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View Diary: Chain Restaurants, exploitation of employees, arrogance, greed, and crappy food. (175 comments)

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  •  I read a scathing article on Costco by some (19+ / 0-)

    stock analyst. He was warning investors not to buy (despite their excellent growth and that they did better than any comparative business). They were overgenerous to employees AND to customers, benefiting them to the detriment of stockholders.
    Customers should pay more, employees should be paid less, pay more for their health care, get less vacation time and so on. He compared them to competitors and sure enough proved that their pay was much higher, benefits much better, prices lower.

    A disgusting article, shocked me at the time. Hurray for those who took his advice. This is how it has gone

    from 1997-2007, Costco’s stock climbed 222%, while Wal-mart’s climbed 146% and the S&P 500 climbed only 59% (Mueller). Even during the recent economic downtown, Costco’s stocks showed a steady price increase from 2009 to late 2011
    I've been thinking of Costco ever since these crazy companies have started their whining.

    I will say that for these mom and pop restaurants health care is more difficult though Health Care Act is giving them more tax credits for it now.
    There is a big markup for individuals or small businesses getting health care. Over time businesses get to start buying into the health exchanges if they want to.
    The benefit of those is that it is combined buying power... so that they can get insurance at prices like the biggest businesses.
    If I recall correctly for big companies it was cost + 5-7%, for medium business it was cost + 25- 30% and for the smallest or individuals it was cost + 35%. Just having the exchange itself to buy from means a big reduction in the cost.

    •  If you pay them more, employees are loyal (18+ / 0-)

      I managed a used bookstore about 15 years ago. We generally paid about $2/hour more than other bookstores and at the end of the year, people would get a bonus of maybe $500-1500 depending on how long they worked there and if they were full-time.

      And employees were loyal. They didn't quit to go work for a competitor (because we paid more). Everyone got along. It was really a pretty good place to work.

      One of the ways I saved money was to spend less on the outside accountant. The accountant was being paid much more than I was, so I learned how to use QuickBooks and did some of the stuff (like paying bills and predicting cash-flow and assigning things to the categories like cost-of-goods sold and doing payroll) that the accountant used to do. The accountant still reminded us about tax deadlines and stuff, but we saved a lot of money on the accounting bills.

      When employees aren't quitting every month, you spend less time on want-ads, interviewing applicants, training them, etc. Plus, when employees know where the books are, they can tell customers (and sales go up).

      I'd rather shop at Costco than Sam's Club or Walmart because Costco treats their employees much better.

      But the angle said to them, "Do not be Alfred. A sailor has been born to you"

      by Dbug on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 11:59:53 PM PST

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      •  Not just loyal, Dbug, I don't think... (6+ / 0-)

        I think employees who feel well-treated and well-paid are also likely to be more productive than workers who feel like they are being exploited to send wealth to the CEO who has a fuck-you attitude toward everyone at the low end and treats us like interchangeable and definitely replaceable cogs in the machine.

        We mean nothing to our Masters of the Universe...and FSM forbid we should ever indicate in any way that we do not, in fact, consider them our Masters of the Universe but rather, in some ways, cockroaches dining on what we have earned...

        Well.  You can just imagine what our job prospects are at that point.

        To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

        by Youffraita on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 12:23:36 AM PST

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        •  I think there are three questions... (5+ / 0-)

          If you own or run a business, you can decide:

          1. How am I going to treat my employees?

          2. How am I going to treat my customers?

          3. How am I going to treat my stockholders/owners?

          If you're trying to maximize profit, maybe you treat your employees like shit. If you're nice to customers (and allow them to return things or spend a lot of time answering questions), that could affect your bottom line. But in the long run, if you're nasty to your employees and to your customers, you'll lose a whole lot more money.

          But the angle said to them, "Do not be Alfred. A sailor has been born to you"

          by Dbug on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 12:39:16 AM PST

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          •  My previous employer (7+ / 0-)

            (who was not a corporate conglomerate but a real, very nice, and liberal human being) did his best to treat his employees well.  He was somewhat thwarted when it turned out that one of his office managers was embezzling...a few tough years ensued.  (For one thing, she stole from health care: people who thought they had insurance discovered rather awfully that their payments had never been paid.)

