Some people don’t deserve a living wage

I met someone today who doesn’t deserve a living wage. I’m often told such people don’t exist, so maybe I hallucinated this encounter. From what I could see he wasn’t deserving of a job or a wage. At some point in his life, he might be. Perhaps next week. But today? No.

In fact, I was arguing about the minimum wage with someone recently. Halfway through the discussion, she forcefully proclaimed that “everyone deserves a living wage.”

I hear this idea quite a bit nowadays. There’s a lot of deserving going on, apparently. Everyone seems to deserve everything. We deserve a job. We deserve affordable housing. We deserve a phone. We deserve cable TV. We deserve internet access. We deserve higher wages. We deserve. We deserve. We deserve.

It used to be that a man was owed what he had earned. Now, he’s owed what he “deserves.” This word, “deserve,” is toxic. I think we’d all be better people if we never uttered it again in our lives. If I could violently murder a word in the English language, it would be “deserve,” followed by “entitled,” and then, since I’m already on a linguistic killing spree, I’d take out “epic,” “awesomesauce,” and the phrase “just sayin’.”

It’s not deserve’s fault that it’s become such a hideous term in our culture. It should be a fine word. It’s definition is quite manly and respectable:

Deserve [dih-zurv]: to merit, to be qualified for, to be worthy of, to have a claim to.

You wouldn’t know from the way it’s used, but “deserve” actually means something very close to “earned.” You deserve something if you are qualified for it, if you are worthy of it, if you have a claim to it.

Is everyone qualified for a job? Is everyone worthy of one? Does everyone have a claim to a job? If you have a claim to something, that means you are owed it. So if I’m automatically owed a job, who, precisely, is in my debt? All business owners? So I suppose I can walk into an interview, plop down on the chair, put my feet up on the desk, light a cigar and shout, “I’m here to collect my debt!” Or maybe the universe owes me. The universe owes us all a job, is that it? It used to be: I think therefore I am. Now it’s: I am therefore I’m owed. Is that the way it works?

How does the friend I met today fit into the conversation? Let me tell you about this deserving young gentleman.

I was in line for the customer service desk at a particular large retail chain. Two dudes were in front of me, they looked to be about my age. They were wearing t-shirts and jeans, which is standard apparel for this establishment. As we all waited our turns, they carried on a conversation that I couldn’t help but hear. Nothing terribly interesting. Evidently they attended a party a few nights ago that, they both agreed, was a splendid little shindig (as the kids like to say). Finally, it was their turn. The guy on the right spoke for both of them. And when I say “spoke,” I mean “muttered disinterestedly”:

Guy: “Applications?”

Employee: “Sorry?”

Guy: “Ya’ll got applications?”

Employee: “For what?”

Guy: “Ya’ll hirin’?”

Employee: “Oh, you want job applications?”

Guy: “Yeah, ya’ll hirin’?”

Employee: “Well, I don’t know…”

Guy: “Can we just get applications?”

Employee: “Yeah, no, I don’t think we’re hiring.”

Guy: “Oh, sucks, alright.”

And then they both walked away.

Now, I’m pretty sure this place, like every big chain retailer these days, has their applications online. I’m also pretty sure that they, like every big chain retailer, are always hiring. I’m positive they’re hiring in early November, right at the beginning of the Christmas season. I’m positive that I could have come up right after them, looked the woman in the eye, spoke clearly and politely and said, “Yes, hello, how are you? My name is Matt Walsh. I’m very interested in any job opportunities that might be available here. Could I possibly speak to a manager if they aren’t busy? If they are, could I fill out an application and leave it here with you, please?”

I guarantee the woman would have either handed me an application, directed me to the website, sent me to a kiosk to fill one out, or even called the manager. I guarantee that, magically, they would have gone from “not hiring” to “hiring” in the span of 90 seconds. Do you know why? Because I’d present the image of someone who is worthy of a job. The guys before me presented the image of people who aren’t worthy of mopping the bathroom floors.

The guys before me put precisely 0.0 percent effort into their “job hunt.” And this is an extremely common problem. Ask anyone who works at a customer service desk, or any manager at an establishment that commonly attracts job searchers in my age demographic or younger. When I worked as a shift manager at a pizza place eight years ago, I once had a dude walk in with his SHIRT OFF and slung over his shoulder. He came up to the counter and said, “what’s up? I need a job.”

I said, “I’m sure you do. Goodbye.”

Everyone deserves a living wage? That’s a nice thought, but I prefer to walk around in the real world with my eyes open. It’s safer this way. And it allows me to see that a certain portion of the population can’t even be bothered to speak in full sentences when searching for employment opportunities.

There are a lot of unemployed people in this country. Many are hardworking, ambitious, competent people who have fallen on tough times. I feel for them. I take solace in the knowledge that these folks will get through it, because that’s what hardworking, ambitious, competent people do. God bless them. I pray for them and their families. But then there’s the other sort of unemployed person; the sort who’s unemployed because they deserve to be unemployed. They drift around like dried up leaves, floating on the breeze. They expect to do nothing, make no attempt to better themselves or their situation, and still have society hand them their “due.” Some nefarious forces want us to pretend that this kind of person doesn’t exist.

They’re liars. And their lies aren’t doing anyone any favors.

Here’s a bit of hard truth: if you’re young and you have no dependents, no serious responsibilities, no mortgage, no spouse, nothing but yourself to worry about — there is little excuse to be unemployed for very long. Once you’ve grown a little, and your life is complicated, and you’ve got kids and houses to pay for, being unemployed is a different situation entirely. You can’t just take any old job because any old job won’t be enough to fulfill your myriad of financial obligations. But you’re 23 years old with no kids and nobody depending on you for anything? Put on a collared shirt and some khaki pants, hit main street and fill out applications in every store, shop, restaurant and business until you find something. Anything. If need be, get up tomorrow and do it again. And then again the next day. And the next day. And the next day. Put some pep in that step, decide what you want, and then go out and grab it. If you want a job – go get one. ANY one. There’s far too much apathy and far too many excuses polluting the environment in our society. I can barely breathe; the fog of “blah” is so thick.

It physically pains me to see some young guys — right around my age — stumble into a place half awake, mutter a couple phrases to the cashier, then shuffle out, and consider that another successful stop in their “job hunt.”

