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McDonald's Says Goodbye Cashiers, Hello Kiosks (forbes.com)
39 points by HoppedUpMenace 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 119 comments

> While some consumers may appreciate the novelty or added convenience, the conveniences come at the cost of entry-level jobs.

Added convenience? In the past, someone else would translate my spoken word into the inputs that the computer screen required. Now, I don't have to speak, but I do have to figure out how to use this interface. Any bets how long it takes me order my food? If Wawa is any indicator, at least 3 times as long.

(Insert secondary rant about the "convenience" of DIY grocery checkout. I cannot stand those things!)

About the same amount of time. I used these and it’s just a huuuge iPad with pictures in the middle and categories on the left. No slower at all.

I appreciate the convenience, I’d rather have the freedom to poke around and explore the menu at my own pace. And avoid talking to a person.

If I had to guess, the speed of ordering will depend heavily on how custom your order ends up being.

I order items without cheese, which tends to take longer with cashiers anyway, who tend to assume you really mean you want it with cheese even if you say "hamburger". And there's about a 25% failure rate for the "no cheese" directive to be followed anyway.

But I reserve the right to (really) pass judgement until I've actually experienced a kiosk! Hopefully the UI is logical and doesn't hide options. (The current trend in menus seems to be bigger pictures and fewer options shown by default, while there are items that are still available but hard to find. Used to be able to look for "Dollar Menu" but now "value items" are kind of scattered throughout. Just finding the price of french fries seems to be a challenge for my feeble mind sometimes.)

> I order items without cheese,

The kiosk app makes you go through a screen to customize items. The first time I wanted to order a hamburger I was stuck because there were only cheeseburgers. Later a screen offered the option of removing the cheese.

I appreciate the choice myself, but PSA, my impression [0] is even when we consciously think we don't want to talk to anyone, simple human interactions, even with service workers, actually DO raise our base mood/happiness a non-trivial amount.

[0] https://verybadwizards.fireside.fm/136

  simple human interactions... actually DO raise our base mood/happiness
Not if it's a negative interaction.

I'll listen to this today, thank you.

> (Insert secondary rant about the "convenience" of DIY grocery checkout. I cannot stand those things!)

I LOVE those things. Yes, lots of people have problems with them, but at the store I frequent (WinCo), most people have an entire cartful (filled to the brim) of stuff. I live nearby and go multiple times a week. Usually I have less than a basket of stuff. It almost always gets me out 3-5 minutes faster than a line.

Downvote? What is in there to downvote? I'm doubling-down.

I LOVE those things.

One of my local grocery stores just got rid of a bunch of their checkouts in favor of self-service. It's OK if I'm just picking up a couple of barcoded items. But it's a huge PITA for things like produce to the point where I've largely switched to another chain.

I got so fed up w/ the poor service at my grocery store that I've been using Amazon Prime Now for groceries. So far, so good.

I used to live in a Peapod area, and it was awesome.

Amazon's grocery service in Seattle was also my go-to for a while.

But where I am now, Amazon Prime/Amazon Pantry is close to double the store price or more for fresh items. For example, a gallon of milk is $1.49 at the neighborhood supermarket. Prime Now is $5-6/gallon. I like largely because you can only buy organic.

I used Peapod for a period when I had a broken foot. Maybe I'll give them another shot one of these days.

I don't get Amazon Prime. I can get Instacart but not for Whole Foods.

Ditto on that. It works awesome when you need to skip a queue while buying a couple of well packaged items.

Worst part is if barcode is mangled. Some of the systems don't allow to enter barcode by hand which suuuuucks big time. Then I need to wait for "assistance" just to insert magic key and enter the damn barcode.

Produce isn't bad at my chain. you can input via code, name, or picture. Easy.

most of the time the (mininum wage) employees are not very good at it either. you end up repeating yourself, confirming everything, and still wait on them to push the buttons..

Both solutions are less than ideal.

You'd think that using the kiosks would reduce error, but my experience over the last six months or so has been that the error rate is actually higher, compared with ordering at the counter.

