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Cutting Back on Expenses
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It seems that most places are feeling the pinch: employees laid off, paychecks eliminated or reduced, services and outreach truncated.

And yet sometimes I run across stunning examples of fiscal ineptitude. Perhaps due to habits of consumer excess, wastefulness and ostentatious expense seen as one's birthright.

Or just lack of mindfulness. In a land of abundance, in a place where frontiers seemed to recede endlessly, giving way to profligate use, careful use of resources seemed Old World, seemed equivalent to poverty.

And being the recipient of easy food, clothing, shelter was a sign of heaven's approval.

But the times they are a-changing, and perhaps our culture's attitude towards possessions and sustenance as well. Though the wealthy seem to approach their abundance as their right and as a sign of God's approval, the ordinary middle class, the working people, the poor, are all developing a new appreciation for what they have.

A sign of the times was when the Warehouse Catalog was distributed to all the offices of our company. Printed on heavy, glossy stock, distributed to hundreds of offices, it must have cost the company big bucks, at a time when we are laying people off.

And no need to re-print it for the new year--it hasn't had a revision since May of 2007. So, ask my fellow employees, was it necessary to spend the money on a re-issuance of the same old catalog? Last year's wasn't good enough? Wasn't pretty enough? Otherwise, couldn't justify budget outlay?

This is the first time, in all the years I've worked for this company, have I seen employees paying any attention to wasteful use of resources, and bosses asking subordinates for suggestions on how to save money--and meaning it.

Batty knows that in previous years we were asked pro forma, knowing that none of the suggestions would ever make it past the first review.

Times have changed, and a lot of those old proposals for cuts were dusted off and put into effect.

Maybe it will become the cultural norm to reduce, reuse, recycle.

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