Sometimes you have to wonder what the plan is for
the middle-class in this country.
It’s pretty clear what the plan is for the
middle class in Asia. Increasing in size and beginning the transition from
saver to consumer must be at the top of the list – all part of a
multi-decade process to wean itself from Western export dependence and to
ultimately become both the manufacturing and consumption center of the world.
In the U.S., you often hear about all the new jobs
that have been created in the last few years – 4.5 million they say.
But, with falling real wages, the middle-class must surely be decreasing in
size. And, a negative savings rate must now indicate that the transition from
saver to consumer is about complete.
Las Vegas is a good example of people doing whatever it takes – a good
example of the modern day middle-class lifestyle. In addition to recent real
estate jobs, there has been a steady rise in the number of blackjack dealers
and food service workers required to support the businesses in this town.
From part two
of a recent PBS documentary
about the history of Las Vegas, we learn of food service jobs, readily
available for those who are eager to “re-train” in this new
In Las Vegas, you can embark upon a career as a food
server, which anywhere else in the country is not considered a good job. You
can provide very well for your family in these positions that in other places
are not considered good jobs.
Pull the tray back behind his head, there we go. May
I? May I? Clockwise, OK, clockwise, clockwise.
We train people, the technical skills, how to carry
a tray, how to say, “may I take your plate?” as opposed to,
“are you done?” You know, how to
correctly pour a cup of coffee so that it, it comes within a quarter inch of
You’ve got to announce: “Coffee?”
Coffee and pour.
Our industry demands a level of customer service, of
guest service, that is so high that a large part of what we do in addition to
the technical skills is train people on focused eye contact, how to relax,
how to smile, how to communicate with the guest.
Do you put the butter on the French toast? Do you
put the syrup on the French toast? Do you put the powdered sugar on the
French toast? Yes, sprinkle the powdered sugar on the French toast.
My goal when I send people out into the industry is
that they communicate to the guest that each and every guest is important,
not just to me, but that they’re important to my hotel, to my restaurant,
to my city. We are driven by tourism and if the guest stops coming back, we
stop having employment.
This decade is not shaping up very well for the
middle-class. It’s shaping up wonderfully for the rich – low
taxes and reasonable investment returns should sustain that group for years
But, this is not a good decade to be middle-class.