HR Strange But True!
August 17, 2006

How would you react if you were facing a layoff and your employer handed you a booklet with money-saving tips like digging for stuff in the trash, taking shorter showers, bringing a date for a walk in the woods, and visiting the local pawnshop to purchase jewelry?

If you want to know how someone else would react to such tips, just ask one of about 60 Northwest Airlines workers who received a booklet with a section called "101 Ways to Save Money."

The section, which the airline aimed at helping workers handle layoffs as the company tries to emerge from bankruptcy, included tips like take "a date for a walk along the beach or in the woods" and "don't be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash," Reuters reports.

Here are some of the other suggestions:

  • Make your own cards and gifts
  • Give children hand-me-down toys and clothes.
  • Get auto parts at junkyards.
  • Write letters instead of calling.
  • Cut the kids' hair yourself.
  • Use old newspapers for cat litter.

"This is disgraceful that somebody at Northwest Airlines would send this out to a long-term employee facing having no job, telling them to do certain things that are very degrading," Robert Roach Jr., an officer of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, tells Bloomberg News.

The airline revised the booklet, which the company's employee assistance provider NEAS created, and apologized to offended workers.

"We sincerely apologize to our employees for any offense this list caused them," Crystal Knotek, senior vice president at Northwest, tells Bloomberg News.

You can read the booklet on the website of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.

Sources: Reuters and Bloomberg News

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