By Leonardo Cervantes
Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1228 boosting the minimum wage for fast food workers from $17 to $20 an hour.
This was a great move for fast food workers, since it’s one of the most demanding jobs in terms of customer service.
Fast food work is a starter job for many teens and young adults.
The higher wages can help make the lives of teens and adults manageable.
The cost of living in California is astronomically high.
Taking care of oneself is a struggle, but having family and loved ones who depend on you makes it harder.
Whether it be for personal use or mandatory, the expenses add up quickly making every week unbearable.
Apartment prices have spiked over the last few years.
The rent keeps increasing yearly while the minimum wage has stayed the same.
You would be lucky to find an apartment with one bedroom for under $1500 nowadays.
Many people live with their significant other as well as having children.
In order to afford rent, many people decide to live together, which often leads to an uncomfortable setting.
That makes one-bedroom apartments unrealistic, which forces families to look elsewhere in dangerous neighborhoods since they are the cheapest.
Public transportation is a cheaper alternative than paying the weekly gas requirements for personal transportation.
However, buses and metros are less convenient than owning your own car.
Gas prices have been roughly $4.80 a gallon for over a year.
Depending on how fuel-efficient your vehicle is or isn’t, you will have to stop for gas multiple times per week.
Grocery store items are also as high as ever.
In my community, gallon of milk is roughly $6 and egg cartons are roughly$5.
Even once-cheaper alternatives like frozen food cost significantly more than they once did.
Almost all food items have gotten a minimum increase of one dollar.
These new prices quickly add up by the end of the month. It’s an extra $100 dollars out of your budget.
Customer service jobs are always demanding, but fast-food establishments might be the most stress-inducing jobs.
Popular fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Popeyes are always packed, especially when students are out of school.
During rush hour, the dining area gets crowded and cashiers can hardly hear, same with drive-thru cashiers, especially if the speaker isn’t fully functioning.
Serving customers during rush hour can cause mistakes, delivering orders wrong due to miscommunication either on the employee’s or customer’s part.
A lot of jobs are stressful in their own way, but not many are as demanding as fast food workers, all while being in constant confrontations with angry customers.
With a higher wage, workers won’t be as inclined to look for a new job after a few months.
Many people join with the intention of quickly finding a replacement job within half a year.
It’s debatable whether your next employer likes seeing so many jobs in the span of a few years, but the new salary will make most of the workers think twice about this.
Instead of looking for a new job, some might want to try and become managers.
After a few months pass by, this same thrive and motivation might deteriorate, but this sets up new achievable goals.
The new wage is likely still not something you can live off, but it will make life in California more manageable.
All the expenses add up quickly, so the new wage should help workers get by their week.
Those numb-inducing arguments with unserious customers become more manageable.
It is still not enough money, but it’s a step in a positive direction.