admin on July 30, 2010

Back in the day when people had busy lives and jobs they would find themselves completely out of suitable clothes to wear and then be forced to spend all day doing laundry. During that time, if anyone came to the door, whether it was the mailman or an unexpected friend, the laundry-doer would feel compelled to yell, “It’s laundry day!” It was the only way to explain how they came to be dressed in a mismatching disaster of spandex shorts, ill-fitting t-shirts, granny panties and no bra because there was absolutely nothing else to wear.

Unfortunately unemployment has a tendency to bring out the fashion beast in all of us, making the unemployed perfect candidates for “What Not to Wear”. After gathering enough pieces to to assemble a core unemployment suit and realizing there’s very little reason to get dressed let alone dressed up every day, the unemployed eventually phase out their socially appropriate attire in exchange for unspeakable atrocities like a green Google shirt mixed with orange and purple gym shorts from high school.

With most days spent at home, somewhere between looking for work, freaking out about having no money and wallowing in front of the TV in a fit of despair, the unemployed tend to go through their raggedy clothing surprisingly quick. The free shirts, because of their large sizes, usually are the first to go. Then, the shirts with holes followed by the shirts that should have been shredded into rags long ago. Match those tops with a pair of cut-off sweat shorts or your best pair of  ”for painting” jeans and you’re good to go if by go you mean lie on the couch.

The outfits that the unemployed once wouldn’t be caught dead in have suddenly become an everyday thing. Admit it – look down at what you’re wearing and ask yourself, “Would I have worn this outside a year ago?” If you say yes, you’re probably lying. At first, you dare to leave your house in your “laundry day” clothes to make a dash towards the mailbox, which becomes a quick trip to the post office, until it escalates into fully immersing yourself in public in such outfits.

Then, it suddenly becomes laundry day and not even because there’s no more clothes left. There are just no more comfortable items to wear. In the closet hangs a bunch of perfectly suitable things to wear, but the unemployed just forlornly look in their dirty laundry pile at that super ugly but super comfortable shirt and wish it was clean. They might have even previously dug that shirt out of the hamper to give it one last wear before washing it. In a sort of reverse desperation, the unemployed have no choice but to reach for their ::shudder:: work clothes and head out to the laundromat to wash a bunch of rags all dressed in business casual. When 90% of your laundry is your former gym clothes, you know it’s time to get a job.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into an employed person’s home and realize furniture comes in other colors besides birch and doesn’t require being pieced together with stripped pegs and allen wrenches? It’s called envy, and the unemployed dream of a day when their belongings aren’t just a bunch of random IKEA pieces with broken hinges, scuffs and really embarrassing bumper stickers and when they can tell admiring friends, “Oh thank you, I specifically chose this to match the curtains which match this obscure and totally useless vase.”

Looking back, there was always a place and time in our lives when IKEA furniture just made sense. It’s functional, the price is usually right and there’s just something so satisfying about graduating from plastic bins that display our underwear to the world to real furniture. Going to IKEA for hours at a time to find the perfect EKTORP was just as exciting as finding a ditched MALM on the street or perusing Craigslist to find a cheap LEKSVIK. It didn’t matter what each item’s true purpose was for because we were so excited to have furniture that we would hoard it and find a way to use it.

Unfortunately, IKEA furniture always seems like a better idea than it really is. After factoring in shipping costs and troublesome assembly time, we’re left realizing we could have bought a piece of adult furniture for the same price. And there is a difference between real furniture and adult furniture. It’s something the unemployed know all too well as they sit on a dangerously unstable ÄPPLARÖ that rocks not because it was designed to, but because there are so many missing pieces from improper assembly and because it’s just so old. Adult furniture is meant to last a while and is to be properly cared for so it can stay in the family unlike IKEA furniture that is all too often pawned off to friends during a move or otherwise disposed of in the street for some (un)fortunate soul to take in.