It’s a job HUNT, bro. Go hunt. Is this how you’d hunt for wild game? Do you wander into the forest, say “deer,” wait for a minute, give up and head to Denny’s?

Where’s your determination? Where’s your “give me a chance, I’ll do anything” spirit? Young people used to be revolutionaries. They used to be worldshakers. They used to be radicals, I’m told. They used to say, “give me a job cleaning toilets, and next week I’ll run this place.” They used to be on fire with determination and ambition. They used to have dreams and they used to live and die for those dreams.

Some of my fellow young people still fit this bill. But too many, FAR too many, are closer to my pal in line this afternoon. Plenty of older folks have a similar apathetic demeanor, but it’s more problematic in my generation. It’s more problematic because 1) we’re the future, and 2) it’s wholly unnatural for us to be indifferent. We’re supposed to be the energetic, wide eyed rebels. We’re supposed to be the ones climbing the mountains and conquering the planet.

Instead, many of us sit around waiting for a genie to materialize in our living rooms and hand us a six figure income, a nice car, a house and a 401k.

Not all of us. Not me. Hopefully not you. But many.

But we can’t have honest conversations about anything in this country full of overly sensitive wimps. So when the subject of unemployment comes up, particularly unemployment among 20-somethings, nobody is allowed to suggest that, possibly, SOME of these unemployed folks just AREN’T TRYING HARD ENOUGH. We’re not allowed to say that.

And when the subject of any other problem arises, we’re not allowed to acknowledge the existence of the people who cause their own troubles.

Because of this, many who desperately need a swift kick in the butt must now be deprived of it. This is a grave injustice — both to the would-be kickee, and the willing kickers. I consider it my mission to remedy this situation, for the sake of both parties.


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645 Responses to Some people don’t deserve a living wage

  1. “hardworking, ambitious, competent”. None of these are color-based. They are the descriptors of a successful person. Missing any of these attributes hampers success; they are three wheels of a tricycle that can take you anywhere you want to go. “Hardworking” is being willing to put everything you have into getting the job done, and sticking to it until it is done. It is taught by parents and schools who refuse to accept “I don’ wanna” from their little darlings. “Ambitious” is having a hunger to succeed, not as a manifestation of greed, but as an impetus to doing one’s personal best and seeing the necessity for setting goals and striving to meet them. It is taught to older children as they realize that the world does not revolve around them, and as they start to see the need to compete in the world outside their home. “Competent” is being knowledgeable, educated, and understanding what the job entails, what the outcome should be, and how to get there. Competence is gained through education and experience.
    All of these should be taught to children from the time they are toddlers, fitting the education to the developmental level of the child. But too many children are brought up in cultures that do not value these attributes, and in most cases, actively discourage them. I have seen young men and women with the same attitude toward job hunting as these two men Matt described, and they are only standing in line because the ‘rents or working roommates have told them to go get a job. They don’t really want to work, have no ambition beyond their next (free) meal, and would much prefer lounging on the couch, watching TV or playing video games. They are part of the “Occupy” crowd. Their color is the most irrelevant aspect of this story. Laziness comes in all colors. What they did not learn as children is being further retarded by a progressive mindset that is willing to keep them as children, dependent and immature.

    • Sam says:

      “competence is gained through education and experience”
      I agree, but more often than not, young adults from less privileged socio-economic backgrounds are not taught the skills and more importantly the etiquette and process of being employed by someone else. I volunteer at a homeless youth shelter and various types of professionals volunteer to teach these at-risk teenagers the skills needed to survive in the world.
      If you feel so strongly about this, I recommend you try to correct these problems in society by offering to teach and help the kids who were not as fortunate as you to have the education that you have.

  2. Colter Chase says:

    Epic, Awesomesauce, Deserve, Entitled , Just sayin

    READY…….. AIM……….. FIRE!!

  3. Colter Chase says:

    My opinion is that everyone deserves a chance to get off their behind and work.

  4. Tiggle says:

    Keep blaming the poor for their own economic problems AND blame them for problems with whole economy too. Hahaha…. Suckers, there are a lot of rich people and Beltway bandits up here in DC who want you to keep thinking that the poor people caused the poverty and the economic mess… The poor are getting what they deserve and the rich are getting more of what they deserve. Hahahaha

    • Tony says:

      Actually you’re right Tiggle and you probably have no idea you’re right. It’s the politicians who caused the problem because they created a welfare state so large and easy to support everyone that these lazy people are free to continue being lazy. However, if all of the poor and welfare types did get off their butts and go get a job, it wouldn’t matter that a bunch of politicians made some horrible choices with laws and benefits, because nobody would be using the benefits that are crippling our economy. Yes, the problem was created by politicians, but it can be solved by the people.

  5. Erin says:

    Perhaps people need to change the phrase “everyone deserves a living wage” to the phrase “everyone deserves to be able to live.” You know, basic human needs which many charities and individuals provide out of the goodness of their hearts. All humans have dignity and therefore deserve to eat, to be clothed, to have safe shelter… but they don’t necessarily “deserve” to be paid a specific amount of money in order to do that. We should work to take care of those who have trouble with their basic living needs while not lessening the value of actual work and trying to pretend that everyone is willing to put the same effort into their jobs.

    • Lisa M Cara says:

      You deserve a Huge thumbs up! I want to add, a lot of these ’employers’ deserve exactly the applicants they get, and all the employee theft that goes with it. No that is not condoning behavior of the employees-its saying Pot meet Kettle.

