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Maximum Customer Service = Minimum Wage?

This is actually my first post. I long have visited Brickset and the Forums, but never had anything to say.

Until Now.

Recently I took a trip to my local Lego store to pick up the Red Five X-wing. (yes I am behind on exclusives) This Lego store is a lot smaller then say New York or Orlando but the staff is just as friendly and helpful as anywhere else. On this visit I saw two regular employees discussing something in the corner. I like eavesdropping so I heard part of the conversation.

Turns out is was about discipline "coaching" for not counting something a previous night. (I was hoping for some sweet insider info on release dates). He was really getting talked down too. You could see the salesperson was upset by the talk but still gave it his all when he approached me.

He said the typical "Hello, Welcome to the Lego Store. Who gets the set today?". I told him I was browsing and went on my way to the x-wing. After looking at every angle of the box the same salesperson came up to me to tell me about the X-wing. I told him not to worry, he'll get his commission. He informed me they don't make a commission off the sales (makes sense now, prices are the same online as in the store). I said they must pay him well seeing as Lego is such a big company now. He laughed it off. So I just (out of curiosity) asked "well what do they pay?"

$8.00 an hour...20-32 hours a week for most. That is less then the local McDonalds who can't get my order right. That's less then the lazy unhelpful cashiers at a Wal-Mart or Target. Heck a buddy of mine works at GNC another retail store, ignores customers all day and still makes a solid $12.00 an hour.

I remembered all the times that stores employees helped me out, how knowledgeable they are about the product, and how they will bend over backwards to make their customers happy. And all this time they are providing excellent customer service, they are starving.

At that wage they actually qualify for food stamps and government assistance. None of the employees that I have ever seen at this store are under 23. I asked the salesperson (not salesperson) if most of the staff was teenagers then. He explained no. Everyone there had degrees, and had graduated some sort of college or trade school. The Job market is just that bad that taking a job for that little is better then nothing for them.

But Still I don't see how they cannot pay them more, or at least enough to afford insurance.

Just needed to get that off my chest. I offered the guy a chance to interview where I work. Hopefully he gets in.
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Comments

  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,780
    edited June 2013
    Well just speaking from my experience I will say this.
    Yes, LEGO employees are for the most part good. However, like anyone else they are employees.
    Saying you are eavesdropping on a conversation I think you also have to admit you have NO idea why they were being treated the way you perceived it.
    Maybe they miscounted the register? If so, I would say I could see why a manager would be speaking to the employee. You also have no idea if this was the first time they have done something like that, maybe the register has come up 'short' when they have counted it before?
    So making it sound as if the manager was just being mean to be mean is not fair I think. I dunno if you have ever been given a 'talk' by a manager, but I think it is safe to say most people have. You learn from it an move on.
    (and no I am not in a management position and I am not defending the manager blindly).
    Also, it is a mall store, did you really think that they make commissions off of selling toys?

    They are a part time employee, and they have a choice to work there or not, as you say, there are other part time jobs out there that pay more. A bad economy and 8 bucks an hour is not breaking a bank, but most employees that are working at mall stores are likely kids or those who still live with parents, have a spouse who also works or roommates.
    When I worked part time I made a heck of a lot less that 8 bucks an hour (despite it being about 18 years ago) but I lived at home and a job is a job.
    And for those who are graduates and older workers? It is unfair, but life is unfair. (It is also a statement about how many College educations are worthless unless you are in a career that requires a lot of knowledge to be in what you want to do).
    I think that there is a bigger statement about how the US Govt (dems and reps) have sold their souls to corporations and allowed white and blue collar jobs to leave this country en masse, but that is a WHOLE other debate for another forum.

    I will say it is nice that you offered a chance for the guy to interview by you and I hope you can help improve his situation.
  • starfire2starfire2 Phoenix AZMember Posts: 1,328
    $8.00 an hour...20-32 hours a week for most. That is less then the local McDonalds who can't get my order right. That's less then the lazy unhelpful cashiers at a Wal-Mart or Target. Heck a buddy of mine works at GNC another retail store, ignores customers all day and still makes a solid $12.00 an hour.

    I personally take offense to your comment. Please do not generalise ALL Target employees. I make $8.64 an hour ( been there for 8 months. ) I am not unhelpful or lazy, and neither are most if not all my coworkers. In fact, I received an award for giving the best guest service for the month.
    I know you are not speaking about me personally, but it is inconsiderate to generalise.
    As for that Lego store employee, maybe they too are happy making $8.00 an hour 20-32 hours a week.
  • BrickitupBrickitup Member Posts: 12
    Manager wasn't too stern or harsh, just trying to build up why the guy was talking about this in the first place. If he did something bad it is on him, but again I have no idea on the full story.

    It's not so much that I thought against the commission it because they are in the mall. There are plenty of commission stores in this mall, albeit most are high end stores. It is the fact that they act like straight up sales people.(coming from a car salesman here.) The salesperson (if we can even call them that although that's what they do) said they have to say "who gets the set today?" because they get secret shopped by the company and this is what corporate expects. They also are expected to up sell everyone. If they don't do that they can again be coached. No matter how rude customers get they have to take it with a smile. Again for $8.00 an hour.

    The customer service call center at Lego (according to the guy at the store) makes between $11.00-$14.00 an hour without being face to face with customers, stocking shelves, taking in shipment, running a register, changing and build displays (not just the actual sets),and running club meetings/events .