And the kiosks aren't all that sturdy. One time it failed to print a receipt, which you need to pick up your food. Another time two of the six positions were offline (blank screen).

However, I only go to McDonald's about one every other month, so my sample rate is very low.

they are a sort of portal into a dystopian AI controlled future

I have way fewer issues with self-serve checkout that require me to line up at the customer service desk.

My main gripe is that efficient pipelining is prevented by machines that weigh every individual item that is scanned before admitting the next one. This is insane; weighing the previous item can easily overlap with scanning the next one; as long as they are put down in the order they were scanned.

That's why I am going to 24-hr McDonald at 2AM to practice ordering using the Kiosk, to help saving time for others. You see? /s

You can have multiple kiosks so you can parallelize the ordering process.

At least here in Israel, the added conveneince for me comes in the form of the McDonalds app.

It has my favorites on it, and I can order them with only a few clicks, customized to what I like, and do it all before I even arrive at the restaurant. I can literally spend 1 minute on my iPhone without even having to get near the restaurant, and arrive there to have my food ready.

>Insert secondary rant about the "convenience" of DIY grocery checkout. I cannot stand those things!

I prefer them, but I'm well aware that the convenience is more for the store not having to pay someone to do what they've trained me to do for free.

Only a matter of time before your phone will transfer your order over when you walked in.

It’s sold as a convenience, but the reality is they’re having the customer do the job, but without pay. If I wanted to be a cashier I wouldn’t have gone to school. Of course this gets some traction with people who’s major goal in life is to minimize human-human contact, but for the rest of us this is a pain in the ass. On the other hand, this will still be the least objectionable part of the McDonald’s experience, with the food being second worst, and the supersonic diarrhea being worst.

The funny thing is, it's a perverted version of the DIY movement of the 1970s. Being able to cut professionals out of any equation was seen as empowerment for individuals. Pump your own gas! Fix your own car! Knit your own sweaters! Shingle your own roof!

Now, you get to cosplay as the formerly employed teenagers who used to do these jobs, which in turn empowers the bourgeoisie. Bag your own groceries! Scan your own groceries! Order your own food!

Facebook and the like have long been exploiting users to train their machine-learning models. Classify our data for us! It's fun for you!

Next we'll probably have self-service sandwich shops (if they don't exist already) so you can make your own food as well while paying someone for the privilege.

Need an operation? Suture self!

If you’re going to ask me to check out and bag my own groceries, I’d expect you to at least pay me minimum wage to do it. What’s next? Customers have to stock the shelves and empty the trash too?

This discussion has already devolved into a war of slogans and soapboxing. It's barely been an hour.

I can't really blame HN. The article focuses on minimum wage and largely blames it for automation, and the author is under the impression that it's still possible to go from working the register to CEO.

This is not a good article. It lacks any insight or perspective.

Even his attempt to relate his own experiences was pretty poor. He was a grill man, which had some modicum of skill that a fast food patron would pay for. Unlike a decade ago, most people have grown accustomed to data entry on a machine. Progressing to a self-serve order kiosk, or even order on a phone and send it to the restaurant before you step in is inevitable.

Some of the McDonalds do offer table service. If this CEO is bleeding-heart about young labourers that he employs could simply retrain them for that task and/or convert them to kitchen staff to better handle the foot + drive through traffic.

But at the end, this is merely a fluff piece about how minimum wages are bad.

It was an article written by the CEO of McD!

Former CEO, but yes.

Someone conceived in a McDonalds restroom the last time he was its CEO would almost be able to drink legally in most US states now. The US was in the middle of an economic boom in 1997. He does not have a relevant perspective.

I think there's a big difference between "he was CEO 20 years ago" and "he does not have a relevant perspective".

He has at least as relevant a perspective as any commenter here, though of course I believe he has way more relevant experience, having been the CEO of McDonalds. If you think he didn't face anything like these kinds of issues, you're wrong.

> the author is under the impression that it's still possible to go from working the register to CEO.

Unlikely? Of course, but definitely possible.

Someone's probably done a study of changes in the odds of this happening over the years.

I'm not saying the odds are high. I'm just saying it is in fact possible.