      • I know, right? You both deserve a Huuuuge thumbs up! You are both full of win and awesomesauce. Your epic comments make me feel as if you are completely entitled to the applause that goes with your line of thinking! Saying that “everyone deserves a living wage” is taken completely wrong by many people. It isn’t about “I don’t care if I’m a lazy piece of shit, I deserve to get paid $15/hr.” It is about “I deserve the chance to be able to live with dignity and respect regardless of the fact that I was never taught how to work or find a job “correctly.” The school systems suck and when the government continues to try to take away the power from parents and teachers so the new generation can be dumbed down and unaware of their backwards policies.. wtf do you think is going to happen? Walmart doesn’t pay enough for top-notch employees. Do you really think that I’m going to go waste my degree and my ambition on a place that doesn’t care about their employees? Here’s what bothers me.. just because this young man wasn’t well spoken and obviously embarrassed that he was even entertaining the possibility of becoming a Walmart employee, doesn’t mean that he can’t stock a mean shelf. And it doesn’t mean that he won’t be willing to work the 35.5 hours at $7.80/hr that is given by Walmart to ensure that he won’t become a full time employee so as to not have to offer him any insurance. I mean, the 35 hours obviously gives him more time in the week for a second job to help cover the cost of living. It also doesn’t mean that he wasn’t willing to learn whatever was needed of him. In your 2 minutes you made a judgement of a person that you never even spoke with. THIS is one of the main problems with this country. Too many people judging others on a 10 second encounter. Everyone feels they are entitled to immediately put someone in a category without knowing anything about them just by the stereotype said person might display. Point being.. Everyone DESERVES a chance. Everyone DESERVES to be given the opportunity to prove themselves. And Everyone DESERVES to feel deserving of a job.. Just Sayin’!

      • MyrnaB says:

        Oh, so wrong. Theft is never justified. That is the kind of thinking that encourages looting and greed.

      • Tony says:

        The problem is that they don’t “deserve” the welfare benefits they are on because they aren’t actually trying to get a job. The hardworking out there surely don’t deserve to have 10% of their paychecks being pulled by the US government to give to people not really putting any effort into job hunting.

        • JackTheMidget says:

          Some People need a job, some people need a clue.

          Who gets food stamps?

          The most recent Department of Agriculture report on the general characteristics of the SNAP program’s beneficiaries says that in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2010:

          ••47% of beneficiaries were children under age 18.

          ••8% were age 60 or older.

          ••41% lived in a household with earnings from a job — the so-called “working poor.”

          ••The average household received a monthly benefit of $287.

          ••36% were white (non-Hispanic), 22% were African American (non-Hispanic) and 10% were Hispanic. [USA Today, 1/18/12, emphasis original]

          It also really comes down to what you call ‘welfare’ some people call unemployment welfare (it’s how the skewed numbers can state ‘more people on welfare then working’ when only 4.1% is actually on ‘actual welfare’.

  6. Todd Parker says:

    Wow. This is one of the most articulate and compelling examples of the Just World Fallacy that I’ve ever seen. It’s pretty revealing of the author’s biases and psychopathologies, and fairly entertaining to browse at that. It’s not worth really trying to engage directly because, like most things of its kind, there’s really nothing there to engage – the author rationalizes his personal prejudices and egotistic defenses as “objective” judgments about who is and is not worthy of success, and implies that it is more desirable that even those he might judge worthy of help should go without it so that those he deems unworthy do not escape their just punishment. All very boring, typical “tough love” right-liberal tripe, but slickly written in a nice, conversational tone to hide its staleness.

    I could go on about how there are, on average, three applicants for every job opening right now, and that’s even assuming that all those “openings” are ingenuous, which I doubt they are, or I could explore the social pressures and psychological issues that lead to the discouraged and unhealthy behavior in the chronically unemployed and underemployed that he is so quick to judge as laziness, but it’s not really worth the effort; five minutes’ serious thought and about the same amount of time on Google would explode his lies for anyone interested in seeing through them. I just want to draw attention to the very lack of substance that makes this so hard to engage because it’s important that people understand why it is that intelligent people don’t waste their time debating people like Matt Walsh: it’s not because we’re scared, it’s because when you grapple smoke you only end up looking like a fool. Just blow it away and move on.

    • Heather says:

      So what if there are 3 applicants for every job. Be a WORTHY applicant. Spiff yourself up. Act energetic, and interested. Alert. Don’t act like you “deserve” a job. You (Todd Parker) seem to be one who thinks that you “deserve” something. Actually we all DESERVE NOTHING. We are to be RESPONSIBLE for EARNING it for ourselves. All those big words you spouted off above show you’re truly ignorant of the realities of life, and you’re probably one of those who’ve had things handed to him. (I’m making an assumption here, not based on nothing but based upon your excess verbiage.) You’re the one with the “stale” statist, “progressive” ideas, Mr. Parker.

    • Adamo says:

      Of course it is true that good decisions don’t always lead to good outcomes and that bad decisions don’t always lead to bad outcomes. Recognizing the just-world hypothesis as a fallacy is recognizing that, in fact, nobody deserves anything. We can only endeavor to make the choices that lead to the highest likelihood of desired outcomes I don’t know if these folks Matt saw would be productive enough to justify their being hired or not. I don’t know if they’d be productive enough to justify their being paid a living wage either. While I actually disagree with Matt’s judgment of these individuals, I don’t disagree with him that there are those that aren’t productive enough to earn a living wage. For two-thirds of my life I certainly wasn’t productive enough to justify a so-called living wage. A minimum wage increase to a minimum wage would have made me unemployed and would have denied me invaluable experience.

      And if it actually is true that there are 3 applicants for every job … it would also be safe to conclude that the wage is high enough, else there would be no applicants. Were wages to rise, the number would surely increase as it might inspire those who aren’t looking for work to enter the work force. And while it is true that some are lucky and other unlucky, what is always true is that there can never be a victim in a voluntary transaction.

    • chris says:

      speaking of basic fallacies, yours is clear. the accuse the author of the “just world” fallacy because he applies a set of values to the world. you are guilty of the same by applying a set of values where all of his don’t count, as an argument. You are saying that 1 is not equal to zero, while saying that -1 is. The simple fact is, statistically, his set of values matches that of employers. Showing up without a shirt to ask for a job may not be any worse according to your values, but according to nearly every single employer in this country, it is in fact worse. This therefore validates the author’s claims of value (by being in line with the party that makes the decisions) and refutes yours.

      at home, your parents may be wrong, but you have to listen to them and respect them anyway, making them effectively right, whatever your opinion of reality might be.

    • Joe Shmoe says:

      Oh look, you used the I’m so intelligent it is beneath me to debate with you because you are stupid argument.


    • DilloTank says:

      Todd Parker,
      You are a moron. The world does not own anyone anything.

      Stop your pathetic whining.

    • @Todd – The scenario Matt outlined has nothing to do with “morally fair” which is the crux of the just-world hypothesis. It is a pretty simple exercise to list the attributes which retail employers in the USA are in search of in employees. Assuming that Matt’s description of events is accurate, the 2 applications exhibited what is likely the opposite of said attributes.