Nice furniture is something the unemployed always hoped they would graduate to next before they ended up losing their jobs. Before and after getting laid off they would be that creep at Crate and Barrel lounging in the bed that reads “Please do not sit on display bed” just wishing they could afford even one item in the store. Anything to make it look like they weren’t still in college. Embarrassed by their furniture they tell friends, ”If you don’t mind the risk of flipping over in that broken papasan chair, you’re more than welcome to come over.” Some day their dream will be realized. Until then, don’t be surprised to find the jobless sitting on the floor where there’s less chance for getting splinters.

admin on May 31, 2010

Some Republican senator claimed that most unemployed people on the dole don’t even begin looking for jobs until their unemployment insurance runs out, and because of that, he voted against another emergency unemployment extension. First of all, Senator, thank you for reading this site to do your research, because for once, you were right. Second of all, thanks to all the OTHER law makers who voted to pass yet another extension, thereby delaying our demise once again.

Unemployment extension news is hard to keep up with. One moment Congress is against it, then they go on vacation, come back, and suddenly the unemployed get another lucky break. When the recession first started, there was what, one extension? Now there are four or five with that mysterious FED-ED extension that may not exist? Congress is talking about extending the filing dates for extensions, not actually adding new extensions? Whaaat? It’s all very confusing, and to deal with it, the unemployed did exactly what that senator claimed: they kept on collecting their unemployment checks while putting off the job search, banking on their elected officials to tack on more weeks of free money.

For many, the end is near or already here. With every new extension and Congress vote to fund the extensions, those who sat back to enjoy the ride avoided thinking about life without unemployment checks. Then one day, they woke up on the ”wallow and feel self-pity” side of bed and realized, “Holy crap, it’s been a year and a half!” After living off government generosity for 13-week intervals at a time, the unemployed counted backwards to that happy moment when they ripped open their first unemployment check and realized that well is drying up. Fast.

With a recession dating back to 2007, a 99-week maximum for unemployment benefits and no clue as to whether an extension will be granted come June 7, the job search is on. Unemployed job seekers face the harsh reality that it’s still really hard to find a job. While pouring through job ads and spamming their resume anywhere and everywhere, they’re kicking themselves for not having been so aggressive sooner. With only so much time left collecting unemployment, and zero responses to their applications, they spend sleepless nights fretting over what the future holds for them. Will they make rent? Will they learn what it’s like to struggle? Will they have to downgrade from Match.com to OkCupid.com and sift through the pool of fellow penniless dating prospects?

It’s this kind of stress that makes the unemployed feel like they deserve a break. They tell themselves, “Even if I had started applying earlier, I’d probably be in the same boat.” Rather than dwelling on the fact that they’ll never know, the unemployed are going to take advantage of those last couple of unemployment checks, suspend the job search and go on a mini-vacation. Only after can they REALLY concentrate on getting a good job. But maybe they’ll wait to hear if there’s been another extension first.

admin on March 31, 2010

Has being on the road these days ever made you think you were part of some larger conspiracy? One that made you feel slightly crazier than normal, and just that much more prone to road rage? Have you experienced being on the freeway in the middle of the day when it’s nowhere near rush hour but you find yourself unable to get anywhere because you’re boxed in by a bunch of cars going no more than 65 mph? Has every stop sign become a nightmare because you find yourself slamming on the breaks when the car in front of you makes a full and complete stop when you expected them to slowly roll through it? Do yellow lights no longer mean “go faster” now that the car in front of you interprets them as “slow down even though you know this light will stay yellow for the next ten seconds” and keeps you from crossing the intersection? You are not alone.

