back to article Yelp minimum wage row shines spotlight on … broke, fired employee

Long before its customer service rep Talia Jane wrote a blog post about how her monthly wage wasn't enough to live on, Yelp has enjoyed a reputation for unethical behavior. The publicly listed ratings company is reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on average every two days, typically by small business owners who see …

  1. Charles Manning

    Trump?

    Blaming Trump when this is all happening on Obama's watch is a bit one-eyed surely?

    1. Christoph Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Trump?

      So you want Obama to interfere? To use his presidential power to force companies to pay higher wages?

      And that will satisfy the people like you who blame everything on Obama? The people who complain that he is overusing his powers (by using them far less than other presidents)? That he is a nasty socialist who is undermining America by doing things like expecting better conditions for workers?

      1. Notas Badoff

        Re: Trump?

        Not to worry, or give any credit to insane logic. This is the kind of person who was blaming Obama for the dire state of the economy before his first inauguration. In cases like this, trying to look at things from their viewpoint will blind you!

      2. Charles Manning

        Re: Trump?

        I'm not saying I think any prez should interfere.

        What I am saying is that prematurely blaming Trump when he isn't even in office is stupid. Blaming Obama would make more sense, but that's not to say I think he should interfere.

        To the best of my knowledge there is no time machine that Trump can use to fly back from the future to cause current woes.

        As for Ms whiny pants....why does she choose to live in expensive SF area when she only has the capability to earn a paltry $1500? Perhaps she should move to somewhere where someone that generates as little value as she does can afford to live.

        If we give people like her handouts then it can only come from one place: jacking up national debt and robbing unborn children even worse than now. A kid born today in the US owes about USD60k (doubled under Obama) before (s)he has a first suck on a breast.

        Live within your means... not just the entitled little Ms, but also governments and nations.

        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          Re: Trump?

          What I am saying is that prematurely blaming Trump when he isn't even in office is stupid.

          I do not think the article is blaming Trump. He is blaming people like Trump. The people, especially in the US but also prevalent all over the world, who instantly blame the victim and tell them to work harder and earn more money or spend less.

          I do have to question why she allows this to continue. If other companies in the area offer a higher wage for the same job, then why doesn't she try to switch jobs? And why does she not look at moving to an area which is cheaper to live in? Yelp can only pay people this wage because people accept it.

          However, I do not know all the facts. Maybe she cannot get a job elsewhere for some reason. Maybe she is tied to the area somehow (sick relative etc). Maybe the cost of travel to work would outweigh the potential saving from moving out of the area.

          However, it is also despicable that Yelp is putting it's employees in this situation to begin with. What is the point in paying for Silicon Valley perks when it's employees cannot afford to even eat? Why are they paying a significantly lower wage than other companies for the same job? And firing her for what is effectively whistle-blowing is outrageous.

          This is one of the reasons why I will not move to the US. They seem to treat employees worse over there than contractors are treated here in the UK, without any of the perks. I see it in the attitude of my current boss, and American who resents having to give holidays, sick pay or any basic benefit to his employees. Sorry, but I'll take a nation who actually has laws to protect it's citizens, at least in part, over "The Land Of The Free" any day.

          1. packetguy

            Re: Trump?

            This is not a new problem. People for hundreds of years before Ms. Whiney have tried to live in the most desirable locales whilst being insufficiently valuable to pull down the required bucks. I want to live in NY Trump Towers. It's my right! Instead I'm stuck in hot, unglamorous Southern California. Woe is me.

            Never mind that most of America lives in the meat of the bi-coastal sandwich.

        2. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Trump?

          "What I am saying is that prematurely blaming Trump when he isn't even in office is stupid."

          He's not blaming Trump. He's blaming a society that likes Trump, and he's blaming his, and -- given your misguided sympathy and deliberate? misreading of the article -- possibly your, hate-filled rhetoric that how much you are paid is directly linked to how hard you work, and if an employee is paid badly and then fired, somehow it's all their fault.

          This is possibly the worst facet of American culture, and I hope that it does not continue leaking out into the civilized world.

          1. oiseau Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Trump?

            Hello:

            > This is possibly the worst facet of American culture, and I hope that it does not

            > continue leaking out into the civilized world.

            Indeed it is.

            As to it continuing to leak out into the world, it will.

            It's a pity, but I'm afraid it will.

            Even if Trump does not get to be prez.

            1. Ozz

              Re: Trump?

              No one forced her to work there. She knew the pay before she agreed to work for that rate.She knew the rent before she signed the lease. If she lacks the basic skills to do the math then that's her fault, and hers alone.

              As long as people are prepared to work for what Yelp pay, Yelp will continue to pay that. If she is truly worth more then she should look to a better paying job elsewhere.

        3. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: Trump?

          Did you even read what was written? Any of it? Nope..thought not.

          I'm not saying I think any prez should interfere.

          Sounds like it.

          What I am saying is that prematurely blaming Trump when he isn't even in office is stupid. Blaming Obama would make more sense, but that's not to say I think he should interfere.

          As others have pointed out, no one is blaming Trump. The comment was that people like him - you in this case - seem to think it's perfectly fine to attack those in a less privileged position than themselves

          rather than consider the reason the unfortunate soul is in that position to begin with

          To the best of my knowledge there is no time machine that Trump can use to fly back from the future to cause current woes.

          Dick comment.

          As for Ms whiny pants....why does she choose to live in expensive SF area when she only has the capability to earn a paltry $1500? Perhaps she should move to somewhere where someone that generates as little value as she does can afford to live.

          Not knowing the geography of the area or at which point rents become affordable to her, or the kind of area it would be, I suspect it's probably because it would be either a dangerous area to exist and/or take far too long and cost far too much to travel.

          Another case in point of you being a dick again with the personal attack.

          If we give people like her handouts then it can only come from one place: jacking up national debt and robbing unborn children even worse than now. A kid born today in the US owes about USD60k (doubled under Obama) before (s)he has a first suck on a breast.

          Live within your means... not just the entitled little Ms, but also governments and nations.

          And...again...you clearly didn't read the article, did you?

          Not once was there any suggestion of giving anyone state handouts. The point was that a billion dollar value company chooses to have it's office in a ridiculously expensive location yet pay its staff the legal minimum wage whilst understanding that their staff most likely cannot afford to live there.

          The point being made was that just perhaps Yelp should stop being greedy and selfish and pay a reasonable wage to live on like many of the other tech companies.

          In most cases, I hope people never fall on hard times. In your case I believe it would teach you a little humility and understanding because you are one cold hearted, selfish son of a bitch. And yeah - in that respect, you're just like Trump.

        4. fajensen Silver badge

          Re: Trump?

          Because Markets - Now DIE!

          - Is what you are saying?

        5. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

          Re: Trump?

          @Charles Manning - "why does she choose to live in expensive SF area when she only has the capability to earn a paltry $1500?"

          Because that's where the job is?

          Also, remember that changing jobs has a cost, in time searching, in lost wages if you can't get the ending and starting dates to line up, in the risk of being fired in the probationary period. Sure, the company has costs too, but they are risking 0.1% or 0.01% of their workforce availability, the employee is risking 100% of their salary.

          Perhaps Yelp should have set up their business somewhere where the paltry wages they pay would allow their employees to afford to live.

          1. David Neil

            BUT

            She chose to take a job, knowing the rate of pay and knowing the overhead costs required to live there.

            Let's be clear, no-one forced her to take that job, we don't know what other opportunities were open to her, but she herself says she expected to join Yelp and was surprised she wasn't able to move into a better paid role a lot quicker.

            There comes a point where she needs to recognise that she had choices and made bad ones. I had similar experiences where I didn't research a job and got screwed over, thats life I'm afraid.

            If people keep taking jobs at such a low paid employer, when their competitors in the same area are paying more, then there comes a point where you have to ask "Are you stupid?"

            1. JLV Silver badge

              Re: BUT

              >taking jobs at such a low paid employer

              Well, I dunno. She could have maybe gotten a job somewhere else, true. But public naming and shaming of company behavior is not a bad thing per se.

              First, Yelp could try to act a bit more ethically and with more empathy and pay more than minimum wage. Second, I personally dislike companies that run up huge employee-related expenses with perks rather than putting the same $ in your pocket. Third, I doubt the interview process was crystal clear about her prospects & low pay - "yeah, we pay sh.t, and you don't get promoted quickly. So in that economic sense, transparency's a bit of a one-way street - Yelp knows exactly how little it pays, applicants do not know that as clearly.

              Now those same applicants, and Yelp customers and users, are more aware of Yelp's behavior. But, hey no problem for Yelp since they are white as snow, right?

              As to blaming Trump. Please, much as I hate the jackass with the toupe, it's difficult to argue that this article was not, at least a teensy weensy bit, taking a poke at him specifically.

              Hey, I don't mind if they do, but let's call a cat a cat. Personally, not sure at this point how all the "5 ways to stop Trump" articles popping up left and right in the press are helping getting rid of him. He's riding a powerful stream of narrative BS about his being the underdog and the champion of the downtrodden and waving a magic wand of fix-it.

              I think he's gonna remain a nuisance until he's facing only one other Rep candidate. Or even until Hillary. But then? I expect something like the Chirac vs Le Pen French vote of 2002. 80% for Chirac, 20% for Le Pen. Amazing, considering how much Chirac was a jackass, but representative of how 80% of the country just hated Le Pen. Like Le Pen, he's full of easy-sounding solutions that would achieve nothing but appeal to 20% of the electorate.

          2. Thorne Kontos 1

            Re: Trump?

            >Because that's where the job is?

            Did you seriously just write that? What planet do you live on? I too go where the money is, but one has to weigh in the other factors such as the cost of living. Where I am currently located, there are plenty of jobs, with a much lower cost of living. The woman could actually even save money. But guess what, it's not Silicon Valley...

            http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-02-25/teachable-moment-young-person-complaining-about-her-job-yelp-discovers-real-minimum-

            1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

              Re: Trump?

              @Thorne Konots 1 - Yes, I did write that, I live on Earth and posted that comment here too.