      For some folks in America, their lack of employment is directly attributable to their behavior – end of story. To pretend otherwise is simply absurd.

    • Tony says:

      I did your five minutes of research. You’re correct, there is about a 1:3 ratio of unemployed to jobs available right now in the US. Actual figures are 3.9 million job available to 10.9 million unemployed. So if all of them took Matt’s advice and went out and got a job, we’d only have 7.0 million unemployed. Then we would have all that extra economic output and companies able to expand, which in turn would create another 3.9 million jobs over a few years, so that we could then have 3.1 million unemployed. Etc…

      Your argument that there are more unemployed than jobs currently available is very illogical to use as why they shouldn’t try harder to get one.

  7. Daniel Ticer says:

    Yup…. truth through and through… but the title of this should be “Some people don’t deserve a job” … the person who makes the effort to be presentable, and go out and find a job, deserves to be able to support themselves on the wages of that job… if they are making the effort and working for a living, then they deserve a living wage… the only ones who don’t deserve a living wage, are the people who don’t deserve a job in the first place.

    • Gene says:

      Wrong. Period. End-of-story. It is impossible – IMPOSSIBLE – to find two or more people that would agree on a definition of a living wage. “Does it include steak? Hamburger? Or just Hamburger Helper?” We are all different. So while we might find two people that largely agree, there would be minor differences in the details.

      Case in point: Just loan your unemployed friend $1,000 and watch what they spend the money on. I am certain that they will spend the money on a priority that differs from yours.

      That being said, the only way, the only fair, reasonable, free and morale way for a person to be paid and a business owner to pay, is to have both parties come to an agreement on the value of the services provided, regardless of the amount. Whether that is $1.00 and hour or $1,000.

    • Bruce says:

      Wrong. Why should someone deserve to live just because they were born and exist? There are 7 billion people on this planet and there aren’t enough resources for all of us. If you can’t be bothered to do anything other than exist, you don’t deserve a living wage.

      • DilloTank says:

        There is more than enough resources for all to have an abundance. The worlds problems are moral, not economic.

      • DilloTank says:

        I am not saying that ‘the rich are greedy’. I am simply saying that there is an abundance of natural resources.

        Noted black conservative economist, Thomas Sowell writes in his book ‘Economic Facts and Fallacies’, about what he calls the ‘Zero-Sum Fallacy’.

        That is the idea that there is a fixed amount of wealth in the world and that the only way to obtain wealth is to deprive others. In reality, wealth is created through economic activity. When a buyer and a seller in a free enterprise system agree to a transaction, it is because both parties believe they will benefit. The buyer would like to trade some of his money for whatever the seller is selling, and the seller would like to trade his product or service for the money the buyer is willing to give him, at the price he is willing to sell at. Both believe they benefit from the transaction, or it would not take place. I.e. wealth is created for both parties. This includes employment, when the employer sells his services to the employer. The more economic activity, the more wealth is created. There is no limit to how much wealth can be created. New technologies increase production everyday.

        The reason there is poverty is manifold. But it is not due, generally speaking, to lack of natural resources. It is a failure of individuals in prosperous countries, and cultural/governmental failure in poor countries.

        • Jo says:

          I am trying very hard to understand what you are trying to say. I say this because what you are saying, quoting does not back up what you appear to be claiming.

          What it appears you are claiming is an if you hire them the work with come. I am basing this on your first comment, “There is more than enough resources for all to have an abundance.” and speaking of the zero-sum fallacy. Yes as people enter the economy the needs of the economy grow therefore regardless of technology the employment needs grow.

          Thing is the employment needs are not a homogeneous pool. It is not a function of this body will do. We are human capital. We are part of our economy’s natural resources. For me to step into a minimum wage job is an inefficient allocation of resources just as someone with no skills stepping into my job is. So the wealth cannot be distributed evenly, everyone cannot earn an abundance.

          Furthermore to say a minimum must be set, a “living wage” you create deadweight loss. Forcing an inefficient allocation of resources though a wage floor causes deadweight loss to the point where the economy reaches it’s new equilibrium. At that point inflation has eaten any benefit of wage floor but those that were unable to increase their wage above the wage floor are now at the wage floor, their real income has dropped.

          In simple math, the minimum is say 7.50, one person makes 7.50. You increase the minimum to say 15 since that appears to be a popular number. That guy now makes 15 he wins! 24 more people made 8.50, another 25 make 10.00, another 25 made 13. They are now all making the same. Say the people making 13.00 managed to say hey boss, shit costs more now, I need a raise and the boss says okay and gives them 16.00. God I hate word problems! Okay so guy 1s weekly expenses were 300 now they are 600. the 24 at 8.5 were at 340 now they are 680 but they are making 600. Those that were at 10 had expenses at 350 and they saved 50, now it is at 700 but they are making 600. Even the people that made 13 say 400 with 120 savings, now 800, even making 16 they are only bringing in 640.

          When the economy reaches equilibrium all that happens is the guy at the bottom is in the same place but everyone in between is now pulled down to close or at the guy at the bottom. Wage floors create the working poor, it doesn’t help them.

      • andrew says:

        yes yes Im being serious gheeto peple need to go. As I live by chicago i can say this. they dont wanna learn or better themselves they are animals

  8. Kruser says:

    You do reap what you sow, just not every time. There are always variables such as soil condition, weather and disease. Of course we shouldn’t judge people in a time of famine. But if a person doesn’t sow, for whatever reason, they will not reap. It takes diligence. Crops do not materialize because we deserve them. Feeling one deserves anything denotes a belief that some kind of justice is due from a higher source? I worked under the table as a teen who’s family was on welfare. Every job I had was sub minimum wage. It got my foot in the door for a real job since I was well known as a good worker. At the time there were far more than three apps per job. Only two other people sounds like good odds to me. I have a relative that works at a job bank and she is disgusted by how hard it is to get good help even at a decent wage. You mentioned a lack of substance and then feigned he wants a debate of some kind and likening it to smoke? His post addressed specific behaviors. Good job Matt!

  9. Tonya says:

    When each of my kids has started looking for a job, they did exactly what you describe, Matt. They dress in something clean and neat. Then, they start at one end of the main drag here in town, and ask for applications or sit at kiosks or meet the managers at every appropriate location on that street. They’ve learned that “not hiring” often means “not hiring right now,” and they ask that their applications be kept on file. They have also learned the importance of the follow-up visit/call/e-mail. It shows interest and eagerness. Employers like hungry.

