October 8, 2013


The government shutdown has obvious and less obvious victims. Case in point? Food trucks.

Business has plummeted for Washington’s food truck industry due to the government shutdown, forcing some trucks to lay off staff and stay off the streets.

The Washington Post reports sales at several trucks are down 50 percent or more since federal offices closed last week.
Food truck owners said they rely heavily on federal workers at L’Enfant Plaza, Federal Triangle, the Navy Yard and near the State Department to keep their businesses afloat.

Layth Mansour, the owner of Philadelphia Steak Bites and George’s Buffalo Wings, says sales were down 65 percent last week. He said that if the shutdown wasn’t resolved by Monday, he would have to pull his trucks off the street and lay off workers.

Still, however, the shutdown probably seems both nameless and faceless - very abstract - to the majority of Americans. After all, planes didn't fall out of the sky, we weren't invaded by North Korea and Lady Gaga hasn't wrestled the Oval Office from Barack Obama.

But it's not an abstract concept.

Hi, I'm Chris Cactus and I'm a furloughed government employee.

A month or so ago, I quit my job and moved to something bigger and better. The government. And, yes, despite the shutdown and furloughs I still believe it's exactly that - bigger and better. But it's tough. We've got a lot saved which is great since I have no idea when my next paycheck is showing up. My benefits haven't been processed so I have no health, dental or life insurance and my retirement contributions are up in the air. Like a lot of the people I work with, I took a pay cut and gave up a nice fat yearly bonus to work for you, the taxpayers, not because it's a cushy job but because it's an important one. I'm good at what I do. You're getting your money's worth out of me. If I'm allowed to go to work, that is.

I've been home for a week and while I've loved the time with my wife and family I'd like to go to work. Because what I do is important. And you want me working for you.

Posted by Chris at October 8, 2013 7:08 AM | TrackBack

I wondered...it seemed like you might have not been working for the past couple of days...seemed kinda weird since you just started a new job. That Sucks.

Here's hoping the little brats (all of them!) we call our Congress get their freakin' acts together and start doing the work THEY are getting paid for - this temper-tantrum would not have lasted this long in my house and there'd be a grounding so long afterwards that they'd NEVER get to date!

Hope you get to go back to work soon. Hang in there!

Posted by: cyndy at October 8, 2013 10:00 AM

Hang in there.

Posted by: Nancy A at October 8, 2013 10:01 AM

Do we get to vote now? Because I'd vote for you. :o)

Posted by: Emily at October 8, 2013 11:11 AM

Good for you, but I didn't see this one coming.

Most folks that I know that work for the government have great hours.

Enjoy the extra time with the family.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at October 8, 2013 11:13 AM

Oh yuck, I'm sorry.

If it makes you feel better, I know people at your former employer and you may have been furloughed there too.

Posted by: jodifur at October 8, 2013 11:40 AM

I'm one of the lucky ones. I was allowed to return to work on Monday, and I fall under POMA. But my paycheck this week will still have the 4 days furloughed from last week, and I'll be taking about a 60% cut on that paycheck. And it sucks. But I know I'm lucky and in a good situation right now. But at the same time - I can't do anything AT work. We have no funding, so there's nothing we can do while we're here. It's almost pointless.

I hope Congress gets their heads out of their asses soon and you get to return to work. I know how much it sucks sitting at home and being unable to do anything.

Posted by: Kim at October 9, 2013 9:40 AM

You are right. I do want you working for me.

Waiting for the gov't to get off their asses so you can get off yours.

Posted by: Mindy Lee at October 9, 2013 1:25 PM

Sorry to hear that. I,too, am one of the nameless and faceless. I work in the non-profit sector and my position is funded by a state contract but with federal dollars, thus I have been on furlough since Monday. So while, government employees are known to be furloughed it is also reaching to government contract employees who are overworked and underpaid already, but doing what they do because they believe in the missions of their non profits. Also, as you discussed there are many other businesses that are being negatively affected, because I can't spend money like I used to when I knew my next paycheck was on the way.

It is frustrating for sure on so many levels. Despite wanting this to be quickly resolved, I really appreciated Obama's stance in his address the other day. He is standing his ground on this for his administration, as well as for his successors regardless of their party affiliation. I think that is a very important point because this strategy of the House Republicans is a very dangerous one for our democracy.

As my dad used to say to me when I was going through a tough spot-Chin up-you will be through this one day and come out on the other side. Let's hope it's a brighter one.

Posted by: amyd at October 10, 2013 9:46 AM
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