              So where do you live, as there are plenty of jobs there? The USA currently has about 5% unemployment. If you're outside the USA, then immigration rules probably make it difficult for this woman, or another USA citizen, to fill those vacancies. If you're inside the USA, then the fact that you have jobs to spare indicates there is some other barrier to people moving there. Labour is not freely mobile - just going for a job interview requires travel time.

              Now, what hasn't been contested is that Yelp is paying less than a living wage for the location of its business. How is it able to do that? If labour was freely mobile and followed the law of supply and demand, it would start loosing employees until it increased its wages or went out of business. But labour doesn't follow the law of supply and demand because people don't like starving, so they will take a second job to fill-in the shortfall, further increasing supply and pushing wages down further, increasing unemployment. Or, they could decide to not pay their rent, depriving their landlord of the market rent, but, why does that matter, it'll take them months to evict them, and start stealing food, how would that be different from Yelp's wage policy. Yelp is taking advantage of their dominant position to exploit their employees.

        6. Pascal
          Thumb Down

          Re: Trump?

          "As for Ms whiny pants....why does she choose to live in expensive SF area when she only has the capability to earn a paltry $1500? Perhaps she should move to somewhere where someone that generates as little value as she does can afford to live."

          Wow. Or maybe Mr. Yelp could pad his retirement fund by just 1 million less this year and actually not require of his employees that they SPEND MONEY for the privilege of working for him?

          The level of stupidity required to blame the employee never ceases to amaze.

          1. Where not exists

            Re: Trump?

            Notice that his solution to the problem is to move the jobs to Arizona.

      3. Dan Paul

        Re: Trump?

        What kind of ignorant attitude is that? Kieren Mcarthy deliberately injected anti Trump rhetoric into this article (Right in the headline) in an effort to create click bait and accomplishing his task, Charles Manning responds in kind as is his right.

        You, on the other hand; has to attack Manning for simply expressing his opinion. Leaving Obama out of it for the moment....

        Only the left leaning feel they have the sole right to comment in their widdle "safe space" and that no one else is allowed to comment or lampoon their "beliefs". Only the left feel the need to be "guiltless".

        You're all as guilty as hell for your inability to comprehend what makes small businesses work that's for sure!

        The fact is that a $15 minimum wage would put most of the mom and pop shops out of business. As this young foolish lady is complaining she already does not make enough money, what part of the new minimum wage will be eaten up in ludicrous cost increases?

        Where do you people think money comes from? Where do you think payroll comes from? Are you all as ignorant as socialist Christoph? Does money grow on trees? Did you think Obama is blameless in this? It is his failed policies that created the demand for Donald Trump.

        Better get used to calling him President Trump!

        1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Trump?

          > Better get used to calling him President Trump!

          Would that not be President Toot?

        2. KeithR

          Re: Trump?

          "Kieren Mcarthy deliberately injected anti Trump rhetoric into this article "

          Quite right too - as anyone in the Civilised World will agree.

        3. Paul 195

          Re: Trump?

          Yelp is not a "mom and pop" business. It is a multimillion dollar enterprise that runs its HQ in one of the most expensive parts of the US. Effectively it is asking its employees to subsidize it by not paying them enough to live. The article was bemoaning the fact that apparently in North America anyone who complains about this situation is deserving of abuse, whereas the wealthy employers are feted.

          But maybe you didn't really understand the article.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Trump?

        Just to clarify - it is historically true that when you raise the minimum wage, unemployment goes up. That's why Democrats like to raise the minimum wage when they dominate Congress with a Repub president.

        Look it up. This is why the minimum wage has not been raised since Obama has been President.

        Blaming Barack Obama for a bad economy is like blaming Ronald MacDonald for a bad hamburger. Neither of them want the responsibility.

        Donald Trump's America is already with us

        It's official, The Reg is now a political tabloid. Next they will do stories on babies with two heads.

        BTW Trump wants to eliminate all taxes on single people making $25K or less, and married filing jointly making $50K or less. That's because he's been a lifelong Democrat. But don't let that stop you from giving in to your hate.

    2. Oh Homer
      Headmaster

      Not just Trump

      There is a very sick prevailing culture of "blame the victim" in America, fuelled by a psychopathic contempt for the poor - most of whom work full time (in multiple jobs) and pay taxes (unlike their privileged critics, who hide their ill-gotten hoards in tax havens).

      Most shocking, to me anyway, is the fact that this sick attitude extends to the deeply impoverished working class majority (although America's neoliberal rules of etiquette dictate that we're not allowed to label them as such), since they've been indoctrinated by centuries of neoliberal doctrine into the delusion that they are all merely "temporarily embarrassed millionaires", that poverty doesn't really exist (and if it does then it certainly isn't the fault of capitalist vultures), and anyone who claims otherwise is clearly just a "lazy bum" who deserves no sympathy whatsoever.

      1. Jonathan Richards 1

        Re: Not just Trump

        Oh Homer wrote:

        > Most shocking, to me anyway, is the fact that this sick attitude extends to the deeply impoverished working class majority

        I'm coming late to these comments, but shortly after seeing an even older Youtube video on the subject of US wealth inequality. It's difficult, as an outsider, to see how this situation survives in a democracy, except that the phrase 'indoctrinated by centuries of neoliberal doctrine into the delusion that they are all merely "temporarily embarrassed millionaires"' [Oh Homer, op cit.] sums it up very nicely. I can't be the only observer from the Old World, where "liberal" is a respectable description of a political outlook rather than a deathly insult, who wonders at the instability of the US system. By that I mean an analogy with the stability of the spinning plate trick: it requires constant intervention to prevent it from coming crashing down in an irretrievable mess.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Trump?

      Blaming Trump when this is all happening on Obama's watch is a bit one-eyed surely?

      I don't see Donald Trump being blamed personally anywhere. More some of the postures and attitudes he adopts.

      The situation also has little or nothing to do with Obama's policies.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Trump?

        Trump is a good example of the Capatalist Aryn Rand dream, America does tend to live it more than the rest. But it comes across as unreasonably cruel.

    4. MyffyW Silver badge

      Go for it, El Reg

      It warms my heart to hear you taking on this sort of thing.

      There was once a chap in your employ, a certain Mr Worstall I believe, who had an answer to the problem:

      See "http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/09/20/minimum_wage_poor_redistribution/"

    5. Code For Broke

      Re: Trump?

      Quite right! Barack Hussein Obama is singly responsible for all human suffering within the United States. Three cheers for Charles Manning for having the bravery to stand for our freedoms!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Trump?

        There is no blaming of anyone merely pointing out that the America envisaged by Trump is already here, which looking on the positive side might be a good thing as that takes away any reason to vote for him.

      2. PaulAb

        Re: Trump?

        I'm confused, Trump wants to build a wall across the border with Mexico. I don't believe for a moment that this will stop Americans fleeing for Mexico.........or am I missing something?

    6. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      The article doesn't blame Trump for low wages in America but I do

      Doesn't Trump present himself not just as a prominent businessman but as a business leader. Didn't he have a TV show in which he purported to teach people how business is done. Trump is already a part of the problem and will continue even if he doesn't become POTUS.

    7. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Trump?

      "thanks to the peculiarly American belief that if you don't have enough money it's somehow your fault for not working hard enough."

      It is her fault for accepting such a crappy job though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not really any more Re: Trump?

        > It is her fault for accepting such a crappy job though

        It's not always as simple as that. My son has just quit a somewhat similarly crappy job, which he deliberately went after because it looked as if it was a good opportunity. Under cloak of anonymity, I will say that it was as an engineer installing domestic and small business cable and phone services under a sub-contract. After recruitment, it became clear that he was expected to repay the subcontract company for provision of tools (at more than retail cost), and a shedload of other drawbacks [I just deleted a slew of stuff here!] which made it not a paying proposition to continue working for the company.

        Just sayin' that Yelp might not have given their employees an accurate view of what was on offer; indeed that would account for the reported high turnover of new hires, wouldn't it?

    8. Charles Manning

      Re: Trump?

      First off, let me get one thing clear: I don't support Trump or Obama. I don't live in the USA and it is almost comical watching the US primaries unfold.

      But what is even more fun is watching the Trump haters go into completely irrational logical melt-down.

      Somehow Lefties think Trump is so powerful that he can come back from the future (when they are so sure he wont be Prez anyway because Clinton will evade the FBI or Bernies's "give everyone free stuff" campaign is going to work) and come make executive orders that made Ms Whiny Pants poorer now.

      If Trump really has powers to time travel and be prez when he isn't (and supposedly isn't going to be) then yes, he should be stopped. OR maybe someone paranoid enough to think that should be asking to have their meds strengthened.

      But let's face is Ms Whiny Pants is really in this predicament because she has made bad choices, does not take responsibility for those choices and thinks the world at large should bail her out. Sounds like a Bernie voter in the making.

      Making everything free and high minimum wages just subsidises bad choice and bad behaviours. It makes the problem worse, not better. It never solves the problem.

      Give people $50/hr minimum wage and all the shitty apartments will become more expensive as will all goods and services and the minimum wage will no longer be enough and will have to get jacked up again. The only people that will get rich from this are the landlords.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    9. Paul 195

      Re: Trump?

      The article didn't blame Trump. It did suggest that he could only become popular in the kind of society that blames the poor people who are badly paid rather than the rich people who set their wages low for their own enrichment.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, this pissed me off.

    The better half and me, we're Gen Xers who paid off our student loans and had some really hard times doing that. We're now doing okay, but because we went through that, we have empathy for younger people who are getting it really hard, and we wouldn't wish the stalled development of our own lives because of pay restrictions and student loan payments to be passed down to the next generation. We're in favour of the living wage, even if it would mean people are closer to our pay grades, and we're in favour of abolishing student loans, because we believe tertiary education should be free for suitable participants.

    That's the point. It's a lack of empathy that produces the line, "we had to do it, so why shouldn't you". To any reasonable human being who's done it, it should be, "we had to do it, we had no backup, and it was horrible and sometimes scary to be teetering on the precipice of bankruptcy and I wouldn't wish that shit on anyone. I hope the future generations don't have to go through that bullshit."

