Minimum Wage

Scared of Minimum Wage Hike, Employer Considers Replacing Workers With iPads


And you're fired
Credit: srqpix /

The Wall Street Journal reports that less than 2 months after President Barack Obama announced plans to increase the Federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour, businesses are already freaking out. The owner of a cupcake shop in Virginia Beach is considering replacing 10 of her employees with tablets:

Carla Hesseltine is considering buying a few tablet devices for her bakery so customers can place orders for her signature M&M cupcakes on their own, straight from the counter.

The reason: She fears the $7.25 an hour that she currently pays her 10 customer-service employees, mostly college students, could rise, perhaps to $9 an hour under a pledge by President Barack Obama earlier this month.

In order for her Just Cupcakes LLC to remain profitable in the face of higher expected labor costs, Ms. Hesseltine believes the customer-ordering process "would have to be more automated" at the Virginia Beach, Va., chain, which has two strip-mall locations as well as a food van. Thus, she could eliminate the 10 workers who currently ask customers what they would like to eat.

Anecdotal evidence being exactly that, here's Reason's Brian Doherty on the wealth of empirical evidence that says minimum wage costs jobs. 

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  1. Why doesn’t she do that now? Surely a few iPads would cost less to operate than 10 minimum wage workers.

    1. In fact, surely there are off the shelf automated ordering systems already in existence that are cheaper than iPads.

    2. Gets people in and out quicker, and people may prefer to go to a place that has human workers. But artificially raising the price of labor makes the automation alternative more and more attractive

    3. Why iPads? Why not create a mobile app to allow customers to order on their smart phones?

      I want to order my crap via phone, pay for it with PayPal and then show up and pick it up.

    4. Yeah, or at least replace all but one (per shift). You can order yourself or if you really want to talk to a person you can wait in line. What’s funny is that all of the young people that support this kind of bullshit would definitely not wait in line to order from the person. How many Obamatrons use self-checkout at the grocery stores or use ATMs? They’re usually the ones illegal downloaded music, movies, and software and using online retailers.

      1. and not tipping their waitresses shit.

  2. So, you are saying there may be unintended consequences to raising the minimum wage?

    1. Maybe they’re not unintended…

  3. Only $9? Why is Obama so fucking cheap?

    1. He should raise it to $15, but I guess he hates the poor.

  4. Huh. So the long-feared replacement of workers by computers will be forced by the raising of the minimum wage. Interesting. Didn’t catch that in The Terminator.

    1. Seems like a pretty good link between automation and minimum wage. Raise the minimum wage high enough and there will be no jobs except fixing the robots when they break.

      1. How much will I get paid to fix the robots?

        1. Nothing. Robots will be built to fix other robots. It’s robots all the way down!

      2. The GOP should latch on to this–“The Democrats want to raise the minimum wage to make you lose your jobs to robots and computers!”

        1. Oh, I see why the Tea Party is against minimum wage increases now. Same reason they home-school. It’s all part of the war on science.

          1. Sarc, right?

            1. I think that would be the Dems response.

  5. How could this happen?

    A womyn would never make a decision based on profit.

    I’m so confused.

    1. Right, she needs to think about the BA Fine Arts degreed workers who can’t make a living wage or pay off their student loans rather than buying another monocle.

    2. “How could this happen?”

      Because she’s not really a “woman”. Free thought precludes being a woman or being black. She clearly doesn’t “get it”.

  6. The idea that minimum wage could lead to people losing their jobs is a wingnut conspiracy. When will you teafucking ratbaggers realize that?

    1. liberals have no grasp of anything economic

      basic economics tells you that when you make something more expensive, people buy less of it.

      Use what brain cells you have left to figure out the rest

      1. Someone’s sarcasm detector is broken.

        1. I ran out of batteries, and I needed to use it for my smartass detector

          at least I know it works 😉

  7. She may think differently as she discovers her leakage percentage increasing.

    1. It might decrease though.

      1. Absolutely. The ipad isn’t going to not record a transaction so it can give cupcakes away to it’s ifriends.

  8. And next, she can have the tablets go to a screen showing the instructions on how to bake the cupcakes, and the customer can hold up a cupcake pan while the pre-mixed batter is dispensed from a giant nozzle above the counter, after which they walk to an oven equipped with another tablet so the cupcakes don’t burn.

    1. It’s pretty clear in the article that the workers are customer service, not bakers.

  9. So, is she a wrecker, a saboteur, or a kulak?

      1. I like your thinking, comrade.

        1. Bring her in…

          1. Reeducation camp is fun!

  10. Well when you have progressives who think that everyone who owns a business is loaded what did you expect?

  11. Maybe she can just call the waitstaff “interns” learning about customer service. They could still collect tips.

  12. In order for her Just Cupcakes LLC to remain profitable in the face of higher expected labor costs, Ms. Hesseltine believes the customer-ordering process “would have to be more automated” at the Virginia Beach, Va., chain, which has two strip-mall locations as well as a food van. Thus, she could eliminate the 10 workers who currently ask customers what they would like to eat.