            I believe she is still in jail.

            My current corporate overlords deserve nothing from me but disdain.  And yet, although I am sure they only offer junk health insurance (as NYCEve would say) I am still officially full-time, and my manager gives me 40 hours.  And when I was sick, I got sick days...okay, only five bucks per hour, but still better than NO bucks per hour.

            So: am I exploited?  And HOW!

            And I'm still better off than a lot of low-wage employees -- and not all of us are high school drop-outs.  Some of us can out-write, out-think and definitely out-spell our managers.

            Some of us can do all three simultaneously: imagine that.

            And I have to grit my teeth and pretend I can't write/spell better than the assistant manager.

            ack!  ack! ack!  For THIS I got a journalism degree?

            To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

            by Youffraita on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 01:11:12 AM PST

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      •  Sadly Dbug (6+ / 0-)

        Bookstores are about gone. They are one retail sector that got squeezed bad. Our business lost about 20% of revenue in the downturn, we have managed not to lay off anyone, but no bonuses. Our employees know we are trying.

        •  I know (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          15 years ago, used bookstores were still viable. Nowadays, used books are sold on the internet (ebay or amazon or alibris or abebooks). And the prices are being driven down. If ten bookstores have a first edition, they'll keep lowering their price, just to sell the book a little bit cheaper. It's a buyer's market.

          But the angle said to them, "Do not be Alfred. A sailor has been born to you"

          by Dbug on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 01:21:47 AM PST

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          •  I found four of them in Seattle (0+ / 0-)

            a couple of months ago. In the same block, if you can believe it!

            I've been meaning to publish a diary about that find, just to give them some Democratic love & business, but just can't figure out the right words to use.

            I did make purchases from them, since I want them to continue to thrive.

        •  One of the many business trends (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          emeraldmaiden, llywrch

          That have nothing to do with health insurance....

          I hope there will always be room for a few actual bookstores because books are more than just text, and some customers like to have a store to browse around, where we might run into the unexpected, and can actually see and handle the volumes before buying. Right now in our area we are sadly down to one chain bookstore and one independent new/used bookstore. The independent was always small, has evolved and now doesn't even bother with best-sellers and genre fiction. Their buyer is superb. It's easy to drop $50 on impulse, and yet come away feeling you got good value, not only what you bought but the entertainment and education from exploring the shelves.

          •  E-books (0+ / 0-)

            A friend of mine moved recently and didn't want to move 30-40 books and just donated them all.

            Unfortunately for many bookstores, there is almost no reason to buy a physical book anymore (other than coffee table material, etc). On my iPhone and iPad I have every book I've purchased recently and can read any of them at any time. They take up zero space, and are cheaper than physical books.

            I used to spend a fair amount of time in bookstores back in the day, but today, why...?

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 05:05:08 AM PST

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          •  one of the things i loved most about living in SF (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            llywrch, MarkInSanFran

            were the book stores.  primarily the ones specializing in used books, but a few all new independents like City Lights and Clean Well Lighted Place.  i spent hours in Aardvarks, Dog Eared Books and Adobe.  Never made it to Green Apple, but can now reveal my secret spot was the back of the Gold Cane on Upper Haight.  a regular there keeps a Free Books shelf in back and works at a publishing house.  i pulled tons of stuff i would never have otherwise read.

            you're right about the value of a good buyer.  and, as a life long bibliophile, i could never part with my walls of books and bookshelves.   i get too much pleasure from having my own personal library in addition to a love for the physical act of turning pages.

            the trajectory of physical books may mirror that of vinyl records and maintain a loyal cult following for a long, long time.

            A standing army is like a standing member. It's an excellent assurance of domestic tranquility, but a dangerous temptation to foreign adventure. Elbridge Gerry - Constitutional Convention (1787)

            by No Exit on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:03:26 AM PST

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    •  Employees AND shareholders get screwed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joynow, a2nite

      by greedy executives. And boards do nothing.

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