McDonald's has more tone-deaf tips for workers

The fast-food giant is again under fire for obtuse financial advice it reportedly offered its low-wage employees, suggesting they sell unwanted items online to raise cash and 'quit complaining.'

By Benzinga Nov 20, 2013 5:54PM

Marino Ahuatl works the drive through station at a McDonalds in Wheaton, Ill. (© Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)By Bruce Kennedy

McDonald's (MCD) is coming under fire for recommendations it reportedly offered its workers on an in-house, employees-only McResource Line website, on how to cope with issues like the upcoming holiday financial crunch.

According to screen grabs compiled by the activist group Low Pay Is Not OK, the McDonald's site offers such stress management tips as "Pack your bags: At least two vacations a year can cut heart attack risk by 50 percent." It also suggests singing away stress to lower blood pressure, as well as to "quit complaining."

When it comes to digging out from debt, the McResource Line suggests employees "consider returning some of your unopened purchases that may not seem appealing as they did."

"Selling some of your unwanted possessions on eBay (EBAY) or Craigslist," it adds, "could bring in some quick cash." And in terms of making ends meet, the site reportedly recommends breaking food into pieces -- a tactic, it says, that "often results in eating less and still feeling full."

Some employees of the fast-food giant are expressing their dismay at the company's seemingly tone deaf attempts to assist them.

"We make $7.25 an hour," Jeanette Lynn, a 26-year-old McDonald's worker in Durham, N.C., told the Huffington Post. "Why in the world would we take vacation if we already aren't getting paid enough?"

Lisa McComb, director of U.S. media relations for McDonald's, told the Huffington Post the McResource Line is meant to be an employee resource, and that some of the tips there could be "taken out of context."

But this isn't the first time the restaurant chain has been taken to task for how it approaches the financial dilemmas of its minimum-wage workers. Earlier this year, critics say, a financial planning site put together by McDonald's and Visa (V) unintentionally showed, in the words of The Atlantic's Jordan Weissmann, "how impossible it is to scrape by on a fast-food paycheck."

And then there was the recent news about a food drive at a Wal-Mart (WMT) in Canton, Ohio -- where local Wal-Mart workers can donate food items, so their "associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner."

A company spokesman told The Cleveland Plain Dealer the food drive shows Wal-Mart employee concern for their co-workers. But Norma Mills, an organizer with the activist group Stand Up for Ohio, disagrees.

"That Wal-mart would have the audacity to ask low-wage workers to donate food to other low-wage workers," she told the newspaper, "to me, it is a moral outrage."

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Nov 20, 2013 8:26PM
I'm all for free markets, but for them to work correctly, there has to be a bit of regulation.  It seems our minimum wage regulations are a bit out of whack with current reality of cost of living.

At $7.25 an hour, a full time job here seems to be a poverty wage.  That means that McDonalds employees are going to be paid partly by their employer, and taxpayers will be footing the bill for the rest of their compensation (food stamps, medicaid, etc.).

I consistently hear conservatives spout "communism/socialism" any time the topic of underpaid workers comes up, and I think they're wrong.  The government is forced to pick up the remainder of living costs for these workers, and corporations are subsidizing their profits with taxpayer dollars.

When it's necessary for government to fund underpaid employees' basic needs for a company to stay in business, that is not a free market.  It's corporate welfare.  It's time for conservatives to look up from their right wing manifesto and recognize that a little minimum wage regulation in job market is necessary.

In this case, we need minimum wage regulated up to a high enough rate that a full time employee does not require government assistance for basic food, shelter and health care.  The kind of free market I'm interested in is one where corporations no longer receive subsidies for keeping their employees in poverty.  I'd also love to see some penalties for hiring a bunch of part timers to avoid having to cover full-time benefits.  That's just another ploy to put your workers on government assistance. 

Alternatively, perhaps we just need a poverty tax on corporations.  We can let the free market dictate wages, but companies can reimburse the government for every full-time employee of theirs on food stamps or medicaid.  They can reimburse a pro-rated amount for every part time employee who they deny benefits to.  I bet that will fix our living wage issue pretty quickly.
Nov 20, 2013 8:46PM
Good for McD's. and yes, quit complaining. If you are willing to work and make a wage to better yourself, you should take pride in what you do. Get over yourself and how you should be paid more for making fries or flipping burgers. I did it and was fine with it. Now I am an engineer. I worked a lot of jobs I didn't like but did the job like my life depended on it. BECAUSE IT DID!  For those of you who have been raised in this pathetic culture that tells you you are a great and you deserve to get ahead.....IT IS A LIE. The only person that can take you where you want to go is you. NOONE ELSE OWES YOU ANYTHING!  Grow up and make the best of what you have and work toward the future you want.
Nov 20, 2013 8:40PM
Mcdonalds is not a career!!!!!! It is a first time job till you get through college or find a real job. If you dont like how you are treated QUIT!!
Nov 20, 2013 8:29PM

Tone deaf, huh?  McDonalds has given basic, entry-level job training to more young people than all the phony government programs combined.  And it doesn't cost the taxpayer a dime.