I find it interesting that much more automated fast food actually did exist for a long period of time and fell out of favor.


That looks like it's more about serving the food automatically rather than ordering it. With the kiosk, the food is still served the same way, but the ordering involves less people.

I can see the automat process being less desirable because there's an unknown, and obviously longer time between when the food is prepared vs when it is served. With the kiosks the food is still served pretty much immediately after it's prepared.

> A study by University of Virginia and Middle Tennessee State University economists found that teenagers who held part-time jobs in school had annual earnings that were 20 percent higher than their counterparts without experience six to nine years after graduation.

> These entry level jobs such as flipping burgers or taking customers orders teach teens valuable jobs skills such as customer service and applying basic math skills. Skills that could ultimately lead to the career stepping stones for a working teenager to become an engineer or accountant.

I think these are good points, but I think that we should be careful that we're not giving young people advice that's obsolete. Times change!

Here's a thought exercise: Imagine the time when the first jobs for hourly pay came into existence. What advice was the older generation giving to the youth of that time? (I can imagine my elders telling me that it'd be important to learn to take care of animials, or harvest wheat, etc.)

>Here's a thought exercise: Imagine the time when the first jobs for hourly pay came into existence. What advice was the older generation giving to the youth of that time? (I can imagine my elders telling me that it'd be important to learn to take care of animials, or harvest wheat, etc.)

Wages were known to be paid in ancient Egypt, so that advice would have been useful for the next few millennia.

My first job (in high-school) was doing QA and eventually coding for a 4 person software first. I don't know how common this actually is, but I don't see why internships/apprenticeships can't be a more common thing for even teenagers (instead of just those in university).

I suspect that it's a lot less about any specific skills and more about earning money, showing up for work even when you don't want to, etc. I suspect that if those same teenagers worked on a farm part-time (or perhaps even played organized sports) instead, they'd also do better than their counterparts who didn't.

Very true and exactly my point! Maybe “showing up” by logging in to Facebook to socially influence others and increase your employer’s followers is just as effective at giving young people life skills as flipping burgers was back in the day. Let’s not constrain ourselves to burger flipping because that was a thing once upon a time.

I like the kiosks at least in Manhattan. No line, I don't have to deal with a moody cashier, and the menu is more complete. It's like using the Starbucks App.

The only item I semi-regularly enjoy from McD's is a McDouble Like a 'Mac. Unfortunately when I tried a kiosk, I couldn't order it. If they go 100% kiosks and not offer this delicious mod, I will no longer be their customer.

hmm... I'd like to try this. Is that how you order it? "I'd like a McDouble like a Mac, please"


I think the basic idea is good.

In Germany we already have many such Kiosks, but you can still go to a regular person and buy your stuff, without using this computer.

I had the impression many people don't use the Kiosk, don't know why.

My take is, you're standing right before a big screen and everyone behind you can see what you're doing, which feels kinda awkward.

Maybe they should have used an app for this.

Only you can see what you buy, you can take as long as you like, pay online, get your number and with it your food without the need to stand in line or something.

FYI this is an opinion piece written by a former McDonalds CEO. As for my opinion, I welcome the kiosks as there will be less communication barriers and greater order accuracy. Innovation will always lead to a reduction in human labor costs, but we should not artificially keep human labor where it's not needed.

I can't read forbes anymore since it only displays a blank page to me. Personally I have been using kiosks at Mc Donald's for years. Compared to self checkout at grocery stores, they are usually a good experience. My only problem is that some of the promotions don't work with them.

Same here. I use uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger and https everywhere.

Edge opens the page just fine. My eyes are bleeding.

I used to work right near a McDonalds in Los Angeles that has had two of these in addition to cashiers for a few years.

Here is what I've noticed:

- All other things being equal and given the option, it seems that most people went to the human cashier. I can't ever remember seeing a person using one of these if there was no line at a person.

- During peak traffic times (lunch hour, as this McDonalds was near a bunch of business parks) they often needed an employee manning the kiosks to answer questions and help customers who got stuck. In this case, it was one employee for two terminals, but it could probably have been a 1:4 or 1:6 ratio no problem.

