How Long Does It Take You To Earn $7.50?

At about 8:40 this morning, I went to Staples on Gallivan Boulevard in Dorchester. As soon as I walked in, they had smiling people standing by the doors handing out the vouchers for $7.50. There were a fair number of people shopping, but I didn't have to wait in line and there was no chaos or excitement. I'm not sure how many people are usually there at this time of day, because I usually shop in the evening or on a weekend morning.

The last time I went to Staples, it was around 8:00 on a Saturday night. I figured I'd be one of very few people there. I was wrong. It was packed with parents and their very energetic children zooming around the store buying all kinds of school supplies.

I didn't even know about the lawsuit and settlement until reading about it online yesterday. Usually when I receive something as a result of a class action settlement, I have to wait years for it and then often I end up not even using it. This was nice, because it was unexpected and $7.50 can still buy a few things that are needed.

Since I went from being a salaried employee to doing contract work, I think about my hourly rate. Is it straight time or overtime? How long do I have to work to buy something? I think about this. Are those shoes really worth two overtime hours? Sometimes my free time is worth more than the money. You only get so many sunny days at the beach.

The current federal minimum wage is $5.15 per hour. There are people out there working really hard, doing all kinds of very unpleasant work trying to support their families and not actually even making $5.15 an hour, because taxes are being taken out first. They have to work over an hour to make $7.50.

So if people think I am nuts for being excited over $7.50, well maybe this adds a little something to broaden your perspective. The federal minimum wage has been the same since September 1997. How long do you have to work to earn $7.50? What does an hour of your time mean to you?


wheresmymind said…
It makes me really sad when congress increases their salary yet keeps minimum wage at the same rate
Dezel Quillen said…
Hello Anali,

I would also agree, my personal time spent visiting vineyards, farms, the ocean or doing absolutely nothing is well worth the time spent, opposed to trying to put in OT at work to squeeze out a few more dollars.

One of my favorite R&B vocalists, Sam Cooke once sang, “The best things in life are free”; Sam, for the most part stands correct.

Happy Sipping!

Mosilager said…
At least the US has a concept of minimum wage... many other countries don't.
I'm still waiting for my free one month of netflix... based on some class action suit... not that i have any time to watch, but it's nice knowing that they'll send over some dvds after being kicked and screamed at by the courts for the next few years.
Unfortunately the people who most need the 7.50 probably can't afford to take off an hour or so of work to go to staples.
starry said…
You are right about waiting for a settlement on a class action suit.I have even forgotton how long it has taken. We do forget when we spend how long we have to work to earn $7.50. My 16year old had a part time job in the summer working at a pharmacy making $7.55/hr. I would have to always remind him of how long he had to work to earn that money, because he would spend his earnings without even thinking.But then very few people do.
Lisa Johnson said…
wheresmymind - It really is outrageous that it has not been raised. Well, that is the policy of this administration. Don't get me started!!! : )

dezel - I agree that the best things in life are free, but unfortunately the reality is that we need at least some money so that we can live decently enough to enjoy those things.

mosilager - Very true and good points. As I was going about my morning, I was thinking that it was a bit of a luxury to plan my own schedule, so that I could take advantage of the promotion and then go home and blog about it.

starry nights - It definitely is a good lesson to learn young, so that many mistakes can be avoided. I wonder what your son would think about going to get the voucher. Would he think it would be worth it?
So So Simple said…
Interesting...the min wage for an adult in NZ is $10.50 per hour

and our people think they are hard done by

Youth rate is $8.20 per hour

How are the favourite things going?

Just been out to lunch with ny husband and son tell dezel lots of NZ Sauv Blanc drunk
Lisa Johnson said…
so simple - I just used a currency converter to compare the US$ to the NZ$. Today $10.50 NZ converts to $6.90 US. It's still higher than the US minimum. Very interesting...

I have a few favorite things entries, but I think I'll post a reminder.
vasilisa said…
I used to have a job that paid more than that, and I would've been a snob. Now, as a mom and family's finance organizer I realize that it is still money, cause it can get you things you'd otherwise have to trade of. $7.50 can buy a lunch, a toy, and groceries. So it's actually is a valuable thing.

PS: the state of minimum wage in Canada is shameful. Noone can actually make a living on that money. Not in the big cities anyway.
Jeseem said…
this is not fair. why can't they giv a few check in CA also. us poor californians.
Lisa Johnson said…
vasilisa - It seems to be true in most places that it is virtually impossible to make a living on the minimum wage. This begs the question, shouldn't the miniumum wage be the least amount of money that you CAN actually live on and not less than that?

jeseem - It's true that many states have their own minimum wage, which are more than the federal minimum. I think CA may have one of the highest of the state minimum wages, but I have not checked.

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