The store’s pharmacist considers himself the doctor to the doctors. He doesn’t have a traditional medical degree, but there are clearly times when he regrets not getting his MD. Human capital acquisition can be thought of like an investment that requires upfront costs, but has benefits paid out over a long period of time.
Amy’s husband has started working at the store as a temporary employee, but Amy has asked Glenn to have their shifts switched. Glenn asks if the request is because the spark is gone in their marriage or if they are just in a rough patch. His implication is that they have been together long enough that their utility isn’t constantly increasing. Amy is concerned about working with her husband because she knows that their happiness is interdependent.
It’s the holiday season and Cloud 9 needs more help. Labor is a derived demand, which means when customers demand more products, the firm needs more inputs. This temporary employment will also affect the unemployment rate in the local economy. After the holidays are over, many of the new hires will be released.
Glenn is interviewing different candidates for the store’s open Santa position. One of candidates was trained by a legend who worked at the Chicago Macy’s and feels he has amassed enough human capital to be perfect for the Cloud 9 position. The interviewing process takes time and includes costs that aren’t monetary. Glenn could spend his day managing his employees, but he’s spending his time searching for a good match.
Glenn announces a winner of the search for the store’s new Santa position. When the winner asks about the salary, Glenn tells him that he will be paid in smiles and wonder and so many other things. The winner quits, along with almost everyone else. There is one person who stays: an employee of the store.
Jonah is happy that he won the betting pool over which temporary employee would quit first, but it turns out that a lot of these temporary employees are part of a program at Glenn’s church that works with people who have trouble getting jobs. Many of the employees have criminal records or are former drug addicts, and that makes them less likely to be hired without assistance.
The employees are in a betting pool to see which temporary employee will quit first. For each temporary employee, the original employees are trying to make the work experience less enjoyable than the alternative option of quitting. By doing this, they are increasing the opportunity cost of continuing to work. Their tactics range from emotional stress, manual labor, sexual harassment, and increasing the risk of injury.
During the strike, additional Cloud 9 employees from the Kirkwood Branch show up, but they’re only there to replace the striking workers, not to join the strike. Jeff shares that he will welcome back any employees who come inside and apologize, and that is when the other employees realize they are easily replaceable. These employees do not possess any particular skills that other workers aren’t capable of doing. This labor market would be rather competitive since the workers are essentially homogenous.
While interviewing candidates for the assistant manager position, Amy and Glenn try to learn more about the potential candidates’ ability to move into this new role. They are surprised by the applicants, namely that the pharmacist is interested in switching roles or by Marcus’s accidental admission of stolen property. The interviewing process can be costly because it takes time and effort to find a good “match” for the company. Interviewing candidates from the pool of current employees helps reduce the cost of finding a worker, but it still requires Glenn and Amy to take time away from the floor to interview people.
The employees almost start a debate on the merits of public healthcare in the US when Cheyenne almost goes into labor in the store. She would like to take time off for herself, but she feels she needs to keep working in order to save as much money as possible for when she has to take time off after the baby is born. In other countries, this decision isn’t usually necessary since maternity leave is provided by the government.