Perusing McDonald’s’ corporate wellness site for its employees, which they actually call “McResource Line,” you might find yourself praying that it’s an elaborate parody. But sadly, it is real.
Real vague, real condescending and real insulting.
On the heels of last summer’s outrage about the company’s Visa-sponsored sample budget that had zero basis in reality for the average McDonald’s minimum-wage employee (rent for a worker living in New York City, for example, was figured in at $600 a month), ThinkProgress reported that the company’s holiday budget tips include considering returning some of your presents and selling off your belongings on ebay or Craigslist. (“You made your holiday list and checked it twice, and now you’re left with some debt that is not so nice!” the page of smart money tips begins.)
Other earth-shatteringly clever financial tips on the site include, “Review the financial situations that are causing your stress and decide how important they are and if they can be changed. For example, if your mortgage payment has become overwhelming, find a solution. You can refinance at a lower rate or downsize to a smaller home.”
“Find a solution” – Why didn’t I think of that!? Lol! I really wonder how much McDonald’s Corp. pays Nurtur Health, Inc., the company that provides the laughably irrelevant McDrivel for this site. Nurtur Health’s corporate site boasts that its PeopleCare ™ program helps companies calculate the “validated predictive cost” of reducing risk to corporate profits in terms of employee attendance.
A McDonald’s worker who makes 75 cents over the federal minimum wage, or $8 an hour, and works 35 hours a week, is talking home around $280 [$200 or so after taxes]. I’m guessing that a rather small percentage of fast-food restaurant employees own their own homes.
But in addition to the irrelevance of the advice, Nurtur Health talks to McDonald’s workers as if they’re 9 years old:
–“The key to avoiding compulsive spending is to know the difference between need’ and ‘want.’ You may need new shoes, but you want the designer name. Also try to avoid using shopping as a pick-me-up or as a way to relieve boredom. Bad spending habits will develop.”
–”If your friends or neighbors are always flaunting the latest gadget, don’t feel as if you must buy one too. Competition can get ugly, and you may soon find yourself deep in credit card debt. Another pitfall to avoid: the friend who unwittingly encourages you to continue your extravagant spending by complimenting you on these purchases.”
On the subject of low-interest credit card offers, McResource Line advises, “Many of these cards offer very low or no interest on balances for an introductory period, usually six months to a year. Try to get the longest period possible, as this is a great time to pay down the balance without a large finance charge. The next thing you need to check is the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) that will apply after the introductory period. You also need to know if this balance transfer rate will apply to purchases as well. There is usually a separate rate for purchases. You also need to find out if you will have to pay any type of balance transfer fee.”
Other obvious suggestions include, “Speaking of downsizing, analyze your lifestyle to find ways to simplify. Acquiring expensive material goods will not give you the same sense of freedom and peace as saving your money for a secure financial future.”
Caring for a sick or elderly parent? Remember that that is no excuse for shirking your McSponsibilites: “Look into home care options for the time when you are at work,” McResources suggests. Also, reframe the time you spend getting hot grease burns making French fries and ringing up Big Macs as “you time”: “Try to view your job as respite time away from caregiving,” McResources advises, “It is time for you to focus on concerns other than the patient, and have time for yourself.”
–“Financial security is something we all dream of. You can make this dream a reality with a little hard work and a lot of dedication.”
The underlying implication of McResources – not that most minimum-wage workers would even have the time to read this stupid site – is that if you’re drowning in debt, it’s your own damn fault. You are irresponsible and too dumb to secure a healthy financial future. And hey, we did our part telling you to sell your shit on Craigslist and get a second job!
Although McResources points out that “a recent American Psychological Association survey revealed that money is the number one cause of stress,” the solution is not, evidently, paying its employees enough to live on. Instead of paying hourly wages that would allow people to pay for childcare and frivolities such as rent, food and heat, McDonald’s would rather spend presumably thousands for a health content management company to dispense useless and condescending advice. Makes perfect corporate sense.