Check the surveys, and you'll find a very significant number of people whose first job was picking up scraps or working the counter at McDonalds.  Unlike so many of today's union-agitated whiners though, people used these jobs as a stepping stone, not a lifetime career.

Nov 20, 2013 8:41PM
OK I am the only one who understands fast food and retail to be those starter jobs you have in high school and collage? MaDonalds and Walmart are two examples or your typical part time minimum wage jobs. What don't the employees get about that? I've have a few retail jobs, my first at 16, I always understood that the little bit of money I made would not even be enough to support myself. These are jobs for those who have no prior work experience to get some under their belt. I'm sorry but without a degree or work experience you are NOT going to land a job that pay $20 an hour, it's just not going to happen. And to think a minimum wage job is going to pay more than minimum wage is just unrealistic.
I really don't get these people who think they will be able to make a living and support a family working at a place like McDonalds.

Nov 20, 2013 8:41PM
i am so sick and tired of the comparison of minimum wage and poverty levels. the jobs at Wal-mart and McDonalds, as well as many other "service" orientated companies are meant for those with no skills or experience to do and gain the required addition to their resume for jobs that pay well. the idea that a kid with the limitations of flipping burgers be paid comparable pay of those who have worked for years is stupid and insulting. Can't make it on minimum wage? Garner the skills  to get a better job. That is how Americans have done it from the beginning. And regarding government help, well, if you can't stand on your own two feet without unfair advantages, get comfortable on your knees.
Nov 20, 2013 8:40PM
These people act like a McDonald's gig is the last line on their resume - the pinnacle of their careers - instead of the first line on their resume. Get a second job. Or start your own burger joint. Nothing is stopping but your ambition and your work ethic. Mmmm. Perhaps I've identified the root of the problem....
Nov 20, 2013 8:49PM
If you people suffering "moral outrage" would quit shopping at Walmart things would change. You expect super low prices so you are the problem.
Nov 20, 2013 8:36PM
Just like the woman who complained that she has been at McDonalds for 10+ years and hasn't seen a raise. Go somewhere else if you don't like the pay. These jobs are for high-schoolers, college students and people looking for a PT job for a little extra cash. 
Nov 20, 2013 8:33PM
All planned out. In early 1970’s both political parties endorsed and released “Workforce 2000” plans starting with the Fortune 500 companies. Workforce 2000 and NAFTA is Americas contribution to the new global economy. Jack Welch, then CEO of GE designed the model and the rest of the big leaguers followed in his foot steps. He started sending “Low Tech” devices like toasters and coffee makers over to get the Chinese farmers out of their fields. Look where they are today. I remember it well working for a large aerospace company in So. Cal.
We attended a four hour presentation on how America was going to change. “Workforce 2000”. We were to become a service oriented country. How labor intensive work was going to be out sourced. How Chinas average pay scale was a whopping .35 cents per day. The man hours it took us to build one large airplane would be an equivalent cost to the most expensive BMW motorcar. Were all our stock holders and board of directors excited. The Demographics of America were also explained. Guess what? The Hispanic communities was going to be the major population in the LA basin area. That’s right. See where we are today. All part of the plan and don’t forget, all endorsed by both political parties. Then the whipshooding began. Jack Welch implemented a theme called, “Keeping the Ideas Coming”. Ref. March Fortune 500 article. With the threat, or inevitable loss of our jobs, he started a manipulation cooptation strategy to pick the employees brains and make them think they could compete and save their jobs/asses. Manufacturing Engineers and digital camera’s were used to pave the way for the Chinese farmers to help with their training. The CEO’s, corporate leaders and politicians are raking in all the benefits.
So when I hear and read about this new economy BS, remember our government has it all under control. The part I have trouble with is if people are not working and or making half of what they use to make, income tax revenue will drop as well. How dose a tax system expect to sustain and pay for basic services, afford a healthcare program and frequent handouts to the world in trouble?
In 1992 United Auto Workers union, (UAW) predicted that only 4% of the American workers will be represented by a union. Police, fire services and a few more government jobs will be represented to show the world America is still labor friendly.
As Americans Change so to speak and our earning power diminishes Americans will eventually take what they can get. Just like other third world counties did. Its Americas turn to become the stepchild.
And now Obama has brought in Jeffrey Immelt CEO from GE. Immelt cut his teeth under Jack Welch and Harry Stonesypher. GE was the model corporation which has led to American’s loosing their jobs. And now a Muslim in charge of Homeland Security. Amazing how everything predicted is coming to pass.
Wal-Mart has become the new commissary to America by design..
Now Wal-Mart is articulating the hiring of Veterans. Good idea. The same patriots whom our government and veterans administration plays “Hide the Pea” with when it comes to their benefits. Control again folks. These loyal and trained individuals would make for fine patriot soldiers when the sht hits the fan in America.
I believe the first clue to Globalization was when our Department of Weights and Measures was consider converting over to the Metrics System in the 70’s..They were laying out what has come to pass now. Many Presidents, many Administrations have had opportunity to shift gears. They didn’t. Then came the Euro idea. Thank God we did not bite that apple.
Sad how all these article writers have just gone along with it too. If they did a serious “Cause Analysis” they would find a whole new prospective on this mess.
Invest back into America, Buy  “Beans, Blankets and Bullets.
God bless those who believe in him.
Nov 20, 2013 8:36PM
McDonalds inside of Walmarts---maybe McDonalds workers can sell their clutter to Walmart workers and Walmart workers can donate money to McDonalds emploriyee---have a flea market every Saturday in isle 14.
Nov 20, 2013 9:37PM
I agree stop complaining...I started as a dishwasher at way below minimum wage during the 1980 recession when unemployment was 10.8%, then gradually it got better, then much better and now I own a business and I'm very successful.  The Second you feel Victimized you are Dead in business - Forever.  Oh well.... I guess that will upset half the population but it's the truth.
Nov 20, 2013 6:56PM