    I'm not willing to assign such a devastating lack of empathy to a large portion of humanity, so I just like to take refuge in the safe thought that people who claim to have been through the same thing actually haven't, and they're incorrectly recalling how bad things were for them - when they had to live with their mum and dad for a couple of months. Anyone who's actually had to worry about paying power bills or eaten Tesco Value noodles with tomatoes from the end of the day at the outdoor market for 14 meals a week wouldn't possibly wish it on anyone else or tell someone else to toughen up when they have to do it. That's why your mum and dad didn't let you starve.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      speak for yourselft

      I'm a Gen Xer... and you don't speak for me. The main point here is that Talia Jane has no gratitude or humility.

      The point isn't "we had to do it, so shouldn't you".... the main point, IMHO is "we had to do it and we learned something in the process, so there's a reason you should to".

      When you don't go though the hard times and struggles, you don't have the gratitude, humility or appreciation for what took to get through them.

      Talia sounds like most millennials, an entitled brat that never worked a day in her life.... it's sad her parents didn't educate her better.

      P.S. I don't believe in a living wage (if there even is such a thing).... I personally believe minimum wage should be 100% abolished. The only people who should know what you make should be you and your boss (and no one else including the government). Taxes should be paid at point of sale for goods and services. Rich people buy more stuff.... ie pay more taxes.

      1. AdamWill

        Re: speak for yourselft

        Where do you get this drivel?

        "Talia sounds like most millennials, an entitled brat that never worked a day in her life.... "

        Er. The entire story is about how she was paid far less than a living wage *for her job*. Which she *worked at*. Do you just take lines out of the cliche book and throw them out there with no thought about their relevance to what actually happened?

      2. John Halewood
        FAIL

        Re: speak for yourselft

        "Rich people buy more stuff.... ie pay more taxes."

        Unfortunately that works against the poor - they get taxed on 70-80% of their income that isn't disposable, whilst the rich only get taxed on a fraction of that. After all, they didn't get rich in the first place by having to spend all their money on food and rent, they got there by having enough disposable income to not spend it in the first place.

        1. LateNightLarry
          Mushroom

          Re: speak for yourselft

          And if you're like the Trumpster and Mutt Romney, you inherited your money, and never had to struggle to pay the rent, buy food, or even to take a vacation past the end of your driveway.

          My grandfather was a dairyman in rural Iowa many years ago. He was partners with another man who provided the capital and my grandfather did the hard work. When the partner died, his son summarily kicked my grandfather and his family off the farm because there was no written contract and the son claimed ALL the cattle and left my grandfather nearly destitute... As a result, my father dropped out of school after the eighth grade, along with his older brothers, to support their parents.

      3. David Webb

        Re: speak for yourselft

        The whole aspect of the article was that the "entitled brat" works hard, every day, for a wage that doesn't pay enough for her to live on. She was in fact paying to work, if Yelp had paid her more money then she would be able to pay for this stuff called "food".

        Obviously as an "entitled brat" she doesn't deserve to eat food after working a 9 hour shift. Goodness, what sort of world are we living in where people should expect to earn more in wages than it costs them to survive.

        As the article points out, Yelp are paying no where near enough for a person to live on, but hey, it's a job, and if you don't take it then you're a pariah on society and should be sent to the electric chair, who cares that by taking the job you end up going into debt every month, that debt it good, it keeps the banks running and we know how careful they are with our money.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: speak for yourselft

          "it's a job, and if you don't take it then..."

          Well that depends on the society you live in.

          If your society has no minimum wage and no benefits system, those without jobs have an income of zero and slowly starve to death. (How slowly depends on whether they turn to crime first.) Frequently such people have children and the wider society gets all icky about *children* starving to death.

          So the wider society introduces some sort of benefit system to provide a safety net. Great! Now the cheapskate employers don't have to pay a living wage because the taxpayer will pick up the difference. Sadly, the wider society now gets whiny about why the taxpayer is being forced to subsidize *specifically the meanest* employers in the land. Businesses in particular get uppity about subsidizing the competitors simply so that those competitors can pass on lower costs to customers.

          So society introduces a minimum wage. If you aren't prepared to pay that, you can't ask a member of society to work for you. That's annoying, but it is less annoying than being forced to subsidize your competitors.

      4. israel_hands

        Re: speak for yourselft

        I've seen less obvious trolls standing on bridges, punching goats...

        Failure on every level, although it appears you do have some biters.

        This is the way companies work though, they try to extract the maximum from staff while paying the minimum and getting away with, meanwhile spending billions exhorting others (who are also underpaid staff, just working for somebody else) whatever tat it is they're flogging.

        If you truly believe that people spending more for the sake of it is a good thing, then more people having more disposable income to spend on more tat is a better thing.

      5. notowenwilson

        Re: speak for yourselft

        "we had to do it, we learned something in the process, so there's a reason you should to[o]".

        Sure thing, like my parent's generation had to deal with polio and, you know, what doesn't kill you can only make you stronger. Pity if it kills you though. Or cripples you for life. Comparing the experience of one generation to the next is meaningless. I bought my first house for less than 3x my annual income. If my kids go into the same industry at today's prices their first, equivalent, house will be 6-7x their income. My kids aren't going to be faced with the same challenges that I was faced with, they are being faced with more than twice the challenge that I had to deal with. How is that fair? If someone in that situation complains, it's not being 'self entitled' it's being aware that they are getting screwed.

        1. Expectingtheworst

          Re: speak for yourselft

          You were very lucky as my first house in 1964 was 5.5 x my annual wage. Luckily before my wife became pregnant she was also earning, but it was tight with very few treats and any holidays were B&B.

          We did not complain much - then came Harrold W, then Ted Heath !!!

          The problem was later when we moved to a new job when mortgage interest rates were 15 - 18%.

          We were very relieved when they dropped to 10% ! a few years later.

          New house prices may be more, but interest rates are vastly lower.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: speak for yourselft

        "The point isn't "we had to do it, so shouldn't you".... the main point, IMHO is "we had to do it and we learned something in the process, so there's a reason you should to".

        When you don't go though the hard times and struggles, you don't have the gratitude, humility or appreciation for what took to get through them."

        Ah yes, the 'it's an education' argument (when all we really learned was that people are utter bastards, noodles have practically no nutritional value, and debt collectors are real bastards), combined, uniquely, with the 'it's good for you' argument (when all it did was force us to do horrible things and deal with horrible people). Of course, this education isn't compulsory. You only have to get that education if you're poor to begin with.

        Well, thinking about it, you might be right. Because we came out the other side of that fairly decent people with empathy. You obviously didn't, so if you actually experienced poverty - which you probably didn't - then the lesson doesn't take all the time. What your experience taught you was that you should act like a complete c... arpet bagger to anyone who has the audacity to demand a good standard of treatment in the place they spend half their waking lives.

        You're obviously not someone who had a job at 17 paying £1.50 an hour because Thatcher thought that'd be good for businesses, are you. You're apparently so ignorant you can't tell the difference between the legal minimum and what someone has to earn in order to actually be able to live - the difference between a minimum wage, which is what Talia Jane gets, and a living wage, which is what Talia Jane needs in order to eat and pay bills.

        If gratitude or humility are basically you saying that she needs to suck up to the likes of you while you're treating her like crap and expecting her to take it, then you can stick them.

      7. Shane McCarrick

        Re: speak for yourselft

        A sense of entitlement you say?

        She has the termity to be $125 out of pocket a month (on the understanding she doesn't buy any food or any other consumpables)- for the sake of working for the company- and she has a sense of entitlement?

        Cop on.

        I honestly do not think I will ever understand the uniquely American way of beating up those who are less well off than they- and the unique theory- that if someone isn't successful- its their own fault.

        Wakeup call- the American dream is dead. Cast your vote for Mr. Make America Great Again Trump- if you feel so like it- and see what it feels like to be isolated globally. It didn't work so well for Iran or a plethora of other countries..........

        Cop the hell on.

        1. TitterYeNot

          Re: speak for yourselft

          "I honestly do not think I will ever understand the uniquely American way of beating up those who are less well off than they - and the unique theory - that if someone isn't successful - its their own fault."

          I can only think that it's similar to the way that many children who are bullied by older kids at school in turn bully younger children when they themselves are older, or the way that some crusty old Consultant doctors who went through living hell when they were junior doctors in the 60's think that today's junior doctors should work the same 48 hours in a row with no sleep just because they had to.

          Of course nice, decent people learn from these past experiences, and feel empathy with those who are suffering what they themselves have suffered in the past.

          Wankers don't.

        2. Triggerfish

          Re: speak for yourselft

          Just a question here.

          But there's people commenting I had to work hard and had shitty conditions so should you?

          Is that it then is that how we should see us as society getting on? We should actually wish the next generation has it as tough as us? or tougher? Shouldn't we try and improve to the point people aren't struggling. I mean I thought that was the whole idea of us inventing the wheel, mastering fire and getting out of fucking caves was for.

          Should I feel lesser because I did not have to live with the risks of Polio like my parents? should they be proud of the fact people ended up in iron lungs, whereas us wasters are a sign of the decay of civilisation because someone tried to make things better?

          Do your parents criticise you because you don't get black lung, because you decide to become someone who works in an office 9-5 rather than 12 hours in the pit?

          Fuck me, part of the reason I became an engineer was because I thought it might do something useful. I looked into improving artificial limbs for my dissertation. Now it turns out I was actually enabling a bunch on disabled whiners who should have been happy with their hooks just like grandad did.

        3. Swarthy Silver badge

          A sense of entitlement you say?

          I think so. Having read her original open letter, and the response from someone older (mentioned in the article) I could point to one decision that was firmly in the hands of Talia that would have given her an extra $600/month: Get a roommate. San Francisco is expensive! And it has been for some time. When my sister was living in SF she was in the same position in terms of income and rent; but she had 2 roommates to share the bill, and she had a bit left over each month.

