Wouldn’t You Love to Raise Your Prices?

Not that it’s worth much, but I was an Econ major in undergraduate and grad school. I do remember Macro Economics 101 – supply, demand, and price elasticity (not sure how much more I remember). J

I mention this because of a recent Puget Sound Business Journal article that started with, Jody Hall has never cried more about work than she has since Seattle implemented the $15 minimum wage.”

It seems Ms. Hall, the owner of six Cupcake Royale stores, was in front of the Seattle City Council sharing her story of multiple, personally guaranteed leases, the rising costs of ingredients, and how the council’s raising of the minimum wage to $15 per hour would add $1 million to her costs, and ultimately mean less jobs.

The response from one council person was, “Just raise the price of your cupcakes.” FYI, this council person is supposedly an Econ major and taught Economics at the Community College level.

News flash: If it was that easy to raise the price of cupcakes she would have done it already (and make more profit).

Hall’s response to the raise your prices comment, “That reveals a basic lack of business knowledge, [I] can’t just raise prices. Cupcakes aren’t a necessity. People will go elsewhere or go without if prices rise too much.”

I am not against fair wages and at the same time I feel government officials, most of whom have never had to worry about making payroll, much less even had to think about it, shouldn’t be micro-managing businesses and treating them in a one-size-fits-all manner.

Look around at low-wage and entry level food service jobs as they disappear. Airport restaurants, Panera Bread, and others in their stores have kiosks to place your order. Many casual restaurants (including Homegrown and Starbucks) let you order and pay online, so you can simply walk in and pick up your order. Kiosks and the Internet don’t ask for wage increases, take sick days, etc.

Given the choice, many businesses are opting for more technology and fewer people, and not just in food. Amazon uses robots in their warehouses and most manufacturing business have for years used machines that do the job of multiple people.

I guess I’m saying be careful what you regulate because as we know from Newton’s Third Law, every action has a corresponding reaction.

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