Down With Gravity

I absolutely love it when the Left ignores not only commonsense but history.  Such as here, in (of course) California:

A new “Hero Pay” mandate in Long Beach, California has inadvertently cost some frontline grocery workers their jobs.
Ralphs and Food 4 Less, both owned by the parent company Kroger, announced Monday that they will be closing 25% of their stores in Long Beach after the city council passed an ordinance requiring companies with over 300 employees nationwide to pay employees an extra $4 per hour.

There’s nothing “inadvertent” about this, because an Economics 101 student could have seen it coming.

In an industry which runs on 2.5% net margins and where savings of 0.15% on costs can end up with a promotion to VP, adding $4/hour to an already-high California $14 makes it inevitable that management would close two stores to keep that district’s aggregate costs down.

What’s even worse is that the city council’s actions were unnecessary.  Just about everywhere, supermarket employees were raking it in during the various Chinkvirus lockdowns through overtime, as demand for product in many cases outstripped the stores’ ability to restock shelves, or else led to more frequent deliveries, which meant that shelf-packers needed to work longer hours to refill front-store real estate.  This is not just anecdotal, but hard fact, and if the Long Beach city council had had an ounce of smarts, they would have known all about it.  But no-o-o-o.  They had to make a grand gesture to “reward” the “heroic” supermarket workers, and now about five hundred of said heroes will be out of a job.  Some reward.

The common sense part is also lacking.  As any fule kno, if you drive up overhead in a part of any business, that part will either be scaled back, replaced with a cheaper option or else eliminated altogether.  It is common knowledge that in the face of “living wage” demands and impositions, the fast-food industry (which has higher margins than supermarkets) is working on replacing high-cost workers with robots.  Supermarket work is more complicated than fast food work, so robotics could only go so far (and not very, in most cases) to reduce staff costs.  Hence:  store closings.

Of course, I said “as any fule kno”, but the Left and gummint [some overlap]  are, as always, not going to let little things like commonsense and experience get in the way of Marxist principle or virtue-signaling.

The key here will be if they can repeal this stupid ordinance before Kroger closes the stores — assuming that they even want to do that and be shown up as the fucking morons they are.

Don’t hold your breath.


  1. Gee…. Money doesn’t grow on trees… imagine that…

    Yet those stuffed shirts passed a law, forcing a non-Governmental body to do their bidding, and are shocked that they would close several stores and drop 500 labor units from their roles. Good Job!

    What’s next? Mandatory bleedings? Free grape kool-ade every Friday? Ex-communication from the human race?

  2. Now they will declare themselves a food desert and give a giant grant to the right campaign contributor to open a new store, which will last just as long as the tax dollars flow.

    1. John,
      You’re absolutely right. Pfizer played the tax cut incentive in Connecticut. they never came through on their jobs requirements. They pushed people around on paper to make them technically work in New London as opposed to at the lab buildings in Groton. more than one person told me that they had a cubicle in New London and were technically working in New London but they’re a research scientist or lab manager so how can you do that 15 miles away from the lab? Tax incentives ended so pfizer packed up shop.

  3. The battle cry of EVERY politician.
    ‘Look what I’m doing / have done for YOU !! This is WHY you should
    VOTE FOR ME ( shhhh – ‘and keep me in office’).
    ‘Don’t worry, I’ll get you MORE MONEY ( shhhh – ‘after I get MY CUT ‘ ).
    On and on.
    Consequences for actions taken be damned. Just as long as I get to stay in office.
    Every damn one of them. Local. Federal. Democrat. Republican. Makes no difference’
    It’s WHY they go into politics, to get rich and stay in office by making promises that, even if
    kept ( very rare ), have no longevity.
    You didn’t think they actually CARE about YOU did you ??

  4. Myself and the company I work for could easily automate a grocery store. Sure it would cost more initially, but once it was up and running you would save huge on payroll and cookie cutting the next stores would be easier.

      1. way they’re handled here: sell only prepackaged products packaged into standard weight and size plastic trays and bags in a central factory.

        Print each package not just with a barcode with the price but a QR code containing the sell by date so an automated system can scan them regularly to 1) deliver the oldest and 2) remove from the stock those that have gone over date.

        1. My local Krogers have done this–eliminated the local jobs, it all comes from a regional facility now.

  5. Econ 101, you say? Ocasio-Cortez graduated cum laude from Boston University (a top 100 university) majoring in international relations and economics.

    1. Even a ham sandwich can graduate from college these days,
      as long as it chalks up a $100k debt to the college.

  6. Do not for a moment that Kroger, et al, hasn’t been looking for an excuse to close those stores, (and more,) except California. Close those stores without an excuse, put those Heroes out in the cold and foggy, and all of a sudden you become Un-Woke, and you will be scorned and persecuted for evermore.

    This way, a losing store goes away, the building and property are offered to someone else as retail space, employees are offered positions at other stores (usually 50-200 miles away,) and a quiet contribution to the Dems chases away all the screamers and haters saying bad things about Kroger, a fine Union Company.

