by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper, 3/2009

We all have colleagues who have lost jobs, taken massive pay cuts, and face uncertainty how to survive in these economic times.

My great frustration is with the politicians who don’t seem to understand we don’t have any more money to give, and businesses who are clearly taking advantage of the economy for their own benefit, and lobbyists who bully and use scare tactics, their spending out of control while their solution to everything is higher fees and new taxes. And if we don’t comply they threaten to lay off the teachers, the cops, the essential services…

But God forbid they would reign in THEIR spending or cut the pork. Meanwhile, we struggle to buy milk and bread and pay the rent, and wonder how to afford to send our kids to school — or even if we’ll have a home six months from now. Even those of us who are still employed know the rug can be pulled at any time.

We’re getting a lot of memos from people who want more of our money; I think it’s time we send our own memo back to them:

MEMO: Cost-cutting measures during these difficult economic times.

Today’s economic situation requires me to make hard decisions. However, if I take actions immediately to maintain a balanced budget, I will be positioned well for the future. That’s why I am sending this memo; it’s important to reassess my financial situation and make the necessary money-saving measures and cost-cutting steps. The gap between where I am today and accomplishing my financial goals is widened by the current economic climate. As a result, I need to take temporary actions to get me through this difficult period.

  • To Logan Airport: Due to my reduced liquid capital, I’m afraid I can’t support the two dollar “green fee” you imposed recently. First, it’s unfair to penalize people for parking at your lot where you’ve recently raised prices; Second, the only green I see being saved is in YOUR wallet; and third, as the Weekly Dig recently stated so well, taking the T to Logan is not an option for the mom with three kids and luggage trying to make a 7am flight.
  • To the Mass Turnpike Authority: Likewise, due to the change in my personal financial situation, I’m afraid I cannot support your proposed toll increases. Perhaps you could find the money in your own organization? I understand a lot of it has been misplaced by your employees over the years. We’ve all been reading Howie Carr in the Boston Herald and know that good money management doesn’t seem to be your greatest strength. We’re sorry for this tough love, but if you don’t learn to manage your own money first, we can’t keep giving you money to waste.
  • To American International Group (AIG), and the bonuses you are trying to pay out after your bailout: ARE YOU KIDDING? No, seriously, are you insane? You cannot have your bonuses. The people of America are not going to allow it.
  • To the credit card companies: All of your customers, including myself, have received your new terms. I received all your letters about the increase in my APR and the new $39.00 late charges, increased monthly minimums and the various other new fees. Your letters all blame these changes on the economy. I’m no economist, and I’m sure the mere billions you rake in mean you’re hurting too, and that the upcoming federal regulations impacting all credit card companies in 2010 mean you need to act fast to financially rape and demolish your customers as quickly as possible and blame it on the economy while you are still legally allowed to do so. Therefore, due to these difficult economic times, I will not be able to accept your new terms and is it’s my intention to pay off my balances as fast as possible and cancel your cards. You are no longer a convenience, you are a liability, and due to my reduced financial liquidly I’m afraid I can no longer play along with the joke you call customer service.
  • To the poor misguided people who beg the state and local government to raise their taxes because otherwise every essential service will be cut — please, please, please, remember that no “temporary” tax ever gets repealed, and that the people in charge are counting on your fear and short-term memory to forward their own agenda. Please, people, THINK. THINK!
  • To other companies: When you send me a letter explaining that due to the economy you need to raise the cost of something, I’m afraid I will need to inform you that due to the economy I must deny your request. If that means I must cancel your service, so be it.

To each of you listed above, I recognize these are tough actions, and you can be assured I made this decision after much thought and assessment. I ask for your support and understanding as I work through these very difficult times. I am confident I will strengthen my position in a consolidating global market. I will be one of my industry’s best and brightest, trusted by my clients to solve their challenges, and reposition myself in a worldwide consumer market, and am confident I will rise to the occasion and will, in fact, succeed in preserving, through this difficult period, the excellence I have demonstrated to all of you.

I thank you in advance for your understanding. Remember, tough times don’t last, but tough people do. years ago, the CEO of a company told his employees that the day before he laid off hundreds of people, so I know it must be true.

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