McResource, McDonald’s employee site that offered finance advice, gets McMurdered

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McDonalds McResource McMurderedLate last month, McDonald’s finally shut down its McResource website for employees, which collapsed under the weight of approximately a billion metric tons of Internet snark. The fry that broke the camel’s back? Advising employees not to eat too much fast food because it’s bad for your health.

A lot of the criticism of the site centered around its financial advice, which seemed to be aimed at helping workers scrape out the best possible lifestyle for a person making $7.25 an hour, but frequently missed the mark. The site first gained media attention for an article on budgeting; it featured a sample budget that had to add salary from a second job and leave out gasoline and heating costs in order to balance out.

Other McResource gems:

  • Make sure to tip service providers such as au pairs, personal trainers and massage therapists.
  • Pawn Christmas gifts to pay off holiday debt.
  • Sing away stress to reduce your blood pressure.
  • Take at least 2 vacations a year to reduce your risk of a heart attack.
  • Apply for government benefits and go to food pantries to supplement your tiny, tiny paychecks.

Some of the advice offered by the site isn’t terrible taken in isolation, but when you consider it’s being offered by an employer whose wages are so low they virtually guarantee employees will suffer financial insecurity, it came off as cruel and callous.

A more honest version of McResource would look something like this:
McResource, McDonald's personal finance site for employees, gets McMurdered
Yes, the central problem with the financial advice offered by McResource, and all financial advice really, is that at a certain point, no amount of cost-cutting is going to get you closer to financial security. Sometimes the only answer is: “Make more money somehow.”

If you’re interested in finding out how much the average restaurant worker makes in your area, and how far below a living wage (i.e., the minimum amount you need to have what Americans consider a decent standard of living) that number typically falls, MIT has a handy calculator.

What do you think? Did McDonald’s do the right thing by taking the website down? Should they pay workers more and keep the advice to themselves?

(Photo: Greg Willis)

{ 17 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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17 Responses to “McResource, McDonald’s employee site that offered finance advice, gets McMurdered”

  1. Dane says:

    I get the impression that the average American doesn’t know a lot about personal finance, so it might actually be of benefit to workers in general to be given access to educational resources on the subject. I know when I first started working, I didn’t have the first clue about it. It seems like the spirit of the thing in isolation isn’t that bad.

    The real problem is that they’re not paying a living wage, so when they put up a site like this, it both demonstrates how the numbers don’t add up and simultaneously comes off as patronizing by implying that their workers would be doing fine if only they knew how to manage their au pair expenditures, etc. The wages and benefits are the real problem, and it was only how that problem was exposed for once that made it such a failure.

  2. HenryB says:

    It makes me McSad! Yeah, if you pay less than a living wage you deserve the grief.

  3. Centrum says:

    Retired now. Sitting on a bench in a mall last night. Watching the young hard bodies go by and their boy friends. Boy friends: all tattooed, ear rings, piercings. Pants below their butts. Who would hire them for a responsible job? As I get older, I think about personal responsibility. I’m also well aware that many firms do not pay enough for living wage. But I would not pay a living wage to somebody with ear piercings, eye brow piercings, lip piercings, tongue piercings and tattoos. I am conflicted. I always wanted a tattoo. Just not on my forehead.

    • Monique says:

      Excellent comment Centrum, you made me laugh. But apart from the funny aspect you’ve hit the nail on the head: in my mind personal responsibility in ALL areas of life is the cure to most of what ails this country!

  4. ChrisCD says:

    Is it McDonald’s responsibility to pay a living wage? Are their jobs really meant to be the only source of income? I don’t think so.

    I use to deliver newspapers. Should my expectation been that the income would cover the needs of my wife and one child? And they didn’t even offer benefits. I don’t believe that should have been my expectation. If I needed more income, I needed another job (which I ended up getting).

    I never went to the site being referenced. Are the examples given the real text or someone’s snarky paraphrase?

    • ChristineB says:

      I totally agree with you ChrisCD. When I was much younger I had a fast food job and never thought it would my end all to be all jobs. It is not a company’s requirement to make sure people make a living wage. It is the responsibility of the person to better themself for a better job.

      We have a problem in the country where too many people think that someone else should handle their problems, e.i. the government or an employer. Each person needs to take responsibility for their own destination.

  5. SLCCOM says:

    Minimum wage jobs are meant to be a step up, not your sole income. I know a lot of us who would love to hire a local motivated young(er) person to shovel our walks, mow our lawns, rake our leaves, and generally help us with small tasks. We can’t find anyone willing to do any actual work.

    I do know quite a few people who leveraged that kind of yard work into full-fledged businesses. I have hired one. But I would rather work with a go-getter who is working hard and on her/his way up.

  6. Dane says:

    Centrum, congratulations on your prejudice. We’re talking about people who are already employed, often for years, at McDonald’s. Are you saying they don’t deserve a living wage because they exist in the same job market as other, unrelated people who have facial tattoos?

    ChrisCD, we’re talking about full time wages, with the sample budget referenced above implying a 67-hour work week and still having to fudge the numbers for a single adult. If you delivered newspapers for 40 hours a week, I think you ought to have gotten a living wage, and I don’t really get why that’s controversial. Low-skilled people need to eat just as much as high-skilled people do.

    • Jeremy says:

      I am not retired and 30 plus more years before I can. I used to be a low skilled worker. I still agree with Centrum. I did something about the low skill. I got a skill working 70 to 80 hours doing it. Kids and some adults spend their money on tatoos, piercing, cigerettes and drugs. Then they want to know why they dont have the money to pay their rent or car payment. What would you think if a doctor, nurse, or even a plumber came in to do some work either on you or your house covered in tatoos and piercing with blood shot eyes. I would question his/ her abililty. That is what Centrum is saying.

  7. Bob says:

    If only they paid their employees more! All of these cost centered business models will fail once they have cut cost so much to a thin margin and can not keep all of their stores open.

  8. Sandy says:

    Moving snow and push mowing the yard for 1 1/2 to 2 hours is physical hard work, many times in extreme weather. I’d love to do these jobs for the exercise if nothing else. I used to enjoy doing these things. I also realize it’s more effort than I can safely put forward. Don’t look at as menial cheap kid work. I pay well, they’re happy, and I get my work done.

  9. Brandon Duncombe says:

    ChrisCB and ChristineB,

    Back in the day you could also get a job with a high school diploma in a factory putting door handles on Cadillacs, buy a home, a car, and support a family of 4 and enjoy your golden years by living off a pension.

    Many of those low-skill “blue collar” jobs that America thrived on for decades have been replaced by machines or shipped to China.

    So now low-skill workers are forced to work at retail/food & beverage jobs originally designed for teenagers.

    Believe it or not, but times have changed, rather drastically.

  10. Master Allan says:

    Centrum – Don’t discourage them! Someone gets paid a respectable salary (me) and I’d like that to continue indefinitely. When the day arrives which encourages projecting that image & expressing yourself is accepted and welcomed in business world wide, I hope I am loooooong gone.

  11. Tracy says:

    Sorry, I don’t want multiple peircings, multiple tattoos selling me appliances or cars or waiting on me in a restaurant. If you don’t get education and/ or training for a skill, if you think self expression by permanently and extensively marking yourself, then you get what you get. You can’t get a decent job under those circumstances and You can’t expected to earn much in a place that sells cheap food.

  12. Xu Vicky says:

    This is sad news. Everyone employee deserves a good wage.

  13. Alexa says:

    Larger issues aside, the website was an ongoing piece of PR stupidity that will probably wind up being a case study in business schools for decades to come.

  14. bloodbath says:

    LOL – I hate buying toilet paper too.

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