    I dunno these are Lego people just like us and they seem to be getting the short end of the stick. I just hope someone here has some more incite or wants to help out their favorite Lego store employee.
  • BrickitupBrickitup Member Posts: 12
    starfire2 said:


    I personally take offense to your comment. Please do not generalise ALL Target employees. I make $8.64 an hour ( been there for 8 months. ) I am not unhelpful or lazy, and neither are most if not all my coworkers. In fact, I received an award for giving the best guest service for the month.
    I know you are not speaking about me personally, but it is inconsiderate to generalise.
    As for that Lego store employee, maybe they too are happy making $8.00 an hour 20-32 hours a week.

    Sorry for the insult. I know where I live you can't get a helpful employee at any department store. Always texting on their phones or talking to one another. Its just annoying that I know bad employees making more then the helpful people at the store.

    I know they are happy to have a job in this economy, but who wouldn't want them to make at least enough to afford the sets they sell...
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,263
    I think in general the people working at the LEGO stores (of the 5-6 that I have visted) are very friendly and very helpful but most of the general workers are not very knowledgeable about the product. Every time I'm at a store I hear someone say something incorrect. One guy didn't know there was a female character in Ninjago and he almost assumed he was right that there wasn't and try to correct someone. I watched his face as he thought about it and could tell the point he realized he wasn't sure and didn't want to say something.

    After CMF Series 10 was out I was helping some people find ones they wanted in the big dumped out pile of 3-400 they had there and someone asked about Mr Gold being metal and I told them it was just plastic like the rest of them. One worker corrected me and told me it was metal and I assured him it was just metallic gold colored paint but he was adamant that it was metal.

    Plus we've had lots of comments the predictions threads about how uninformed they are about new sets coming out, release dates and EOL time frames.
  • BrickitupBrickitup Member Posts: 12
    Oh and according to this employee, The Back to the Future set is $34.99 USD.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Thanks to the OP for posting, and welcome...

    We could have a long discussion on the pros/cons of paying someone $8/hr to do anything, much less work in a mall and deal with the public.

    Last time I had that job, it paid less than $4/hr. :)

    What I will say is that it really isn't hard to stand around and greet people and point them towards the theme they ask about, which is why the pay is what it is. Sad, but that is the truth of it.

    On the other hand, one really can't work for $8/hr and actually support yourself, much less a family.

    Many people say, "well, those jobs are for teenagers", except a lot of adults are working those jobs because there is nothing else to do. Unemployment has dropped because of two reasons:

    1. Some people are no longer being counted, they ran out of unemployment benefits and dropped off the "rolls" of unemployed.

    2. Some people took a part time job at the mall, and while they may still get benefits, they are no longer "counted" as unemployed.

    Real unemployment in this country is running about 15%, plus or minus a bit, and it isn't likely to improve. This is a problem.

    In 2010, President Obama asked Steve Jobs what it would take to bring jobs back from overseas that had been sent away over the past 10-20 years. Steve's comment was blunt and to the point, "Those jobs are never coming back" was his reply.

    As we get cheap foreign labor to make stuff and robots to build stuff here, there is nothing left for everyone to do. The economic model started in the Industrial Revolution where people left the farms and came to the cities to get jobs, is breaking down.

    Anyone who wants to read about a possible solution should look up "Basic Income".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income_guarantee

    "The Basic Income Guarantee is an unconditional, government-insured guarantee that all citizens will have enough income to meet their basic needs."

    Now I'm the most Capitalist person you'll ever meet, I'm not in the 1%, but probably in the 5%. But the time is rapidly approaching that the old way will no longer work. The fact that we sent men to the moon, have stealth bombers, aircraft carriers, computers, yet can't seem to feed everyone is disgusting.

    Just felt like sharing... Not saying that is the answer, or that it solves everything, just saying that the old way is starting to break and I'm not sure that it will continue to work as more and more "stuff" is made by machines or cheap overseas labor.
    madforLEGOnkx1Furrysaurus
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,780
    edited June 2013
    ^-- I think the only way to force jobs back here is a 'pay to play' legislation.
    Basically if you want to get people to pay 300 dollars for Nike's then I guess it is time to starting making them here then.
    You want to sell stuff here? Then you must have jobs here.
    The US still is one of the biggest markets in the world, and I doubt that many people in other countries are fiscally irresponsible as most Americans.
    Who else spends 300 bucks for a pair of shoes? 1000's of dollars for a TV? 100's of dollars for an entertainment system (ie stereo)? 500 dollars for a gaming console and 40K-50K on an SUV that is really not needed?! And most of which is purchased with Credit and not actual funds.
    We spend money (or should I say our 'credit') in the US like it is going out of style, the least companies should do is hire Americans for both Blue and White collar jobs to help ensure people can still buy their company's expensive toys they sell here.
    Mandate that if you want to do business here you have to have a percentage of jobs here. In turn also tell the unions that are salivating to bend a company over a barrel due to this 'not so fast'.
    The sad fact is that many foreign auto manufacturers would probably have no issue meeting those requirements now, only the 'Big 3' would.
    But again that is a really big debate for another forum.
  • BrickitupBrickitup Member Posts: 12
    ^Yeah that all is^

    I just don't see how in the same company someone who does less gets paid more. (call center vs retail)

    They are the Largest most profitable toy company in the world and they can't afford to pay some workers better?