  10. As a woman I’d like to point out that boys who aren’t working a serious job–or aren’t going to college with a degree that will give them a serious job–are wholly unattractive.

    I’m a single 20-something. I live with my parents, so I don’t need to support myself to pay bills. Imagine how frustrating it is when I look around at most of the eligible young men in my circle and realize that I’m farther along than they are at earning something that resembles a living. I hadn’t gone to college, I had no job experience except some self-employed stints, and I had serious confidence issues, but I took a stab and applied at the nearest place that was hiring. I wasn’t sure I even wanted that job, but it was worth a shot. Turns out I liked the boss’s attitude and he must have liked mine, because I got hired and within one year I’d had several raises and been promoted to shift leader. One year and I went from no job experience to being trusted with the entire store.

    Yeah, I’m a long way from being able to support an entire family by myself. But I did something with my life and I have a foundation on which I could build a breadwinning enterprise if I needed to. But whenever I think it would be cool to get hitched and start running my own household, I look at nearly all the young men I know and see them languishing at home, wasting their parents’ money earning an abominably useless degree that won’t get them a real job, or, if they do have a job, just putzing around with it.

    I’m not interested. I’ve got a life, and if you can’t get one of your own, I don’t want to start a new one with you.

  11. KT says:

    I’m glad you brought this up because this blog doesn’t deserve a donation. Any dolt can write their opinion on the internet and call it a “job,” then beg for donations. What good are you adding to the real world by spouting off your prejudices and dislikes? Any fool can sip their americano and write about out what’s not working and what’s annoying. What’s the solution? When you see someone in need or struggling, help them. Help them not because they deserve it but because that’s how we evolve as a whole society. Maybe they don’t know any better. Maybe they didn’t have a privileged upbringing and had to drop out of school to work at a fast-food job because their dad walked out on the family. Maybe they lost hope after working for 8 years at a dead-end job full of empty promises that only promotes white males. Help someone else turn it around. Restore hope. Believe in people. Not because they deserve it, but because you’re a human being and you see the bigger picture. Who helped you? You didn’t get to where you are today all on your own. None of us did.

    • Ryan says:

      You are correct about one thing. Anybody can write their opinion on the internet and claim that it’s their job. However, we could likewise argue that anybody could write a book and call themselves a writer. Therefore, we shouldn’t pay writers for books. How dare they expect money for the time and effort they put into this stuff! I agree, it’s absurd.

      You probably disagree with what I just said about writers, and if you don’t, then you err in your opinion. Just because anybody can do it, doesn’t mean that everybody can do it well. Matt brings up issues and concerns in an enjoyable fashion. People obviously enjoy reading what he writes. It is obvious that he puts a lot of thought, time, and effort into what he does, or it would not be popular. You may argue that it is not enjoyable, but, like everything else, nothing is liked by everyone.

      On top of that, you and many others have completely missed the point of this article. You have allowed your own judgments cloud your reason in understanding what Matt is saying. Even worse, that causes you to believe that he is being overly judgmental. That, my friend, is hypocrisy. Some people go through hard times; Matt acknowledges that point. If you don’t believe me, reread his post and you will surely find it. He is speaking against the people who are too lazy to put adequate effort into anything. There is a point where some kind of “help” would be detrimental to such people. If they are continually allowed to bum off of the government and other hard-working people, that is actually detrimental to the community. I understand that you likely were not talking about allowing such a thing. Often times, these people do not wish any kind of help that will involve work or any kind of effort on their part. There is not much we can do for those people. If they are willing to work, I would agree that we should help them as best we can, but we shouldn’t judge people for not helping people when we ourselves won’t help the same people when we are put in the same situation. Maybe you would. If so, then kudos. You should still refrain from being judgmental.

      Please note also that using language that attacks the person is a logical fallacy. You didn’t directly attack him, but using words like “dolt” and “fool” as you have imply such attacks. If you feel like I have personally attacked you in this post, I apologize. I am merely trying to attack your argument and show that the points you raised illustrate that you either did not fully read or comprehend Matt’s post. This is likely not because you lack intelligence; rather, you have just decided not to read the whole thing or have missed a vital part of Matt’s argument.

  12. Jill says:

    Extremely well written and I agree whole-heartedly. Thanks for your great blog. I’m a new (and I think quickly addicted) reader!

  13. I appreciated your perspective….absolutely we all have a right to employment, home and healthcare but some things do need to be earned and simply existing isn’t going to cut it…I have had a similar experience watching someone ask for a job application who mumbled, didn’t make eye contact and basically seemed like they were being held at gunpoint by their mothers to do so…that guy didn’t stand a chance.

    • Nathan says:

      Perhaps he had no confidence, had a long history of failure or was having extreme anxiety. Who knows.

  14. Alan Gilfoy says:

    I hear stuff like this, I do what I’m supposed to, and when it doesn’t work I wonder if the method is really so great after all. In general, I don’t believe in doing pointless things just to say I did something. All this talk about energetic youngsters? I don’t see how that means motivated to get a dead-end job…

  15. Amy says:

    Giving a man a fish feeds him for one meal.  Teaching the man to fish, on the other hand, feeds him for a lifetime. The author is simply giving some tips on how to fish, he’s not saying we let people starve to death. Well said.

  16. Betty says:

    I highly disagree with you. I also think you might have taken this conversation out of context. I DO think that everyone deserve a living wage. I DO NOT think it is fair that Walmart hires people for 39.5 hours a week to avoid paying them for full-time benefits. I DO NOT think it is fair that people have to work more then one job to pay for their family’s basic needs to be met.

    Everyone complains about our welfare system. And yes, I agree, some people are abusing it. Just like some people abuse every situation they get themselves into. But there are people out there who do need it, mostly because they aren’t making a living wage. So in my mind, make a choice. We need to either help these people make living wages or we need to continue to give them assitance. In my mind, I would rather help them make a living wage then keep paying for them with my taxes.

    Also, I think we need to keep in mind that as a society we need people working minimum wage jobs at McDonalds or else we won’t have anyone to serve us when we want to go eat. If we demand that these people work harder, go to college, get a better job etc. to get a better wage who will be left to work these jobs that as a society WE need?

