Some creativity amid the furloughs
By Lee Cataluna
If you hear the thing about "out of crisis comes opportunity" one more time, you're going to scream, right? Enough with the crisis, let's just have some inopportune prosperity for a while, sheesh. But while we're waiting for that to happen, some people have gotten creative about making the best of "furlough Fridays."
Places like the Waikiki Aquarium and the Contemporary Museum offer special furlough Friday admission deals and Bishop Museum has a furlough Friday learning program. All sorts of stores are offering specials for kids out of school or furloughed workers. Even Waiola Shave Ice has a special on furlough Fridays of a small shave ice for 25 cents for kids 11 and younger.
We're not alone. In California, the Sacramento Bee reported on a business giving deeply discounted oil changes to state workers on their furlough Fridays, and several golf courses were extending senior rates to furloughed state workers.
Of course, when you get a day off work, golf plans are often superceded by all the things that need to be finished and fixed at home. Computers, apparently, are high on the list.
"I was meeting with some of the state workers we work with and got such a holy smokes view of what's going on that we came up with this," said Yasuo Ogawa, president of Cowabunga! Computers. The company is offering furloughed state employees remote computer tech support for a flat rate of $50. Fixes include cleaning up a computer, repairing a slow computer, operating systems errors and such.
"A quick connection to the Cowabunga home page and a simple download of an application will give us access to your computer and from there, you can just sit back and relax," Ogawa said. (The Web site is www.smartcows.com.)
In Hilo, Nic Los Baņos, soon-to-be-furloughed data processing clerk for the county Office of Aging, created a line of witty and somehow empowering furlough Friday T-shirts that take a bit of the sting out of the economic mess. The shirts proclaim things like, "If can, can. If no can, furlough" and "It's Aloha Thursday, Furlough till Monday da doo bee doo ... "
"Why not make something fun and ... catchy out of something that is bringing our community down?" Los Baņos asked.
He has an art background, though he doesn't screen the prints himself. He sells the shirts at www.cafepress.com/redphoenix.
Cafepress is a company where designers can upload their art and have each shirt made to order. That way, Los Baņos doesn't have to worry about inventory, though he's considering doing the screening himself ... he's got some furlough days coming up.