless man on the street today probably would gladly do the job for four or five bucks an hour.
Minimum wage laws caused the smallest bowling alleys that couldn’t afford to automate to go out of business, and the largest ones to spend thousands on automation.
Minimum Wage laws don’t work
While Republicans and conservative economists or business leaders are vocally against minimum wage laws, Democrats are for them. They are also for hiking existing laws as well. What isn’t taken into account is that while the right is publicly acknowledged to be against minimum wage laws, the two most economically successful Democrats, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, are publicly against them as well. Minimum wage laws don’t work. They only kill the jobs worth less than what the minimum wage us set at, and either prompt automation or kill the job altogether.