    At least enough to buy the stuff they are selling?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ Henry Ford (founder of Ford Motor Company) once said that he didn't want anyone working for him who couldn't afford to buy his cars, which is why he doubled the minimum pay to every worker to $5 a day (a lot back then).

    There still needs to be some incentive to actually "do" something, to "invent" something... but do we really want to live in a world where we say, "sorry, you're not worth enough, go die in a gutter".

    I don't... I think it is a horrible way to treat our fellow human beings.
  • BrickitupBrickitup Member Posts: 12
    That and doing some Research I found this.

    Customer Service at Lego
    http://www.glassdoor.com/Hourly-Pay/Lego-Group-Customer-Service-Representative-Hourly-Pay-E3944_D_KO11,42.htm

    Sales Associate
    http://www.glassdoor.com/Hourly-Pay/Lego-Group-Sales-Associate-Hourly-Pay-E3944_D_KO11,26.htm

    Bonuses for customer service reps also? I mean gahh
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,780
    edited June 2013
    Again pay scales are all over the place and the answer is usually the same: 'Don't like it, look for another job' No one should want to have to work retail or stay at one retail job for a long period of time, it is thankless work for the pay... even if that pay is 12 bucks an hour to be honest, retail is good for humbling you, and getting you ready and thickening your skin for better jobs IMO.
    Companies also work on a balance sheet, not on common sense.
    A guy I worked with put it best, if they could quantify productivity in a consistent manner then many overseas help desk jobs would not be overseas, they would be here. Think about the lost work time that employers have because they are 'saving money' by using what is inferior support (most of the time). I'm guessing that really it would be the same cost if the jobs were here as workers would have an easier time understanding the support personnel to resolve issues quicker.

    Also, retail jobs really should be entry level for better jobs, they should be learning experiences for young workers, it is because of a lack of jobs that these jobs have sadly become a norm for all people to work in.
    I jokingly have said for many years that the US will be a nation of Walmart workers in 20 years if we keep going down this path (and this was before I saw Idiocracy), and you cannot keep an economy going if everyone is working retail.
    Furrysaurus
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,780
    edited June 2013

    ^ Henry Ford (founder of Ford Motor Company) once said that he didn't want anyone working for him who couldn't afford to buy his cars, which is why he doubled the minimum pay to every worker to $5 a day (a lot back then).

    There still needs to be some incentive to actually "do" something, to "invent" something... but do we really want to live in a world where we say, "sorry, you're not worth enough, go die in a gutter".

    I don't... I think it is a horrible way to treat our fellow human beings.

    I think there is plenty enough to have your cake and eat it too.
    When there is such a large discrepancy between the haves and have nots there is an issue IMO.
    And to be honest, how many of these 1% (or 2, 3%) were just down right lucky. When did they invent anything? How many of them are from' old money', living off achievements from 3 generations ago, and now complain about how they have to go to college to get their inheritance from crying out loud.
    I think that many people that 'earn' their 1% money in this world now invent nothing, they happen to get insider info, they catch a break, manage those who do the breakthroughs, or they are born into it, nothing more.
    I would say that luck and drive to earn it are about 50/50 IMO.
    I would say that for every 1 person that really drives to create or invent or make the world a better place, there are 2 that are simply sponges that make their millions off of those who really do the work or lucked into their position/roles in life.
    And those '2' people are usually the ones that also have the nerve to say that 50% of the populous are sponging off of the rest.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    I'm not touching this thread....
    Legoboysamiam391BobkovFollowsCloselyjasor
  • BrickitupBrickitup Member Posts: 12



    I think there is plenty enough to have your cake and eat it too.
    When there is such a large discrepancy between the haves and have nots there is an issue IMO.
    And to be honest, how many of these 1% (or 2, 3%) were just down right lucky. When did they invent anything? How many of them are from' old money', living off achievements from 3 generations ago, and now complain about how they have to go to college to get their inheritance from crying out loud.
    I think that many people that 'earn' their 1% money in this world now invent nothing, they happen to get insider info, they catch a break, manage those who do the breakthroughs, or they are born into it, nothing more.
    I would say that luck and drive to earn it are about 50/50 IMO.
    I would say that for every 1 person that really drives to create or invent or make the world a better place, there are 2 that are simply sponges that make their millions off of those who really do the work or lucked into their position/roles in life.
    And those '2' people are usually the ones that also have the nerve to say that 50% of the populous are sponging off of the rest.

    Same family runs Lego today. If they were american they would be true old money 1%ers. By paying their workers $8.00 an hour, It forces those workers to use government programs (just to survive) and sponge off others. They are helping reinforce dependence on government assistance.

    I am just saying, being in the position that TLG is in (being the largest toy company) could they not try to fix this problem?
  • BrickitupBrickitup Member Posts: 12
    Better question.

    If TLG said that they were going to up their pay rates to their employees across the board, but it would mean they would no longer make one entirely new theme each year (example: Galaxy Quest, Monster fighters, Lego made themes) would the community be willing to lose a Lego theme for the betterment of others?

    No price raises, just one whole theme not being designed, marketed, produced, shipped, and sold.
  • legomasonlegomason Member Posts: 190
    I heard Apple Retail pays $16 to start...
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    http://osxdaily.com/2010/10/05/apple-store-pay/

    The Apple Specialist position pays on average $11.64/hour, with the pay rate ranging from $9 to $16, likely depending on location and overall experience.