- Kind of unsurprisingly, people you would assume were not good with technology (older patrons) seemed to struggle more and take longer to order and get stuck more.

- There was a little bit of a learning curve to be able to confidently use on quickly, but even once I had gotten the hang of it, going to a cashier was always faster. Having a friendly, categorized, nested UI is just slower than what the cashiers have. Also, the terminal touch screen wasn't super responsive.

This all leads me to believe that this really isn't that big of an issue at this point. I expect to see a hybrid style approach like we do we self-checkout at grocery stores, where you have the option to do it yourself, but it's not the only option.

No matter how simple they make these to use, it's still a new "thing" to learn. Frequent McDonalds customers may opt for the terminal, but infrequent customers aren't going to want to take the time to learn how to use these, especially when they are in a rush or have other pressing issues (imagine a one parent 3 screaming children type scenario).

The nested UI kills it for me. It's so goddamn slow and irritating, especially if the submenu doesn't have what you're looking for. The pictures of everything are huge. It's not a menu, it's a web site.

I literally have an easier and faster time ordering food from Japanese fast-food places, with the entire menu being listed in Japanese and me knowing only enough kanji to distinguish pork from fish.

In Europe it's totally the opposite. Especially around Holland, I never see people standing in line at McDonald's. Everyone goes straight to the kiosk.

Good, one less person to screw my order up.

A human is still reading the order and making your food. I've had mistakes with mine that were very obvious like "No cheese" yet I still get cheese

So... like they said. Down from 2 to 1.

Funny enough last time I used one of these I still screwed it up and ended up having to talk to a cashier anyway.

Could you explain? The kiosk seem super straightforward and paradoxically easier (you can quickly customize any order up until the details).

For me it just didn't print the ticket, so I couldn't prove I purchased it, fortunately I had my online banking app with me that showed the transaction.

I'd guess the worker putting the food into the bag is where the failure occurred.

I tried it on a lark just the other day, "mcdouble with no onions and extra pickles." Got the pickles but still had onions. /shrug

This will become better and normal very fast, and in ten years waiters and cashiers will seem as quaint as land-line telephones.

In China, it's apparently already very common to order (and pay) from your seat at a restaurant using an app.

In some restaurant chains in America, too. But we're talking about McDonald's specific kiosk system, not some random app in China.

I've had nothing but positive experiences with the kiosks.

As for automation reducing the amount of available jobs... well, yeah, that's going to happen. Humanity will adapt. It's what our species does best.

I rarely, if ever, go to McDonald's at home. However, I realized that the kiosks in foreign countries allow you to order in english. They are quite convenient if you want food quickly but don't want to deal with a language barrier. I am looking forward to seeing more kiosks at fast food places in the future.

I have two problems with this approach to cost control. Neither is concerning the potential loss of jobs (or at least the lack of need for additional hires).

First, I don't think it will be more convenient. Sure, it is much more convenient for McDonald's to do this. But probably not for the user. Is it really easier to press a bunch of buttons on a system you don't use that often? Or is it easier to just verbalize what you want to a human being and have them enter it appropriately because they are more familiar with the system and can do it faster? I think it's a no-brainer that just saying what you want is far better for most consumers. If you order the same thing whenever you go and memorize how to quickly enter it, then it could be simpler. But that's probably the only case. That's what I do at Wawa - I always get the same sub so it's not time consuming for me to order. If I got different stuff, it would take me longer to order than just telling someone.

The other issue I have is that this whole concept of adding devices supposedly improves the bottom line of the company but they will surely charge customers the same prices. It also provides the customers with less service, not more. I remember when Applebees was testing out the same thing - trying to push everyone to order on those table devices that they have which have the games for kids on them. I outright (but politely) refused and requested a normal server/service. They happily obliged. But the reason is because it's more of a pain for me to put in the order and then it's an annoyance to call someone by pressing the button to notify them like they are flight crew on a plane.

Things get more complicated if you have coupons, or special requests. My wife is currently pregnant and these kiosks were at the McD I went to recently. She had asked for the McD big breakfast but since she can't have the sausage due to her pregnancy she wanted it totally separated so I could have it. Now I have to, presumably, type in notes for my special request?