          Also, Talia's letter stated that she had been there for six months and was upset that she had to work customer service "for an entire year" [her emphasis] before she was eligible for a promotion to media where she could "make memes and twitter jokes about food."

          There are some valid points, a company should pay its employees sufficient to live near(-ish) to where they work, especially for professional-grade work, and absolutely should pay somewhere around the industry average.

          I am not saying she wasn't getting screwed, or that Yelp comes off well in this at all.

          I am saying that if Talia hadn't decided that living on her own was a requirement, and had gotten a roommate, she would not have had to scrounge food and bum money off the guy at CVS.

      8. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: speak for yourselft

        > "Talia Jane has no gratitude or humility."

        An ad-hominen attack, yet her points are valid regardless of who said them. You might not like what she says, but you don't question its truthfulness.

        Yelp pays under a living wage for the location, and tries to silence anyone who might give away the game to new recruits/suckers. Its defender attack her for saying it, but not its substance.

        Charity from relatives is really a subsidy from the relative to Yelp. Do you think your mum wants to support you forever Stefanie? Perhaps you should get a proper job and stop being a burden on her before she gets too old?

        The fix for low wages is publicity. This is what she did. Good on her. Yelp sucks, we get it.

        > "The only people who should know what you make should be you and your boss"

        A free market requires full knowledge. So discussions like this encourage people to avoid Yelp jobs and seek jobs with better paying companies &/or in cheaper locations. She did good by revealing the numbers.

        Requiring wage secrecy is the opposite of a free market.

      9. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: speak for yourselft

        "I'm a Gen Xer... and you don't speak for me. The main point here is that Talia Jane has no gratitude or humility."

        Oh do fuck off. Had your leg chopped off? It's a learning moment. Not enough money to buy food? You should be grateful for the lesson "other people will piss all over you given half the chance"

        Humility is not an appropriate reaction to starvation, and neither is gratitude. I'm not entirely sure you know what either of those words mean.

        "Rich people buy more stuff.... ie pay more taxes."

        No they don't, certainly as a percentage of income. Don't lie. This is demonstrably false.

      10. Andrew Moore Silver badge

        Re: speak for yourselft

        "Rich people buy more stuff.... ie pay more taxes"

        No they don't- you might want to check out (rich person) Nick Hanauer's view on this- A person making 1000 times more than an average worker does not buy 1000 times more groceries.

      11. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: speak for yourselft

        Rent a flat above a shop

        Cut your hair and get a job

        Smoke some fags and play some pool

        Pretend you never went to school

        But still you'll never get it right

        Cause when you're laid in bed at night

        Watching roaches climb the wall

        If you called your dad he could stop it all yeah

        You'll never live like common people

        You'll never do what ever common people do

        You'll never fail like common people

        You'll never watch your life slide out of view

      12. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. trapper

      Been there. Done that. Learned from it. Lesson One: Some employers are predators. That's their business model. They will not share the carcass. Employees get the bones to gnaw if the employer fancies himself generous. Lesson Two: Nobody would give me cheese with my whine. That hurt. I could fantasize eventual promotion for keeping the job, but it never happened. So much for fantasy. As my crude old granny used to say, "Wish in one hand and s**t in the other and see which hand has the most in it." The solution was to look for a better job on my employer's time. Anyone paying minimum wage is doing so because a. he's almost broke, b. he considers you next to useless, c. he thinks you're a member of a group with severely limited employment options (elderly, very young, poorly educated, handicapped, poor ability to speak English, etc.) and therefore he can get away with shorting your share. So, LEAVE. And no, don't try to bite him on the butt on the way out. He's bigger than you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But you can bite him on the butt when you do get elsewhere - why shouldn't you - crap does eventaully come around in a karmic circle

  3. aaaa

    Not only the USA

    Victim blaming is not unique to the USA. It's your fault for being poor, could be the motto for Sydney Australia.

  4. Old Handle

    All me self-centered...

    But I think they part about manipulating reviews should have been the headline. (Have you covered this before? Maybe I missed it.) Underpaying your staff sucks and all, but accepting bribes to undermine the entire purpose of your site (as a user would see it) strikes me as something that would be a much greater concern for the general public.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: All me self-centered...

      The iceberg that is Yelp is deeper than anyone thinks. Yelp has issues and this is but one of them.

      However, in this case, I see it as a widespread problem with call-centers in the States (maybe other countries, I have no idea. I work in one and I know people who work in other centers. For the most part, those working the phones are paid as cheaply as the company can get away with. On top of that, after about 5-6 years, they get rid of them because the natural progression of pay raises causes the budget for the call center to go over a certain amount. The only ones there longer than 5-6 years are the manglement, IT, maybe a sales department.

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: All me self-centered...

        Worked in one as well. I wouldn't be too sure about tenure of IT.

        1. Cpt Blue Bear

          Re: All me self-centered...

          "Worked in one as well. I wouldn't be too sure about tenure of IT."

          Here in Oz IT turnover seems to be about 12 months. That's because the IT staff generally have an escape route and the job is seen as either stop gap or resume filler. Mind you, more than 2 years working at a call centre is seen as a red flag on a CV in many HR departments - like still working at Mcdonalds after you are 25.

  5. cd

    I had a Yelp account, of course there is no visible delete option. Some time ago, after deleting my reviews, I changed the name and location and erased what I could. Today I went in and made further changes.

    My headline now reads “Yelp underpays Its workers and exploits businesses”

    The places for blog and website links now link to this article, and my current crush is Talia Jane.

    Bet I can get the account deleted now; thanks Kieren

  6. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Drivel

    When you don't go though the hard times and struggles, you don't have the gratitude, humility or appreciation for what took to get through them."

    Whenever I hear drivel like this (or "you have to pay your dues") I immediately translate it to, "I was stupid enough to let some employer treat me like crap for years. If you don't accept the same treatment it'll just embarrass me by reminding me how dumb I was."

    1. KeithR

      Re: Drivel

      "When you don't go though the hard times and struggles, you don't have the gratitude, humility or appreciation for what took to get through them.""

      Explains that twat Trump, then...

  7. TheSteve

    No one forced her to take the job

    Sure, Yelp may be scum, but it's not like she was forced to accept the job. How many months did it take her to figure out paying $1200/mo rent on $1300/mo take-home pay was not sustainable? Seems like it would have been a lot less traumatic to say "I can't afford to live here" up front rather than setting herself up for failure. Kind of like the person that goes deep into debt to get a non-marketable college degree, then complains about it being hard to pay off those loans based on a Starbucks wage. Hard to feel too much empathy for someone who willingly set themselves up to fail.

    1. Notas Badoff

      Re: No one forced her to take the job

      You didn't read any of the background behind this before opining, did you? Everybody expects to be tossed around a bit at first in a new job. In her case she found herself trapped in that "we're testing your loyalty" position far beyond reasonable expectations. With no job progression possible, even after the hard work expended, *then* it was obvious the situation was impossible.

      According to your last line, unemployment for life is the better road? Nice.

      1. TheSteve

        Re: No one forced her to take the job

        If Yelp actually promised her a better job in less than 12 months but then backed out, then it's their fault. But she doesn't say that. If she just assumed going in that she would be getting a better position and didn't ask until after she was there how long that would take, then it's back on her. Since when is having to wait 12 months for a promotion/reassignment not "reasonable"?

        And I never said anything about unemployment for life. I'm sure there are many cities in the US in which she could live comfortably on $1300/mo. Note that at least one of her coworkers wisely made such a move "east". She may only need to go as far as Sacramento (cost of living index there is 117, compared to SF's 184), and she still might not be far from her dad, depending on where exactly he lives.

        Not to mention that, if she (and enough others) refused to take this underpaying job, then Yelp would eventually figure out that they need to offer more money, which would be a much more effective strategy than taking the job but complaining about it later. Given the retention problems she mentions, it seems like most everyone else at her level figured this out well before she did.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No one forced her to take the job

          unfortunately, your view that "if people don't take such shitty job then employers would be forced to increase the wages" - this is great (no sarcasm) but it doesn't work like that in real world. There are enough young, naive, hopeful and yes, hopeless and helpless "cases" around to feed those very jobs. And scummy employers know about it and exploit it VERY WELL. It takes some people no time to figure out it's a no-no job, and they don't start. It takes others a week in a new job. It takes still others a year, or more. And there are those (see hopeless and helpless) who'll stay behind forever (or until they're bled dry or exhausted, physically and mentally). Or unless they get un-employed by their caring employer.

          I'm looking at my own case, used to work in a retail shop in the 90s. It was a business started from the shed, originally, and grew to a network of shops across the country, but it was still run by original owners. They paid shitty wages, but they offered something in return: heavy discounts (granted, trade prices were offered by manufacturers, but the owners didn't mind). Actually, they even offered some company backed mortgage loans. And, most of all, they offered reasonable "fun" within the working environment. People accepted this trade and we had some great characters in store, and as there was no hard pressure on "sales tactics", customers flocked, because they knew we'd be reliable in our views. Then the business was sold to a... something, somebody with an idea of how a profitable business "should" be run, and the staff felt the noose tightening, because for steadily growing amount of work with steadily decreasing number of staff (see the pattern there), there was _nothing_ to compansate that, obviously not better wages, and certainly no more fun at all. So those quick and brainy ones left within months, others lingered for longer, the business got sold to a bigger business, now an equity, I suppose, and the noose was so tight that hardly anybody who'd accepted "shitty wages for fun exchange" bothered to stay on. But did they have to shut down because of lack of staff? Nosir, there were always new people, hopeful, naive, aspiring, call them what you like, and once they got employed, some wisened up quickly, others lingered on, and they're, I saw the other day, STILL stuck, and, the business is indeed very profitable (opening new shops, etc). No more fun, still shitty wages, and the staff don't give a flying monkey and know just as much, but boy, the noose is so tight, they don't even squek. All smartly dressed, all with the right sales pitch, and the right manners, but they know shit and I'd never trust their "opinion", because they're there to flog the most expensive tat. And it does work (well, not for them!) - the business prospers, and it seems there are enough people out there to rotate, continuously.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: No one forced her to take the job

            @AC

            "the business prospers, and it seems there are enough people out there to rotate, continuously."