    $9 is the base pay at the Apple Store, $16 is the very best pay. If you're making $16/hr, you probably have been in that position too long. :)
  • y2joshy2josh Member Posts: 2,002
    Brickitup said:

    It's not so much that I thought against the commission it because they are in the mall. There are plenty of commission stores in this mall, albeit most are high end stores. It is the fact that they act like straight up sales people.(coming from a car salesman here.) The salesperson (if we can even call them that although that's what they do) said they have to say "who gets the set today?" because they get secret shopped by the company and this is what corporate expects. They also are expected to up sell everyone. If they don't do that they can again be coached. No matter how rude customers get they have to take it with a smile. Again for $8.00 an hour.

    That's actually how a lot of stores work at this point. Go in to GameStop or Best Buy, where the employees similarly aren't working on commission, and they'll drive you right out of the store trying to sell you crap you don't need or want. The fact of the matter is, companies don't have to pay commission when they can just as easily say, "You need an average ticket of $x.xx and 'x' items per transaction or you're fired." At this point, a job alone is incentive enough to get most people to behave more obnoxiously than they'd ever want to.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    I see population growth as the biggest exacerbation of this problem, which can be extended beyond not enough jobs to not enough housing, food, etc.
  • nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
    edited June 2013
    I enjoyed reading the comments here- it seems like most people are genuinely concerned about the quality of life of their fellow human beings, but there doesn't seem to be a mutually agreeable way to facilitate that quality of life.

    If there were some sort of "Basic Income" system like LFT mentioned, would lazy people who simply don't want to work also receive it? Or maybe that would just be a by product of the system, and it's more of a circumstance of the benefits (everyone being guaranteed halfway decent living conditions) outweigh the drawbacks (lazy people who don't want to work receiving free money).

    Before my wife and I recently had our first and only baby (don't blame me for over populating the planet lol), I had briefly considered attempting to get a job at a Lego store one day a week. I'm not sure if it would have been possible just working one day per week, but I considered trying to do this. I knew I would only receive minimum wage, but I figured it would be cool to get 30% off of Lego sets (based on a quick google search, that is my understanding of the employee discount). But I quickly came to my senses and realized how little $8-$9 an hour is. I can likely make more money selling Lego sets on ebay, playing poker (something I actually enjoy doing), doing extra projects at my "real" job, etc. I also concluded that detracting from my free time on the weekends would probably not be worth the discount on the sets, especially since I normally hold out for decent sales on the sets I want anyway.

    Thinking about it now, it's disappointing that Lego pays their employees so little. I know the job is not a technically-challenging one, but they do expect their employees to be more helpful and friendly than average, so I would think that would merit a higher-than-minimum wage salary. Apparently, I was wrong.
  • piratemania7piratemania7 New EnglandMember Posts: 2,124
    Just dropped in to say "Hi" on this here thread...
    Furrysaurus
  • nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
    ^^To add to my previous comment, I didn't mean to insult anyone who makes $8-$9 an hour. I know that the US economy isn't in the best shape it's ever been in, and I fully respect and understand that people need to do what's necessary to get by.
  • pillpodpillpod Member Posts: 273
    Something always has to give. If TLG pays their employees more, one of two things have to happen: TLG will cut its own profits OR TLG will raise prices to compensate for higher wages.

    And to the OP: I'm not sure why you think a person who works in a store automatically deserves equal or more pay than a customer service rep. Being a customer service rep most likely takes more training and specialization, therefore demanding a higher wage.
  • GIR3691GIR3691 Member Posts: 668
    I was really disappointed to find out how low the wage is. Having just graduated, I'm looking for a part-time job to tide me over while looking for something better. After hearing how low the pay was AND that the mall the store was in charged almost $10/day to park, it wouldn't have been worth it at all.

    I really wish they'd raise minimum wage in the US. Anything under $9/hr isn't living wage. Low-skill labor or not, people need to eat! I guess that's one reason LEGO is doing so well...
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    pillpod said:

    Something always has to give. If TLG pays their employees more, one of two things have to happen: TLG will cut its own profits OR TLG will raise prices to compensate for higher wages.

    That is perhaps the great question...

    What do we as a society value more... Huge corporate profits, or paying everyone a living wage?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    GIR3691 said:

    I really wish they'd raise minimum wage in the US. Anything under $9/hr isn't living wage. Low-skill labor or not, people need to eat! I guess that's one reason LEGO is doing so well...

    I totally understand... The challenge and the reason why it doesn't get raised is that you run the risk of running a lot more people out of work.

    Forget $9/hr, it really should be $15/hr to be reasonable.

    But let's say that you raise it to $15/hr... What happens? It means that even more jobs get shipped overseas. More jobs lost to machines.

    http://www.gizmag.com/hamburger-machine/25159/

    Lets say McDonalds has to start people at $15/hr, and their average pay becomes $20/hr with raises and such.

    Then it becomes more more cost effective to replace them with that machine.

    What happens when even our burgers are made by machines? What does everyone do?

