REI bashing



J

Jim Behning

Guest
On Fri, 05 Oct 2007 13:34:21 -0700, [email protected] wrote:

>
>>
>> WTF? My local REI, which is unfortunately in a strip mall in an icky
>> "new-money" part of town, is pretty spectacular.

>
>I think there are two distinct groups of people who have two separate
>experiences with REI. Customers, who get stuff cheap and lots of
>it....and employees who work for a greedy company that masquerades as
>a co-op. Sure, they give some money back to the community, but they're
>a big box store that relies almost entirely on part-time employees who
>have to work 2 or 3 jobs to pay the rent. Not much better than wal-
>mart, in my opinion. oh yeah...and nobody knows anything about bikes
>at the ones I've visited. Might as well go to Sears for a bike.
>
>Mike T.

The Atlanta REI store I go to has two mechanics older than me. That
means they know what 10 speed bikes are and rode them. They know about
friction shifters. I can go in and ask them questions and they will
give me good answers. I may not like their answers but they are still
good answers. Some of the other mechanics seem to know their stuff. I
do not know about the floor staff. I usually am looking for parts so I
start on the floor and then I head to the mechanics.

When I shop at REI I start on the clearance racks. I then look at the
sale racks. Then I look at the regularly priced stuff. Actually we, my
wife and I get what we want from the clearance or sale racks.

I do not know what their employee situation is. That type of retail is
not known for huge salaries I would guess. The two mechanics are full
time. I did see the one mechanic working full time at Carl's bike
store years ago before Carl had a midlife crisis and made some bad
business decisions. A daughter of a friend worked there through
college and then full time for a few years before she went back to get
her masters. So I am saying that there are some full time employees
there that prefer REI to Walmart. They may not get rich but who says
that most retail is a place to get rich. If a person has to work two
or three jobs to pay the rent then maybe they need to get skills that
pay better. Sometimes you even have to move to a different town to get
a better wage. So pray tell how many retail shops pay a "living wage?"
I bet the stores that do are not the stores you want to shop in. I
know I don't. But I do shop to buy cars, tires and autoparts. Some of
those full time employees do not make $50,000 plus which is probably a
make ends meet wage for a family of 4. OK, you can argue that you can
live on $20,000 a year but I bet a family of 4 has to work hard doing
that. They need to find new cardboard for their house after a storm.
They probably are not going out and buying $2,00 bicycles either.
 
T

Tom \Johnny Sunset\ Sherman

Guest
Jim Behning wrote:
> On Fri, 05 Oct 2007 13:34:21 -0700, [email protected] wrote:
>
>>> WTF? My local REI, which is unfortunately in a strip mall in an icky
>>> "new-money" part of town, is pretty spectacular.

>> I think there are two distinct groups of people who have two separate
>> experiences with REI. Customers, who get stuff cheap and lots of
>> it....and employees who work for a greedy company that masquerades as
>> a co-op. Sure, they give some money back to the community, but they're
>> a big box store that relies almost entirely on part-time employees who
>> have to work 2 or 3 jobs to pay the rent. Not much better than wal-
>> mart, in my opinion. oh yeah...and nobody knows anything about bikes
>> at the ones I've visited. Might as well go to Sears for a bike.
>>
>> Mike T.

> The Atlanta REI store I go to has two mechanics older than me. That
> means they know what 10 speed bikes are and rode them. They know about
> friction shifters. I can go in and ask them questions and they will
> give me good answers. I may not like their answers but they are still
> good answers. Some of the other mechanics seem to know their stuff. I
> do not know about the floor staff. I usually am looking for parts so I
> start on the floor and then I head to the mechanics.
>
> When I shop at REI I start on the clearance racks. I then look at the
> sale racks. Then I look at the regularly priced stuff. Actually we, my
> wife and I get what we want from the clearance or sale racks.
>
> I do not know what their employee situation is. That type of retail is
> not known for huge salaries I would guess. The two mechanics are full
> time. I did see the one mechanic working full time at Carl's bike
> store years ago before Carl had a midlife crisis and made some bad
> business decisions. A daughter of a friend worked there through
> college and then full time for a few years before she went back to get
> her masters. So I am saying that there are some full time employees
> there that prefer REI to Walmart. They may not get rich but who says
> that most retail is a place to get rich. If a person has to work two
> or three jobs to pay the rent then maybe they need to get skills that
> pay better. Sometimes you even have to move to a different town to get
> a better wage. So pray tell how many retail shops pay a "living wage?"
> I bet the stores that do are not the stores you want to shop in. I
> know I don't. But I do shop to buy cars, tires and autoparts. Some of
> those full time employees do not make $50,000 plus which is probably a
> make ends meet wage for a family of 4....


$50,000 plus is the going wage for an engineer with a graduate degree
and 5 plus years experience. Making that on floor retail would be
exceptional in the US in this day and age. A single job that can support
a family has not existed for all but a select few in the US for the last
quarter century, unlike the post WW2 period.

--
Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
A Real Cyclist [TM] keeps at least one bicycle in the bedroom.

--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
 
J

Jim Behning

Guest
On Sat, 06 Oct 2007 10:39:55 -0500, "Tom \"Johnny Sunset\" Sherman"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>Jim Behning wrote:
>> On Fri, 05 Oct 2007 13:34:21 -0700, [email protected] wrote:
>>
>>>> WTF? My local REI, which is unfortunately in a strip mall in an icky
>>>> "new-money" part of town, is pretty spectacular.
>>> I think there are two distinct groups of people who have two separate
>>> experiences with REI. Customers, who get stuff cheap and lots of
>>> it....and employees who work for a greedy company that masquerades as
>>> a co-op. Sure, they give some money back to the community, but they're
>>> a big box store that relies almost entirely on part-time employees who
>>> have to work 2 or 3 jobs to pay the rent. Not much better than wal-
>>> mart, in my opinion. oh yeah...and nobody knows anything about bikes
>>> at the ones I've visited. Might as well go to Sears for a bike.
>>>
>>> Mike T.