            So your saying the business offers a wage (a low one) and people choose to take it. While the business could raise the wage and if it wanted to seem lovely etc then it might, but it sounds like that doesnt matter to them as the business is profitable. But it is only profitable because people choose to work there. And they do...

            As you said the smart people (or the ones who care about something else maybe) choose to work there, and that is the target audience for the job vacancies. The worker gets what they want (or they wouldnt take the job) and the business gets what it wants (a low paid employee).

            If this doesnt check your boxes then you are better off changing jobs or moving some place cheaper and changing jobs. This is the same insanity of paying people welfare to do the low paid jobs in london. Move to where you can afford like the rest of us and funnily london will start to pay what is required to get the jobs done (if it is worth it to them). Otherwise the situation wont change.

            As for the behaviour of Yelp that is concerning. Especially if factually incorrect reviews are allowed to mess with innocent people.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: No one forced her to take the job

              *correction-

              "As you said the smart people (or the ones who care about something else maybe) choose to work there"

              should be:

              "As you said its not the smart people (or the ones who care about something else maybe) choose to work there"

              My bad

            2. Triggerfish

              Re: No one forced her to take the job

              Bit of a double bind isn't it, don't take the job because the wages are shit, be accused that you are a work shy slacker who deserves no sympathy. Screwed either way.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: No one forced her to take the job

                @ Triggerfish

                "Bit of a double bind isn't it, don't take the job because the wages are shit, be accused that you are a work shy slacker who deserves no sympathy. Screwed either way."

                Thats a defeatist/lazy attitude. Take crap job, complain its crap, erm. Not like she could look for another-

                Yelp, however, is paying San Francisco's mandatory minimum wage of $12.25 an hour. And while a few other tech companies also pay very poorly (Yahoo, hang your head), the majority of the tech companies in San Francisco offer $15-20 an hour for entry-level customer service jobs. It's just about enough to live on. But $12.25 is not.

                Or a cheaper place to live? Or as others mentioned house share? No other options at all? Not capable of looking for work while in work?

                Or is it the worlds fault for not bending to her will? If Yelp couldnt get employees at that price they would up it so what is she doing differently? It could be the job/area is not suited to her needs, we are not all the same. So it is not a double bind as there are many options and possibilities and nobody can answer it right for her, it is her choice.

                1. Triggerfish

                  Re: No one forced her to take the job

                  Well actually what I proposed was a double bind, there's a lot on here saying don't take the job then.

                  I was not discussing the other options I was pointing out many who would say well say fuck you and don't get the job then also complain about people not taking any job they can rather than be unemployed. The duality of that makes it a double bind.

                  Adding in the other options and not knowing America enough.

                  1. Whats the vacancies for employment rate in the SF area I am guessing 10% more jobs available than the total population so that people can walk out of one job and into another in an hour or so from what I seem to be reading here.

                  2. How much cheaper in her article it says she live's quite far away and part of it seems to be for family reasons, OK so that may have dictated to some degree were she lives and rent likewise. But how far away is OK for people to live, should the BAY area be exclusive how far away should people be before travel time becomes to far. NB I used to have to travel 2-3 hrs to work each way, it was shit.

                  I have to say there is a couple of things about her article that make me think a bit of a kick up the bum would not be bad, but the reaction a lot of people have of well might (money) is right is gobsmacking. If you get mugged tonight will you report it? Your attacker was stronger maybe he deserved your wallet because you didn't get your arse to the gym or learn how to fight.

                  I mean if thats the case, I can understand the love of guns and the apparent paranioa about home invasions. But I prefer my future civilisation to be working more towards the Culture model than the William Gibson one.

                  1. Triggerfish

                    Re: No one forced her to take the job

                    Apologies some terrible grammar and English in that email, not enough coffee.

              2. KeithR

                Re: No one forced her to take the job

                "Bit of a double bind isn't it, don't take the job because the wages are shit, be accused that you are a work shy slacker who deserves no sympathy. Screwed either way."

                True - but in the US, you'll have starved to death or died of exposure pretty quickly, at which point you won't care what people accuse you of...

          2. TheSteve

            Re: No one forced her to take the job

            Sure, if you started out in a sustainable state but things changed (e.g., rent goes up faster than wages) then that's an unfortunate situation deserving of sympathy. But when you willingly enter a situation that's unsustainable from the get-go, with only fairy dreams about how surely it has to work out because the universe couldn't possibly be so unfair to me, then it's very hard to sympathize.

            1. KeithR

              Re: No one forced her to take the job

              "But when you willingly enter a situation that's unsustainable from the get-go, with only fairy dreams about how surely it has to work out because the universe couldn't possibly be so unfair to me, then it's very hard to sympathize."

              Exactly how smart and worldly-wise were you when you were (to all intents and purposes) a kid?

              And isn't "with only fairy dreams about how surely it has to work out" the American fucking Dream?

              1. TheSteve

                Re: No one forced her to take the job

                "Exactly how smart and worldly-wise were you when you were (to all intents and purposes) a kid?"

                She's 25. She's been eligible to vote in at least one if not two prior presidential elections. If she's not old enough to take responsibility for her decisions now, at what age will she be?

                "And isn't "with only fairy dreams about how surely it has to work out" the American fucking Dream?"

                Only if you're a Bernie supporter.

    2. John Savard Silver badge

      Cyystal Balls for Sale Cheap

      It's the government's fault, for not managing the economy so that there were more jobs to go around.

      It's true that arts degrees aren't terribly marketable in the best of times, but sometimes a degree was marketable when you went to college, and isn't when you graduate.

      The government should maintain normal economic conditions of 1948-1968 era full employment at all times forever. Oh, it can do that; but trade barriers would be the first step.

      1. Schlimnitz

        Re: Cyystal Balls for Sale Cheap

        This is satire, right?

        Or not?

    3. Archie Woodnuts

      Re: No one forced her to take the job

      No one forced you to miss the point either yet, here we are.

  8. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Several Problems

    This is not a good situation. Yelp is apparently paying well below market rates in a very expensive city. That is Yelp's problem to own and fix. However part of the problem is the Bay Area tends to very restrictive land use policies that effectively stop the building of more housing within many of the cities in the region. Either one is underwater in SF or one has a horrible commute. This has been a problem that has been festering for sometime now. Her only options are to find a better paying job, find a job in a cheaper area, or try to cut her expenses. I have no idea how realistic these options are for her as I am on the other side of the US.

    1. Dan Paul

      Re: Several Problems

      Sam Kinison once said to starving Ethiopians "You live in a STEENKING DESERT, Move!

      In the same way, "poor Talia" should stop crying, stop trying to publicly shame her company (THAT got her fired) and finally stop blaming everyone else for her own stupidity. Then she needs to move out of state because between all the social services costs and the artificially inflated costs of living in San Francisco she WON'T get a better wage in Communist California! She could make way more money as a trimmer for a dispensary grow up north!

      Yelp is not a company that anyone should work for. Plain and simple...that's it. MOVE ON...

      If this young woman expects that she is going to get an ENTRY LEVEL job in San Francisco (One of the highest costs of living in the world) that pays enough, she is sadly mistaken. $1,200 month income does not support $1,350 in bills! And that's just bad budgeting because her costs are greater than that.

      YOU DIDN"T LEARN THIS BEFORE BUT YOU HAVE TO LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS SWEETIE!

      Sorry if you believed liberal election year wage promises that they could never deliver on.

      If she wants to be close to her dad she should move back home until she gets a good enough paying job? Or did she piss him off? Make a choice and grow up Talia.

      1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

        Re: Several Problems

        Actually, I didn't mean to upvote this, I meant to inquire where Communist California is.

        1. KeithR

          Re: Several Problems

          Only in that bell-end's mind.

        2. Diogenes

          Re: Several Problems

          The aunt & uncle who live in SFO do call it the Peoples Democratic Socialist Republic of SFO, As soon as they resolve a boundary dispute with a neighbour they are out of there.

          They love it, but the city govt is squeezing owners & landlords to get the last bit of juice out of the pips (amazing how that happens hen a majority of voters are tenants).

      2. JayB

        Re: Several Problems

        First up, Talia isn't the wisest soul on the planet, I'll grant you, but here's the kicker.

        Whether you like it or not, she has f***ing point. I've been in and out of SF a lot and it is an insanely expensive city. Other major firms recognise this and try and support their staff by all manner of things, free transport to cheaper neighbourhoods, better salary as examples, YELP do not. If you need a job, you need a job and you'll take anything. If you're trying to build a career you try and be selective about that job. Note I said "try", I'm thinking YELP, not a good thing for the resume.

        What Yelp do is called exploitation, and yes, while I'm aware people like you are all for it and think it is de rigeur, pretty much the rest of us think it's a pretty scummy thing to do.

        Communist California?????? WTF??? Last Californian I got drunk with reckoned the USA should nuke China to prevent it becoming an economic Super power to rival the USA (hated to explain to him that they already had).... and you're calling that communist? Fuck, I dread to think what you think is "middle of the road".

        The one thing I do agree with is no one should ever, EVER have to work for a bunch of unethical cretins like YELP, unfortunately since you seem to share their somewhat less than ethical politics, no one should ever have had to work for you.

        1. KeithR

          Re: Several Problems

          "First up, Talia isn't the wisest soul on the planet"

          She's a kid!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    American employers

    You are cruel and unusual!

  10. Peter Prof Fox

    Why should anyone have to pay to work?

    You shift 16 tons and what do you get?

    Another day older and deeper in debt.

    That's not (PC correct voice) sustainable.

    (Perhaps Woodentop Trump could enlighten us?)

  11. WonkoTheSane
    Facepalm

    At least Murica still has call centres!

    Most of the UK's are now in India!

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: At least Murica still has call centres!

