The manager calls the applicant and charges $17 an hour. It backfires.

A user on TikTok has sparked debate after sharing a video of an applicant being penalized for demanding a starting wage of $17 an hour.

“That’s what I love about hiring people,” says restaurant manager and TikTok user Luke (@lukeduke41011c) in a video with over 137,000 views. “This boy has never, never had a damn job in his life. Look at that shit.”

Luke then pans the camera to reveal an application.

“No experience? I want $17 an hour,” he continues. “$17 an hour. You’ve never worked. Where the hell do these people do…” The video cuts out before he finishes his sentence.

@lukeduke41011c ♬ Original sound – LukeDuke410

In the comment column, many users sided with the applicant.

“They wouldn’t pay that if they had experience,” argued one commenter.

“Why does it matter that he never worked? You don’t do paid training?” asked another.

“Yeah, so $17 an hour probably doesn’t even cover gas and food,” said a third.

Other users noted that many companies are now offering higher wages.

“My daughter got her first job at Target and made $18,” claimed one commenter.

“My daughter did this work as a fast food day job,” offered a second.

“Good for him. $17 is more than fair to start with. Minimum wage in my state is $15 and most places start at $17 like WM and MD,” wrote another TikToker.

As of 2021, McDonald’s claimed it would pay entry-level workers $11 to $17 an hour and shift supervisors $15 to $20 an hour, depending on location, per CNBC. However, many locations are already offering wages at the higher end of that spectrum and beyond, and McDonald’s itself said the average wage for the company’s employees will reach $15 by 2024.

For example, one user wrote in Luke’s comments section, “McDonald’s in my hometown is $19 an hour.”

Still, some users sided with Luke, with many discussing the minimum wage in general.

“The minimum wage is not there to live on. It’s a way for people to start anywhere with a job. Usually high school or college students,” claimed one user.

“You’re absolutely right,” Luke replied. “This isn’t a career he’s applying for, it’s a job.”

While this is a common topic of conversation, under Cornell Law, the minimum wage was originally intended to be livable.

“The purpose of the minimum wage was to stabilize the post-depression economy and protect workers in the workforce,” writes Cornell Law. “The minimum wage was designed to provide a minimum standard of living to protect the health and well-being of workers.”

Luke finally responded to his critics in a video.

@lukeduke41011c ♬ Original sound – LukeDuke410

In this video, he questions whether it would still be unfair to pay less than $17 (“$15.50 per hour”) when he offers unlimited overtime, billed at $23-$25 per hour.

Commentators were not convinced.

“If you can pay them overtime [then] Just pay overtime as regular pay,” one commenter said in part.

“They produce a lot more than what you’re trying to compensate for,” explained another commenter. “[ask] yourself what value you actually create.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Luke via TikTok comment.


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*Initial publication: January 26, 2023 7:51 am CST

Braden Bjella

Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazine and more.

Braden Bjella The manager calls the applicant and charges $17 an hour. It backfires.

Jaclyn Diaz

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