Thursday, May 15, 2014

Battling Higher Minimum Wages: McDonald's Just Bought Touch Screen Cashier Kiosks for Its 7,000 European Locations


Goodbye human cashiers.
As government intervention via minimum wage laws and other labor regulations make it more expensive to higher low skilled employees, more and more employers are turning to automation. Automation may occur in some cases even if there weren't the government regulatory restrictions, and that is not a bad thing, but the restrictions expand the number of positions where automation makes sense and results in higher unemployment of the low skilled.

McDonald's appears to be the latest to be testing out advanced automation.

In Europe, McDonald’s is  partly replacing cashiers at its 7,000 fast-food restaurants in the region with touchscreen terminals and swipe cards, reports FT.

MCD is careful to portray the move as not hurting jobs, but that is exactly what is going. MCD is growing rapidly in Europe, so it will require some employees at  new locations and thus the job losses will be somewhat hidden, but job losses are exactly what will occur as a result of the kiosks that are at least in part the result of minimum wage laws.

26 comments:

  1. Of course it's not hurting jobs. Why, it's positively party time for the software developers and kiosk engineers, all of whom will be paid a living wage and then some. Isn't that the message of minimum wage advocates? Earn over $15/hr or don't work at all?

    It's about compassion and basic human decency.

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    1. How long do you think it's going to be before computers replace software developers and engineers?

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    2. Either 2030 or 2045, depending on whether you believe Vinge or Kurzweil

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    3. My money's on Vernor. The Singularity beckons, and in my flesh shall I see it.

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    4. The FT story this links to is from 2011. This is very old news.

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  2. Be careful what you ask for... These fools will get what they want, but not what they expect.

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    1. One of the dumbest "living wage" arguments I've heard yet is that "we" subsidize the employers who don't pay the living wage. (define "we" as in the bottom 47% who don't actually pay federal taxes, lol.)

      If McDonalds increases your pay from $0/hr to $8/hr. How exactly is this making you worse off? Is this not DECREASING that employees drain on government welfare?!?!?

      These fools do not comprehend economics. All of their proposals are self-defeating and ultimately (and necessarily) lead to a demand for the well off to simply get rid of their "excess" wealth and work for free from that point forward.

      They accuse libertarians of being Utopian?!?!??!

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    2. "They accuse libertarians of being Utopian?!?!??!"

      Heh heh. Yeah I always laugh at that kind of hypocrisy and stupidity. We're the "utopians" in their eyes yet they're not even though they think everything will be so hunky dory as long as The Great God Government issues a command. Then by magic, everything will be so wonderful. I guess 200 million dead in the 20th century by government wasn't enough to wake up these braid dead idiots.

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    3. Funny, I thought everytime one of those "47%'ers" puts gas in their tank, they pay federal gasoline tax.

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    4. "Funny, I thought everytime one of those "47%'ers" puts gas in their tank, they pay federal gasoline tax."

      While you are correct, everyone who doesn't live in the woods pays some sort of tax, you are splitting hairs, since Cosmo likely for this purpose meant to say "federal income" tax...

      Fuel taxes are intended to pay for roadway maintenance, not any other support a citizen receives, a la, healthcare funding, social security, food stamps or welfare, etc. Paying a small gas tax does not entitle you to the whole cow. Therefore, merely using their vehicle on the roads paid for by the (roughly 30 cents/gal federal+state) fuel tax, they have received benefit from something they contributed to.

      I don't see how anyone sane could possibly believe, that just because I might pay a sales tax, gas tax, property tax, etc, that should entitle me to every support program in existence that's paid for by my tax dollars.

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    5. @Cosmo Kramer

      “One of the dumbest “living wage" arguments I've heard yet is that "we" subsidize the employers who don't pay the living wage. (define "we" as in the bottom 47% who don't actually pay federal taxes, lol.)"

      Okay, you’re a Libertarian, so I’ll try to explain it. Slowly.

      We all pay taxes. Income taxes, Sales taxes, Payroll taxes, Property taxes.

      Even if you get a full Refund you loaned your money to the government in a zero interest loan for a year but were paid nothing in return... that alone is a Tax, isn’t it?

      So that “47%” crap is bogus.

      The companies paying less than a living wage KNOW their workers can’t live on that wage.

      They KNOW that inflation has gradually reduced the Minimum Wage to a shadow of what it originally was.

      The only employees that CAN hold that job are those that quickly sign up for public assistance.

      If they can’t qualify, they wash out of Walmart and try to get a job elsewhere.

      Those that stay are in fact, being subsidized by the US Government to the tune of $900,000 per year per Walmart.

      And there are a LOT of Walmarts.


      Because of their dirt poor wages, Walmart has a 70% turnover rate.

      Every year they have to replace 7 out of 10 employees, and train the replacements at considerable cost to productivity.

      Costco has a ~5% turnover rate. Of course, they start workers at above what Walmart pays experienced staff, and quickly advance to an average of $20 an hour.

      Costco doesn’t waste money training and retraining, their staff are happy and they get good PR.