>> The Atlanta REI store I go to has two mechanics older than me. That
>> means they know what 10 speed bikes are and rode them. They know about
>> friction shifters. I can go in and ask them questions and they will
>> give me good answers. I may not like their answers but they are still
>> good answers. Some of the other mechanics seem to know their stuff. I
>> do not know about the floor staff. I usually am looking for parts so I
>> start on the floor and then I head to the mechanics.
>>
>> When I shop at REI I start on the clearance racks. I then look at the
>> sale racks. Then I look at the regularly priced stuff. Actually we, my
>> wife and I get what we want from the clearance or sale racks.
>>
>> I do not know what their employee situation is. That type of retail is
>> not known for huge salaries I would guess. The two mechanics are full
>> time. I did see the one mechanic working full time at Carl's bike
>> store years ago before Carl had a midlife crisis and made some bad
>> business decisions. A daughter of a friend worked there through
>> college and then full time for a few years before she went back to get
>> her masters. So I am saying that there are some full time employees
>> there that prefer REI to Walmart. They may not get rich but who says
>> that most retail is a place to get rich. If a person has to work two
>> or three jobs to pay the rent then maybe they need to get skills that
>> pay better. Sometimes you even have to move to a different town to get
>> a better wage. So pray tell how many retail shops pay a "living wage?"
>> I bet the stores that do are not the stores you want to shop in. I
>> know I don't. But I do shop to buy cars, tires and autoparts. Some of
>> those full time employees do not make $50,000 plus which is probably a
>> make ends meet wage for a family of 4....

>
>$50,000 plus is the going wage for an engineer with a graduate degree
>and 5 plus years experience. Making that on floor retail would be
>exceptional in the US in this day and age. A single job that can support
>a family has not existed for all but a select few in the US for the last
>quarter century, unlike the post WW2 period.
>
>--
>Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
>A Real Cyclist [TM] keeps at least one bicycle in the bedroom.

Well one might argue that people want to much now. When I grew up we
had two cars. They were bought used and driven until they were totaled
by accident or rust. My parents had a popup tent trailer. They bought
a new HiLo in 1967. They used that trailer until 1987 and bought a
huge pull behind. We lived in a house built about 1900. My Dad worked
on pealing paint and repainting for what seemed like a decade. 6 kids.
If they had not sent the kids to church schools they may have survived
on one income.

Now we get to the late 1990's and beyond. The average house size in
2004 is 2,349 sf. 1990 2,080 sf. 1970 1,500 sf. 1950 983 sf.

median income in 2001 dollars
in 2001 51,407
in 1990 45,392
in 1980 41,830
in 1970 38,123
in 1960 27,857
in 1950 20,227

Mean Income in 2001 dollars

2001 66,863
1990 54,764
1980 47,702
1970 42,910
1960 30,866
1950 23,249

Some would argue that the wealthy are pulling the mean and median up.
Maybe not or maybe so. What I see is that there are families with 2
new cars, maybe 4 cars in the family, 2-6 tvs, a few computers,
satellite or cable, cell phones, those bigger houses. People who
pursue lifestyles of the rich and famous on a bear budget set
themselves up for disaster. Just because someone can afford a new car
does not mean that another person should get a new car. 80/20
mortgages let propel buy stuff they cannot afford. And then they have
to put stuff in that new house they cannot afford.

Family size ranged from 3054 to 3.7 back to 3.18 in 2001

http://www.eweek.org/site/media/salarysurvey.shtml
If you squint you can see some of the engineering salaries here
http://www.rdmag.com/pdf/RD0703cos.pdf Technician pay not so good but
research position pay is a bit better.

Half the US households earn less than $50,000 a year. Somehow I
suspect that not all the breeding is taking place in families with
incomes about $50,000.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States

1969 40% outsold married with children. 19960 was about 25% married
with children.

I guess you can look at statistics all you or I want. I wonder if
clerks and stock boys in departments stores were the breadwinners back
in the 1950's. If not why would anyone expect clerks and stock
boys/girls to be breadwinners in the 2000's? When I was a kid (born in
1960) my mom work at convenience stores and at department stores. Her
full time wage was not much better than minimum wage. At most I
suspect double the minimum wage. She is not home right now to answer
that question. My father as an engineer was the breadwinner. Working
for a government job his salary was not as high as private sector but
at least he was not get downsized every few years. My father -in-law
as an engineer did better but did much better as a manager (ceo) of an
international company.
 
M

Mark

Guest
Jim Behning wrote:
>
> Now we get to the late 1990's and beyond. The average house size in
> 2004 is 2,349 sf. 1990 2,080 sf. 1970 1,500 sf. 1950 983 sf.
>
> median income in 2001 dollars
> in 2001 51,407
> in 1990 45,392
> in 1980 41,830
> in 1970 38,123
> in 1960 27,857
> in 1950 20,227
>
> Mean Income in 2001 dollars
>
> 2001 66,863
> 1990 54,764
> 1980 47,702
> 1970 42,910
> 1960 30,866
> 1950 23,249
>
> Some would argue that the wealthy are pulling the mean and median up.
> Maybe not or maybe so.


Without getting into the rest of the discussion, the wealthy do pull up
the mean (average) quite a bit, but such extreme values have much less
effect on the median (the point that divides the top half from the
bottom half). Note in your data above the means are all greater than
the medians; in 2001 by quite a bit.

I think that's one reason why economic reports usually feature medians -
they tell us more about how people "in the middle" are doing, being
completely unaffected by /how far/ above average the richest incomes are.

People who don't understand the difference between medians and averages
get confused when they hear statistics like "60% of US households have
below-average incomes." (I made up the 60% figure; I think it's
actually a fair bit higher - the table above shows it's certainly well
over 50%).

Mark J.
 
Jim Behning wrote:
> On Sat, 06 Oct 2007 10:39:55 -0500, "Tom \"Johnny Sunset\" Sherman"
> <[email protected]> wrote:


> Now we get to the late 1990's and beyond. The average house size in
> 2004 is 2,349 sf. 1990 2,080 sf. 1970 1,500 sf. 1950 983 sf.
>
> median income in 2001 dollars
> in 2001 51,407
> in 1990 45,392
> in 1980 41,830
> in 1970 38,123
> in 1960 27,857
> in 1950 20,227
>
> Mean Income in 2001 dollars
>
> 2001 66,863
> 1990 54,764
> 1980 47,702
> 1970 42,910
> 1960 30,866
> 1950 23,249
>
> Some would argue that the wealthy are pulling the mean and median up.
> Maybe not or maybe so.