With camera flashes blinding folks as they run red lights, signs that remind lone drivers how much carpool violations cost, and cash-strapped counties setting up sting operations to check if people stop for pedestrians, there is no room for the unemployed to be racking up traffic tickets for any offenses, no matter how minor. As if it weren’t bad enough to be stripped of their jobs, the unemployed have found themselves unable to enjoy the simple things in life such as driving like they own the road, mouthing off to cops that give them tickets, and begrudgingly paying for fines that have increased tenfold due to lack of payment. Now they’re just left driving in paranoia, unable to remember what a dotted and solid line mean in conjunction, whether a yellow speed limit sign has to be followed, and if it’s acceptable to give that obnoxious hipster riding around on a unicycle a gentle “love tap” with the car.

All of the uncertainty culminates in the unemployed driving at or below the speed limit, constantly braking because they don’t know what to do, blinding people with their headlights during the day because they don’t want to risk forgetting to turn them on at night, and just generally inciting rage in those forced to be in the same car or same street as them. Unemployed drivers are usually easy to spot: they’re the ones doing something stupid on the road wearing an unemployment suit, back seat driving while doling out little pearls of criticism from the DMV Handbook, and drawing glares from everyone around them. If you happen to see an unemployed driver, do them and everyone else a favor, honk incessantly, shout excessively, and throw a packet of bus tickets at them. Do whatever it takes to get them off the road until this whole recession thing blows over and they can stop driving around like uptight grannies.

Most well-meaning people set out to start off the new year with a clean slate, vowing to quit this or start that – anything that will make them a better person. But it’s well known that resolutions were meant to be broken so this December, all of the unemployed people who still haven’t had enough of their year of unemployment but also don’t want people to catch on to their jobless glee, have basically told everyone that their new year’s resolution is to get a job in 2010.

The thing about telling someone about this particular resolution is that they can’t really call you out on it. Telling someone you’re going to quit smoking, for example, might garner a crowd full of guffaws but very seriously resolving to find a new job will probably result in a lot of “Man, I hope so” and “Best of luck, let me know if I can help.” No one would dare say to someone, “Yeah right, that’s one resolution that’s never going to happen.”

Of course, a good chunk of unemployed people are probably counting on 2010 as being the year of hope and recovery, and really will try to find a job in the next twelve months. Then the rest of us will continue to do what we do best to ensure our little paid vacation will stretch as long as possible using their tried and true methods of avoiding getting hired by either pretending to look for a job or sabatoging their only interview in months. Here´s to a new year and new laws that lead to endless unemployment benefits!

admin on October 27, 2009

Halloween 2008 was probably one of the final blowouts the now-unemployed had in the past year. Chances are it was the last time people had the opportunity to party hard before doomsday reports, job losses, and a massive downsizing in money and fun took over in 2009. With pitiful signs of recovery and people just being sick and tired of feeling like they shouldn’t have a good time, the unemployed are determined not to let their empty pockets get in the way of celebrating this Halloween.

After nearly a year of learning how to stretch a dollar and get creative with less money, the unemployed are prepared to hit the streets with their elaborate and hard-hitting costumes. Not willing to be left out, the unemployed are reaching into their closets to dig out old costumes, recycling bits and pieces from friends’ wardrobes, and hitting up Goodwill and thrift stores to supplement whatever they can’t find to complete a brilliant outfit. Sure, brilliant might be a stretch, but when it comes to being nonsensical, weird, and just plain creepy, the unemployed are ready and willing to be a Halloween hit.

Some tips to celebrate Halloween cheaply and successfully this year:

  • If you own or know any kids, exploit them. Use their toys, onesies, or last year’s costumes to make an ill-fitting Halloween costume. Floaties, a couple shovels, some buckets, and a deflated beach ball later, and you’re creepy, half-naked…Listen, nobody knows what the hell you are.
  • Carry around a cup with a few starter pennies and say you’re a panhandler. When people laugh, give them a hard stare and say, “Seriously, give me some change. I’m broke.”
  • Don’t be afraid to expose your underwear. In fact, people love showing extra skin on Halloween; it’s tradition. So, slap on strategically placed black and yellow stripes and call yourself a slutty bee. It’ll be an instant success!
  • If you have an alcoholic beverage and tag “drunken” in front of anything, you got yourself a costume. Show up wearing your unemployment suit, and say you’re a drunken unemployed person. People will think it’s a riot –  you can leave out the part about you starting off the night drinking alone.
  • To avoid feeling guilty about having no candy to hand out this year, put an empty bowl out with a sign that reads “Be responsible and help yourself” and let everyone think some jerk ruined it all for everyone.
  • Do some trick-or-treating yourself. Stop at every house on the way to your party to fill up on some candy. “In this economy,” people are bound to forgive overgrown adults for just wanting some candy. If they don’t comply, ask them for some adult candy and hold out your flask to be topped up. At that point, what have you got to lose?
admin on September 2, 2009

