San Francisco raises minimum wage, kills beloved local bookstore, residents shocked

Posted by: Phineas on February 8, 2015 at 5:43 pm

**Posted by Phineas

Didn't pay attention

Didn’t pay attention

Call it a “teachable moment?”

Due to the new increased minimum wage law in San Francisco, a beloved bookstore and mainstay of the Mission District has been forced to close its doors for good.

The minimum wage for San Francisco workers, currently at $11.05 an hour, soars to $15 an hour in July 2018. The store’s projected labor costs, reported ABC7 News, impelled Borderlands Bookstore to write its final chapter.

The store owner had this to say:

In November, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that will increase the minimum wage within the city to $15 per hour by 2018. Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in principal and we believe that it’s possible that the new law will be good for San Francisco — Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage. Consequently we will be closing our doors no later than March 31st.

But the best line came from one of the stunned customers:

“You know, I voted for the measure as well, the minimum wage measure,” customer Edward Vallecillo lamented. “It’s not something that I thought would affect certain specific small businesses. I feel sad.”

Evidently Mr. Vallecillo and the other voters of the Special City were asleep during their economics lessons — assuming that’s even taught anymore. Let’s review, shall we?

Labor is a cost, because the business owner has to provide wages and, often, benefits that cost him more money. When a government mandate increases that cost, the business owner has three choices: pass the cost along to the customer, who may decide it’s too much and stop shopping there; cut employee hours and stop hiring to save on labor costs, thus costing potential jobs and putting a burden on workers still employed; and, finally, just decide it’s not worth it anymore and close up shop. In the low-margin bookseller business, Borderlands’ owner chose the last course as the only one viable.

(Aside: It wouldn’t surprise me if one of the Leftists on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering a bill to prevent owners from doing just that. Can’t let the Kulaks get away with acting as if they own their own property, after all.)

In a functioning, literate polity that teaches its young fundamental lessons of civics and economics, an informed electorate could have looked at that proposal and said, “Nah, that’s going too far.” Instead, we have voters who feel good about themselves  for voting themselves more consequence-free stuff, and then feel sad when the consequences arrive.

Maybe they’ll learn something from the experience.


RELATED: This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the consequences of ill-thought policy regarding the minimum wage. Seattle voted a high minimum, and now businesses are considering leaving. Some companies are considering replacing now-expensive minimum-wage workers with computerized kiosks. Los Angeles wants to raise the minimum to $13.25. Can’t wait to see how many entry-level jobs are lost thanks to that, or how many low-skill young workers looking for their first job are priced out of the market because of it. More from Ron Radosh, and more posts on the minimum wage.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

RSS feed for comments on this post.

8 Responses to “San Francisco raises minimum wage, kills beloved local bookstore, residents shocked”


  1. Dan says:

    Suspect a high percentage of San Franciscans are not “earning their own way”, so not surprised at socialist ignorance.

  2. Carlos says:

    Face it, Phineas, Democraps are not literate in even Remedial Econ, let alone Econ101.

    The fine denizens of San Fran have brought joy to many towns close by but not in the city itself. That’s where those businesses will re-open, if they possibly can afford to. Maybe under a different name, but if the small business owner still has his/her dream, he/she will find a newer, friendlier place to do business.

    BTW, this stupidity has also infected Oregon and Washington. Oregon’s Democrap-controlled legislature is poised to pass a similar bill for the entire state, and it’s sure to be signed into law by the guvner (who says he doesn’t even know what his live-in lover does to make money), so our entire state will soon follow suit and have no more small businesses, maybe not even medium-sized.

  3. Drew the Infidel says:

    It is a safe bet that there is not a single member of the SF city council who has so much as even operated a lemonade stand. The trade-off between forced wage minimums and corporate viability, whether by unions or government, is vividly demonstrated by Boeing’s desire to leave WA for its new facility in SC, a right-to-work state.

  4. TheBecke says:

    Face it, it’s that whole west coast infection. I truly hate to see people suffer because of a bunch of idiots, but, I think that a few states doing just what they are doing is a great example to other states. Just hope the lesson is learned before damage gets too wide spread.

  5. Carlos says:

    Lesson learned @TheBecke?

    If it doesn’t involve teaching mushminds how to prevent getting pregnant from a banana or cucumber, or how to steal from producers and give to the rich liberals, there ain’t no such thing as “lesson learned” to a lib/socialist/thug/thief/intellectual/academic/etc. ’cause, don’tcha know, they’re smart enough to run EVERYONE else’ lives.

    ‘Fraid there’s no hope for cesspools full of floaters like CA, OR and WA. And because of that, my bride and I are looking to move from God’s country just to escape this insanity. (BTW, my town was either the first or one of the first in the nation to elect a self-avowed, openly communist councilperson.

  6. TomTB says:

    How will young people get the old foot-in-the door entry level jobs, if the government demands too high minimum wages?
    Everyone can parlay one job into another, but you have to START somewhere!
    If it’s too expensive for an employer, they won’t give anyone a chance.

  7. Carlos says:

    The left enjoys name calling so much (like “extremist right”, “teabaggers”, etc.), so how does this one fit for the people to the left of what’s become the middle of the Democrap party:

    ignorant economic terrorists

    Feel free to explain to me how that is not a valid description.

  8. Chris says:

    A failed business, unemployed workers, and a vacant space ready to be rented by someone dumb enough to take a loss in San Francisco. The seeds of Detroit and all for the feel good glory of Minimum Wage.

    And it’s the conservatives who are idiots?