If the work is low value, and minimum wage goes up, you’ve got a couple of alternatives.You can pay the workers an increased wage, if you want the work done and don’t really have any alternatives.You can maybe contract the work out to an individual. Suppose you are a restaurant and you have a lawn that needs to get mowed. You have a guy that does it, and he earns minimum wage. Minimum wage increases, so you hire a guy to mow the lawn for $15 and if it takes him an hour and a half, well, he’s earning $10 per hour. This only works in limited circumstances.You automate the task, using software or hardware. For instance, McDonald’s installs ordering kiosks.You make the customer do more. For instance, grocery stores no longer bag the groceries. There was a yogurt shop near me where you would go to one of about 20 vats in the wall and serve yourself frozen yogurt. There was then a toppings bar, and you’d put on your toppings. Then you’d get it all weighed and pay for it: the customer did most of the work.If you go to countries that have a high minimum wage (either by law or by the fact that there aren’t many low skilled people), you’ll notice that things are different. Last fall, I went to Denmark for a few days. Here is a Starbucks at the airport:Yeah, there’s no one working there. You can use their automated machine to get coffee. They also have normal Starbucks, but I still thought this was interesting.I went to a Danish grocery store. It wasn’t Aldi, but it looked sort of like an Aldi: unlike American supermarkets, the stuff was mainly on palettes in the store, the displays were not elegant, and there was minimal staffing at the store.But let’s take a look at Aldi in the US versus other supermarkets. Aldi pays its workers quite a bit more than normal supermarkets, maybe up to 50% more. However, a typical Aldi only has 2–3 people working there at any given time, while my local Stop & Shop has probably 30 or 40 people working there at any given time. Aldi has put in place numerous ways to save on labor costs by requiring less labor.At Aldi, you have to put a quarter in a slot to unlock a shopping cart. After you are shopping, you get your quarter back. However, this ensures that everyone returns the cart to the front of the store; if someone doesn’t, they forfeit their quarter, and someone else will return the cart for a quarter (maybe a 12 year old?).Aldi is clean but not elegant: its displays are the boxes the stuff came in, so it takes very little time to unload the truck and put out the groceries for display.Most things you buy at Aldi (which is mostly house brands) have about 4 bar codes. This makes checkout a lot faster, so they need fewer cashiers.Aldi doesn’t bag your groceries. In fact, Aldi cashiers just take the groceries and place them into another shopping cart (the previous customer’s), so they can check you out really fast. Again, this causes them to need fewer cashiers.Aldi pays more, but its employees have to be more versatile. If there are a lot of people checking out, they’ll have everyone doing cashier. But if there’s a lull, those people will be cleaning the store, or some other task.Aldi doesn’t have a fresh deli or butcher or a pharmacy or bank on premises. It’s just groceries. Deli meats are pre-packaged, as is everything.