Minimum wage and the middle class

The other day I was listening to a radio report about Congress voting down a national minimum wage hike. This was followed by some comments from the president to the effect that Congress had stuck it to the middle class.

I thought about this for the rest of the drive home. The middle class? The middle class is now comprised of minimum wage earners? It would seem that the middle class has, like many things, been redefined while nobody was looking. Apparently the middle class now consists of everyone between the homeless or those living in abject poverty and the top two percent.

I would guess that at least 80 percent of the people I have worked for over the years were middle class. Yes, I have had some very wealthy customers over the years and those projects, with their “cost is no object” approach, tended to be a bit more fun to do. But the real bread-and-butter jobs were much more modest. The middle class customers might not have had resources to invest in a lot of extravagant woodwork but they still wanted something nice and there were a lot more of them!

But I can say with certainty that no one earning minimum wage is going to be able to afford a remodeled kitchen or a handmade dining room set. If I had to depend on minimum wage earners for a customer base, I would have closed my doors a long time ago.



  • john says:

    Tell like it is brother…….no one in the national media will call this guy out on this ridiculous remarks.Too bad he never had a “real” job or business before his coronation.

  • My middle class customers are the best. Most know what they want and are willing to pay for the quality work. They usually understand that custom work takes longer to produce than standard and know that the project is more than just the finished piece. I build a standard line furniture that is of Louisiana colonial design. I can customize according to size, wood, and details. I also build totally custom projects in a wide range of other styles. Recently one of those price is no object clients came to me for a very detailed project. To develop the details and produce the shop drawings took a fair amount of research. Once that was done it was submitted for approval and was accepted. Shortly before production began changes were made adding more details, doors, lighting, carving. This involved new drawings. Once again just before production a call comes in to cancel this project because the interior designer has a new plan. In my contract I request a 50% deposit and it states that it is nonrefundable. At this point I am told that there is another project also very custom and it should be produced for the amount of the deposit already received because an antique similar can be found for that amount. After pricing the third piece which was much more costly than the first two I was willing to apply the balance of the original deposit after I deducted a reasonable design, research, and development fee but the project could not be done for that amount. I was told that it was outrageous that I should charge for the development and design. All projects were canceled and I should contact my lawyer, and I would be listed on their social media site to damage my business unless I did what they wanted. In 40 years of business my contract has been tested but not broken. It is never fun to have unhappy clients but it is important for people to understand that design and development have as much value as the finished product. In custom work one dose not happen with out the other. Any insight or comments?

  • Riley says:

    I could not agree with you more, only if more people saw things this way.

  • Patrick says:

    Have you found, like me that the wealthy customers were a lot harder to satisfy and always wanted something for nothing where the so called middle class were very appreciative and you always wanted to do a little extra for them.

  • Clayton Nye says:

    I read your comments about the minimum wage.

    Read the book “What Went Wrong” by George R. Tyler. May give you a different perspective why raising the minimum wage is important.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Terms of Use.