"That Wal-mart would have the audacity to ask low-wage workers to donate food to other low-wage workers," she told the newspaper, "to me, it is a moral outrage."

I love that quote - Ms. Mills thinks it's a "moral outrage" to ASK one worker to DONATE to a fellow worker in need, but I am certain she is quite comfortable with the prospect of this worker (ME) being FORCED to GIVE TO the workers in Ohio I have never met through my taxes. (SNAP)

I've got news for you Ms. Mills - the fellow workers are the close ones - they can see if the person is in need or if they just make bad decisions. OUR GOVERNMENT on the other hand -threatens to throw me in jail unless I "DONATE" to every sloth in the country whether they deserve it, or even if they just have a really severe drinking habit!

Nov 20, 2013 7:34PM

Did the writer of this article ever think that some Wal-Mart employees have money, i.e. spouse that work and have no babies with five different dads.  These people could obviously help the other employees.

While I am at it are you aware that the military has been asking soldiers for years to help with the families of the lower ranks at the Holidays.  Now, (NOW) the government wants to cut the militaries benefits.  Where is the outrage from the lefty loonies when it comes to the military?

Nov 20, 2013 8:59PM
BREAKING NEWS!!!! McDonalds, Wal-Mart, and ALL other part time, minimum wage jobs, are NOT, and were NEVER intended to be living wage jobs, or careers!
Dave Ramsey made a fortune on the same advice and wrote a book about it.   Sounds like good advice.
Nov 20, 2013 8:38PM
I'm sick of these writers injecting their personal views on these "news" articles.  McDonald's doesn't have to offer any advice whatsoever - the employee's lack of funds is THEIR problem. They're lucky to have a job. PERIOD.
Nov 20, 2013 8:47PM
Christ on a crutch!!!
If you scrubs are that unhappy working at MCDonalds or Walmart, quit the fing  job and go elsewhere.
You jerks already know you  are so inept and incompetent, that no one else will hire you and you are  still complaining.
Now you have  job and you whine because it doesn't pay more, quit the job and leave, scrubs.
You won't though, will you, no one else will hire your worthless fannies.
I was in a McD day before yesterday and watched an employee, trying to figure out how much change I should get on a $5. 55 bill, when I handed her $10.55

Nov 20, 2013 7:34PM
Can anyone out there imagine the McDonald bros. or founder Ray Kroc issuing that in house message?  If McDs wasn't a global empire no one up in the main office would dare issue this. 
Nov 20, 2013 6:24PM
My god, McDonald's almost sounds like a "state" run entity...... oh yeah, and so does Walmart.
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