Consumers can help the economy not by just choosing to buy goods, but also by being selective in where they buy goods. Zeynep Ton, Adjunct Associate Professor of Operations Management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, urged the more than 650 attendees of TedxCambridge, to shop, dine, and patronize businesses that employ what Ton calls the "good jobs strategy."
Ton argued that bad jobs—such as many low-paying positions in retail—contribute to a bad economy. "The problem is not that there aren’t enough jobs; the problem is that too many jobs are simply bad jobs," said Ton. Retail jobs, according to Ton, are not just bad because they offer low wages and chaotic schedules, but because they make the workers feel meaningless. One retailer worker told Ton, "We are throwaways who are a dime a dozen…just human robots, really."
Conventional wisdom says that retailers must pay low wages and offer bad jobs in order to keep prices low. Ton's good jobs strategy goes against this by presenting a case for investing in retail employees, and, in turn, receiving a strong return on that investment. It calls for retailers to make decisions that may seem counterintuitive.