by Isai Carmona | staff writer

On April 6, 2021, Bill Miller’s Bar-B-Q increased their minimum wage to $12, not to mention they increased every current employee’s wage by a dollar. With Texas not seeing a minimum wage increase since 2009, this new offer is a hard bargain considering the job title.

Some people still can’t comprehend why a teenager should be making this amount of money. But this once again, is proven false due to the inflation to minimum wage increase ratio. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 2.30% between 1990 and 2021; $2 in 2020 was worth $4.05 back in 1990: everything was half off – which sounds great until you realize that buying power went down 2%: everything is twice as expensive. 

Senior Sierra Lamb has been working at Las Palapas just over a year and half now, 3 days a week, 20 hours a week. 

“I’m a busser, so I clean the tables after people leave,” Lamb said. “I make $9 an hour plus tips.” 

When asked if she deserved that money, for the amount of work she does, she replied with upbeat satire.

“No,” Lamb said. “I deserve so much more than that.”

But for Lamb, working at Las Palapas offers more benefits than $12 an hour. 

“Well, you have to take a lot of things into consideration,” Lamb said. “How close it is to your house, you have to think about the people you’re going to be working with. You have to think about how well the management will work with your situation and your schedule. I think when you just consider the amount of pay you’re getting you can get yourself into bad situations. I found a lot of good things at Las Palapas and that’s probably why I would stick with them.” 

Back in 1990 minimum wage was $3.80, which is almost half of today’s $7.25. So there we have it, problem solved, all is well, no harm done.

Well, not exactly.

If anything this just shows how little we progressed as a state over the span of 30 years. The state of Texas increased its minimum wage by 190%, yet the countries buying power went down by an even 50%. That’s a $.35 decrease; Texas is behind in the nationwide spectrum.

Lamb also gave insight on how valid the advice parents give their children about money really is. 

“I would say that we have a good idea about what we want to do with our money,” Lamb said. “But in order to be able to utilize it we do need to listen to the advice of those who have worked with money, like our parents.” 

Still like many students, Lamb’s money goes straight to the essentials: her ride and education.

“I pay for insurance and I save for college,” Lamb said. 

Although she is glad that an entry level job is helping her pay her bills and save for college, in the end, Lamb doesn’t plan on being a busser the rest of her life. 

“I plan to keep this job until I graduate high school,” Lamb said.

 

 

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