      Walmart wastes money all the time and Liberals are boycotting them out of indignation.


      This all came about because of Hyper Capitalism; pushing Taxes low on the Rich, starving the workers salary even when Productivity rises; and only a return to Liberal Government policies will cure the problem.

      We’re still crippled by Reagan and Bush’s tax policies... Obama had to bribe the GOP with a tax cut extension in order to get Unemployment Insurance extended.


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    6. "This all came about because of Hyper Capitalism; pushing Taxes low on the Rich, starving the workers salary even when Productivity rises; and only a return to Liberal Government policies will cure the problem."

      You're an idiot statist so I'll explain it REAL slowly.

      You're an idiot. You're mentally ill if you think we've had "hyper capitalism" the last few decades. That statement is so blatantly idiotic that you I have to conclude that you've lived in a cave the last few decades.

      Please get and education. Here: mises.org. Now little boy start reading and start THINKING. Next brain dead moron please...

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    7. perhaps he was thinking of hyper crony capitalism?

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  3. Great idea. Eliminate all of the low wage unskilled jobs and the income of their customer base in one fail swoop.

    If there weren't low wage workers at places like Wal-Mart and McDonald's there wouldn't be customers at places like Wal-Mart and McDonald's.

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    1. Those businesses then end up earning more money, and so they can be taxed more, and so the previous workers end up getting paid by the government. And so the end result is basically just less people needing to work. That's what capitalism has always been doing: the more capitalism succeeds, the more a society can become successfully communist. Always found that one ironic.

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  4. Attempting to control particular aspects of catallaxy and expecting that the rest of the variables in the equation will remain constant is strange ignorance. Advocates of a positive action should prove beyond any doubt that their ideas benefit everyone concerned, instead the burden of exposing the snake oil salesman lies on the skeptics. Strange world!

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  5. "There is no need to enter here into an analysis of interventionism. It has been shown in an irrefutable way that all measures of interventionism bring about consequences which?from the point of view of the governments and parties resorting to them?are less satisfactory than the previous state of affairs which they were devised to alter. If the government and the politicians do not learn the lesson which these failures teach and do not want to abstain from all meddling with commodity prices, wages and interest rates, they must add more and more regimentation to their first measures until the whole system of market economy has been replaced by all-round planning and socialism." - Ludwig Von Mises

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    1. Of course that conveniently ignores the New Deal and it’s raging success; decades of prosperity and no Economic Crashes until the New Deal laws were repealed.

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  6. errr....how does kiosks in Europe have anything to do with USA labor rates? When McDouche's starts putting them here, that will be news.

    You are propagating a fear tactic FOR the corporation..."See what we did in Europe? Now get in the kitchen and make them McMaggots...err...McNuggets...or we gonna replace your ass with a machine"

    Nice fear mongering on your part...

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  7. Headline from the year 2020: "Unions and Democrat Leadership Demand Robots to be Unionized and Paid a Living Wage of $50.00/hr".

    Good these greedy, unskilled workers are getting phased out. So, not only do we have to give these people welfare checks, EBT cards, free housing, free tuition, free transportation, etc., they now want higher salaries? Good grief! I have student loans I pay back ($350/month), high rent costs ($1700/month), $350/month health insurance (from Aetna), $26/month car insurance (thank god for Insurance Panda), $400/month for food+drink, gas/tolls/parking ($150/month), and I work 60 hours a week. If anyone should be complaining, it should be me.

    Bring on the robots!

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    1. It's good to see your not letting that education go to waste.

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    2. How long before the smug wake upto the reality, Unrestricted capitalism is flawed, as is communism.

      We need to reduce social security payments to the unemployed, and lower taxes on the poorly paid. This can be done with minimum wage policy and reducing working hours. In turn creating jobs and reducing the cost of the social security bill.

      We already have International trade rules. New rules should be imposed where countries fail to enact a minimum wage policy. Why should they be allowed to persecute their workers or other nations living standards.

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    3. "It's good to see your not letting that education go to waste. "


      It's good to see "your" showing everyone that you never received one.

      Delete
    4. @Anonymous:

      “So, not only do we have to give these people welfare checks, EBT cards, free housing, free tuition, free transportation, etc., they now want higher salaries?”

      Sigh. Welfare was gutted in the 90’s. Can you point out actual free housing, free tuition, free transportation?

      The Pell grant is the closest thing to match your rant, but it’s nowhere near enough to qualify as free tuition.

      The giant flaw in your argument is that if they got a higher salary, they wouldn’t be on those programs nor would they qualify.

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  8. This story is from 2011 and nothing came of it - check the date on the linked story. Here's another without the paywall:

    http://www.neowin.net/news/mcdonalds-orders-7000-touchscreen-kiosks-to-replace-cashiers

    "McDonald's says they have no interest in replacing cashiers with kiosks in Australia, however, or anywhere else for that matter."

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    1. Funny how it is the liberals never believe anything corporations say, except when they say what they want to hear.

      What do you think McD's would say about this? Are you that naive?

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