That is indeed one of the suggestions that Northwest Airlines made to employees who might soon be without jobs.
The airline, now in bankruptcy proceedings, facing a possible flight attendants strike and starting to cut costs by cutting its workforce, handed out the booklet "101 Ways to Save Money" to some of its rank-and-file workers.
One of the recommendations, #46 to be exact: Don't be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash.
OK, I know this happens. We've put stuff at the curb and before we got back down there with the next load, it was gone, with no garbage truck within miles.
I even had a boss back in D.C. who bragged about this great mattress he and his wife took off a New York City street when they were a young newlywed couple, toughing it out in the Big Apple.
A mattress? They actually slept on this thing? I couldn't bring myself to ask how that worked out for them, in part because I was afraid of the answer I'd get. But I suspect they soon were a young newlywed couple toughing out not only the Big Apple, but also some sort of icky rash.
Man, there are not enough cans of Lysol in the whole world to get me to take home a mattress that someone dumped on a NYC -- or any city -- street!
So I can imagine a bit of the disgust that Northwest workers felt when they got the booklet. When you add it to the existing stress of spending your days worrying whether you'll soon be out of a job and actually need to utilize such "helpful" frugal money management hints, it's easy to see why all workers, whether recently laid off, soon-to-be laid off or even those relatively secure in their jobs, are so upset.
No, in this case, the thought definitely does not count. In fact, the thought seems to be, "We're about to put you out on your keister into a work environment where it's going to be nigh impossible to find another job in your field, so good luck and get the wheels on that shopping cart oiled so it'll be easier to push along the streets, scrounging for your day-to-day necessities."
Sure, some of the frugal tips might actually be helpful, such as shop around for a bank that offers low or no fees (#64) or #76's recommendation to comparison grocery shop by looking at the unit price. MN Headhunter has the whole list posted here.
But, c'mon, people! Just hand out the pink slips and let your ex-workers leave with some dignity!
The airline's approach to "helping" employees cope during this time of financial uncertainty also got me to wondering about what kind of financial material upper management might be poring over right about now. I bet it's not booklets on how to save a few dollars here and there in case they have to relinquish a corner office. Copies of the Ken Lay "what not to say" testimony transcripts, perhaps?
And I hope the person at Northwest who came up with this idea has the booklet of cost-cutting tips in one hand and a resume in the other!
If the ax falls: About.com offers these more useful suggestions if you do lose your job. If you haven't yet got the bad news, but fear it's imminent, then Jobskills.com offers other pre-dismissal steps you might want to take.