      Although I see BT are making great play of moving jobs back to the UK - ostensibly customer service issues (including, according to newspaper 'reports' - OK a reliable citation needed) that the Brummie accents of their customers could not be understood by Indian call staff.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: At least Murica still has call centres!

        Hmm! I have met a fair number of Indians in the UK that had Brummie accents. Maybe they could hire them to translate?

      2. Andrew Moore Silver badge

        Re: At least Murica still has call centres!

        But Birmingham is Little India...

        1. JetSetJim Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: At least Murica still has call centres!

          Nope - Birmingham is a no-go area for non-Muslims. India is only 14% Muslim

    2. KeithR

      Re: At least Murica still has call centres!

      "Most of the UK's are now in India!"

      No they ain't - most companies that use such things have brought the work back into the UK.

  12. John Savard Silver badge
    Joke

    It's All Her Fault!

    Clearly, she was stealing a job which should have gone to an African-American, who could live in the slums where the rent is lower! Such an individual would have had some money left for food.

  13. Epobirs

    So most companies in the same area pay much better, you say? It would seem the choice is obvious: get hired by one of those companies. Unless, perhaps, you aren't very good at your job and the lowest paying positions are all you can get. Talia Jane seems to be one of those lowest common denominator workers who cannot accept that she is incapable of earning at the level needed for living where she desires. Most of the far better paid technical workers I know whose jobs are in San Francisco live well outside the city because it is simply unaffordable.

    Many companies in such expensive areas keep their support operations far, far away, in place where the cost of living is far, far lower. This is in recognition that these personnel are never going to earn at the level required to make even commuting a substantial distance viable. The personnel doing these jobs don't operate under the fantasy they can live in big fun, exciting city with an education that draws zero interest from those with lucrative positions to fill. This is hardly a unique facet of the high tech world. I can recall my twenty-something elders complaining about similar situations back in the 1970s.

    I've done phone support and hated it. Not just that it paid lousy but also the job itself was just miserable. I'm currently under-employed and struggling financially. I could get another of those phone support gigs tomorrow but I'm not even looking at such items in the listings. Some people are good at support because they have the right personality, much as some people are well suited to teaching slow children. I do not and I know if I did this again for six months I'd end up suicidal or a serial killer. Maybe both.

    Fortunately, there are other jobs for which I qualify but my region is very well stocked in that skill set, so finding a permanent full-time position is difficult. But I'd rather struggle along with freelance stuff and part-time gigs than knowingly accept a position I know will be concentrated misery from start to finish. The current trend towards a lack of good jobs for unskilled workers (and yes, in most of the field an English degree makes you unskilled) is only beginning. I expect unemployment to only grow over the next few decades and become one of the consuming issues of my lifetime. Overpopulation won't be a problem due to lack of food and other resource but because a major portion of humanity is simply surplus to the needs of the civilization coming our way.

  14. imanidiot Silver badge
    Coat

    So quit?

    I'm not saying Yelp is not reprehensible here, or that doing so would have been easier but she would have been better off looking for a different job and just quitting than posting this public letter. If your company quite clearly doesn't care about you shaming them in public is only going to make things worse for yourself. I doubt many employers in the SF area are now standing in line to hire her. I certainly wouldn't. Because she has shown she isn't above a bit of public shaming/blackmailing her employer. She may be right but its still a potential future PR problem.

    1. KeithR

      Re: So quit?

      "but she would have been better off looking for a different job and just quitting than posting this public letter!

      Why, exactly?

  15. treboR

    She doesn't have to live alone, so she could take a room mate and save on some of those costs.

    She could car share with someone, and save some of those costs..

    I mean I'm not saying don't pay a fair wage but if other people are managing on her salary, why should the company be forced to pay for her lifestyle choices?

    1. John Savard Silver badge

      It did occur to me that indeed, her extravagant lifestyle choices were perhaps partly to blame here.

      Perhaps she took a job that was intended for people who are still living at home with their parents.

      As for commuting to San Francisco, apparently the geography is such that her carbon footprint would be bad - and her travel expenses would make up for the savings in housing expenses, particularly as the latter are likely to be limited given that many higher-paid people have already had the same idea.

    2. Triggerfish

      @Trebor

      Actually if you read it most of the staff aren't able to live on the salary. She does mention that.

      1. treboR

        Re: @Trebor

        Then they all need to go find somewhere else to work.

        If Yelp had no staff because they offered below the market rate for labour then they'd quickly have to improve their offer.

        And just to head off the socialist nonsense..

        if there's a queue of people lining up for that job, then they ARE paying the market rate.

        Bottom line, there's absolutely nothing wrong with making sacrifices to live within your means. Western Australia is very expensive for accommodation and it's very common for single income households (i.e. individuals) to share houses to keep the costs down. Should I whine to my employer about it?

        1. Triggerfish

          Re: @Trebor

          So if they refuse to work because the rate is to poor to live on, whats the other option? C'mon give us a solution.

          1. treboR

            Re: @Trebor

            Work for someone else, work for themselves, develop a skill, move somewhere the cost of living isn't so high. Any of the above plus anything else that doesn't involve stamping your feet and demanding that someone else solve your problems for you.

            Cmon it's not that hard. You just have to stop imagining that a strong central authority will fix everything for you and think for yourself.

  16. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Anonymous reviews?

    If a website cannot trace the origin of third-party content but chooses to publish it anyway, it should be considered as the web-sites own legal risk. If it turns out to be libellous, the site ends up in court. If it is false and commercially damaging, the site ends up in court. If it doesn't want to end up in court, it must take steps to ensure that it can trace where the content came from so that when someone complains, they can pass the buck.

    Otherwise you are just profiting from anonymous click-bait. That damages everyone in society except the profiteers and I don't see why society should tolerate that.

  17. PodzInc

    She doesn't live in San Francisco.

    I'm so glad to read The Register writing this piece and nearly taking on that troll of a woman, Stefanie. Her response was hateful, judgemental, pompous and arrogant. Then again, that's how know-at-alls operate. She doesn't know Talia Jane personally, nor does she have all the facts. She included incorrect and incomplete information in her reply on Medium, which others repeated, and has no first-hand, recent, relevant experience to life in Silicon Valley and working in Silicon Valley. Additionally, Stefanie is only 4 years older than Talia Jane. It's incorrect to say because you struggled once you know better and know exactly what Talia Jane needs to do with her life. Stefanie, come back to us when you're 50. You still have a lot of growing to do yourself. And we don't care that you lived in Vancouver or New York City. It's not Silicon Valley.

    It's amusing to read many responses - largely from people who don't live/haven't lived in San Francisco / Silicon Valley, and don't know much about what life is like in San Francisco / Silicon Valley. Especially, in recent years.

    Additionally, many people have glossed over important facts regarding Talia Jane's story.

    People keep blaming Talia Jane for choosing to live in San Francisco city proper. She doesn't live in San Francisco city proper. She lives 40 miles outside of the city. She was commuting to the fancy parts just as those frustrated by her open letter have recommended she do, if she were to remain working in the greater Bay Area. She doesn't live in a fancy or expensive neighborhood. In Silicon Valley, $1,200 rent means you may not live in the safest parts. She doesn't come from money. Her parents are not available to bail her out or pay her way and gift her goodies. She initially planned for co-workers to spilt the rent with her. They all bailed out on that deal as they couldn't afford to split the rent and moved in with their parents. She's driving her grandfathers rickety old, barely running car. Her food purchases were not from her own pocket.

    I invite you to spend a day in the life of Talia Jane and then report back to us. A little thoughtfulness, actual experience in Silicon Valley and less of a rush to judgement and harsh ridicule are in order. The only ones holding the pitchforks appear to be everyone that hates Talia Jane.

  18. PodzInc

    Typo & California native

    *know-it-alls not know-at-alls

    *To all those writing, not necessarily on this site, that Talia Jane ''shouldn't have moved to California'' or to ''move back to wherever you came from, little girl'': Talia Jane is a California native. She relocated from one California city to another for work. She went where she found a job and accepted it as a foot in the door, to work from the ground up. Yelp recruiters told her the Customer Service Rep position would be an easy way into the Media Team job she was hoping for. This wasn't/isn't so. What you get hired for is usually what you're stuck with when applying for work in Silicon Valley - that's why there's such a high turnover throughout Silicon Valley companies. Complaining is severely frowned upon. Getting `Blacklisted` is real thing in Silicon Valley. If you don't like something the billionaires have decreed, tough luck. Most don't want to rock the boat so they just find another company or position they hope will be better.

  19. Cari

    [unsolicited opinions on farts]

    Odd, I typed in theregister.co.uk, but appear to have reached The Guardian...

    Why ruin a perfectly good point and discussion with some unecessary political signalling and polarisation?

    Low wage workers and employees have been getting the shaft in America for for a very long time - before the spectre of a potential Trump precidency wafted in, and before Obama was president.

    Students complain about tuition fees in the UK, but ours are nothing compared to the debts US students can rack up while working low paid jobs. And don't get me started on the food service industry there. Three-job, below minimum wage workers degrading themselves for a paltry tip from an arsey customer, has been a common scenario in films and TV across the decades.

    I'm a regular reader over at Ask A Manager, and am frequently surprised and apalled at the things employers can legally get away with across the pond.

    It's not a president problem, it's a problem with a lack of basic empathy and decency on the part of big employers (in particular), who treat their employees like resources rather than human beings because legally they can.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: [unsolicited opinions on farts]

      The Grauniad is not always wrong, and does manage rather better than the proverbial broken clock - even if some of it is deranged. For real lunacy you want the Mail or the Telegraph. Time for the old joke

      The Times - read by the people who run the country

      The Telegraph - read by people who yearn for the time they thought they ran the country

      The Guardian - read by people who think someone else should run the country (although on current form...)

      The Mail - read by people who don't like anyone who runs the country, by definition

      The Sun - read by people who don't care as long as Sam Fox can flash her t*ts on page 3

      1. JayB
        Coat

        Re: [unsolicited opinions on farts]

        Sam Fox??? 'kin 'ell mate, that dates you... er.. and me.... :)

        Or is she still "supporting the boys"?????

