TEMPE, Ariz. — One day after his State of the Union address, President Obama went shopping to prove that companies can pay their workers more money.
He visited a Costco store in the Washington, D.C. area to praise the company for paying higher than the minimum wage.
“Entry level employees here (at Costco), including stock associates and cashiers, start at $11.50 an hour,” he said.
At the Costco in Tempe, a cashier who wished to remain anonymous said there is more to the story than that.
While the store pays $11.50, he complained that Costco works its employees too hard. He said that his store has a high turnover rate and is understaffed, leading to a heavier work load for those that still work there.
Obama said if American companies start to pay their workers more, that would change.
“I guarantee that if workers had a little more money in their pocket, they’ll spend more at Costco,” the president said. “And if Costco starts seeing more customers, they’ll start hiring some more folk.”
One customer at the Tempe store thinks Costco treats its employees right. Mary Anderson said she has shopped there for years.
“I’ve just thought it was great,” she said. “I’ve watched a lot of the kids put themselves through college.”
Anderson said that employee treatment is one thing that keeps her shopping at Costco instead of the Walmart across the street.
“I don’t like the way they treat their employees, and I don’t like some of the products they import,” she said. “Even though some of Costco’s products are imported, I still like them better.”