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This story is merely an example of the way unpaid internships have gone off the track. An argument can be made that internships completed in the confines of a educational program where credit is earned do not need to be paid. After that, everyone should be paid for the services they are providing.
It was an interesting dynamic at my business school, where students in my concentration were required to be paid for our internships, while the finance guys down the hall could not receive credit unless the internships were unpaid. Were our internships structured differently in any way? No. I made 20 an hour for my work while the finance kids had to wait tables at night (or, more likely, use M&D’s credit card).
The fact is, pay the damn people $10 bucks an hour, and continue to do all the horrible things everyone does to the interns. That way, they at least have some monetary value from what is generally a crap experience anyway. Most of us do unfulfilling jobs we hate; we do them for money. It’s how society works.