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: [unsolicited opinions on farts]

      If this was El Graun, the prevailing sentiment in the comments would be against her. I've been heartened by the positive response here on El Reg. Maybe there's hope for this place after all.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: [unsolicited opinions on farts]

        @ Brewster's Angle Grinder

        "If this was El Graun, the prevailing sentiment in the comments would be against her."

        I really hope they do an article with comment section so we can see. Especially if its one of the crazy biased opinion pieces where the evil capitalist is grinding down the helpless and defenceless slaves. My expectation is a great attack against the lack of living wage and rent controls. And mentioning Trump would get the comments flowing twice as fast

  20. Buster

    US business has refined Stockholm syndrome as a HR policy to the extent it has become a national ideology. Looking at some of the remarks here it seems to be catching.

  21. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    Rent

    Really you could argue that it's not so much the low pay as the high rent that's hamstrung her.

    How are we in a postion where renting a room costs $1200/month? In London it's worse than that of course. How can such high rents not result in a building spree?

    SF especially consists of a large quantity of low-rise shed-built housing that could be demolished cheaply and 50+ storey blocks built in its place at very low cost which would rapidly drive down rent.

    True of London as well of course, most of Camden and Kentish town is low rise and Elephant and Castle isn't much better. Frankly it could use another blitz.

    1. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: Rent

      Such high rents can fail to result in a building spree when the government passes legislation interfering in the free market in order to maintain the aesthetics of the beautiful San Francisco area for the benefit of those who can afford to pay a lot to live there.

  22. Potemkine Silver badge

    What a wonderful World

    What Yelp wants

  23. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    FAIL

    Yelp?

    I've been browsing the internet since it was available here and have never yet landed on Yelp. After reading this news I will try harder to avoid it.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    empathy

    lack of

    p.s. I can't decide if I should blame some (...) for this shortage, or shrug with resignation. It does seem a random trait of character and I don't know whether exposure to misery translates into more empathy, or quite the reverse, because I have seen it go either way. That said, lack of exposure, does seem to kill off sympathy. A mitigating factor, perhaps, which in no way mitigates the fact that some scumbags, in this case, clearly labelled "Yelp" remain scumbags.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: empathy

      If you have empathy, you'll be able to empathise with the critics too.

      And I think some of them suffered every bit as badly as Talia. So when they see someone else "having it easy" (or asking to "have it easy") their own pain flairs up. And one reaction to pain is to lash out and try and make others feel it: so they want to make Talia suffer like they did. In essence they're jealous because their own wounds haven't healed. Empathy is a luxury: you need to be calm, unstressed, and whole.

      Of course, I'm sure there are clueless people who've never really suffered. But a perpetually stressed workforce will struggle to feel sympathy for others.

      1. KeithR

        Re: empathy

        "If you have empathy, you'll be able to empathise with the critics too"

        Pretty much by definition, it's impossible for empathic people to empathise with sociopaths...

  25. Schlimnitz

    Okay...

    The situation is difficult, for sure, but the logic of "I should be paid what I need, regardless" will take you to strange places.

    1. Seajay#

      Re: Okay...

      Yeah.

      I feel for her but she knows what she has to do, talk to Marcus and get a job at CVS. Apparently she's done that before so could presumably do it again and would then have $6 in her pocket. Of course she doesn't want to do that because she sees CVS as a dead end job, teaching as a cliche and she had hoped to chase her media dream.

      This is not a story about someone trapped in a sub-minimum wage job (though there are plenty of those and we should worry about them). This is a story about someone who is educated, fit and mobile who has decided to place herself in this position because she thinks she is too good to be a teacher and far too good to work at CVS or CIA and feels she has more to offer. There's nothing inherently wrong with that but if it turns out she doesn't have more to offer then that's not the world's fault, it's just reality.

      Chasing your dream is great but

      a) not being able to afford food is natures way of reminding you of the heirarchy of needs, maybe worry about that first.

      b) maybe she wouldn't be that good at it. I wouldn't hire someone with this level of judgment to manage my company's social media.

  26. PaulAb

    Flowerpot men

    Let's go (let's go) to San Francisco (let's go to San Francisco)

    Where the flowers grow (flowers grow)

    So very high (so high)

    It's been reported that low paid workers are eating the flowers, so they're not very high.

    It is making a mockery of a sixties classic song. I for one will not go out there now as I specifically wanted to see those flowers. YELP, you bastards!

  27. MrZoolook
    Mushroom

    Minimum wage actually means $0 in the US

    I bet there are people on far less than her minimum wage job too. Americans have an odd relationship with some words and phrases.

    I was involved in a debte recently on Quora, where I eventually questioned why someone (say a tourist) should be made to feel guilty or given worse service because they didn't tip waiting staff. The backlash I recieved was an eye opener.

    Apparently, the minimum wage in the US accounts for gratuities. Thus, by not tipping staff, the customer is (according to some posters) responsible for them not having enough to live on.

    In other words, the minimum cost for a employer to employ someone, aka the minimum wage, in the US is $0.00... so long as they work hard enough to get more generous customers than the other staff, and get them to pay above the advertised prices.

    My suggestion that restaurants and bars should just increase the prices by a few % and pay the staff a decent wage, was met with posts arguing that restaurants 'overcharging' customers this way would lead to customers going to other restaurants or just staying home, putting outlets out of buisiness, mass unemployment, the ruination of an entire buisiness sector, the collapse of the US economy, global warming, the collapse of our sun, the eventual heat-death of the Earth...

    Yeah, I'm the bad guy in this argument...

    1. SoaG

      Re: Minimum wage actually means $0 in the US

      The minimum wage everywhere is always $0.

      If government regulation prevents an employer from hiring someone without paying them more than they're worth, they don't hire them at all.

      This is why jurisdictions like Portland see a stampede of entry level employers for the exit when they drink the 'living wage' koolaid.

      Yelp isn't a viable business in the long run, so Talia needed to leave anyway. A shame someone who thinks she's should be paid lots of money to do media for a reputation company, wasn't bright or savvy enough to realize trying to publicly shame an already reviled company could only impact her reputation, not theirs.

      1. KeithR

        Re: Minimum wage actually means $0 in the US

        "The minimum wage everywhere is always $0."

        Ah, so THAT'S what "Land Of The Free" means - it's how much US companies have to pay their workers.

        Didn't Abe Lincoln do something about that YEARS ago?

    2. disgruntled yank Silver badge

      Re: Minimum wage actually means $0 in the US

      This is for tipped staff: waiters and their assistants. Out of all the near-minimum wage jobs I had when young, only as a busboy was I included in that group. At McDonalds I got the minimum wage, since after all, who tips at McDonald's? And employers are required to make sure that the tipped staff get at least the minimum wage when tips are counted in.

      1. MrZoolook

        Re: Minimum wage actually means $0 in the US

        See. All thats offered here is a clarification that only tipped staff can be hired for free. Indeed, this is something I make specific mention of in my post anyway.

        And, as I would have predicted had I not given El Reg posters the benefit of doubt, the replies offer no word of criticism against the policy itself.

        Like I said, its an eye-opener!

        1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

          Re: Minimum wage actually means $0 in the US

          "And, as I would have predicted had I not given El Reg posters the benefit of doubt, the replies offer no word of criticism against the policy itself."

          Because The Register is our go-to site for discussing restaurant wage and hour policy? I would be happy to see the policy change, and if flip to the back of the NY Time Sunday Magazine from a couple of weeks ago, you'll find a brief interview with a restaurant owner who has changed it. As for criticism, I'd need to know whether we are talking about diner crews on the early shift, who get tipped in change, or the staff in high end restaurants, who often do quite well. As an American, I am accustomed to reckoning the cost of the $x dinner as $(x * 1.2), and I feel slightly embarrassed in Europe where one does not leave a tip. I guess that if turn about were fair play, I could lecture the Europeans on this, but really I don't care.

          1. MrZoolook

            Re: Minimum wage actually means $0 in the US

            Sorry, but I see no justification where anyone, ever (short of volunteer or charity work) can legally be 'employed' by someone who gets away without needing to pay them. This is true regardless of if they take tips into account or not.

            Indeed, the problem is compounded when you consider that many establishments pool the gratuities, and distribute them evenly between staff members, including those who do earn a decent wage and were not given those gratuities for the good customer facing service... which is generally what a customer tips for.

            The fact you're even now STILL trying to justify the policy, or differentiate the effects of it between shifts, frankly, speaks volumes. One restaurant owner in New York changing their own policy is great for the underpaid staff in that restaurant. All thats needed is the rest of the nation to follow suit. If only there was a way to enforce a decent wage for all, maybe some kind of minimum wage law... or something.

            And I might point out this isn't just about waiting staff, but pretty much anyone in the service industry.

            Also, if you feel embarrassed by not giving tips to staff, then tip them. Sure, they'd appreciate it, but the point is you don't need to just to fulfill the minimum wage criteria the employer has to abide by. Because the food itself is a bit more expensive, you can rest your weary conscience in the knowledge that the tip is (for practical purposes anyway) included in the meal.

            If this isn't to your liking, you could speak to the manager of the establishment, and offer to pay less than the advertised price and tip the staff the difference. Mind the door doesn't hit your arse on the way out though, because that's right where someone will be aiming for with their boot while escorting you out.

    3. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Minimum wage actually means $0 in the US

      You tip in the US because the IRS taxes employees on the estimated value of received tips.

      It sucks, its wrong, its.... but its the way it is. I like the idea of my servers and food handlers being paid enough to live a healthy life and afford medical insurance. (Think about it.....)

  28. TeeCee Gold badge
    WTF?

    Yes.....but....

    ....Yelp pays its employees 20 per cent less than the industry average

    Which industry? Just how much do junior shits working for the Mafia get paid? That's the only other large-scale business whose model is based on bribery and extortion that I can think of.

    Even that's not a perfect match as the Mafia are more diversified with gambling, loansharking, drugs and such in their portfolio too.

  29. L05ER

    not so peculiarly american it would seem...

    Otherwise why is it easy to not like someone highlighting injustice?

