It’s always important to consider the source when getting
financial advice. With that in mind, our thanks go out to Linda
Markarian, of Gone With the Wind Travel in Santa Rosa, Calif., who
sent us a recent column by nationally syndicated financial writer
Michelle Singletary (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Aug. 24).
In her column, Singletary writes about a handbook distributed to
financially struggling Northwest Airline employees from its
management. In a section titled “Coping With Job Loss” was a list
of “101 Ways to Save Money.” Highlights of the list included:
" Buy spare parts for your car at the junkyard.
" Get hand-me-down clothes and toys for your kids from family
" Take a shorter shower.
" Ask your doctor for samples of prescriptions.
And, the piece de resistance&
" Don’t be shy about pulling something you like out of the
Not surprisingly, the idea of a belly-up mega-corporation under
bankruptcy protection telling its employees to give dumpster diving
a try seemed just a bit humiliating to Northwest’s employees. In
defense of the airline, they claimed that the section in question
was not written by company representatives, but by a third party,
and Northwest officials quickly apologized.
According to Singletary’s article, Crystal Knotek, senior vice
president for ground operations, said in a statement: “We sincerely
apologize to our employees for any offense this list caused them.
Notwithstanding the inappropriateness of some of the money-saving
tips, we fully realize that job loss is a very difficult situation
for our employees and our primary goal remains to work closely with
our employees to provide as much support and assistance as
Of course, travel agents in particular might find Northwest’s
sentiments hollow considering that even as it was suggesting
employees take shorter showers to save money, the airline was
raising fees charged to travel agencies.
As Markarian summed up in her letter: “I wonder if any of
[Northwest’s] CEOs are doing this. If you hated the airlines
before, this takes the cake!” K.S.