    That is a debate we as society need to be having, because that day is coming.
  • doriansdaddoriansdad CTCMember Posts: 1,337
    A healthy, vibrant and prosperous middle class is not a natural phenomenon of a free market society. It requires government intervention to flourish. The prosperous middle class in the USA was formed when the top income tax rate was 91% (yes 91%). At that time your bigwigs were earning around 10x the average worker wage. With a 91% tax rate it was much more favorable for big wigs to invest in and take care of their employees than hand over 91% to Uncle Sam. As the top marginal tax rate has steadily declined over the past 60 years it has been much more favorable for your bigwigs to keep the cash rather than take care of employees. The wealth of the middle class has steadily been transferred to the top 1%. Obviously the incentives the government has given, and continues to give, US corporations to relocate jobs overseas has not helped matters over the past 15 years. The days of defined pensions, being able to support your family on one wage, and affordable healthcare are gone forever for the average US worker...bring on the food stamps, subsidies and debt.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,780
    edited June 2013
    I guess one of the main questions is" How much is too much (or enough)?"
    We live in an age now where if the stock goes down 2 cents a share then 10K people lose their jobs, to get it to go up that 2 cents a share.
    I don't like the idea that some 'know-nothing' day trader or a computer is deciding my fate.
  • Gavin83Gavin83 Member Posts: 251
    It's a difficult balance. Increasing the minimum wage obviously has it's benefits for those receiving it but there are disadvantages as outlined by LFT. Also increasing minimum wage will require an increase in salary for jobs across the market as you'll suddenly have more skilled jobs earning minimum wage. This money has to come from somewhere.

    I'm sure most would agree that in a perfect World shareholders would reduce their profits and pay their workers more. However this will never happen. Increasing their wages will lead to higher prices. Another alternative is the funding of an increased minimum wage through higher taxes. Both of these solutions are essentially a way of distributing the wealth more fairly, eventually leading to a communist style system.

    However I don't really believe this would work either. There are simply too many lazy people. Already in the UK we have a selection of society who choose not to work and live on benefits, I'm sure theres a similar subset in the US. This is taking into account how low the social support handouts are. If the majority were in a position where they could sit at home all day and earn x amount of money or go to work and earn the same, they'd stay at home.

    In order for society to function we really need the current system in place. There has to be some motivation for people to improve their situation and the line has to be drawn somewhere. I don't believe that someone could support a family on minimum wage (although a teenager living with parents would be fine) but I just don't know where the money would come from to increase it.

    We are also increasingly heading towards a World where humans are replaced by machines. However the jobs being replaced generally are the unskilled roles, if anything the number of skilled roles are increasing. I'm not really sure where this will leave the unskilled workers however as there are likely to be many people in the future who simply can't work. We'll probably have a clear divide in the future, those that can work and those who can't.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,889
    Lego is a Danish company. How would all those saying bring jobs home feel if Lego did that and moved all their jobs except the retail staff back home.

    Of course, the answer is that they are a private global company and will move jobs wherever is best for the company. They don't care about unemployment in the US, the UK, Denmark, Europe, or anywhere else.

    Couple that with afols or teens happy to work for Lego for whatever the pay is, they will pay low wages.
  • rchaddrchadd Member Posts: 187
    hardly brain surgery is it? putting boxes on shelves and ringing up stuff. retail is not really a career path. if any indvidual wants a higher salary increase suggest they work harder at school.
  • MilcheaxMilcheax Member Posts: 52
    edited June 2013
    rchadd said:

    hardly brain surgery is it? putting boxes on shelves and ringing up stuff. retail is not really a career path. if any indvidual wants a higher salary increase suggest they work harder at school.

    While "putting boxes on shelves" and "ringing up stuff" are certainly two items on the list of qualifications, you don't know what else people in retail have to deal with.

    Knowing their product is a big one, and it's more than just memorizing a list of item names and numbers.

    Being able to handle people of all age groups, all temperaments, for any number of reasons, from someone's kid pissing in the corner (which said retail worker will probably be forced to clean up) to "I'm sorry ma'am, I know it's little Johnny's birthday, but we're out of stock" to getting boxes thrown at them because the shopper didn't like a correct answer, to well more than I can easily articulate in this response due to how angry I became upon seeing yet another person's ignorance about retail.

    I worked in retail for 2 years in various positions at an office supply store. I dealt with people ranging from little kids looking for notebooks and markers to army quartermasters to paralegals who wouldn't know a legal pad of paper if it slapped them in the face, to a very nice if undereducated man who I spent over a half hour explaining a protractor's use.
    I enjoyed it for the time I spent there, but better opportunities arose.

    Some people have a passion for retail. They love the product they work with. They love (most of) the people they serve.

    Read some of "notalwaysright.com" if you want to get an idea of what people deal with day to day. And though you might think "that's internet hyperbole" I can assure you from my own experience that so much of it is more than likely true (especially since I've lived some of it.).

    To stereotype people who, as your crass comment infers, "didn't work hard enough at school" is ignorant and really unbecoming of an adult who plays with kids' toys.

    Open your mind and ears/eyes once in a while and you might learn something new.
    AnseltheCat
  • DevastatorDevastator Member Posts: 66
    I think wages/salaries are determined by the difficulty or the specialized skills required to achieve a particular job for that employer. Why is it a governments "job" to subsidize peoples earning to reach a certain level, and if they do, where does that money come from? Isn't a more realistic solution for an individual to increase or expand their own skills and increase their ability to earn more?

    Also, if the solution is to increase minimum wage from $8/hr to $15/hr where do you think that money comes from? Do they fire half of the workers or double, triple, or quadruple product costs (the most fair option)? Doesn't it also make it that much more difficult or unlikely for them to hire additional employees?