    I am not saying you are completely wrong, and I am not saying that there aren’t people out there that aren’t lazy and don’t deserve a job for how much effort they put into it. But I think as a society we need to start to consider other people and stop comparing ourselves to them. We have all had different experiences in life, and I bet 80% of the people that agree with you on this were given support and an education by their parents or other people on how to present themselves for a job. Unfortunately, not everyone gets this luxury and that is important to remember.

    Have a wonderful day.

    • Jo says:

      “If we demand that these people work harder, go to college, get a better job etc. to get a better wage who will be left to work these jobs that as a society WE need?”

      Um, teenagers that haven’t gone to college. Trust me the ways parents are raising their kids today there will plenty of people there to keep our fries hot.

      • Adamo says:

        If people become so skilled (from college) that no one wants to take a “min wage job” employers will have to raise the wage to attract workers. Or the return on investment for training will diminish and some won’t get pay for the training and opt for the jobs that require less of it. Markets clear. Denying that is like denying the law of gravity.

        • Jo says:

          How many 16 year old college graduates do you know? How many are there? My kids started working at 13 under work permits. Even if everyone got a college education they were always be enough workers to fill unskilled jobs.

        • Adamo says:

          Yeah you’re right. But if it were the case that employers found that their min wage jobs weren’t filled and they had trouble filling them because the 16 year olds weren’t tempted by the wages, the employers would just raise the prices. Betty’s comment (that you responded to) made the assertion that it was bad that Wal-Mart hired below some government regulation to avoid some benefit payment is bad. The market cleared at that price. If Wal-Mart couldn’t have filled its positions it would have simply raised its total compensation package to attract workers. The point isn’t the number of jobs or the people as much as it is about the market clearing price for labor.

        • Jo says:

          Yes, very true, perhaps I misunderstood you. Wage like everything else is set by supply and demand.

    • Donna says:

      Part of the problem is what people consider “basic needs”. People need food, clothing, and shelter. People don’t need three big meals a day and plenty of snacks in between; most people in America consume far more calories than they actually need, and far too much food with no nutritional value. “Shelter” means protection from the elements. It does not mean a big house where everyone has their own bedroom with TV and high-speed Internet. Clothing is usually easy to obtain because many people give away their clothes when they go out of style.

    • Nick Beam says:

      Betty said:
      “Also, I think we need to keep in mind that as a society we need people working minimum wage jobs at McDonalds or else we won’t have anyone to serve us when we want to go eat. If we demand that these people work harder, go to college, get a better job etc. to get a better wage who will be left to work these jobs that as a society WE need?”

      High School kids?

  17. shellie says:

    As I manager of a small deli, I often lament, that while there are no minimum wage people, there are definitely minimum wage workers. Minimum wage is an entry level wage, not a forever wage. I’ve never worked anywhere that didn’t reward hard work and dependability with just compensation over time. There are workers however, that I would gladly pay less than minimum wage, due to their lack of anything resembling gumption. Also the general air that working is somehow below them. I’d gladly divide their “minimum” required pay among the others that have to pick up their slack. Care to guess who gets the raises, overtime and future glowing references?

  18. Allison says:

    Yuck, your worldview and experience appears to be disappointingly narrow and ignorant. Definitely the last time I take a peep at this blog. Uninspiring, uneducational, unhelpful. A place for one type of person to come and read things to bolster what they already (and often ignorantly) believe. Just … yuck.

    • Isaac says:

      So, this blog is only for people who don’t want to listen to others’ ideas…and that’s why you’ll never read it? Lolz.

  19. alllllz says:

    It is a bit unnerving to look for a min wage job on main street when I was cut unfairly from my last job where I made 30k a year. I dress up nice to talk to employers and show them respect, but I’ve not gotten a call from them and I’m pretty sure it’s because I now have on my applications that I was fired recently. It’s not all about the way you present yourself. I will keep trying hard and I’m just LUCKY that I have caring parents and friends to help me through this hard time.

  20. Amanda says:

    Have you ever read Atlas Shrugged? This is one of the themes that runs throughout the book. I highly recommend reading it or reading it again!

  21. Chad McCall says:

    Every single person on this Earth deserves a living wage. Period. However, everyone does NOT deserve a job; those are two distinct issues. If an employer hires someone and they don’t work, then they should without question be fired. If someone works full time for an employer, they should be paid enough to survive comfortably (ie: be able to pay utility bills, food, housing, clothing, transportation, and minimal discretionary spending). Unfortunately, that is often not the case, and in at least some cases (speaking from personal experience), people that are underpaid don’t have any other place to turn for employment.

  22. Tyrone says:

    He’s just mad he wasn’t invited to their party…

  23. yepitsme says:

    I think Dean Alfange says it best: “ I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon. I seek opportunity to develop whatever talents God gave me – not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any earthly master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say – “This, with God’s help, I have done.” All this is what it means to be an American.”

    • bryandanger says:

      “I will never cower before any earthly master…”

      This person would not last at 95% of the jobs out there.

  24. Erik says:

    I don’t know if Matt is Christian, but I am. God does expect His people to work for his household: :

    1 Timothy 5:8 (KJV)
    “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

  25. evieccurtis says:

    I agree with what you say…except one little thing. We have had our run in with losing a job, getting laid off and/or getting fired. My husband is a hard worker, and we had 2 kids and a house payment at the time. The one thing I don’t agree with is that when you have dependents and a house, you have to wait for that right job…while that is partially true, I will add, what are you doing in between finding the perfect job, of the job that will fully provide. Last I checked, 1/2 the amount needed is better than 0 of the amount needed. So, while the providers of families are searching, they need to be filling in the gaps. Maybe working more than one part time job, until the day comes when he or she can get hold of that one great job that will solve their problems.

    Well said, and God bless. If anyone needs a job, Hobbs NM is hiring in pretty much every part of town.

    • evieccurtis says:

      To further add, those type of providers, the ones that will work 2 or 3 jobs to provide until they get their big break, they will be looked at most seriously when it comes to actually realizing that big break.

