January 16, 2021

Downsize or Supersize?

Posted on 20. Jan, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Economy, Politics

Inspiration comes at the strangest times. I was at the drive-thru at McDonalds on Central at Tramway the other day and remembered those glory days of ‘Supersizing,’ when we thought nothing of going the whole nine yards with a lunch order. While scrutinizing the menu, my gaze stopped on the luscious Bacon Double Cheeseburger sitting there all pumped up looking like a trophy waiting for my eager hands to adopt it and take it home with me.

I checked my coin tray and found only $2.50 in loose change. I promised myself that whatever I had in the tray would be my lunch limit for the day, so back to the menu I went searching for a bargain. Suddenly I found it — a regular cheeseburger for a buck! I happily gave my order…two cheeseburgers. “Would you like a blueberry upside down cake smothered in vanilla sauce with a cherry on that today?” came the reply (okay, that’s not the dessert she mentioned, but I can’t remember the real offering). “No, thanks,” said I. “Anything to drink or some fries?” she responded. “Nope, just the cheeseburgers,” I said, meekly.

Normally I appreciate the suggestive selling that restaurants and stores teach their employees, but today I was embarrassed that my order only totaled $2.15. When I drove to the window to collect it, I was met with a big smile and a “Thanks, and have a nice day.” You would have thought I had ordered one of everything and given her a $100 tip! This friendly minimum wage employee who didn’t know me from Adam made me feel like king of the world with her graciousness.

Supersizing has given way to downsizing, and even the federal government has figured out that the Executive Branch should economize a little. This week, the President announced he wanted to merge all the departments and agencies that help America’s businesses. This is a subject I know well having worked for the U.S. Dept. of Commerce for 20 years. Based on that knowledge and the enormity and expense of that task, I have a message for the President…”Try something else. Start small and work your way up, Mr. Obama.”

I have a plan. I think the President should focus on where the buck starts… with himself. Here’s what he should do:

Before he travels anywhere, he should ask himself, “Is this trip really necessary?” If it’s not, don’t go. If he must go, he should take a commercial flight instead of socking the taxpayers with a ginormous bill for Air force One. It would do him good to endure the pat-down by TSA like regular Americans. If it’s a short trip, he should take his own bus. If he needs to go by car, he should drive himself in his family’s Ford Escape. That would be an inexpensive and humbling experience.

No more lavish partying with six-course meals in the White House. Instead, he should cater the meals by the Congressional Cafeteria, just down the street. If that’s still too expensive, he might host ‘brown bag’ lunches for his guests. After all, they come to see him not his hors d’ oeuvres, don’t they?

Finally, what’s with all these Mont Blanc-like pens used at bill signings? Using 15 pens to sign a piece of legislation is totally unnecessary. I understand that he gives them away to the bill sponsors and friends, but c’mon. How about a few 99¢ Bics instead? It would be good for the Commander in Chief to do a few webcam conferences, too. It would save on Secret Service costs and free him up for that 74th round of golf or play mini-golf on the White House lawn with Sasha and Malia. It’s the least he could do. That way I wouldn’t feel so bad the next time my coin tray is a bit light.

- Editor

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