Strong characters are brought out by change of situation, and gentle ones by permanence.
- Richter, German Novelist (1763-1825)
Ashton Kutcher Speaks to Fast Food Strikers:
Video and a full transcript of Ashton’s speech can be found below, but there was one section in particular of Ashton’s speech to the fast food strikers that I wanted to emphasize first.
When I was 13 I had my first job with my dad carrying shingles up to the roof and then I got a job washing dishes at a restaurant and then I got a job in a grocery store deli and then I got a job at a factory sweeping cheerio dust off the ground. And I’ve never had a job in my life that I was better than, I was always just lucky to have a job and every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job and I never quit my job until I had my next job.
To the fast food workers demanding a raise of 2/3 over what they’re currently getting paid, now consider this:
No one said you have to stay there forever.
If you don’t like the wage that job pays, do like Ashton said, use it as a stepping stone.
If customers were fine with spending as much at McDonald’s as they would on a night out at a nice restaurant, I’d applaud you on your raise from $9 to $15 an hour, but let me tell you something, customers aren’t going to pay fine dining money to eat at McDonald’s. The market won’t support it. And don’t give me that crap about how many billions of dollars McDonald’s is making, if you were smart, you’d stop complaining and get your own share of those profits by investing in the company and becoming a shareholder. If McDonald’s is making billions, then it’s a sure thing that the stock will only continue to rise and oh by the way, the quarterly dividends on McDonald’s stock have risen each and every year since McDonald’s paid its first dividend in 1976. Stop complaining about the billions McDonald’s makes and get your own piece of that action. It’s amazing how much that would change your perspective on the profits they’re raking in.
I think workers’ right to strike for a higher wage is as American as the entrepreneurship of the people who actually created these companies and made your jobs possible, but the market will not support $15 an hour for you to flip their burgers or work the cash register. No one’s going to pay that much for you to do what you do. McDonald’s could just as easily start filling your shoes with all the illegals Obama’s trying to give amnesty to or they could bring in $4,000 robots to fill your shoes, and guess what? The customers will be fine with the savings because they’ll be able to afford McDonald’s once a week instead of every other month and all the while, the shareholders will be seeing their stocks and dividends rise on the increased earnings.
Once you figure out McDonald’s will never pay you the 66% increase in wages, don’t turn to society to hike your wages. Society does not owe you any specific wage and even the Democrats know that if they jack the minimum wage up too high, it ultimately becomes a jobs killer.
You think $9 an hour for working in a fast food place is unfair? Start your own restaurant and pay all your employees $15 and I’ll wish you the best of luck.
Okay, as you’ll immediately notice by the squealing, this speech was actually made at the Teen Choice Awards a couple weeks before the fast food workers went on strike today, but Ashton’s message could be just as relevant (maybe even more so) if he were speaking directly to those fast food workers.
Here’s the full transcript of Ashton’s speech:
My first name’s Chris and it always has been and it got changed when I was 19 and I became an actor. There were some really amazing things that I learned when I was Chris and I wanted to share those things with you guys because I think it’s helped me be here today.
So it’s really three things: The first thing is about opportunity. The second thing is about being sexy. And the third thing is about living life.
So first the opportunity. I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work. When I was 13 I had my first job with my dad carrying shingles up to the roof and then I got a job washing dishes at a restaurant and then I got a job in a grocery store deli and then I got a job at a factory sweeping cheerio dust off the ground. And I’ve never had a job in my life that I was better than, I was always just lucky to have a job and every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job and I never quit my job until I had my next job.
And so opportunities look a lot like work.
Number two, being sexy. The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful. And being generous. Everything else is crap, I promise you. It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less, so don’t buy it. Be smart, be thoughtful and be generous.
The third thing is something that I just relearned when I was making this movie about Steve Jobs. And Steve Jobs said when you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way that it is and that your life is to live your life inside the world and try not to get in too much trouble and maybe get an education and get a job and make some money and have a family, but life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing – and that is that everything around us that we call life was made up by people that are no smarter than you. And you can build your own things, you can build your own life that other people live in.
So build a life, don’t live life, build one.
Find your opportunities and always be sexy. I love you guys.