This is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of fact, and the fact
is that middle class wages have been stagnant for about 30 years. Most
of the growth that took place was during the late '90s.

> What I see is that there are families with 2
> new cars, maybe 4 cars in the family, 2-6 tvs, a few computers,
> satellite or cable, cell phones, those bigger houses. People who
> pursue lifestyles of the rich and famous on a bear budget set
> themselves up for disaster. Just because someone can afford a new car
> does not mean that another person should get a new car. 80/20
> mortgages let propel buy stuff they cannot afford. And then they have
> to put stuff in that new house they cannot afford.


The US economy runs on debt- government debt and consumer debt and its
growth- the increase in GDP- is fueled by the US government and its
citizens sinking ever deeper. The converse is that without debt
(including debt to China and other countries in the form of a huge
trade deficit) the US standard of living falls over the last 30
years.

> Family size ranged from 3054 to 3.7 back to 3.18 in 2001
>
> http://www.eweek.org/site/media/salarysurvey.shtml
> If you squint you can see some of the engineering salaries here
> http://www.rdmag.com/pdf/RD0703cos.pdf Technician pay not so good but
> research position pay is a bit better.


Not everybody has what it takes to be an engineer, nor could the US
economy function if everyone were one.

> I guess you can look at statistics all you or I want. I wonder if
> clerks and stock boys in departments stores were the breadwinners back
> in the 1950's.


People did have completely satisfactory middle class careers and lives
as sales clerks, technicians and factory workers up through roughly
the 70s.

> If not why would anyone expect clerks and stock
> boys/girls to be breadwinners in the 2000's?


Well, I guess you answered that question yourself, since the "if not"
part is false.

> When I was a kid (born in
> 1960) my mom work at convenience stores and at department stores. Her
> full time wage was not much better than minimum wage. At most I
> suspect double the minimum wage.


Double the minimum wage probably looks pretty good to a Walmart
employee these days, and considering that the min has not been
increased in years the real difference is probably even greater.

> She is not home right now to answer
> that question. My father as an engineer was the breadwinner. Working
> for a government job his salary was not as high as private sector but
> at least he was not get downsized every few years. My father -in-law
> as an engineer did better but did much better as a manager (ceo) of an
> international company.


The types of jobs in this country that can supply a comfortable middle
class existence have shrunk and those of us who do have comfortable
middle class existences continue to have them because the things that
make us comfortable have been produced offshore much more cheaply;
even our houses are made more cheaply by the importation of cheap
illegal immigrant labor. Our economic system is designed to prevent
any substantial rise in real wages by the American worker, but the
discomfort that it would have otherwise caused is hidden by our
ability to buy stuff cheap. And now it takes an incredible $1.40 to
buy a euro and an even more incredible $1.01 to buy a Canadian dollar,
but it hardly move against the Chinese yuan at all. Somehow balance
needs to be restored.
 
T

Tom \Johnny Sunset\ Sherman

Guest
Jim Behning wrote:
> On Sat, 06 Oct 2007 10:39:55 -0500, "Tom \"Johnny Sunset\" Sherman"
> <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>> Jim Behning wrote:
>>> On Fri, 05 Oct 2007 13:34:21 -0700, [email protected] wrote:
>>>
>>>>> WTF? My local REI, which is unfortunately in a strip mall in an icky
>>>>> "new-money" part of town, is pretty spectacular.
>>>> I think there are two distinct groups of people who have two separate
>>>> experiences with REI. Customers, who get stuff cheap and lots of
>>>> it....and employees who work for a greedy company that masquerades as
>>>> a co-op. Sure, they give some money back to the community, but they're
>>>> a big box store that relies almost entirely on part-time employees who
>>>> have to work 2 or 3 jobs to pay the rent. Not much better than wal-
>>>> mart, in my opinion. oh yeah...and nobody knows anything about bikes
>>>> at the ones I've visited. Might as well go to Sears for a bike.
>>>>
>>>> Mike T.
>>> The Atlanta REI store I go to has two mechanics older than me. That
>>> means they know what 10 speed bikes are and rode them. They know about
>>> friction shifters. I can go in and ask them questions and they will
>>> give me good answers. I may not like their answers but they are still
>>> good answers. Some of the other mechanics seem to know their stuff. I
>>> do not know about the floor staff. I usually am looking for parts so I
>>> start on the floor and then I head to the mechanics.
>>>
>>> When I shop at REI I start on the clearance racks. I then look at the
>>> sale racks. Then I look at the regularly priced stuff. Actually we, my
>>> wife and I get what we want from the clearance or sale racks.
>>>
>>> I do not know what their employee situation is. That type of retail is
>>> not known for huge salaries I would guess. The two mechanics are full
>>> time. I did see the one mechanic working full time at Carl's bike
>>> store years ago before Carl had a midlife crisis and made some bad
>>> business decisions. A daughter of a friend worked there through
>>> college and then full time for a few years before she went back to get
>>> her masters. So I am saying that there are some full time employees
>>> there that prefer REI to Walmart. They may not get rich but who says
>>> that most retail is a place to get rich. If a person has to work two
>>> or three jobs to pay the rent then maybe they need to get skills that
>>> pay better. Sometimes you even have to move to a different town to get
>>> a better wage. So pray tell how many retail shops pay a "living wage?"
>>> I bet the stores that do are not the stores you want to shop in. I
>>> know I don't. But I do shop to buy cars, tires and autoparts. Some of
>>> those full time employees do not make $50,000 plus which is probably a
>>> make ends meet wage for a family of 4....

>> $50,000 plus is the going wage for an engineer with a graduate degree
>> and 5 plus years experience. Making that on floor retail would be
>> exceptional in the US in this day and age. A single job that can support
>> a family has not existed for all but a select few in the US for the last
>> quarter century, unlike the post WW2 period.
>>


> Well one might argue that people want to much now. When I grew up we
> had two cars. They were bought used and driven until they were totaled
> by accident or rust. My parents had a popup tent trailer. They bought
> a new HiLo in 1967. They used that trailer until 1987 and bought a
> huge pull behind. We lived in a house built about 1900. My Dad worked
> on pealing paint and repainting for what seemed like a decade. 6 kids.
> If they had not sent the kids to church schools they may have survived
> on one income.


