Costco Worker Sparks Debate After Saying She Gets $29.50 To 'Draw Smiley Faces'

The more we get into this period of labor shortage in North America that some refer to as "The Great Recession," the more cases we can see that inform us as to how this situation came to unfold.

For instance, the stories of Wendy's and Chipotle managers who quit alongside their workforces show how overworked, underpaid, and altogether unsupported a lot of employees feel right now.

And we can also learn a lot from cases where chains like Dick's Drive-Ins have managed to keep themselves fully staffed, as they offer the kinds of wages and benefits that make them attractive to workers.

But as the fallout from one short TikTok by a Costco employee reveals, when retail and other service businesses do provide these kinds of enticements, it can often make others acutely aware of how much their jobs are paying them.

And in this case, that has brought about some interesting debate.

Be advised that one of the videos featured in this article contains explicit language

On November 29, A Costco employee named Natalie uploaded a TikTok in wihch she claimed to make $29.50 an hour "just to draw smiley faces on receipts."

She was likely referring to Costco's practice of having an employee check each customer's receipts to ensure that no cashiers logged a discrepancy in either inventory or pricing.

And while that text was simply accompanied by about 10 seconds of her and a coworker bobbing their heads, her video nonetheless generated about 21,000 comments.

Some among these commenters credited Costco for how they pay their employees, with one user saying, "This is why I have seen the same Costco employees for years. Walmart has new employees every week."

But at the same time, others who had to go to school to do their jobs were shocked and outraged to learn that they were being paid about as much as she was.

Another TikToker who goes by Khaleah noticed that many of these comments came from health care workers, one of whom was asking for someone to "make it make sense."

And as far as Khaleah saw it, the implication was that since there's a mismatch between what a person who saves lives should be paid what and a person who checks receipts should be paid, Costco was paying its employees too much.

And as we can see in their own TikTok, they felt that comments of this stripe were approaching the issue from the wrong angle.

That's not to say that Khaleah didn't agree that the health care workers leaving these comments should be paid more, but they argued that this doesn't necessarily translate to reducing the salaries of people in unrelated industries.

In their words, "If you think it's unfair that you and this person make the same pay, maybe you should be upset with your employer instead of another working class person."