Another thing I just thought of is the issue with errors in ordering. When McD (or anyone else) currently makes a mistake, it's on them. But now there's a chance that I will enter it wrong by incorrectly using their system. I'll never make a mistake ordering verbally. There's a decent chance I mess up when doing it via kiosk.

"I started working at McDonald’s making the minimum wage of 85 cents an hour. I worked hard and earned a promotion to restaurant manager within just one year, then went on to hold almost every position available throughout the company, eventually rising to CEO of McDonalds USA."

Howmany people didnt make it up that far?

I've been using the McDonald's iPhone app, which shares the same objective as the new kiosks. Besides several glitches here and there, I definitely think that's the future. However, I wonder if it is a humanity milestone to liberate us from cashier jobs.

Tried this a few years ago, it was interesting. Foreign country, not very good at the language. Sure, let's try the kiosk. What I didn't think of that they would mumble the number of my order when I was supposed to pick it up.

Tried this recently again, it failed horribly.

Enter local McDonalds, see huge queue at normal counter and short queue where you grad your stuff.

Notice new kiosk, choose stuff, it works flawlessly and quick.

Try to pay with card, machine doesn't accept my card. Now I have to use the long queue to pay. Awesome. Of course the card worked there.

That's my main problem with these "automated" things - it's fine for the regular use case, but you better not run into any trouble (which is not your own fault).

This move is extremely bad in terms of execution. At least the one I see in France.. gosh, I don't even want to go to McDonalds. It's ridiculous both in technical and cultural terms.

The old cashier / queue was part of the spirit. Rush hour sucked but after seeing the new 'decoupled' scheme, I regret waiting 10minutes for my hamburger.

The kiosks are damning, huge and not very efficient, often breaking the space in the worst possible way.

The kitchen which was a tense flow of cooking is now a boring sight of randomness. The other employees are looking at each others waiting for someone to answer their ticket number.

Almost comical. Bonus point, there's opportunity to snatch some receipts and get free lunch from time to time.

I agree. The kitchen seems far more chaotic now that the employees are all answering to a computer. And when something goes wrong, there's nobody with the training or authority to fix it.

And because the customer has to stand around for ten minutes waiting for the food, you have nothing better to do than watch the kitchen mayhem. Half the staff running around. The other half waiting for something to happen so they can start running.

At least, that's how it looks in America. In Germany, it seemed to achieve the goal of a well-ordered, speedy kitchen.

Yeah I understand there are different 'implementations'. But I've seen the same in a totally different company. Work was split vertically, each employee was responsible for handling from a to z. It had issues but it wasn't chaotic. Then consultants came with horizontal decoupling. We were all devoted to a piece of the task, and then nobody knew what the hell was going on. Things were bouncing back and forth. It's nobody's job since you "talked" to the kiosk and employees aren't there to give you something. It's not a restaurant, it's a badly designed factory.

There were several generations, and it seems like each country has a different version. I have seen at least three (US, NL and DE). I think the latest generation in US and DE are quite nice. But only at places with a lot of tourism people actually seem to use them. Most people just go to the cashier.

I know it's almost absurd, because mcdonalds, from an angle is just a business, but there was a spirit there, you went for the whole fast cooking, meal ordering, etc. Now it's ghosted and not even smooth. Actually it's slow.

McDonalds was synonym with fast and fun. It's now corporate.

The McD's up the street has a couple of these but they don't accept cash which makes it necessary to for me to use the cashier since I'm a 99.99% cash-only person.

The main benefit AFAICT is they only use the fancy table tents so they bring your order out to you, using the cashier is hit-n-miss on those things and seems to totally depend on how the cashier's day is going.

One thing I have noticed lately is there's a whole lot more kids doing the entry-level jobs at McDonalds these days, for a while it was almost exclusively older folks and the youngins were just out of luck trying to get a foothold in the job market.