    Not trying to be a jerk or insensitive, but legitimate counterpoints need to be raised. I just get bugged when people assume the government has a magical pill to solve all problems in our lives without any adverse side effects.
  • BrickitupBrickitup Member Posts: 12
    I think the problem I am seeing here is the lack of knowledge some people have about Retail Jobs. It is a lot more then just stocking shelves and ringing a register. Nowadays most people in retail aren't the uneducated unskilled mass. It is the college students who have tons of student debt and cannot get into a job in their career field.

    After visiting the Lego store today I saw a salesperson getting reamed out by a customer because their precious perfect son did not get a Mr. Gold. According to the Mom they deserved one since they spent so much money at the store and the associate should go into the back and get one for them.

    When the sales person said that he could not do that she screamed some more saying that "Lego can't say no to my son".

    The Salesperson again explained to them how impossible that was and she eventually stormed out of the store.

    He kept his cool the entire time. You could see he was trained to do so. Even at $8.00 an hour.

    Lego is incredibly profitable. They even are making a movie with big names in it. Yet they can't pay their work force better?

    Lego is privately owned. No public shareholders. Are they all honestly just milking this brand for the money at this point?

    Seriously look how many set there are out currently. Eventually there is going to be a such thing as "too much Lego"
  • skeet318skeet318 Banned Posts: 375
    8.00 an hour to live the dream. They need part-timers?
  • BrickitupBrickitup Member Posts: 12
    skeet318 said:

    8.00 an hour to live the dream. They need part-timers?

    Food Stamps, No health,life insurance, or benefits of any kind, No car, No financial freedom, having to budget whether you can eat or pay student loans, and either bunking with parents or a bunch of other people in the same situation.

    Yeah man why don't we all do that?
  • legomasonlegomason Member Posts: 190
    One solution would be to enact a Maximum Wage Law so that CEOs and politicians didn't have 10-12 extra homes throughout the world with matching-colored helipads, 60-car garages and multiple private jets. Many CEOs make more in one hour than we will make in multiple years. It is insane.
  • BastaBasta Australia Member Posts: 1,259

    I think wages/salaries are determined by the difficulty or the specialized skills required to achieve a particular job for that employer. Why is it a governments "job" to subsidize peoples earning to reach a certain level, and if they do, where does that money come from? Isn't a more realistic solution for an individual to increase or expand their own skills and increase their ability to earn more?

    Also, if the solution is to increase minimum wage from $8/hr to $15/hr where do you think that money comes from? Do they fire half of the workers or double, triple, or quadruple product costs (the most fair option)? Doesn't it also make it that much more difficult or unlikely for them to hire additional employees?

    Not trying to be a jerk or insensitive, but legitimate counterpoints need to be raised. I just get bugged when people assume the government has a magical pill to solve all problems in our lives without any adverse side effects.


    A couple of points, firstly there are a lot of issues as to why things are not equal for all people so government intervention is needed and well worth the effort. So it’s not quite as easy for everyone to “increase or expand their own skills and increase their ability to earn more”.

    Although life isn’t fair, it’s normally those who have had more than their fair share of "fair" that say this. I remember having a discussion with a guy who was all for removing all government assistants (Healthcare, education, welfare etc.), his argument was that freeloaders shouldn’t get a cent; people should have to work for what they have. This guy went to an elite private school and I know that his parents are loaded and own multiple properties, so from that position it’s much easier to say these things. Think about some kid who is born into poverty and has drug dependent parents etc. what chance does that kid have even with the current government handouts let alone if they guy I mentioned above had his way.

    As much as no one wants people taking advantage of welfare, you need to take a look at the bigger picture. Just by increasing people’s living standards you can cut cost linked to health & crime etc. So although you will still get freeloaders and maybe more of them, overall things can be better for society and that has to be a good thing.

    Although it’s not going to happen, there are a huge number of corporations around the world who could channel a chunk of their profits into paying higher base rates of pay, and they would not need to increase prices, cut jobs or for even the CEO’s to reduce their living standards etc.




  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098
    Earning more money often goes along with responsibility. I can't imagine a typical Lego store rep has much responsibility. The worst part would be constantly cleaning up the play bricks that kids throw on the floor.
  • BrickitupBrickitup Member Posts: 12
    mathew said:

    Earning more money often goes along with responsibility. I can't imagine a typical Lego store rep has much responsibility. The worst part would be constantly cleaning up the play bricks that kids throw on the floor.

    After visiting the Lego store today I saw a salesperson getting reamed out by a customer because their precious perfect son did not get a Mr. Gold. According to the Mom they deserved one since they spent so much money at the store and the associate should go into the back and get one for them.

    When the sales person said that he could not do that she screamed some more saying that "Lego can't say no to my son".

    The Salesperson again explained to them how impossible that was and she eventually stormed out of the store.

    He kept his cool the entire time. You could see he was trained to do so. Even at $8.00 an hour.

    I imagine they deal with a lot more then just play brick.
  • skeet318skeet318 Banned Posts: 375
    edited June 2013
    Brickitup said:

    skeet318 said:

    8.00 an hour to live the dream. They need part-timers?

    Food Stamps, No health,life insurance, or benefits of any kind, No car, No financial freedom, having to budget whether you can eat or pay student loans, and either bunking with parents or a bunch of other people in the same situation.

    Yeah man why don't we all do that?
    Cuz. Lighten up.
  • BrickitupBrickitup Member Posts: 12
    skeet318 said:


    Cuz. Lighten up.

