December 21, 2004

Pizzeconomics In The First Person

Domino's Logo
Originally uploaded by octopod.
Stones Cry Out has a fascinating first-person account of life in the pizza industry, plus an analysis that might be called "The Political Economy of Marinara Sauce," in response to an effort to unionize pizza workers at large chains.

I was trained as an anthropologist back before blogs and such. It's the direct contact with daily life that lets you understand a society and its culture.

It's hard to quarrel with Stones's conclusion:
Because I have been both a driver and a manager, I can say that the UPW proposal, if successful, will likely force many store closures. According to the article, the UPW is targeting the large chain stores like Papa John's, Pizza Hut, Domino's, and others. With costs increased for these large chains, mom and pop shops, free from having to negotiate with the UPW, would take market share. With smaller market share, hours for workers at the chain stores would be cut back and stores could be closed.

He goes on to suggest that a strategy of raising pay to attract the best workers might provide a competitive edge. He might be right, although I'd be surprised if it isn't tried now and then.

I know that we have a lot of food delivered, and very quickly know which stores are competent, as well as what tastes best. It's a competitive business, which is why it's so efficient.

My sister lives in a part of New York City where apartment dwellers are deluged with Chinese and other take-out menus. She reports that a nearby building had a sign like this:


Marx was right. Capitalism is revolutionary. What he didn't realize is that socialism -- and a union shop is, to some extent, an island of socialism -- is conservative and static.

HT: the indispensable Hugh Hewitt.

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