You really do not get it, it seems. The complaint is NOT what a middle
class income buys, but how the working middle class gets a much SMALLER
share of the overall wealth compared to 30 or 40 years ago, despite
higher productivity. They have been sold a false bill of good by the
corporatist right wing media and politicians (of BOTH major parties).
The other part of the complaint is about being lied to by these same
politicians and the media about how the policies they promote affect
people who EARN their money by labor (blue, pink and white collar).

> ...
> My father as an engineer was the breadwinner. Working
> for a government job his salary was not as high as private sector but
> at least he was not get downsized every few years. My father -in-law
> as an engineer did better but did much better as a manager (ceo) of an
> international company.


As an engineer with a graduate degree and almost 8 years experience, I
make a real wage (when unpaid overtime is accounted for) of less than
$20/hour - and I am paid a near the average salary for someone of my job
description and experience. This is barely twice what minimum wage was
in the 1960's (adjusted for inflation). While I do not suffer for
material necessities, it is NOT what I was (implicitly) promised by "the
system" when I was growing up.

The "American Dream" that allowed upward economic mobility died a
quarter of a century ago. The European's and other developed countries
have not far surpassed the US, in what was once almost a US exclusive.
But people in the US would rather be in denial, so they can still
pretend to be "No. 1".

--
Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
A Real Cyclist [TM] keeps at least one bicycle in the bedroom.

--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
 
T

Tom \Johnny Sunset\ Sherman

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> ...
> Not everybody has what it takes to be an engineer...


Yes, we are special. ;)

> ...
>> When I was a kid (born in
>> 1960) my mom work at convenience stores and at department stores. Her
>> full time wage was not much better than minimum wage. At most I
>> suspect double the minimum wage.


On a per hour basis, adjusted for inflation, I am making as an engineer,
roughly twice the minimum wage of the 1960's.

> ...
> The types of jobs in this country that can supply a comfortable middle
> class existence have shrunk and those of us who do have comfortable
> middle class existences continue to have them because the things that
> make us comfortable have been produced offshore much more cheaply;
> even our houses are made more cheaply by the importation of cheap
> illegal immigrant labor....


Or, many have benefited by being born into a middle class situation,
inheriting houses and such. For those born poor, the rise to the middle
class is much more difficult than it was in the time from post WW2 up to
the Reagan/Bush I/ Clinton/Bush II era of anti-wage earner economic
policies.

--
Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
A Real Cyclist [TM] keeps at least one bicycle in the bedroom.

--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
 
If a person has to work two
> or three jobs to pay the rent then maybe they need to get skills that
> pay better. Sometimes you even have to move to a different town to get
> a better wage. <<<


wow...if that is not the most ignorant and patronizing thing I have
ever read. Many of the people I know who do work at REI and other
places, who barely make a living and do work other jobs have college
degrees, advanced degrees and or years of experience in a variety of
fields. And yes...some people do move across the country at their own
expense to live a better life. Some people don't have that luxury.
In fact, they may be working at REI to pay for that expensive, not-so-
useful education they paid big money for, only to find that they can
only get part-time work a three different places. Just what is your
point? if you can barely survive? it's your own fault?

It's the rule rather than the exception these days for companies to
provide full-time employement, with benefits up until retirement. REI
is not the only company that relies on part-time labor to improve its
bottom line. In fact, oddly enough, REI is one of those rare companies
that actually offers partial health benefits to part-time employees
according to how many hours they work.

the point is, from my end......why drive profits so hard that you HAVE
to rely on a majority part-time work force? why do they have to open
giant new stores across the nation every year? why not hire more full-
time people and pay them a living wage? is growth for growth's sake
worth it? the same goes for other companies that do the same, whether
or not they call themselves a co-op.

Arthur W.
 
M

Mark

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> If a person has to work two
>> or three jobs to pay the rent then maybe they need to get skills that
>> pay better. Sometimes you even have to move to a different town to get
>> a better wage. <<<

>
> wow...if that is not the most ignorant and patronizing thing I have
> ever read. Many of the people I know who do work at REI and other
> places, who barely make a living and do work other jobs have college
> degrees, advanced degrees and or years of experience in a variety of
> fields. And yes...some people do move across the country at their own
> expense to live a better life. Some people don't have that luxury.
> In fact, they may be working at REI to pay for that expensive, not-so-
> useful education they paid big money for, only to find that they can
> only get part-time work a three different places. Just what is your
> point? if you can barely survive? it's your own fault?
>
> It's the rule rather than the exception


I get the impression you meant this the other way around. Was I wrong?

> these days for companies to
> provide full-time employement, with benefits up until retirement. REI
> is not the only company that relies on part-time labor to improve its
> bottom line. In fact, oddly enough, REI is one of those rare companies
> that actually offers partial health benefits to part-time employees
> according to how many hours they work.
>
> the point is, from my end......why drive profits so hard that you HAVE
> to rely on a majority part-time work force? why do they have to open
> giant new stores across the nation every year? why not hire more full-
> time people and pay them a living wage? is growth for growth's sake
> worth it? the same goes for other companies that do the same, whether
> or not they call themselves a co-op.
>
> Arthur W.
>
 
