SF's Borderlands Books Going Out of Business

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    Deane Johnson

    Books stores have been hard hit by the likes of Amazon.

    They claim to have only had a $3000 profit last year. That doesn’t surprise me. If this is factual, they indeed couldn’t absorb a significant increase in the minimum wage.

    I suspect that in reality, they were headed out of business anyway as on line sales took more and more away from them.

    We’re rapidly moving toward the internet for our retail. I’m doing it. I belong to Amazon Prime and Amazon is the first place I look for something. Free shipping, no tax.


    “Most of retail is a “dying” industry and with half your costs of doing business being payroll and it jumping up 50% in a few years…that’s the killer. Simple math here.”

    Costco doesn’t seem to have that many problems with the “math.”


    The owner paid himself $28K, he could cut his salary to bridge the very small gap by the increase in minimum wage. And the $3000 is before depreciation.

    The next increase is $1.20/hr. I’m not sure how many employees they have, and most of them are part time, so let’s assume he has 10 employees who average 25 hours a week. That’s an extra $300 per week for payroll, $3600 per year.

    This kind of increase isn’t enough to caause a business to close.

    And let’s remember, he’s choosing to close down PRIOR to the increases rather than innovate and find a way to keep the business profitable.


    City leaders in SeaTac, Wash., say they’ve noticed little impact on the overall economy one year after voters increased the hourly minimum wage to $15.

    KING-TV reports an estimated 1,500 total workers saw their minimum wage increase under the new law, including 400 who live in the city limits.

    City manager Todd Cutts says there has been no impact on sales tax or property tax, and no change in the number of business licenses issued.

    The law requires hoteliers with more than 100 rooms to pay workers $15 an hour. Scott Ostrander, former general manager of the Cedarbrook Lodge in SeaTac, said before the law was passed he would close several rooms in his hotel to avoid having to comply. However Cedarbrook Lodge is now moving forward with a 63-room expansion and recently started paying the $15 per hour minimum wage.



    >>Costco doesn’t seem to have that many problems
    There is NOBODY to help you on the floor at Costco…all employees are at the cash reg or in the kitchens…don’t think Costco is that cheap…cost per value…online beats or even Walmart.


    To restate my question;

    Should it be normal and acceptable to work two or three part time jobs and still have trouble making ends meet?

    Is it moral to pay someone less than a living wage for a day’s work?


    I don’t think so.

    Or… let’s say we do want to do that.

    Then subsidies should be expected and ordinary.

    One or the other.

    People have to be able to make it for their labor.

    Personally, I don’t want to subsidize for profit business. Profits is a thing one earns.


    Costco doesn’t seem to have that many problems with the “math.”

    Costco does things a bit differently. First, they are a shopping club, rather than a traditional retailer. They make money from people just buying membership, and those dues are collected from customers regardless of whether they will spend $50 at Costco over the next year or $25,000. Of course, having to buy a membership encourages the customer to shop more because (s)he wants to make the membership payment feel worthwhile.

    Costco also focuses its business on selling large quantities of items (i.e. supersized containers) or on expensive high profit margin items (for example, big screen TVs and surround sound systems instead of clock radios).


    Is it moral to pay someone less than a living wage for a day’s work?

    I am somewhat conflicted on the “living wage” rhetoric. The reason is that in high school, virtually all of us had friends who waited tables, worked in fast food kitchens, or ran grocery store checkouts. We might have even done those jobs ourselves. For high school people, the amount of money earned at such jobs is not important because parents or guardians are still taking care of the “living” aspects.

    However, there is also the politically incorrect reality that these low-skilled entry level jobs are also often done by African-Americans and immigrants. These people DO rely on these jobs to pay the rent and put food on the table.


    Yes and given the state of jobs today, the default should be a basic living wage.

    Perhaps we can then grant exemptions for people starting out.

    Retail suffers from tepid demand as much as it does Amazon, et al.


    There does IMHO need to be some sort of exclusion for teen workers and college students.


    It’s really simple: a “living wage” is based on annual earnings. Students and teenagers will never make that much, because they aren’t (or at least shouldn’t be) working 52 40-hour weeks in a year.

    People who are worried about teenagers making more than they deserve because they are not supporting a family need to remember that those kids are working at most 20-30 hours a week. And, if they *are* working that (or more) it’s probably because those kids are working to supplement the entire family income – which means that they *do* need to make a living wage because they are probably living on that income.

    Just like citizens deserve a basic education, basic protection of law, basic rights, etc. they also deserve basic compensation for an hour of their time when employed by others.


    Or… we agree to fund them in other ways.

    I don’t care which, so long as people are able to make it on 40 hours a week.

    If they want more, they can work more, or work better, or make things, whatever.

    This idea of people labor not being worth what it costs for them to live to labor Is dragging everybody down because those costs are there as long as the people are.

    Somebody pays them, or the people die.

    I do not want to subsidize business in this way. They either make a viable business, or not. Running a business that requires other people, not getting part of the business, pay labor through subsidies is a ponzi scheme and isn’t really doing anybody but the business owner any good.

    If we do decide this continues to make sense, then we also need to quit punishing people for receiving subsidies of various kinds.

    One or the other. Which makes more sense?


    @ Broadway:

    “There is NOBODY to help you on the floor at Costco…all employees are at the cash reg or in the kitchens…”

    What on earth would you need “help” with at Costco?
    Picking up a big box of Depends?


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