    This greedy kulak bitch should stop hoarding her windfall profits, obtained through no skill or effort of her own, and pay her workers a fair wage!


  13. “Barack Obama announced plans to increase the Federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour”

    Barack Obama is a friggin’ idiot.

    Seriously, just because the president has a plethora of pundits to fan out across the news coverage every day to argue about what the president said and did? That may make it seem like he’s smart somehow–’cause why would everybody pay so much attention to an idiot?

    He’s just powerful! They’ll pay attention to anybody that’s powerful. But’s perfectly possible to be both powerful and stupid. We had kings like that for centuries. Sure, the people may have voted for him, but, remember, half the people out there are of below average intelligence.

    Barack Obama is a powerful idiot.

  14. Sounds pretty rock solid to me dude.

  15. And you’re fired.

    But Vera can stay.

    1. Stop sucking up. She’s not going to go out with you:)

  16. And when the minimum wage is raised Obama will brag that “I gave America’s workers a raise” as if the money came out of his own pocket, and prog morons will eagerly nod their heads in agreement. “He’s so kind and generous!”

  17. Why not go with $22 an hour like that genius Senator Warren suggest? Wy not 1 million Zimbabwe dollar a hour?

  18. Second what others have said: if it’s economically rational to replace workers with ipads after a minimum wage hike, why isn’t it before?

    Does laissez-faire theory provide an explanation for how employment and wages are maximized, or does it not care at all, thus making it completely pointless as an economic regime?

    1. Because you’re not always just selling a widget. You’re selling a customer experience. A customer experience is different between say a traditional restaurant and a buffet which is why people will pay a little more to be waited on. Up to a point. Once you raise the cost past the point that people are willing to pay you start losing customers. As has been said before, why not make it $22 an hour? The price incentive in a cupcake shop is quite high since first of all it’s a treat and not a main meal and second of all it’s pretty cheap and easy to make cupcakes at home. of course the very wealthy liberal folks “might” continue to “support” her business so that they can feel good about themselves and to lord over others the fact that they can afford a $20 cupcake. Unfortunately for her there is not enough of those folks around to keep her in business. People will still want cupcakes if you can keep the price down to an acceptable amount.

      1. These are all high school and college kids making some beer and pot money until they can get a real job. I go to this same bar&grill; every Friday for lunch. Nothing special about the place except for the pretty college girl at the bar who I enjoy talking with. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Their prices are already kind of pushing it for what they are especially for lunch. It they went up another two or three bucks I would most likely cut back. I don’t begrudge her making money (I tip her 25-30%, more if I’m ordering drinks), but there’s a point where it becomes less worth the money I work hard for. Also, she’ll be making real money after she graduates. And they will hire another college kid to replace her for the same wage and life will go on. You don’t take cupcake orders as your career. If you did want to do that than you need to deal with the consequences of having a no-skill, no-stress career which would be having a roommate to share expenses or having two jobs or something.

    2. Wages are maximized when there is high demand for your skill set/experience/knowledge and low supply of same.

      Really, this is like BASIC economics, said my 13 y/o nephew when I asked him your question.

      1. I meant society-wide. The goal of any economic regime should be to maximize human well-being, should it not?

        1. And selling cup cakes is maximizing these peoplez potential? Let’s disincent people from bettering themselves by paying them higher wages to sell cupcakes. This is why communism will ALWAYS fail.

          1. Surely we both can agree that the value of cupcakes is measured by economic demand for cupcakes. Nevertheless, while the market mechanism does do a decent job at allocating resources, goods, services, and jobs, it doesn’t necessarily ensure, all by itself, that people’s basic needs are met. That is more important than satisfying an impossible-to-satisfy market purity.

            1. To some, not to all. Hence, the disagreements.

            2. Da comrade. We need only to elect men of strong fortitude to the party. THEN the economy will bend to our will.

            3. “Surely we both can agree that the value of cupcakes is measured by economic demand for cupcakes.”

              So is the value of cupcake waitstaff. A government mandate is not going to change their value as such. It is so nice when you negate your own arguments without any help.

        2. The economy has no “goals”.

        3. Economic regimes don’t have goals. When people star giving them goals, they become less like economics and more like religious cults.

  19. On a high note, the iPads won’t steal from the register.

  20. This is old news to anyone who shops at a supermarket. Those fucking self-serve checkout lines are taking over.

    I was at Giant Eagle yesterday and there were 2 cashiered checkout lines open and 8 self-serve ones!
    And I’m not talking about a 2AM Doritos run; this was at 5PM when the store was full. Couple that with their stupid new policy that you have to scan the advantage card BEFORE scanning any items, enforced by the screen locking up if you don’t scan your advantage card first, and having to wait for a miserable CSM to come over and yell at you before it will let you scan the advantage card.

    Coupled with their sneaky policy of stocking sucrose-flavored Jew Coke in the midst of the regular Coke with no label indicating which is which, they are really pissing me off. And to think they were just on the news the other night talking about how they’re lowering their prices to compete with WM and Bottom Dollar.

    1. Dude, just shop at Walmart.

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