J

Jim Behning

Guest
On Sat, 06 Oct 2007 16:51:15 -0500, "Tom \"Johnny Sunset\" Sherman"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>Jim Behning wrote:
>> On Sat, 06 Oct 2007 10:39:55 -0500, "Tom \"Johnny Sunset\" Sherman"
>> <[email protected]> wrote:
>>
>>> Jim Behning wrote:
>>>> On Fri, 05 Oct 2007 13:34:21 -0700, [email protected] wrote:
>>>>
>>>>>> WTF? My local REI, which is unfortunately in a strip mall in an icky
>>>>>> "new-money" part of town, is pretty spectacular.
>>>>> I think there are two distinct groups of people who have two separate
>>>>> experiences with REI. Customers, who get stuff cheap and lots of
>>>>> it....and employees who work for a greedy company that masquerades as
>>>>> a co-op. Sure, they give some money back to the community, but they're
>>>>> a big box store that relies almost entirely on part-time employees who
>>>>> have to work 2 or 3 jobs to pay the rent. Not much better than wal-
>>>>> mart, in my opinion. oh yeah...and nobody knows anything about bikes
>>>>> at the ones I've visited. Might as well go to Sears for a bike.
>>>>>
>>>>> Mike T.
>>>> The Atlanta REI store I go to has two mechanics older than me. That
>>>> means they know what 10 speed bikes are and rode them. They know about
>>>> friction shifters. I can go in and ask them questions and they will
>>>> give me good answers. I may not like their answers but they are still
>>>> good answers. Some of the other mechanics seem to know their stuff. I
>>>> do not know about the floor staff. I usually am looking for parts so I
>>>> start on the floor and then I head to the mechanics.
>>>>
>>>> When I shop at REI I start on the clearance racks. I then look at the
>>>> sale racks. Then I look at the regularly priced stuff. Actually we, my
>>>> wife and I get what we want from the clearance or sale racks.
>>>>
>>>> I do not know what their employee situation is. That type of retail is
>>>> not known for huge salaries I would guess. The two mechanics are full
>>>> time. I did see the one mechanic working full time at Carl's bike
>>>> store years ago before Carl had a midlife crisis and made some bad
>>>> business decisions. A daughter of a friend worked there through
>>>> college and then full time for a few years before she went back to get
>>>> her masters. So I am saying that there are some full time employees
>>>> there that prefer REI to Walmart. They may not get rich but who says
>>>> that most retail is a place to get rich. If a person has to work two
>>>> or three jobs to pay the rent then maybe they need to get skills that
>>>> pay better. Sometimes you even have to move to a different town to get
>>>> a better wage. So pray tell how many retail shops pay a "living wage?"
>>>> I bet the stores that do are not the stores you want to shop in. I
>>>> know I don't. But I do shop to buy cars, tires and autoparts. Some of
>>>> those full time employees do not make $50,000 plus which is probably a
>>>> make ends meet wage for a family of 4....
>>> $50,000 plus is the going wage for an engineer with a graduate degree
>>> and 5 plus years experience. Making that on floor retail would be
>>> exceptional in the US in this day and age. A single job that can support
>>> a family has not existed for all but a select few in the US for the last
>>> quarter century, unlike the post WW2 period.
>>>

>
>> Well one might argue that people want to much now. When I grew up we
>> had two cars. They were bought used and driven until they were totaled
>> by accident or rust. My parents had a popup tent trailer. They bought
>> a new HiLo in 1967. They used that trailer until 1987 and bought a
>> huge pull behind. We lived in a house built about 1900. My Dad worked
>> on pealing paint and repainting for what seemed like a decade. 6 kids.
>> If they had not sent the kids to church schools they may have survived
>> on one income.

>
>You really do not get it, it seems. The complaint is NOT what a middle
>class income buys, but how the working middle class gets a much SMALLER
>share of the overall wealth compared to 30 or 40 years ago, despite
>higher productivity. They have been sold a false bill of good by the
>corporatist right wing media and politicians (of BOTH major parties).
>The other part of the complaint is about being lied to by these same
>politicians and the media about how the policies they promote affect
>people who EARN their money by labor (blue, pink and white collar).
>
>> ...
>> My father as an engineer was the breadwinner. Working
>> for a government job his salary was not as high as private sector but
>> at least he was not get downsized every few years. My father -in-law
>> as an engineer did better but did much better as a manager (ceo) of an
>> international company.

>
>As an engineer with a graduate degree and almost 8 years experience, I
>make a real wage (when unpaid overtime is accounted for) of less than
>$20/hour - and I am paid a near the average salary for someone of my job
>description and experience. This is barely twice what minimum wage was
>in the 1960's (adjusted for inflation). While I do not suffer for
>material necessities, it is NOT what I was (implicitly) promised by "the
>system" when I was growing up.
>
>The "American Dream" that allowed upward economic mobility died a
>quarter of a century ago. The European's and other developed countries
>have not far surpassed the US, in what was once almost a US exclusive.
>But people in the US would rather be in denial, so they can still
>pretend to be "No. 1".
>
>--
>Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
>A Real Cyclist [TM] keeps at least one bicycle in the bedroom.

I work for a company where I take home most of what I bring in. I know
the amount of hours I turn in. I am not sure about what gets billed
out but after adding in 7% for the employee share of social security,
Medicare or whatever you call the transfer payments that all employees
pay, and the ever increasing health insurance I do ok. Now I have not
had a raise in 4 years. That means I am making 10% or more factoring
in inflation. That hurts.

I asked my mom about my dad's salary. She recalled that he made about
$50,000 as an engineer in 1990. When I looked at the engineer salary
survey is showed that QC and on the floor engineers did not make
nearly as good of a wage as a research or management engineer. The
promise of good wages depends on your choice of jobs. If you have a
marketable skill and are willing to look for a better job maybe there
is hope for a better wage. Continuing to work an hourly job might not
be the path though. There was a couple that called in to the Dave
Ramsey show a few weeks ago. They paid off something like $16,000 in
debt in two years. They sold the goats and moved to another city to
double their income.

I will not argue that there is plenty of wage siphoning happening with
upper management and "investor earnings"

I will argue that the economic dream is out there. If one thinks that
they can have unlimited wage potential being an hourly employee
misunderstood the concept of upward economic mobility. I am not making
six figures. It has nothing to do with my employer. I am collecting
most of my billables. It has to do with me unwilling to either grow
the business or venture out on my own. There is guy I know who is 15
years younger than me. He made his first million years ago. He did it
by working hard for himself with employees. There are lots of people
who say yes and when they are realistic and ambitious they do well.
You can find people with high school educations making great incomes
and people with PHDs not earning much. I know when I earned crummy
wages it was all my fault. I had no else to blame.
 
