I would guess it's mostly the comfort that comes from feeling as if things are closer to you. I know sometimes these days I'll look at the ingredients on deodorant or Pasta-Roni or bright yellow mustard and have a kind of panic about giant inhuman vats with exploited workers falling in. To look at a carrot (ingredients: carrot) or a buttery pastry at the farmers' market with uneven chocolate frosting is a comfort. Someone may have considered more than INPUT: PROFIT in creating this, maybe. I'd like to think that labor is a form of love (the restaurant "really cares!" about sourcing meats ethically, etc) and it is a qualitative difference quite often! There is also something to be said about "character," right? I think part of the reaction is against homogeneity -- part of the reason people move to big cities is to experience something that's not replicated at every freeway exit (good and bad!) Sometimes the difference isn't better quality but wacky decor or appeal to a really specific ethnic community or "we're not shutting down during the Occupy march but we are donating sales and tips to the local food bank." Some things aren't scalable but that does not mean they're not worth having. ADDITIONAL, BROAD UNSUPPORTED STATEMENT: Americans really believe in INDIVIDUALISM! And they really really love mixing in a lil guilt with their pleasures.
I find fresh spinach so much easier to work with than frozen! Frozen you have to like, drain and squish and get all the water out before you use it, unless it's in a stew or something. The only thing it's better for are spinookies (spinach cookies!!), which are not really worth the trouble anyway.
It depends on who you ask, or what study you read. Most agree that they're jobs where you can work full-time, all year, and not make enough to be above the poverty line. But that's incredibly low (about $12,000 for a single person) and not regionally adjusted. It was calculated decades ago by taking the FDA's cost for a barely nutritionally adequate diet and multiplying it by three. Because back then, people spent 30% of their income on food. Not anymore. The self-sufficiency standard is a thing I like instead, because it takes into account the real cost of housing, transportation and health and child care for families of different compositions and in different areas: http://www.insightcced.org/communities/cfess/ca-sss.html So in my county, the poverty level for a single person is $12,000 or so, but the self-sufficiency standard is #27,000!
And people who earn hourly wages and live paycheck to paycheck are shit out of luck, too. People who use EBT for food stamps or public benefits can't buy anything.
I am going as a TOURIST! I live in the Bay Area, so this might work? Just wearing a giant, ill-fitting ALCATRAZ sweater, tennis shoes and sunglasses and carrying a camera around. Maybe a fanny pack.
This is precisely why I was glad when Johnny Rocket's fired me for not being an enthusiastic dancer. $10 tabs with $2 tips meant having to turn tables quickly, and that meant running my ass off to get as many tables as possible during the lunch rush. (I then got a job at a nicer place where I worked just as hard bringing food and drinks, but the bill totals were like 1,000% higher, so I made more money, hooray. Still had to tip out bartenders/busers at both places, still made $2.14 base hourly at every shift.) Tipping on the price of your food is kind of a "good enough, I guess?" solution, and not anything at all connected with the amount of labor that went into your experience. Emotional labor is huge. So I leave too much, always, always.
Hella, @thecoffeestain -- raw employment numbers don't reflect the number of people who are working less than they want to be, or far outside their fields (biology majors making coffee). What this might reflect that's newsworthier than anything else is how important class signifiers are to gaining employment, especially in a service/knowledge economy.
@mean terry gross body shamer You can apply it to (ha!) graduate school, too. Some (mostly private, I think) schools will match your ed award.
@sally You can defer your student loans for the year you're in your program, and if you complete your year, you get an education award of about $5,000 or about $2,000 cash. Which is a tough choice for the people scrambling for a job as their term ends! I was lucky to find full-time work right as my contract ended, and even luckier that my next employer was willing to let me finish my last 2 weeks of VISTA so I could get my education award.
I really liked doing VISTA, but I was married and had a bit of a nest egg from a few years in the post-college working world. It was a career bridge for me. But yes, I left it totally convinced that it's a really pernicious part of this idea that people who do charitable/nonprofit work are in it for some kind of spiritual enrichment, and that's BS. If we believe that feeding hungry people, teaching our kids, cleaning up our environment, etc, are important, we should pay for good people. That and the idea that you'll "understand" your clients' lives -- that's bullshit. For everyone in my cohort, there were roommates, help from mom and dad, and always always your middle-class manners, bachelors' degree, computer skills, and pre-VISTA wardrobe to fall back on. I'm glad I did it, and I might recommend it to someone fresh out of college -- as long as you have a supervisor who understands the program and understands that you are not simply free labor for them, you can really decide what holes there are in your resume and plug them. But I don't love the stipend or no-second-job rules.