When rich kids want to look cool, they shop at thrift stores to look poor. When unemployed people want to look clothed, they shop at thrift stores so they don’t get arrested for wearing nothing but their tattered former company’s t-shirt and dirty socks. Thrift stores, “in this economy”, are the unemployed’s best friend when it comes to getting what they need for relatively cheap.

Rather than buy something at full retail price or surf Craigslist’s free stuff section for days on end trolling for a microwave or cute (read: ugly) dress, the unemployed will sometimes bite the bullet and head to their local thrift store as a compromise. Although futilely searching online in hopes that someone will cough it up for free is obviously the cheapest way to go about getting stuff, going thrifting is often a better way to kill a lot of time while saving a bit of money. Depending on who runs the thrift store, the experience can either be very corporate or very “what the hell?” where the unemployed have to spend half an hour sifting through a box of broken can openers to get to whatever they’re looking for – a winter coat in the middle of summer.

If the unemployed are not afraid of soiling their hands, they could very well spend hours sifting through a mess in their quest for the perfect outfit for less than ten dollars. Although it can be daunting for someone who never considered wearing used clothing prior to becoming down on their luck, the idea of saving money while also obtaining street cred for wearing vintage stuff is enough to drive the unemployed into becoming expert thrifters. The thrill of the chase becomes addictive and soon enough the unemployed are hooked on buying used goods ranging from smelly books to eclectic dish sets with high lead content from the 1970s to muumuu’s for those stay-in-bed lady days to board games with missing pieces. When a certain old smell starts to emanate from the unemployed’s belongings, it becomes pretty clear that from that point forward, no thrift store can be passed without the unemployed having to step inside “just to look” for things they no longer need but want to get anyway because shopping at thrift stores is just that cool.

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admin on August 31, 2009

When restaurants around the country stop offering free food promotions for the unemployed to stand in line for all day, there’s always comfort in knowing that the free heart attack in a bag can still be obtained fairly cheaply. For the most part, it seems most fast food chains are hellbent on luring back the customers who had temporarily sworn off junk food. When people started working, frequently eating at McDonald’s or Taco Bell fell off the charts a bit as more money allowed them to branch out in experiencing unfrozen hamburger patties and discovering that Mexican pizzas are not authentically Mexican. However, “in this economy” and with prolonged unemployment, these days eating at Wendy’s might be the only way the unemployed can afford to treat themselves for a meal at a nice sit down restaurant.

Although there are several items that, due to their inexplicable ingredients and questionable quality, should never cost more than a dollar, the fast food restaurants have been jumping on the Value Menu bandwagon and aggregating all their cheaper items into one convenient list to order from. It’s as if the big heads are hoping that the unemployed will spend more money because everything costs a little less. And it’s true. A taco for $0.69 and a bean burrito for $0.99? The unemployed will gladly order that, plus a side of cheesy potatoes for $0.79 and, because they’re saving money by ordering off the value menu, they’ll treat themselves with a $0.89 apple dessert. Less than five dollars later, the unemployed have figured out a way to ensure they won’t go hungry while simultaneously given themselves a task for the rest of their day – Googling how to get rid of their indigestion. But seriously, as long as the unemployed are willing to eat deliciously unhealthy fast food, and can cope with their unemployment weight gain by eating more, they owe a lot to the fast food nation for helping to stretch a dollar and waist line.