J

Jim Behning

Guest
On Sat, 06 Oct 2007 12:49:42 -0700, Mark
<[email protected]> wrote:

>Jim Behning wrote:
>>
>> Now we get to the late 1990's and beyond. The average house size in
>> 2004 is 2,349 sf. 1990 2,080 sf. 1970 1,500 sf. 1950 983 sf.
>>
>> median income in 2001 dollars
>> in 2001 51,407
>> in 1990 45,392
>> in 1980 41,830
>> in 1970 38,123
>> in 1960 27,857
>> in 1950 20,227
>>
>> Mean Income in 2001 dollars
>>
>> 2001 66,863
>> 1990 54,764
>> 1980 47,702
>> 1970 42,910
>> 1960 30,866
>> 1950 23,249
>>
>> Some would argue that the wealthy are pulling the mean and median up.
>> Maybe not or maybe so.

>
>Without getting into the rest of the discussion, the wealthy do pull up
>the mean (average) quite a bit, but such extreme values have much less
>effect on the median (the point that divides the top half from the
>bottom half). Note in your data above the means are all greater than
>the medians; in 2001 by quite a bit.
>
>I think that's one reason why economic reports usually feature medians -
>they tell us more about how people "in the middle" are doing, being
>completely unaffected by /how far/ above average the richest incomes are.
>
>People who don't understand the difference between medians and averages
>get confused when they hear statistics like "60% of US households have
>below-average incomes." (I made up the 60% figure; I think it's
>actually a fair bit higher - the table above shows it's certainly well
>over 50%).
>
>Mark J.

Thanks for explaining that. I save the post as an economics 101
reference. I really did not enjoy those two classes in college. Of
course they probaly did not really drive home the median/mean point.
Or maybe that was the statistics class I did not enjoy.
 
J

Jim Behning

Guest
On Sat, 06 Oct 2007 22:23:58 -0700, [email protected] wrote:

> If a person has to work two
>> or three jobs to pay the rent then maybe they need to get skills that
>> pay better. Sometimes you even have to move to a different town to get
>> a better wage. <<<

>
>wow...if that is not the most ignorant and patronizing thing I have
>ever read. Many of the people I know who do work at REI and other
>places, who barely make a living and do work other jobs have college
>degrees, advanced degrees and or years of experience in a variety of
>fields. And yes...some people do move across the country at their own
>expense to live a better life. Some people don't have that luxury.
>In fact, they may be working at REI to pay for that expensive, not-so-
>useful education they paid big money for, only to find that they can
>only get part-time work a three different places. Just what is your
>point? if you can barely survive? it's your own fault?
>
>It's the rule rather than the exception these days for companies to
>provide full-time employement, with benefits up until retirement. REI
>is not the only company that relies on part-time labor to improve its
>bottom line. In fact, oddly enough, REI is one of those rare companies
>that actually offers partial health benefits to part-time employees
>according to how many hours they work.
>
>the point is, from my end......why drive profits so hard that you HAVE
>to rely on a majority part-time work force? why do they have to open
>giant new stores across the nation every year? why not hire more full-
>time people and pay them a living wage? is growth for growth's sake
>worth it? the same goes for other companies that do the same, whether
>or not they call themselves a co-op.
>
>Arthur W.

If a kid says I am going to be a basketball star and buy my mom a new
house. Is that a realistic expectation given that there are only a
hundred pro basketball players at any one time? Is it realistic to get
a degree in art history and expect to make a good living when there
are only so many art history teachers and museum curators out there
and they are not dying out faster than the colleges are churning out
art history majors. Who is responsible for a person's career choices?
I sort of lucked in to my current job after 15 years of working. My
failure to have a master plan and some realistic goals has delayed my
retirement by 15 years. No one to blame but myself.

I can see some finger pointing if a kid makes bad choices but as an
adult who chose to pursue some unrealistic or unlikely dream, I do not
think you can blame Walmart, Sears or REI.

Getting a better job does not necessarily mean moving cross country.
It might mean moving out of a town of 2,00 to a bigger city. For me I
moved 700 miles south out of the rust belt and in to a city that is
growing. For my one brother it was moving out of the rust belt to a
smaller town out west working a second job because the first one does
not pay enough. For another brother it was moving south and then
moving back up north a decade later.

And yes, it is my point that if you do not make enough it is often
your fault. I had plenty of years where I made a crappy wage. It was
my fault for being in a job that paid poorly. I was smart enough to do
better but did not have the confidence to change. Degrees after high
school have nothing to do with earnings potential sometimes. I have
accounts that have law degrees. Some bill at $50 an hour while others
bill at $200 and hour. That was a choice of the lawyers. Both in what
type of law they wanted to practice, where they wanted to live and
what they enjoy. I like music but it sure would have been a stupid
thing for me to have studdied music for four years in clooege when I
am not more talented than the singers at American Idol tryouts that
cannot carry a tune with a bucket.
 