I have a friend who works for a McDonalds competitor (a Little Caesar's) in a small town in North Dakota, where McDonalds is already the big spender at 15 bucks an hour, not because they desire to replace entry level jobs, but because hiring people who are competent and reliable is a literal day to day struggle.

This seems like the inevitable result of both the pressure to hire decent workers and a desire to keep costs down.

Once customers become fluent in the interface, I can't imagine businesses not adopting it en masse. What's to lose, if you're struggling to keep meatspace workers?

Soon, I imagine places like McDonald's will let people pre-program their favorite orders into their phones and order via something like NFC. Walk up, wave your hand, and your order is in the queue.

Mobi2go.com sets up apps like this for any restaurant chain.

That'd also keep you from touching the same screen many others had touched that day. I wonder how often they're cleaned.

You can already order McDonald's from the app, just without the NFC.

It's actually an interesting challenge when it comes to mobile. A number of things that could be handled with NFC (and QR, beacons, etc) end up being implemented using GPS and the phone's network connection.

This is one of those things where I wonder if it will be faster, or take longer. I'm sure the idea is to have multiple kiosks open so that more people can order simultaneously, so that would typically result in faster orders. But having stood behind many people at the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines watching them figure out how to use it and decide what they want to drink, I can see this making things a lot slower even with 2-4 times the kiosks vs human cashiers.

In Denmark most macdonalds in the capital area have kiosks now, there is never a line and they are pretty intuitive. No problems at all.

I prefer kiosks for these type of transactions. The only problem I see arising is if a customer has a specific question about a menu item, though I can't remember the last time I had a question like that.

Maybe the 3-4 cashiers this displaces can now focus their efforts on helping out in the kitchen or perhaps roving the dining area providing Chick Fil A level service by getting me refills or taking my tray away.

> Maybe the 3-4 cashiers this displaces can now focus their efforts on helping out in the kitchen or perhaps roving the dining area providing Chick Fil A level service by getting me refills or taking my tray away.

I suspect the 3-4 cashiers this displaces will add $45-$60/hour of operation to the franchise's profits.

Is someone in the world already working on the 3D printing of the cheeseburger? With the Mac food being so standard why even use a single human in its preparation? Get a 3D printer and open the shop. BYOD for the consumer UI instead a kiosk, too.

How would 3D printed food even work? You would grind the ingredients into a paste first then extrude them all out into some vague semblance of their original form? It's not as if you can 3D print cheese, tomatoes and beef from the same substrate without Star Trek levels of quantum mechanical superwoo.

Someone posted a link to a startup a few weeks ago[0,1] that wants to try automating food... that's more likely to be what fully automated fast food would look like.



Who said they should be printed from the same substrate? Color printers is a thing, right?

That's usually what people seem to think of when they consider 3D printers, because that's what 3D printers tend to do.

Otherwise to "3D print" a tomato slice you would spray tomato slurry layer by layer into the shape of a tomato slice, which would just be silly and far less efficient (and probably more expensive) than having a person slice a tomato.

They make it sound as if the reason for the switch is the minimum wage raise but in reality they would do it anyway. Human cashiers probably have less communication with customes than kiosks so not much to lose there.

The kiosk UI looks pretty slick actually:


I thought for sure the McDonalds Kiosk would be woefully worse than a real cashier. So I tested it. My goal was to order a cheeseburger with extra pickles, no salt, and no onion. Boy was I wrong; not only was this stupid easy to do, it was probably easier (and quicker and more accurate) than a real person taking the order. I walked away seriously impressed.

It looks slick, but it's unnecessarily slow. They have animations that you stop appreciating after the first 2 times because you just want to see what the options are.

However, points to them for making it sufficiently flexible. I can order a sweet team, minimal ice, which was a pleasant surprise.

At our local McDonald's there are 9 kiosks and yet no one is ever at one. The lines at the human cashiers are as long as ever.

Our Wal-Mart has self-checkout kiosks. It's usually convenient, unless you've got things to weigh.


I downvoted and flagged this post because this personal attack really goes off the rails of the HN guidelines [1]:

> In short, Fuck Ed.

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

I remember people saying that when they were raising the minimum wage in ontario. Really though those machines have been around for much longer.

