I sat in my car outside of my family’s house as the sun set. My phone lit up my face, and I kept scrolling because I imagined the image of me from outside the car, in a suburban driveway under the dusky sky, lit by a sterile, blue light. My brother drove up next to me. They raised the minimum wage for fast food workers today, he said, but the change will be implemented in April next year. $20 an hour. My brother makes less than that. He suggested working at McDonalds.
Supposedly, according to a thread I read on reddit, costs of fast food will increase for late-night dutiful patrons of those companies who do not already start their workers at $20/hr. Someone mentioned that their friend’s most recent Taco Bell run was already $40! (As I check the closest Taco Bell, you would need to order 8 of their priciest taco, which is the 500-calory “Doritos® Cheesy Gordita Crunch - Nacho Cheese” taco, in order to hit $40 limit!) Let’s pretend that hike in the minimum wage for only fast food workers (whatAboutAnyoneElse!) is a rapid black-hole spiral of the fast-food industry for hungry people like me: there must be a way out.
Luckily, for those of us that think we live in Hell, there is a way out. Salvation resides in Olive Garden: they do not have to pay their workers $20/hr. Neither does Panera Bread. For if you SELL BREAD AS A STANDALONE MENU ITEM, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY YOUR WORKERS MORE MONEY.
Salvation, for fast food restaurants, is ushered in by bread. This is my body, broken for you, so that you ARE EXEMPT FROM PAYING YOUR WORKERS. Prepare for the new millenium, expect the eschaton, where hamburger buns are sold in restaurants alone (grilled cheese, no cheese), and Subway adds flatbread-no-sandwich to their menu. Options abound: a tortilla is a bread (I’m looking at you Taco Bell!). And the soon-to-exist bread combo, please, at Raising Canes, with 3 pieces of Texas Toast!
Imagine everyone using their newly-minted sourdough baking skills (leavened with a claustrophobic nostalgia borrowed from the pandemic lockdowns) to add one new menu item to their cheesecake-factory sized abomination of a menu. Maybe it’s worth saving that extra $4/hour.