T

Tom \Johnny Sunset\ Sherman

Guest
Jim Behning wrote:
> On Sat, 06 Oct 2007 16:51:15 -0500, "Tom \"Johnny Sunset\" Sherman"
> <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>> Jim Behning wrote:
>>> On Sat, 06 Oct 2007 10:39:55 -0500, "Tom \"Johnny Sunset\" Sherman"
>>> <[email protected]> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Jim Behning wrote:
>>>>> On Fri, 05 Oct 2007 13:34:21 -0700, [email protected] wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>>> WTF? My local REI, which is unfortunately in a strip mall in an icky
>>>>>>> "new-money" part of town, is pretty spectacular.
>>>>>> I think there are two distinct groups of people who have two separate
>>>>>> experiences with REI. Customers, who get stuff cheap and lots of
>>>>>> it....and employees who work for a greedy company that masquerades as
>>>>>> a co-op. Sure, they give some money back to the community, but they're
>>>>>> a big box store that relies almost entirely on part-time employees who
>>>>>> have to work 2 or 3 jobs to pay the rent. Not much better than wal-
>>>>>> mart, in my opinion. oh yeah...and nobody knows anything about bikes
>>>>>> at the ones I've visited. Might as well go to Sears for a bike.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Mike T.
>>>>> The Atlanta REI store I go to has two mechanics older than me. That
>>>>> means they know what 10 speed bikes are and rode them. They know about
>>>>> friction shifters. I can go in and ask them questions and they will
>>>>> give me good answers. I may not like their answers but they are still
>>>>> good answers. Some of the other mechanics seem to know their stuff. I
>>>>> do not know about the floor staff. I usually am looking for parts so I
>>>>> start on the floor and then I head to the mechanics.
>>>>>
>>>>> When I shop at REI I start on the clearance racks. I then look at the
>>>>> sale racks. Then I look at the regularly priced stuff. Actually we, my
>>>>> wife and I get what we want from the clearance or sale racks.
>>>>>
>>>>> I do not know what their employee situation is. That type of retail is
>>>>> not known for huge salaries I would guess. The two mechanics are full
>>>>> time. I did see the one mechanic working full time at Carl's bike
>>>>> store years ago before Carl had a midlife crisis and made some bad
>>>>> business decisions. A daughter of a friend worked there through
>>>>> college and then full time for a few years before she went back to get
>>>>> her masters. So I am saying that there are some full time employees
>>>>> there that prefer REI to Walmart. They may not get rich but who says
>>>>> that most retail is a place to get rich. If a person has to work two
>>>>> or three jobs to pay the rent then maybe they need to get skills that
>>>>> pay better. Sometimes you even have to move to a different town to get
>>>>> a better wage. So pray tell how many retail shops pay a "living wage?"
>>>>> I bet the stores that do are not the stores you want to shop in. I
>>>>> know I don't. But I do shop to buy cars, tires and autoparts. Some of
>>>>> those full time employees do not make $50,000 plus which is probably a
>>>>> make ends meet wage for a family of 4....
>>>> $50,000 plus is the going wage for an engineer with a graduate degree
>>>> and 5 plus years experience. Making that on floor retail would be
>>>> exceptional in the US in this day and age. A single job that can support
>>>> a family has not existed for all but a select few in the US for the last
>>>> quarter century, unlike the post WW2 period.
>>>>
>>> Well one might argue that people want to much now. When I grew up we
>>> had two cars. They were bought used and driven until they were totaled
>>> by accident or rust. My parents had a popup tent trailer. They bought
>>> a new HiLo in 1967. They used that trailer until 1987 and bought a
>>> huge pull behind. We lived in a house built about 1900. My Dad worked
>>> on pealing paint and repainting for what seemed like a decade. 6 kids.
>>> If they had not sent the kids to church schools they may have survived
>>> on one income.

>> You really do not get it, it seems. The complaint is NOT what a middle
>> class income buys, but how the working middle class gets a much SMALLER
>> share of the overall wealth compared to 30 or 40 years ago, despite
>> higher productivity. They have been sold a false bill of good by the
>> corporatist right wing media and politicians (of BOTH major parties).
>> The other part of the complaint is about being lied to by these same
>> politicians and the media about how the policies they promote affect
>> people who EARN their money by labor (blue, pink and white collar).
>>
>>> ...
>>> My father as an engineer was the breadwinner. Working
>>> for a government job his salary was not as high as private sector but
>>> at least he was not get downsized every few years. My father -in-law
>>> as an engineer did better but did much better as a manager (ceo) of an
>>> international company.

>> As an engineer with a graduate degree and almost 8 years experience, I
>> make a real wage (when unpaid overtime is accounted for) of less than
>> $20/hour - and I am paid a near the average salary for someone of my job
>> description and experience. This is barely twice what minimum wage was
>> in the 1960's (adjusted for inflation). While I do not suffer for
>> material necessities, it is NOT what I was (implicitly) promised by "the
>> system" when I was growing up.
>>
>> The "American Dream" that allowed upward economic mobility died a
>> quarter of a century ago. The European's and other developed countries
>> have not far surpassed the US, in what was once almost a US exclusive.
>> But people in the US would rather be in denial, so they can still
>> pretend to be "No. 1".
>>

> I work for a company where I take home most of what I bring in. I know
> the amount of hours I turn in. I am not sure about what gets billed
> out but after adding in 7% for the employee share of social security,
> Medicare or whatever you call the transfer payments that all employees
> pay, and the ever increasing health insurance I do ok. Now I have not
> had a raise in 4 years. That means I am making 10% or more factoring
> in inflation. That hurts.


People (in the US) on salary that are exempt from the FLSA get the same
pay whether they turn in 40 hours or 70 hours on their time sheet. Those
working 70 make a much worse hourly wage than those working 40, even
though their incomes are the same.

However, exempt employees are great benefit to the employers, since more
work can be demanded for not extra cost.

> I asked my mom about my dad's salary. She recalled that he made about
> $50,000 as an engineer in 1990.


About $80,000 in 2007 dollars. Not many jobs pay that anymore, except
those who got in before wages started to fall.

> When I looked at the engineer salary
> survey is showed that QC and on the floor engineers did not make
> nearly as good of a wage as a research or management engineer. The
> promise of good wages depends on your choice of jobs. If you have a
> marketable skill and are willing to look for a better job maybe there
> is hope for a better wage. Continuing to work an hourly job might not
> be the path though. There was a couple that called in to the Dave
> Ramsey show a few weeks ago. They paid off something like $16,000 in
> debt in two years. They sold the goats and moved to another city to
> double their income.
>
> I will not argue that there is plenty of wage siphoning happening with
> upper management and "investor earnings"
>
> I will argue that the economic dream is out there. If one thinks that
> they can have unlimited wage potential being an hourly employee
> misunderstood the concept of upward economic mobility.


The hourly employees often make more because they are non-exempt and/or
unionized. I use to supervise hourly employees who made one-third MORE
per hour than I did, with their high school diplomas and my MS. Of
course, you need to know the right people to get accepted into these unions.

> I am not making
> six figures. It has nothing to do with my employer. I am collecting
> most of my billables. It has to do with me unwilling to either grow
> the business or venture out on my own. There is guy I know who is 15
> years younger than me. He made his first million years ago. He did it
> by working hard for himself with employees. There are lots of people
> who say yes and when they are realistic and ambitious they do well.
> You can find people with high school educations making great incomes
> and people with PHDs not earning much. I know when I earned crummy
> wages it was all my fault. I had no else to blame.


Many of the higher paying jobs are unethical, since they take a greater
share of the profit that the person contributes to.