  7. After the 2020 election, Florida now has a $15/hr minimum wage. Actually, the minimum wage will increase from $8.56 now to $15 in 2026, in a series of steps. This was not done by executive fiat, but through a ballot initiative requiring 60% approval. After a few years of Zhou Bai Den it may or may not be enough. I believe the true minimum wage is zero and voted against it, but at least it was enacted with direct consent of the governed.
    My supermarket is Publix, where even the front of store people are making $11/hr now. Publix may also stay ahead of the state minimum wage increase schedule. The food isn’t cheap, but it is good. Cheaper can be got elsewhere, but my store is within walking distance as a plus. It isn’t Wegmans (old Rochester area guy here), but its pretty damn good.

  8. A hair over half a decade ago I was the project lead on a new platform to replace bottom-run clerks/cashiers with automated kiosks. Wound up creating some interesting technology in the process. But I digress.

    Anyway, here are a few interesting tidbits.

    The industry was (and still is) absolutely salivating at the notion of minimum wage increases. Thing is, once the machines are deployed, even if the labor costs drop they’re not going away. Once the client made the up-front investment, the recurring costs are just so much cheaper than people there’s no comparison.

  9. Coming up next: a law making it illegal to lay off staff for any reason, including criminal conduct.
    And after that: make managers personally liable to keep paying staff after the company becomes insolvent.
    After all, if they can decide how much you have to pay your staff and what raises they should get, they can do that as well.

  10. I’m pretty sure you’re being too generous to the left in attributing to stupidity what can be better explained by malice.

    A group of people who work in the private sector and provide for themselves and their families without interference from the state is generally bad for the left; how can leftists claim to save them if they don’t need saving? Isn’t it better if they lose their jobs and depend on the state and the “generosity” of their betters, and are far more likely to vote the right way to “protect” their benefits? Even better if they can be persuaded that their lost livelihoods are the fault of capitalism and voting left will help them fight back.

    The left can then pat themselves on the back, making (other) people worse off is a small price to pay in their heroic battle against anyone who disagrees with them and, err, intolerance. After all, they are fighting for the people!

  11. Groceries stores are all but ruined now anyways. It’s rare to find one with an actual butcher (@ $72/hour total weighted compensation, I can see why). Crappy produce from South America, all designed to survive 21+ days transport on the ocean in the dark, crappy seafood from Chinese trawlers overfishing dirty water and soaked in lye for transport, blah blah blah. That’s here on in the Mid-Atlantic, YMMV. Y’all in Texas at least still have HEB, the best we have is Trader Joe’s, which should be called Average Joe’s. I could shop at the military commissary store, but it’s a 3-hour trip and they’ve pushed the quality so low and the prices so high, it’s pointless, not to mention the crowds. Costco for beef and supplies, Indian or Pakistani stores for dried beans, vegetables and spices, state liquor store for liquor. I am lucky to have a very good supply of fresh rabbit, goat and eggs from a local supplier. I do miss quality seafood after living in Hawaii, Sicily and Florida for 19 of my 37 years in the Navy.

    I used to love grocery shopping since it got me out of the house. Now I don’t want to leave the house because I might run in to people. And I by running in to people, I mean RUNNING IN to people.

    Sorry, any excuse to rant about this scourge of humanity known as Northern Virginia is all I need.

    There was one bright spot in today’s shopping though. 4-pack of Fullers London Pride for $9.99.

    1. NOVA? You have my sympathy. In the late 60’s, I lived on Duke St. and commuted up Shirley Hwy. to an office on Connecticut Ave. across the street from the Washington Hilton. Shirley Hwy. was four lanes, had only one high rise anthill at King Street and it took me 45 minutes in the morning and 1.5 hour of insanity in the evening to go nine miles.
      Now the road is what – ten lanes? – there are dozens of high rises disgorging their ants onto the road, you can’t park in DC without a smart phone to pay for it, and just about everybody there is a bureaucrat trying to score a bigger position, all the while sucking the government tit and voting to expand their fiefdoms.
      In fact, you have my deepest sympathy for being stuck in that overpriced shithole of an insane asylum.

      I can remember a time, pre-Washington Beltway, when Shirley Hwy. was a two lane road, and while attending a college in the area in the early 60’s, two or three of us would get a six pack, drive to the Capitol, park just off the House steps, and go sit on the steps and drink a couple beers and talk. Nobody bothered us. America had real freedom then.
      Now everybody there is such a self important swelled head, they see mere average Americans as the enemy, think we smell bad, are sure we are nuisances, and that for damned sure we don’t deserve to even be on the premises of the buildings we built and paid for.
      Topcat, bail out of there and keep your sanity.

      1. Valine 76,
        My stepsons have a couple of more years of college to finish, but once they’re done, I’m dialing in the launch codes. My wife has a medical practice here, so that complicates things a bit, but we’ll work that out. I did have plans to retire to southern Arizona but that was before I met her. Sold the AZ house (actually closes in a few days) and am looking for refuge in any free state.

        PS. Small world. When I first got stationed in DC, I lived on Duke St. where the old Commissary was. They tore it down and put up a townhouse community (Cameron Station) and I was the first buyer. In at $225K, out 4 years later at $599K. They were as high as $1M for a while, but they’ve pulled back some now.

Comments are closed.