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Patagonia's Low Wages!?!

Part 2 of the Steven Greenshouse story cited below tells the story of Patagonia, a highly successful outdoor gear seller.

Apparently Patagonia has an impressive total compensation package that its employees love: 100% health insurance, months off at a time, a childcare facility at headquarters, and -- don't forget this -- LOW WAGES:

Patagonia is so mellow about flextime that the receptionist at headquarters, an 11-time world Frisbee champion, is allowed to take three months off each summer to run a surfing school. “I could make quite a bit more money working somewhere else,” Welling said. “But to have the quality of life and to remain physically fit, by cycling or going surfing, you can’t put a dollar amount on it.”

What's that? Yes, its people are happy to be paid less in cash and more in services, and less overall for less time worked.

This company is an incredible example of why discussion of wages without taking into account benefits, hours, and overall working conditions misrepresents the gains (and losses) made by employees in the US and around the world.


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