--
Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
A Real Cyclist [TM] keeps at least one bicycle in the bedroom.

--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
 
T

Tom \Johnny Sunset\ Sherman

Guest
Jim Behning wrote:
> ...
> And yes, it is my point that if you do not make enough it is often
> your fault. I had plenty of years where I made a crappy wage. It was
> my fault for being in a job that paid poorly. I was smart enough to do
> better but did not have the confidence to change....


Actually, promotion has more to do with personality, than with ability
and effort.

Being, a nice, cooperative, enthusiastic, hard working and able employee
will get you assigned more work. Being the person the boss invites on
golf/hunting/fishing/etc. outings will move you up the ladder quite
rapidly, as long as you are not totally incompetent. Many do not have
the innate social skills, or come from the right social background [1],
so this option is not available.

[1] A real handicap for poor children who bust their but to get into a
decent college and do well through hard work and ability while there.

--
Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
A Real Cyclist [TM] keeps at least one bicycle in the bedroom.

--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
 
A

A Muzi

Guest
-snip much-
Tom "Johnny Sunset" Sherman wrote:
> Many of the higher paying jobs are unethical, since they take a greater
> share of the profit that the person contributes to.


As decided by whom, exactly?
--
Andrew Muzi
www.yellowjersey.org
Open every day since 1 April, 1971
 
T

Tom \Johnny Sunset\ Sherman

Guest
Andrew Muzi mused:
> -snip much-
> Tom "Johnny Sunset" Sherman wrote:
>> Many of the higher paying jobs are unethical, since they take a
>> greater share of the profit that the person contributes to.

>
> As decided by whom, exactly?


Could not most executives be replaced by someone much less expensive,
who would do the job equally well (especially in the US, where they are
paid many times more than their counterparts in other developed nations)?

What about jobs that mainly involve cheating the government (i.e. ALL of
us) out of tax money, or other businesses?

Executives of larger companies get paid more, but do the really do more
work than those of smaller companies. I expect these executives do much
less than the sole proprietor of a LBS does.

--
Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
A Real Cyclist [TM] keeps at least one bicycle in the bedroom.

--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
 

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, "Tom \"Johnny
Sunset\" Sherman" <[email protected]> says...

> Could not most executives be replaced by someone much less expensive,
> who would do the job equally well (especially in the US, where they are
> paid many times more than their counterparts in other developed nations)?


That's an interesting thought experiment.

The unemployment rate is very low right now, especially among collge
graduates. How easily could you find an employee with the education and
experience to replace a higher-level executive?

Keep in mind that you're not the only one looking, there are lots of
other companies out there trying to grow or replace retirees.

This isn't about finding someone with the natural abilities who could
eventually be trained for the position, you do that at lower-level
positions. When you actually need someone with experience managing a
few hundred people in a particular industry, how easily can you find one
who is unemployed? Or how much do you have to offer to get one to
change companies, or move to a different state?

I know a few professional recruiters who are out doing exactly that
every day, and they tell me it's very hard right now, unless you're
looking for someone who has management experience in mortgage sales.


> Executives of larger companies get paid more, but do the really do more
> work than those of smaller companies. I expect these executives do much
> less than the sole proprietor of a LBS does.


I expect you're right on quantity of work, but quantity isn't the only
question. Does the sole proprietor of an LBS have the education and
experience to make a corporate behemoth respond quickly to changing
markets? If he does, chances are he owns an LBS because he opted out of
the demands of corporate life, such as accepting relocations at the
company's whim or missing out on family time.

--
[email protected] is Joshua Putnam
<http://www.phred.org/~josh/>
Braze your own bicycle frames. See
<http://www.phred.org/~josh/build/build.html>
 
B

Bill Sornson

Guest
A Muzi wrote:
> -snip much-
> Tom "Johnny Sunset" Sherman wrote:
>> Many of the higher paying jobs are unethical, since they take a
>> greater share of the profit that the person contributes to.

>
> As decided by whom, exactly?


The Stalinists.
 
A

A Muzi

Guest
>> -snip much-
>> Tom "Johnny Sunset" Sherman wrote:
>>> Many of the higher paying jobs are unethical, since they take a
>>> greater share of the profit that the person contributes to.


> Andrew Muzi mused:
>> As decided by whom, exactly?


Tom "Johnny Sunset" Sherman wrote:
> Could not most executives be replaced by someone much less expensive,
> who would do the job equally well (especially in the US, where they are
> paid many times more than their counterparts in other developed nations)?
> What about jobs that mainly involve cheating the government (i.e. ALL of
> us) out of tax money, or other businesses?
> Executives of larger companies get paid more, but do the really do more
> work than those of smaller companies. I expect these executives do much
> less than the sole proprietor of a LBS does.


If GE's board/shareholders thought they could get a better return from
someone cheaper than Imelt, he would be gone tomorrow. 'Working hard'
and 'returning value for owners' are not at all the same thing.

I think we've all had jobs which involved lots of hard work for little
recompense. Hopefully we've wised up. It's part of real-world education.
There's no virtue in suffering for its own sake.

You're welcome to the last word, I've spewed enough OT this week.
--
Andrew Muzi
www.yellowjersey.org
Open every day since 1 April, 1971
 
R

Ron Ruff

Guest
On Oct 8, 10:48 pm, A Muzi <[email protected]> wrote:
> I think we've all had jobs which involved lots of hard work for little
> recompense. Hopefully we've wised up. It's part of real-world education.
> There's no virtue in suffering for its own sake.


This always comes up and it baffels me. Regadless of whether a
particular individual can potentially "wise up" and find a good paying
job, when you look at the totallity of our society, wages are down,
and low paying jobs are the growing sector. A generation and two ago
pretty much anyone willing to work could find a secure job, make
enough to live well and raise a family (with their wife at home!) with
full health coverage, get a nice pension, etc.

So is it progress that the same person would have to do something
exceptional today, in order to live as well? And how has this
happened? With productivity up and with us importing products produced
by slave labor there should certainly be more wealth than in the
past... but where has it gone? It seems that things are shifting ever
more towards a large and low-payed "servant" class where the middle
class used to be, which allows the wealthier folks to siphon off a
greater share of the pie.
 

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