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'I Can Barely Afford My Children's Shoes:' My Life As A McDonald's Worker

Business  (tags: McDonald's, minimum wage, poverty )

- 1454 days ago -
Meet Melinda Topel, a single mother with a college degree raising four children on poverty wages and no sick days.

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Ivana B (60)
Sunday April 27, 2014, 8:55 am

Nancy M (197)
Sunday April 27, 2014, 10:59 am
Man, with a college degree. But I find it very believable.

Rose B (141)
Sunday April 27, 2014, 4:47 pm
This company makes millions and doesn't give a crap about the workers

Athena F (131)
Sunday April 27, 2014, 6:02 pm
Things have to change, not just with this evil company, but with the poverty levels in general.

Past Member (0)
Monday April 28, 2014, 9:52 am
Working a job at McDonalds was never intended to be the sort of job to raise a family on, unless you were the owner of the franchise. Originally these sorts of jobs were for high school or college students while going to school or someone who wanted a part time job to make a little extra money. Times have changed since the signing of NAFTA when the government and corporations sold out the American worker and sent most of the good jobs to China and elsewhere, now there are not enough jobs let alone full time decent paying jobs so many are working two or three part time jobs trying to make ends meet. We know of several people with college degrees that cannot get a job in what they were trained for so they are working several part time jobs and all they do is work, eat and sleep with hardly any free time and these are people without children. Add children in to this picture that people cannot afford is not good. And no these places do not give a rip about the people who work for them.

Birgit W (160)
Monday April 28, 2014, 2:04 pm
My heart goes out to all the single parents and their children. It is nearly impossible to survive nowadays with just one income. :-P

Lois Jordan (63)
Monday April 28, 2014, 3:08 pm
Noted. Thanks, Freya. For people reading this whose hearts aren't breaking, I feel sorry for them. The "I-got-mine" mentality in the U.S. right now is positively shameful. The system is broken and the deck is stacked against anyone who isn't part of the 1%. Raising the minimum wage, increasing taxes on the wealthiest....we need to continue to badger our members of Congress for these....for starters. The money that the Company exec used to buy that nice foreign sports car could've gone a long way in wages for his/her employees. I'm absolutely disgusted.

Kathleen R (138)
Monday April 28, 2014, 3:27 pm
noted and read

Clare M (80)
Monday April 28, 2014, 5:38 pm
Whenever I go to McDonalds, maybe 1-2 a month, I am always greeted with a smile and good service. There was an article on the Cause section about Servers with someone demanding a 20% tip is given to them each time regardless of service, food etc. Forget that, but I would gladly tip 20% to McDonald workers any day.

Carol H (40)
Monday April 28, 2014, 5:58 pm
Without going into detail so I will not be judged, I will say I have no other choice to be at a p/t minimum wage job, no full time in available, because that is all there is that is steady work and I'm glad to get it. Admin Assist/Secretarial jobs are temp MAYBE temp to hire and VERY intermittent. I needed steady work, hence the min. wage job. I also have a 2-year college degree and age may be against me. I'm divorced, fortunately receive child support, am on food stamps (not much) I work every chance I get at banquet/server jobs in between, bring home leftovers if possible. My daughter and I cram into a 1 bedroom, live frugally, reduced/marked down/manager's special meats/food/dented cans, food pantry, Goodwill clothing bus to work, eat at home, don't drink, smoke, never eat out, forget 'entertainment'., don't buy books, magazines anymore, etc etc. IT'S NOT ENOUGH MONEY. When you've cut to the bone, you can't cut anymore. This is outrageous that fat cats and politicians sit pretty while the rest of us suffer EVEN WHEN WE'RE WILLING TO WORK! It boggles my mind. I was paid more 20 years ago than I am now and everything costs MORE. Sound familiar anyone, ??

Katie & Bill D (107)
Monday April 28, 2014, 6:11 pm
McDonald's is not the only place that does this stuff to the worker's there are many restaurant's that do all of this too! Limit hours, penalize with paycheck theft. No Breaks, long hours, No benefit's! All worke'rs are not kid's many are adult's! Average age is 28.
Thank you Freya


Past Member (0)
Tuesday April 29, 2014, 11:37 am greed driven a slaver culture of the elites and their happy slaves..Not happy.. other employment or education.:)
Be awful with no job at all in greed driven capitalist fascist psychopaths paradise slaver world :0)

Ralph Brenze (1)
Tuesday April 29, 2014, 8:53 pm
Thanks for sharing

Ralph Brenze (1)
Tuesday April 29, 2014, 8:54 pm

Sara S (2)
Wednesday April 30, 2014, 4:07 pm
The status quo has got to change. Everyone deserves a living wage, and CEOs all need a pay cut.

Angelus Silesius (125)
Thursday May 1, 2014, 6:40 am
Dept of Health and Human Services is ultimately to blame for not updating the federal poverty level, which IMHO should be $35k or less for individual, $60-65k for family of 3

Diane L (110)
Sunday May 4, 2014, 9:48 pm
Jobs at fast food restaurants, except in the managerial positions were NEVER meant to provide for a family, and certainly not a single parent with four kids! They were meant for students and young adults who probably share expenses in the way of housing. I find it sad that a single parent with a college degree works at Mcdonalds, providing she has the skills to work somewhere else, but maybe she should have not had those 4 kids without an income which could provide for them. I've had to provide for 2 kids after becoming a "single" parent, and yes, took a 2nd job at McDonalds to do it. If I had never had the skills to do something different, I wouldn't have had those 2 kids, but it "was what it was" and Mickey D's was just a "stop gap" until I got something better. I wouldn't have whined about them supporting me completely back then, however.

I also don't think that such a job should be compensated in the same wage scale as skilled jobs. Please don't try to convince me that somebody stuffing a paper bag with a BIG MAC, and a small side of fries deserves the same hourly pay as a certified welder or an airline pilot, and yes, it was on Nightline that some airlines pay pilots less than $25,000/year to start.

Diane L (110)
Sunday May 4, 2014, 9:52 pm
"no breaks"? William & Katri, unless you live in the South or another country, please tell me which state does not mandate a rest break at least every 2 hours! It's called STATE LAW where I live and that over-rides any company's rules. Some industries can ask or suggest that rest breaks be delayed during rush shifts or in times of emergencies, such as hospitals and veterinary clinics, and I'll assume cops and firefighters don't walk off after 2 hours to eat donuts and drink coffee, either.

Sorry, but I'm pretty sick and tired of reading the whining from those who have no skills, no education and expect to be compensated as if they did.
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