Blake Fall-Conroy’s Minimum Wage Machine “allows anybody to work for minimum wage,” and represents the grinding futility of those jobs that pay it. The hand-cranked machine pops out a penny every 4.5 seconds. If you turn it for an hour, you’ll earn yourself $8, which was New York State’s minimum wage until December 30, 2014 (it was raised by $0.75 per hour since the machine was built).
The machine can also be reprogrammed to pay the minimum wage of wherever it happens to be currently exhibited.
If you earn a decent living, it’s easy to wonder why the hell someone would do any job for such a tiny amount. You might sympathize if they were to, say, opt out of the pointless drive for full employment. Maybe you’ll start to realize that nobody should be subjected to soul-crushing robot work for so little compensation, and “being lazy” has little to do with it.
When cranking out pennies from the Minimum Wage Machine, it’s hard not to feel more empathy for the people flipping your burgers or manning the dressing room at Walmart. Especially when you remember that, by low-wage-job standards, the Minimum Wage Machine is pretty cushy: no rude customers, no danger, and a workout for your shoulders and triceps to boot.