    It's hard to when I actually care about this.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,409
    The system is not perfect, but minimum wage is just a government mandate. Most of the retail places I go to around where I live pay more than minimum wage. New York city retail workers get a lot more than retail workers from Albany. It all depends where you live. I agree $8.00 an hour is not much to live on, but my first job out if college paid $8.90 an hour and I had to still live at home. I built up my work experience in quadrupled my salary in just 5 years. I worked lots of retail jobs through high school and through college. It is not where you start, it is where you end up.

  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098
    Brickitup said:

    mathew said:

    Earning more money often goes along with responsibility. I can't imagine a typical Lego store rep has much responsibility. The worst part would be constantly cleaning up the play bricks that kids throw on the floor.

    After visiting the Lego store today I saw a salesperson getting reamed out by a customer because their precious perfect son did not get a Mr. Gold. According to the Mom they deserved one since they spent so much money at the store and the associate should go into the back and get one for them.

    This is a rare type of event and the manager should of stepped in to take over the situation.

    I've worked retail and customer service jobs through out my life so I am familiar with the problems. I can tell you for a fact that my job answering phones for United Health Care was the worst job that I ever had. I made 12.50 an hour and I would of gladly have made less if it meant I didn't have listen to all of the valid complaints people had concerning their insurance.
  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,257
    Volatile topic here. No one deserves menial jobs and the mundane tortures that accompany them, but First World society is fundamentally predicated on economic inequality. Any person or group of people who tolerate such conditions will continue to be exploited. TLG pays their minions whatever every other employer can get away with. So it is not something specifically aberrant with regard to Lego store employees (though the idea of anomic and alienated "Lego experts" may strike us AFOLs as uniquely astonishing) but instead a systematic necessity. I thank several of the previous posters for making anything else I might say redundant.
  • Gavin83Gavin83 Member Posts: 251
    legomason said:

    One solution would be to enact a Maximum Wage Law so that CEOs and politicians didn't have 10-12 extra homes throughout the world with matching-colored helipads, 60-car garages and multiple private jets. Many CEOs make more in one hour than we will make in multiple years. It is insane.

    It wouldn't work. Let's be honest, the only people it's likely to affect is the famous (film stars, musicians, etc), business owners and CEO's of long established multinational companies. All of these jobs require some risk or hard work to reach. Attempting to become famous carries risk, most don't make it and will end up with a minimal wage throughout their lives. Starting your own business is risky, it's easy to be made bankcrupt. All 3 require years of study and hard work. Why would these people bother taking the risk if they knew they could earn the same (maximum wage) doing a more simple job? We need these people to take risks to provide jobs for others and to provide our entertainment.

    Besides, who the hell would the Government think they are telling someone who has earned money from their own skill/risk/hard work how much they can earn? I'd also be interested to know where you propose the extra profit from a company would go. You'll also have the problem that limiting someones earning potential will cause this person to move to a country who doesn't and these are the people earning the most tax, at least in theory.

    It's a sad state of affairs that educated people are working retail jobs. However you can't set a wage for a job based on the education level of that employee. Firstly, would it really be fair for their colleagues who do the same job but earn less with no college qualifications? Besides, all it will mean is that instead of being in that minimum wage job the qualified person won't be in a job at all. If companies have to pay for to hire qualified people than unqualified they just won't bother hiring people with qualifications that aren't relevant to the job. The other option is that the basic wage is increased but this creates the problems already discussed in this topic.

    I do understand the issues with retail, I worked in retail myself for a number of years but the fact is it is considered a relatively unskilled job. Sure, they have to put up with a lot of crap but this doesn't require skill, just patience. It doesn't require much (if any) education or really any product knowledge. The retail jobs where specialist product knowledge is required generally pay more. Lego really isn't one of these.
    cycoduck
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,889
    Brickitup said:


    Lego is incredibly profitable. They even are making a movie with big names in it. Yet they can't pay their work force better?

    Well, they probably can. They just don't have to. Why pay someone more when (i) they don't want to be there long term (college students waiting for an opportunity in their field) and (ii) someone else equally as skilled is ready to take the job at that wage.

    I can afford to pay more for my lego, but I don't offer more when I purchase it. In fact, I'll rarely buy at RRP even though I can afford it. Why should I when I know something will be on sale within a few months.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    There are a few issues here, which work in both ways

    1) Just paying the minimum salaries you can just because you can isn't acceptable. Its a means of exploitation which can't possibly be acceptable in this day and age, in the developed world. Government does (imo) have a responsibility to protect its population against this kind of thing.

    2) Just because a company is making large profits now doesn't mean they should immediately choose or be forced to jack up salaries. If those profits disappear due to a changing market then higher salaries mean its harder to keep those employees on later (although it should be easy enough to lower salaries ahead of using redundancy and to an extent we've seen it in this recession, it doesn't happen much more than just keeping salaries level).

    3) For some companies brand is everything and LEGO is one of those, poor salary levels could impact on brand over time/in the future. LEGO would be wise to keep that in mind. No way Starbucks would have thought not paying its tax in the UK would have noticeably impacted on sales but it did, dramatically. Enough that they chose to pay more tax than they actually had to. In this day and age, for companies where the consumer has an accessible choice between brands (coffee is an obvious one, but LEGO to an extent to) the internet and modern communication allows for a wide range of possible banana skins which could bring about the slow or fast demise of their brand.