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admin on August 28, 2009

There are times, specifically towards the end of a billing cycle, when unemployed people around the world are just universally impossible to reach. No, they haven’t died, nor have they lost their phones, they’ve just stopped answering them because they’re almost out of minutes and would rather ignore a call and innocently text back going, “What’s up?” than deal with the consequence of picking up a phone call. At $0.40 or higher per minute that exceeds what’s alloted in a cell phone plan, the unemployed just can’t afford to jibber jabber with just anyone.

For many people who have just been laid off, cutting down on cell phone minutes is one of the easiest ways to reduce monthly bills. Back in the day when they had places to go and people to see it made sense to pay $100 per month to have nearly unlimited minutes to gab for hours with even their least favorite acquaintances. But the minute a job is lost, those minutes are cut down in half, or in drastic cases by two-thirds – whatever seems like the best plan to get by and not appear dead to the outside world.

When half of the minutes are spent on hold after calling the unemployment department not much is left for casual conversations. As such, most calls go straight to voicemail which is only checked on nights or weekends. It might be aggravating to never get through to someone, and then not hear back from them until five hours later when calls are free and whatever was relayed in the voicemail becomes irrelevant, but it’s nothing compared to those who actually get through. For example, if mom keeps calling and the unemployed pick up hoping for offers of money to help supplement those delightful unemployment checks, the unemployed who are skint on cell phone minutes are likely to act like an ungrateful child who has no interest in hearing about Mom’s day, or about the neighbors who are up to no good. The “Uh huh, uh huh, listen, I gotta go” is a typical sign off that is sure to grate against the nerves of well-meaning loved ones – but when they don’t get the hint and a conversation rolls over just a few seconds past the minute mark, it’s the unemployed who have to deal with watching one second round up to the next minute. And that hurts.

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There’s something about toilet paper that makes it generally acceptable to steal whenever the opportunity presents itself. For the most part, the people who are usually guilty of jacking a roll here and there are college students who have moved into their first apartment and don’t realize how toilet paper comes to find itself on the roll, and unemployed people who just don’t have a budget to buy it anymore. Because of its unsavory duty, toilet paper is one of the first purchases to get cut because the unemployed think to themselves, “I’m not paying for something that I’m just going to flush down the toilet!” As such, the unemployed become toilet paper scavengers, always on the prowl, ready to walk out of a bathroom with suspicious lumps underneath their shirts.

The quest for toilet paper usually happens in public places where the unemployed are less likely to feel guilty about their petty theft. Occasionally the unemployed will grab a roll or two when they visit their parents, or quietly take a roll from a friend’s house if they’re on their last few sheets at home. Although the shame of stealing toilet paper from a friend might make the unemployed keep their distance for a while, it’s completely worth it when they experience the softness of two-ply paper – or quilted if the friends and family are high rollers.

The majority of toilet paper stealing happens in public venues like restaurants, parks, libraries, and office buildings after a job interview. Most established places keep toilet paper in one of those dispensers that tease the unemployed with that second roll that’s ready to drop down once the current roll is finished. Those are dreaded spots because not only can a hand not wedge in there properly, but the toilet paper breaks off two sheets at a time, making for a very frustrating wiping experience. Some places that either operate on trust or employ lazy workers will leave a small supply of toilet paper in the stall or on the counter basically daring the unemployed to go ahead and steal them. While those are easy hits and satisfying since the ultimate goal of building a stash of stolen TP at home is attained, it’s not as good as it could be. Instead, the best spots for the unemployed to strike are the places where bathroom owners take such care to lock up the toilet paper using padlocks or chains. These are a favorite of the unemployed because they have nothing but time to sit themselves down on the toilet and dedicate themselves to slowly unraveling the locked up roll onto an empty toilet paper roll. Joke’s on the padlockers!

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