    • Donna says:

      Furthermore, sometimes the gap job turns out to be not so bad after all. That happened to my sister six years ago when she lost a teaching job. She had a chance to go work for Chick-fil-A in an entry-level position. Having a Masters Degree didn’t make her too proud to do manual labor, so she took the job to keep some revenue coming in while she sent out resumes. She soon discovered that she loved working in the fast food industry. Now she is the General Manager of the Chick-fil-A location where she started. Anybody who thinks entry-level jobs are dead-end jobs needs to think again.

  26. Rich Ball says:

    One of my pet peeves is exactly this attitude. And I used to have it.

    For years as a retail manager, every time one of these candidates would walk in and sabbotage their job search before it started, I would think, “Why? Why do you suck at life?”. Then I re-read Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits” a few years ago and the section about paradigm shifts and thinking from someone else’s perspective really resonated. So I started volunteering with the county to help people like the one in Matt’s article learn how to present themselves, and how to get (and keep) a job. They’re not undeserving; they’ve been failed by a system.

    They probably grew up in what we would consider the “bad” part of town, with teachers who didn’t inspire in schools that don’t perform. They are in an environment where they cannot learn the skills like job application, so they have to make it up. They then hear somebody like Mitt or Newt talk about the “dignity of a job”, but they can’t get one. They want one. Rather than sitting at home collecting welfare, they are trying the best they know how to collect applications, but to no avail. Which means they can’t earn a living wage, can’t move up in society, and become the next generation that perpetuates a problem.

    I think Matt is completely, totally, dead wrong. And if he would get out in the world and try to help people better their lives instead of deriding them on an internet blog, he would find that most people want to do right – many just don’t know how.

    • Kristina says:

      ^^ this ^^

      matt, why spend every day telling people to go get a job, then mock how they do it. you get up on the wrong side of the bed?

      • Ryan says:

        ^^ this ^^

        kristina, why read something, then miss the entire point of it and respond with little to no correct grammar. you get up on the wrong side of the bed?

    • Jo says:

      What is interesting about your observation is that you see them as minorities or someone who was not given opportunity. I have a 25 year old son. Nice white boy, affluent family, ya know, white bread. You look up generic white boy and there is a picture of my son and his friends. My son has worked since he was 13, I did not see my son in that story. What I do see is a fair few of my son’s high school friends.

      These kids were offered every opportunity but never taught why they should take every opportunity. Mom and dad have made apartments above the garage. With his own access because he is an adult. Some finished the basement for their living quarters. All of them trying to make it seem normal. They feel guilty because they know they have failed their children.

      They are terrified to kick the child out because the child is not prepared to support himself. Every once in a while they say either get a job or we are kicking you out! They go through the motions but they don’t care if they get a job because they know mom and dad will not kick them out. It looks very much like what Matt described.

      Do you know I actually know a mom who kicked her son out. She was so proud of herself, lording it over her friends who still had adult children living with them. She pays all his bills, he is still unemployed, but hey, he doesn’t live in her basement anymore!

      Dude, this isn’t a minority issue, this is a crazy ass white people issue.

  27. Pingback: Sadly, No! » Indie Tour Set 2: Who Am I to Feel So Free

  28. Eric says:

    Let’s be honest here: the person who made this story doesn’t know how the world has changed. He mentions it very briefly, then goes on a tirade about how things and people used to be in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s. Your grandpa sat you down and explained all the shit he had to go through to get to where he was today, all the grindstones he wore down with his nose, that ‘can do’ attitude you needed to have. We get it, you’re old and things have changed, for you, for your father, for your grandfather, etc..

    Which brings me to my point. A lot of the problem with GETTING a job these days isn’t for lack of trying. It’s because a companies lack of trying. When you inevitably get pointed to various websites to fill out applications, most of those don’t even get looked at. They expire in about around thirty days and are wiped off the face of the Earth. Why? Because EVERYONE is applying, and they don’t have the time or care to sift through them all to find out who’s qualified to get hired, who’s got the most vinegar in their piss, who’s got that aforementioned ‘can do’ attitude.

    How do I know this? Both from speaking with friends and family of friends who hold managerial positions, but also from first-hand experience. As of fairly recently, I used to work at Steak ‘n Shake. Often, the manager would leave the computer on with the store’s e-mail logged in. 90% of the e-mails were from Snagajob, with people seeking employment. None of them were looked at. Next to the computer was a stack of applications. None of them were looked at. The store could’ve done with a hell of a purge and get people in there that weren’t miserable, illiterate folks.

    And from my experience, going up to a place and asking for the manager just gets you blown off a lot. My parents said the same thing you did: “Show your interest, Eric! You gotta put in an application and hound them every day ’til they break down and give you a chance!”

    That doesn’t work anymore. I’ve tried. For months and months and months. Hundreds of applications, online and offline. Thousands of meetings with hiring managers by request. Tens of thousands of phone calls. It took somewhere around six or seven months before I finally got a call back from the aforementioned Steak ‘n Shake asking me to come in.

    Was I ultimately successful? Yeah, sure, but I’m not a miserable, illiterate schmuck who’s only looking for a job to bring home a paycheck. I’m an ambitious, hard working guy.

    So, honestly, from my experience, the amount of effort you put into getting a job doesn’t matter anymore, and those people know it. Why waste your energy to get to the finish line in a race with a couple hundred people when it doesn’t matter who finishes first? You all wind up in the same place: the trash bin under someone’s desk or in someone’s e-mail.

    • Donna says:

      Let me tell you about my experience last week. I work at a full-time office job, but I can always use more money. So a couple of weeks ago when I saw an ad on Craig’s List for temporary seasonal employment, I decided to apply. I emailed the addres from the ad, asking them if they would be hiring any part-time, and explaining that I have an 8-5 job. They responded that they would. After a couple more e-mail exchanges, I had an appointment to go for an interview on my lunch hour the following Monday. Unfortunately, when the time came on Monday, I couldn’t find the place where it was being held. After driving to the wrong location and realizing there was no time to look further, I went back to my office and sent an email apologizing for not showing up and explaining why. I got a reply email saying there was another appointment available at lunchtime on Friday and I could come then. After using Google to make sure I had the right address this time, I drove to the place on Friday and got there just when I was supposed to get there. There was a meeting going on, and after I looked around in confusion a bit, someone left the meeting, hurried over to me, apologized that the meeting was still going on and asked if could fill out an application while I waited. I filled it out; shortly afterward the meeting ended, and the guy came back, very apologetic. I assured him it was no problem. He then glanced over my application, asked me about my experience and talked about the job, discussed my schedule conflicts and assured me he could work around them, and after a few minutes he hired me on the spot. I could tell he was excited about me. And I’m not a young sexy thing, so that wasn’t the reason. I believe the reason he wanted so much to hire me was because I was dressed professionally, showed up on time, cooperated with the unexpected conflict, and demonstrated enthusiasm about the job; and I suspect the fact that I had apologized for and explained my earlier no-show was a factor too. I am looking forward to spending the next two months working part-time for this company.