    4) Paying people too much (and I'm talking at the top end here) is bloody stupid. My brother is on the board of directors for a large hotel group. I don't know exactly but he's making >$1m a year. Is he worth that? Presumably by some economic measure he is, but do you need to pay him that? Only because some other company might, because its become the norm at that level? What stupid reasons. The result is he'll probably just retire earlier than he would if they paid him $500k. Meanwhile there'll be people working in those hotels earning terrible salaries.

    I was probably anti-minimum wage when it was introduced in the UK, but the predictions by those against it never came to pass, not even slightly although the timing of its implementation may have helped. I actually like the idea of a legislated minimum wage (to stop exploitation) and then a highly visible living wage that encourages companies to pay a better than minimum wage and take the beneficial image that comes with that. Companies should be free to pay what they want (beyond exploitation) but they should be judged for what they pay (and in particular against what they pay for themselves as directors etc) and that should be easy for consumers to do. Some companies won't care, they're cheap companies that pay cheaply. Others will be rightly ashamed that they pay less than McDonalds.

    And all of us who were fortunate to be born in to a good stable family, receive good education and be given real opportunities in life should remember what a massive chunk of luck started all that. Hard work might have got us to where we are but the luck of being born to the parents we were, in the country we were, had a much bigger part to play for 99% of us.
    andhe
  • Gavin83Gavin83 Member Posts: 251


    1) Just paying the minimum salaries you can just because you can isn't acceptable. Its a means of exploitation which can't possibly be acceptable in this day and age, in the developed world. Government does (imo) have a responsibility to protect its population against this kind of thing.

    Does the US Government not have a minimum wage in place? In the UK the Government did step in and set a minimum wage, as you've mentioned in your post. I assumed the US Government had done the same but I don't know anything about US employment law.

    Anyway I think the minimum wage is a good thing. It does mean there are less jobs available in the UK but I think it's a question of whats worse, exploitation of low earning employees or having less jobs available. I guess this is a matter of opinion.

    I don't however think it's wrong that lego would pay their store employees this minimum wage. Regardless of how you look at it there is no real skill involved or education required, you just need to be able to deal with people. It's also one of those jobs considered slightly more 'fun' than the usual offerings in their sector and these jobs normally attract a lower salary because more people want the jobs.

    It's a case of supply and demand. The more people able/wanting to do the job the less it'll pay, because it can.


    2) Just because a company is making large profits now doesn't mean they should immediately choose or be forced to jack up salaries. If those profits disappear due to a changing market then higher salaries mean its harder to keep those employees on later (although it should be easy enough to lower salaries ahead of using redundancy and to an extent we've seen it in this recession, it doesn't happen much more than just keeping salaries level).

    This does raise an interesting question. Would people choose to have a pay cut (say 10%) in order that a few of their colleagues will be kept on or would they rather keep their salary and watch a few of their colleagues disappear?

    It hasn't happened in my company but I do know of businesses that have asked their employees what action they would prefer.


    4) Paying people too much (and I'm talking at the top end here) is bloody stupid. My brother is on the board of directors for a large hotel group. I don't know exactly but he's making >$1m a year. Is he worth that? Presumably by some economic measure he is, but do you need to pay him that? Only because some other company might, because its become the norm at that level? What stupid reasons. The result is he'll probably just retire earlier than he would if they paid him $500k. Meanwhile there'll be people working in those hotels earning terrible salaries.

    Like goods people are only really worth what a company is willing to pay for them. In the case of your brother is he worth $1m+ a year? Probably not on paper. Are the ground level employees worth what they're paid on paper? They're probably worth more.

    However, it doesn't work like this. I'll use lego as an example. You have retired lego sets going for $2000+ on ebay/BL but are they really worth this? Not on paper, but they're worth what people are willing to pay. A few sellers start selling the set at a certain sum of money, some people pay it and therefore all sellers start selling at that price. If a number of sellers reduce their prices then prices will drop.

    My point is it's the same, in this situation the companies set the salary. If company A offers $1m a year for a job then company B will need to offer the same or the better employee will go and work for company A. In order for this benchmark salary to reduce, all companies will need to reduce their salary. I'm sure your brother would do the same job for $500k, it's still a lot of money but while the salary is available he'll take it. I'm sure if the business reduced his salary overnight he'd just move to another company offering a better package.

    Is it right? Not really. Is it stupid? Probably. However this is the way it works and it isn't likely to change. I really don't think it's the Governments place to start dictating the maximum amount a business can pay it's employees. Minimum wage is needed, maximum wage is not.


    And all of us who were fortunate to be born in to a good stable family, receive good education and be given real opportunities in life should remember what a massive chunk of luck started all that. Hard work might have got us to where we are but the luck of being born to the parents we were, in the country we were, had a much bigger part to play for 99% of us.

    Anyone in the UK at least is capable of a good education. Anyone can go to university these days as long as they achieve the grades. Sure, your home situation as a child makes a big difference but anyone can apply themselves and receive the education or job prospects they need. People born to rich or connected parents will always have an advantage but it's not impossible for the normal person. Some highly successful people in the UK came from fairly modest backgrounds.

    Elsewhere in the World it's a lot harder. If your born into a poor family in a 3rd World country your likely not going anywhere.

    I'd imagine the situation in the US is a lot more similar to the UK than the 3rd World however.
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