(apologies for not having time to write it concise and quickly to the point)

First off, Living Wage is marketing and political tripe. Just as we cannot set a nationwide minimum wage and expect it to serve people equally the same can be said about the $15 dollar value most associated with "Living Wage". Plus in some cities it comes with a collective bargaining exclusion which the unions want because they can then sell staff unionization to businesses under economic pressure.

So what happens if we reach this mythical living wage. Well most restaurants and big box stores, if not mom & pop businesses? The only flexibility is in wages. Everything else is basically locked in.

So now if wages go up a lot of people who used to be hired won't be. That neck and forearm tattooed person is of the list, same as the ones who sneaking food out but you overlook. Now your in the range of those who might be thinking they can make a career out of this at $15. There is a huge gap in who is employable at $9, $12, and $15. At the low end you can quit and probably get hired back when you need to bail a friend out. Businesses accept that level of worker at these pay points. Move up to $12 and even $15 and now, they don't get in the door. Suddenly at $15 jail time, drug use, and more, is not something you have to tolerate because you got people who will show up on time, dress right, and more, because they can make it work at $15

So the people who desperately need any job are out of consideration. They get pushed into the other market, day labor, prostitution, and fast money at worst. You end up with them hopefully on assistance programs because legal employment is basically out - they got priced out of the market.

A job typically offers pay proportionate to the value the job-doer is creating. Cashiers should learn some skills and get a more difficult job if they want to earn more money. If you are replaceable by a freaking 2 foot iPad, you probably need to rethink how you're spending your time.

We need basic income.

We used to have tens of thousands of low paid telephone operators. As recently as 1984, AT&T still employed 40,000 of them.

We didn't need that profession either.


There's almost 4 million employees in the fast food industry in the US, so the problem is a few orders of magnitude bigger. Also, what happens when the pool of jobs for unskilled workers dries up?

If a person does a job of a cashier, should that person be compensated appropriately for their time?

That's not the question. The question is whether the job should exist at all vs the cost of a fair wage in that job if it does continue to exist.

Should we hire five million people to unnecessarily sit and click a button or type out phone numbers to send text messages and connect phone calls to their destination through a switch in the cell networks? We could make it that way. Rhetorically how much would that job be worth? That's why it doesn't and shouldn't exist.

If machine is capable of doing the same job as human, then machine should be paid salary that could be then used for healthcare, electricity or education.

That's an absurd statement.

The job it replaced doesn't just go away. The people who made the machine can either sell it or lease it for a profit. That's where the job goes. To the machine-maker.

That's an absurd statement. Should you get compensated for throwing your trash away too?

In reality you're "compensated" by having a burger that costs $5 instead of $10.

This is not a great analogy, because you are paying for the trash to be taken with your taxes.

This era will see some debate on the value of the idea of job.

This is literally what Andy Puzder threatened to do back in 2016. We cannot leave labor decisions to capitalists. They are the class enemy.



I wonder if the workaround will end up being to order at the drive through window with a person and bring your meal into the store to eat.

Seem to recall a few years ago McDonald's testing out routing the audio from the drive thru to a call center in India. Not sure how it turned out but probably is still an option if they want it to be.

I rarely go to McDonald's but the last two times I was there I would have preferred the kiosks. Not because the employees weren't good at their jobs but because the menu boards with all the items and prices were filled with animated graphics. By the time I'd find the section with what I was looking for, it would disappear and be replaced with some animation pushing a product I didn't want. Finding the price difference between a sausage biscuit and a sausage McMuffin shouldn't end up being like playing a puzzle app on my phone.

The kiosks likely try to upsell too but ultimately you have to be able to find what you want on it to be able to order for the kiosk to work.

>Seem to recall a few years ago McDonald's testing out routing the audio from the drive thru to a call center in India. Not sure how it turned out but probably is still an option if they want it to be.

It's like that the two McD's closest to me. But I don't think it goes to India. I think it's domestic. Or at least North America.

Why would you even want to do that?

One scenario: A break during a long road trip.

I'm sure there are others.

Ah the road.. the best place to have the McGurgles :)

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