      • Jo says:

        Please research that company. Last time I heard a story like yours it turned out to be a scam of sorts. It was a real job, sales, 100% commission. She showed up in jeans and a tshirt, they hired her on the spot because she had an amazing personality. Said with her personalty they guarantee she would make 700 a week. Poor girl worked over 40 hours and made 50 bucks.

        Be careful. Places that advertise jobs on Craigslist and hire on the spot have high turnover rates because they are crooked.

      • Donna says:

        Jo, it shouldn’t be a problem this time. This is for a temporary ice skating rink that runs for a couple of months every year right out in the open on Main Street in the town where I live.

  29. jules says:

    Unfortunately the only issue isn’t just getting people to realize that they need to act appropriately to get a job. Once they get a job they have to behave in a way that makes them deserve to keep their job. What happened to a hard day’s work? I’m in my 20’s and regularly get told I’m not like the others in my generation, that I’ll actually work all day!

  30. dave says:

    hey man you hit the nail on the head…………….with this subject there is no morals of any kind from the 20 something and even in the early 30’s that just dont know hard work i have heard some people say well at least i am not working at some fast food place…………what? at least it is a job that pays and from personal experience you can move up quickly if you work………..

  31. April says:

    I wonder what perspective this guy is speaking from…if it was easy for him to maintain a job or not. If he was coached in the application or interview process or not. I do also wonder if the guys he was talking about needed to “look for a job” to keep certain criteria for non employment benefits (they say they are looking at least) and I don’t like the fact that the writer alludes to that 20somethings are lazy….loans (college) have since doubled and many are just trying to stay afloat….

    I do believe everyone who gets a job deserves a living wage. I have a feeling this guy does have a good job or has never struggled crunching #s. I also don’t like the fact that he is judging people that he doesn’t know the facts to thier story (like I said some ppl don’t want a job so they don’t look hard, just enough)

    Now…if every person deserves to keep thier job…or gets one (if they come high Orr drunk then that’s another story) I personally had to go through mock interview because I kept bombing and not because I wasn’t trying hard enough. Interviews are not easy especially in today’s market. Things have changed over the years…getting a job is one of them. Not a fan of this article.

  32. Mitch says:

    LOL, Matt, the discussion you saw reminded me of Ed Bassmaster trying to get a job. “What’s up dawg, could I get a appy? A job appy. I need to find a job today or I go back to the joint.”

  33. DeAnne Ridge says:

    Another point: While everyone may not deserve a job, everyone deserves to have his basic needs met through family, if possible. This happens with most 20 somethings who don’t want to work. It is up to the family to make the child’s situation dire enough to get a job while making sure there is no real lack of necessities- and a HUGE lack of luxuries. Parenting never ends.

  34. dcbuchanan says:

    In short, I concur.

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  37. Motimer says:

    My first thought asked the question. What was the cause of that particular moments colloquy which included the question “Ya’ll hirin’?”. As we all are aware, but dismiss or neglect the fastidious pouvoir which led to the moment. Many of us have been educated in memorized , institutional , acceptable learning, forgoing critical thinking skills. There were many variables that went into the individuals appearing before the “Employee” and uttering “Ya’ll hirin’?”. However, the reasons for the good feeling derived from the consternation of some of the commenters, is quite revealing; however , not to the commenters themselves. My one paryer, is that thoses living in the isolated, closed, psychological inept bubble, never experience the mental and physically parilyzing variables which led up to that moment. The inside looking out is always better than the coldness of the outside looking in, I can never understand the severity or feeling of that cold if I have never had to “look in”. I know you don’t “get it”.

  38. Leona says:

    You made a very good point. But u totally got off th subject of your title. Th ones that are actually workin and makin an effort do deserve a better wage to survive. Therefore, those that are not workin or not makin an effort to get a job, can’t get wage…

  39. mamaler0y says:

    While I normally agree with you I know on this. I have had a string of unemployment and it wasn’t from lack of trying. I was doing the same thing I had always done (and that same thing did end up working again years later) but there are other weirdos like me who have the same unexplained bad luck job hunting and the thing that I wish you would have touched on in the article is that maybe that’s a sign that you should start your own business. Entrepeneurship is not a solution commonly offered as we are all mostly by-products of the assembly line worker mentality that is force fed in the public schools and college.

  40. Kenneth Dayton says:

    Does every job, no matter how minor, “deserve” to be paid $20.00 per hour? I suspect that most jobs actually are paid what they’re worth. As for the kid working at McDonalds, that job was never intended to supply a living wage … it’s a minor, part-time job that pays exactly what it’s worth. If you want a better job, educate yourself and go find a better job. Also, pass this information on to the newspaper boy, the pizza delivery guy and store bagger.

  41. Christine says:

    I have nothing but compassion for people who don’t have the attributes or opportunities necessary to find good employment, who come from such a rough background that they were never taught how to write a resume, find a job, work hard, etc. But I get so annoyed at people who were given nothing but opportunities and so think they are entitled to more opportunities despite putting forth little to no effort. I agree that those kinds of people should not be given opportunities and should learn that nothing is “beneath” them in terms of employment. The reason I stopped working in retail while I was in university was because I couldn’t stand being 21, having worked in the store for 3 years, working my butt off, and still getting the exact same wage as the 16 year old they just hired who spent her entire shift shopping in the store with her friend who was “visiting” her at work. Hopefully one day those less-than-stellar workers will get a wake-up call!

  42. joel says:

    You have a lot to say about what you think is wrong with people yet you have very little understanding of the root causes, as you provide no actual remedy or legitimate concern for the underclass. It sounds like a lot of us and them, and this is whats wrong with society mentality. Theres actually a lot of people like you who think this way and complaining makes you no different than the people you are criticizing in the larger scheme of things.

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