  30. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    The simple answer: she's not being paid too little but she is paying too much rent

    Wages: $1,466 (after taxes)

    Rent: $1,245

    That's the problem. Rent should never be > 50% net income.

    This is not the employer's fault. Though it does make you wonder how an employer can continue to find workers if that situation is replicated.

    However, things are never really that simple. Rents in places like San Francisco tend to rise faster than wages. This is both the result of lack of supply, partly due to local restrictions (not enough housing where people want to live), but also monetary and fiscal policy favouring property and VC investment. Rents are stickier than wages: it's easy to sack people but they still lead somewhere to live; bad housing loans lead to bailouts. Furthermore, one of the main arguments used to get people to work for less than market rates is participation in equity through stock options, which everyone likes because of the preferential tax treatment. This is routinely abused by VC funded companies. They also prefer to offer perks like catering and stuff, because they are much easier to scale back than wages, they may also have preferential tax treatment. Rent controls of the European variety might to some degree mitigate against some of the excesses by limiting the amount rents can rise in any year. But San Francisco definitely needs more capacity if rents are to remain affordable.

    Indeed, in places like London, you'll see government money being funnelled into the property market through things like "key-worker" schemes. A bit more free market realism wouldn't hurt there: employers will move elsewhere if they can't get employees at a rate they can afford to pay. Of course, this would mean boom then bust, but that's preferable to me than keeping the bubble going with more government money.

    I believe Portland, Oregon is actually trying to limit its growth as a city because it's worried about the long term consequences of boom then bust: seeing places like Detroit as a salutary example.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      Re: The simple answer: she's not being paid too little but she is paying too much rent

      > That's the problem. Rent should never be > 50% net income.

      I'd say anything more than 33% is already dubious for a basic(!) flat.

  31. Keith Glass
    Facepalm

    Funny, when I was her age. . . .

    . . . I also had a fairly low wage, and the job was in an expensive area.

    However, I had a brain. I rented a place shared with several other people, reducing housing cost to something affordable. All of whom worked in a several block area, and we carpooled to work, in a an old beater car. And we bought food for the HOUSE, not for individual, and thus were able to stock up on commodity stuff when it was on sale, reducing food cost.

    And yes, we ate a LOT of Ramen.

    Until this "Talia James" person, I was under the assumption that pooling resources and getting roomies was pretty much the standard for kids recently out of college. As my career progressed, I was eventually able to afford a single apartment, and then, eventually, a starter house.

    Because I learned to budget and economize FIRST. . . . not sure why Ms. James (and others. . .) seem to think that these arcane arts are akin to Nuclear Brain Surgery. . . .

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Funny, when I was her age. . . .

      The article made it pretty clear, to me at least, that Talia James isn't deserving of a lot of sympathy. However, the details of her case are symptomatic of real problems in San Francisco and Silicon Valley because of the recent boom and its attendant increase in income inequality.

      To focus on one person is to fall into a trap that it's a unique situation. I might have little sympathy for the person named but, as detailed above, I do think that there is a problem.

      1. Keith Glass

        Re: Funny, when I was her age. . . .

        "income inequality" is a chimera. Different people get paid differently for different skills, based on the value they presumably bring to the table.

        We're starting to automate people out of jobs permanently, with the rise of industrial robots and follow-on technologies.

        However, low-value jobs will only pay as much as the value delivered to the employer. Which is going to make for increasingly interesting times.

        In the Chinese sense of "interesting times". . . .

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Funny, when I was her age. . . .

          "income inequality" is a chimera.

          Sure, but things are not helped by the different (mainly but not just tax) treatment of income and assets which is driving asset bubbles while restraining incomes.

          The arguments against a wage floor are now empirically validated: it doesn't destroy jobs and can actually create them because of the increase in disposable income. If you can't afford to charge customers enough to pay it then the job (and presumably business) should go. Otherwise welfare payments start subsidising low wages. Not good.

          We're starting to automate people out of jobs permanently, with the rise of industrial robots and follow-on technologies.

          Just wait till this starts to hit non-menial jobs. The fear of this maybe one of the reasons behind people flocking to Trump or Sanders. Not that economic policy has ever really mattered in US elections.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. Keith Glass

    Re: the "Reality Check"

    . . .Ms. James notes that she lost her job within 4 hours of posting her open letter. She implies that the two events are linked.

    Considering both employment law (in California, especially) and bureaucratic process, there is literally no way she could have been fired in that timeframe.

    It would have HAD to have been started days, if not a week or more, in advance. Of course, California Labor Law would likely prevent the public release of any records, citing "privacy", and thus we'll never see Yelp!'s side of the story. . .

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: the "Reality Check"

      California is one of those "Right To Work" states -- you are employed 'at will'. You can leave or be discharged without notice.

      1. Keith Glass

        Re: the "Reality Check"

        You can. . . .but HR generally requires process and paperwork. Especially in a lawsuit-happy environment like California.

        Consider the timeline: She posts to Medium.com, and yet "4 hours later" she gets notice that she's fired (5:43 PM, to be exact)..

        Either they're ALREADY monitoring her social media (suggesting there was already an issue) or, somehow, in under 4 hours, it got so viral so fast that management saw it, directed a firing, and HR did their entire process. . .

        I would suspect it was the former, not the latter. . .

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And the Employer would say something like...

    > Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. (Wikipedia)

    > Amercia is the greatest capitalist society <ClarksonVoice> IN THE WOOORRRLLLLLD</ClarksonVoice>

    > [Company_Name] considers people like TJ an expendable resource (human, but still a resource) to be utilised for the purpose of generating profit

    > Showing empathy to your resources is expensive - it adds costs

    > Costs are baaaad, m'kay..?

    NOTE: I am merely attempting to rationalise the madness that exists in their head - the views above do not represent my own

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Think Rationally

    The obvious solution is to work somewhere else.

    Yelp only employs people on such low wages, because there are people willing to work for that money.

    Rather than moan, do something practical, like apply for a different job that pays more.

    Eventually, the cost of administrating the high turnover will become higher than the value of work they are doing. At that point, Yelp will change their practices.

    Of course, waiting for it to happen is going to bankrupt anyone who is paying to work, which is what this girl is doing.

    McD is a good option.

    1. KeithR

      Re: Think Rationally

      "The obvious solution is to work somewhere else"

      Great - if better opportunities exist. But it's actually pretty bloody easy to get trapped (that's the right word) in circumstances like those the subject of this article faced.

  35. BigAndos

    London is going this way too

    I think the solution in this case is not to work in San Francisco until you have moved up the ladder a bit and increased your earning power.

    This is the exact same advice I'd give to anyone starting out on their tech career in the UK.London is also heading this way, with rents and property values spiralling out of control but entry level wages not budging.

    Start out in cheaper cities like Leeds or Birmingham, then move to London only if you REALLY want and have the experience to command a better salary. As well as lower costs helping your bank balance, if enough people do this then tech companies in big cities (be it London or SF) may have to start paying a living wage in order to get the entry level talent they need.

    For the UK specifically, an even better outcome is for more companies to move technical jobs to provincial cities and spread the wealth around the UK a bit more. If they can't attract the talent they need in London at a reasonable salary any more they may have to look elsewhere in the UK. The concentration in London has become unhealthy and unsustainable for any number of reasons (housing, public services, transport...).

  36. Petrea Mitchell
    Stop

    Not Trump, but the GOP

    The notion that poor people bear the blame for being poor has long been part of the Republican orthodoxy, but a large part of what's drawing the working class to Trump, and making the Republican establishment apoplectic, is that he's telling them it's *not* their fault.

    The overall story of the current US campaign season is, in fact, poor people becoming tired of this crap. It's what's driving both Trump and Sanders, and why many of their campaign promises look remarkably similar. (Where they part ways is in deciding who is really to blame for poor people being poor: for Trump, it's immigrants and political correctness getting in the way of the Real Americans who should be winners, and for Sanders, it's the elites rigging the game so that no one else has a chance.)

  37. martinusher Silver badge

    A Minimium Wage Employee

    I don't know her gross wage but the numbers quoted sounds like minimum wage to me, about $10 an hour. At that wage level her deductions should be minimal. Housing is expensive in the Bay Area, food's about average for California and there is excellent public transport at prices which would make the typical Londoner weep for joy.

    Minimum wage is a reality for many people, and not just young people. Its not quite enough to live on which is why there's a push to get it to $15 (which will move it from 'wholly inadequate' to 'not quite inadequate'). Its probably a bit of a shock for someone who was raised in the 'burbs in a nice middle class household.

    The reason for the backlash is that most people know the score. They know that many of the people she interacts with daily -- janitors, food service, supermarket workers, transportation -- will be on similar wages, with similar levels of (non-existent) job security. Its not that they don't have sympathy for the low paid -- there but for the Grace of God &tc. -- but rather the way that the open letter screamed 'entitlement', the feeling that as soon as Tilia got what she wanted she'd turn around and look down on their inferiors just like the rest of the entitled.

    Incidentally, she might want to look into the pay and conditions that new teachers get in California.

    1. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: A Minimium Wage Employee

      What, bus drivers don't belong to a union in California?

  38. michael_h

    Whoa whoa whoa

    Yelp business aside, Bulleit Bourbon is $15. I'm not that qualifies it as 'incredibly expensive'.

  39. Thorne Kontos 1

    Life lesson learned.

    The young person complaining about her job at Yelp discovers the real minimum wage Is $0.

    And what is with the Obama worshipers on this site? Most of you need to have your heads examined.

    https://external-atl3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/safe_image.php?d=AQCgH6yB9tLjoumv&w=487&h=363&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fimages%2Fuser3303%2Fimageroot%2F2015%2F09%2F20150916_obo.jpg&ext=png2jpg

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: Life lesson learned.

      Re: your last link, have you heard that term about correlation and causation?

  40. patrickstar

    This story ends with a cliffhanger

    I demand to know the ending - did they catch the people with the guns?

    You know, the people forcing her, at gunpoint, to take a job that doesn't pay enough to live on?

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