Gravity Payments Sets a Happy Standard for Minimum Wage; It’s Equal Pay Day – So Help Do Something About It!; Why Tax Day Doesn’t Have to be Taxing

To whom should I submit my resume?

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s a good day to be a minimum wage worker at Gravity Payments. The CEO and founder of the Seattle-based credit card payment processing company, Dan Price is generously – very generously – going to be giving most of his staff of 120 really big raises. I mean REALLY BIG. Mr. Price decided all this after he read an article about a study detailing how income affects happiness. The magical number, or rather salary, at which people’s happiness takes hold is a little more than $70,000. So Gravity Payments decided to set its minimum wage at $70,000 a year. The average salary there was (as of Friday, anyway) $48,000 a year, with minimum wage employees already earning more than the federal minimum wage. But now more than 30 people will now get at least double what they are already making. Mr. Price will pay for all these new raises by reducing his salary by $1 million and also using a big chunk of the company’s $2.2 million profit.  Mr. Price does’t see this as a loss, or even as charity. Instead, the prescient CEO sees it as an investment, as happy employees are conducive to happy clients and attract more business.  And what’s not happy about that?

While we’re on the topic of income inequality…

Image courtesy of  2nix/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of 2nix/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s not only the day before Tax day, today also marks Equal Pay Day. Patricia Arquette was spot on in her Oscars acceptance speech which had more to do with income inequality than…well, thanking her very well compensated team. Too bad Ms. Arquette wasn’t armed with the latest report from the National Partnership for Women and Families  at the time. Women “lose more than $490 billion to the wage gap every year.” But that’s just the dismal wretched beginning. On average, women as a whole make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes in the same job. Have kids? That takes it down another penny. But it only gets worse as African American women make 64 cents on the dollar while Latinas only earn 56 cents on the dollar. Single mothers, whose struggles are infinitely higher, make 58 cents for every dollar a man makes. Mad enough now? Help change things. Click here.

Not that you needed to be reminded…

Image courtesy of vectorolie/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of vectorolie/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’re just hours away from the dreaded Tax Day as gazillions of Americans are getting ready to submit all the tedious details about their fiscal activities. But take comfort in knowing that businesses across the United States are offering the tax-weary all sorts of nifty discounts, coupons and somewhat generous offers. Need a tax extension? Instead of getting a penalty for filing late, get yourself a coupon for an extension. Both E-File.com and TaxExtension are graciously offering discounts of 15-20% off those pesky extension filings. Given this whole emotionally taxing situation, HydroMassage is also offering a coupon for a free massage. But don’t wait. It’s only good through April 17 and I am pretty sure there are no extensions for that one. If all this fiscal drudgery has your appetite on overdrive, there are a bunch of eateries offering all kinds of offers and discounts. McDonalds has a “buy one get one for one cent” on Big Macs and Quarter Pounders. More of a whopper fan? Burger King’s also got a “buy one get one free” deal on those burgers. If Boston Market’s more your thing, then go with a friend  – or not – to buy one dinner and get the second one free. In select Hard Rock Cafes your singing skills, provided you have any, might get you some free grub between 5-7 pm. As for all those trees that were sacrificed in the name of preparing your tax returns, Staples, Office Depot and OfficeMax stores are offering to shed between 2-5 lbs. of documents and other pieces of paper you’d be happy never to see again.

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Disney’s Magical Earnings; Staples looking to Buy $6.3 billion Worth of…More Staples; Ralph Lauren’s Earnings Not Looking Stylish

Let it surge…

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Shares of Walt Disney Co. hit a spell-binding all-time high to just under $100 a share after it came out with its first quarter earnings. While the magical company behind the even more magical kingdom didn’t give all the credit to “Frozen,”  executives did mention the movie of sisterly love a whopping 24 times during the company conference call. One might think, based on that call, that “Frozen” is Disney’s only franchise. But in fact, the company has 11 of them raking in over $1 billion a year. Perhaps you’ve heard of one that goes by the name “Star Wars”? Or how ’bout the folks who call themselves, “The Avengers”? Then there’s that dude in spandex, who anointed himself “Spiderman” as he shares a lot in common with the arachnid community. Oh and don’t forget Cinderella either. But yeah, the “Frozen” phenomenon and all its related merchandise did do a lot for Disney’s record quarterly sales which saw major action during the holiday season. Walt Disney Co. also has tons of other stuff things going on and making money like say, theme parks, ESPN, and all sorts of (expensive) entertainment of the non-franchise variety. The House of Mouse pulled in a profit of $2.18 billion and $1.27 per share. Clearly analysts have yet to see “Frozen” as they only expected Disney to come in at $1.07 per share.

Man, that’s a lot of staples…

Image courtesy of anankkml/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of anankkml/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Staples is looking to add to its arsenal of staples by buying Office Depot to the tune of $6.3 billion at roughly $11 per share. It’s their second go at it. In 1996, the two companies tried to merge but the FTC put the kibosh on the deal over antitrust concerns.  Something about giving the American people a choice, I suspect.  This impending merger is still subject to regulatory approval however, it’s not expected to be challenged this time for two very nifty reasons: 1.) The FTC already approved the Office Depot/OfficeMax merger, so it would be so unfair if it didn’t approve this one and 2.) The internet has changed things so the FTC isn’t so worried about Staples being the only office supply game in town. Besides, even if the FTC says no to the union, it’s still a win for Office Depot as Staples will pay $250 million to OfficeDepot as a break-up fee. Gotta love a break-up fee. The two companies have 4,000 stores between them, though Staples has been in the process of closing down over 200 stores to boost profits while Office Depot has been closing unnecessary stores after its OfficeMax merger.

So passé…

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ralph Lauren’s clothes may be beautiful but its earnings sure aren’t. The famed iconic apparel company, which also owns Club Monaco and American Living, actually had to lower its full year revenue growth forecast. Again. Basically, the company is saying that it doesn’t expect to pull in as much money as its investors would like and they should brace themselves. Because it’s never the fault of the company when it posts bad earnings, Ralph Lauren is blaming that annoying strong dollar of ours and also the fact that people here aren’t buying the stuff. Except on Wall Street they say “weak consumer spending” like it’s our fault. Profit for the company was $215 million and $2.41 per share. Sounds decent except when you consider that last year, the  label pulled in $237 million and $2.57 per share. Meanwhile, revenue was up. A little. By 0.9%. To around $2.03 billion. Oh well.