By Victoria Cavaliere
Oct 3 There are consolation prizes for some of
the 800,000 federal workers finding themselves without paychecks
during the government shutdown - discounts and freebies.
Across the United States, restaurants, bars, gyms and even a
skydiving company were offering price breaks to furloughed
workers, promoting the deals on social media such as Twitter.
Hyundai, the Korean carmaker, said it would defer car
payments due from federal employees who are home without pay
during the shutdown, which started on Tuesday after Congress
failed to reach a budget deal.
The Republican-led House of Representatives has so far
failed to pass a bill to fund U.S. government operations for the
fiscal year started Oct. 1 that is acceptable to the
Democratic-led Senate or President Barack Obama.
The Alexandria, Virginia restaurant Pork Barrel BBQ said it
was offering all furloughed employees who show a government ID a
free pulled-pork sandwich during each day of the shutdown.
The Pork Barrel offer excludes members of Congress, who are
continuing to be paid during the shutdown.
In Washington, D.C., DuPont Circle's well-known Kramerbooks
& Afterwords Cafe, a hybrid restaurant and bookstore, said it
was extending its happy-hour prices until closing for the
duration of the shutdown.
Members of Congress will be asked to pay double, it said on
Thousands of miles away in Hawaii, a skydiving company was
offering free jumps to furloughed federal workers.
"They have bills to pay, and they can't afford to do things
like this," said Sonny Vaoifi, manager of Skydive Hawaii. "We're
going to take as many as we can for as long as our company can
"It was just one of those things that we felt was the right
thing to do," he said.
Two furloughed U.S. Navy shipyard workers were the first to
take advantage of the offer to jump out of an airplane some
12,000 feet (3,658 meters) above the Hawaiian island of Oahu, he
"They were pretty stoked," Vaoifi said. "One of them said
they'd be here tomorrow and the next day."
For furloughed workers considering a career move, General
Assembly, an educational institution for aspiring entrepreneurs
and Web developers, was offering a free 30-day trial for classes
in technology, design and business.
"We've just moved to D.C., and we want to be helpful to the
community here as employees are taking a pause," said Jordan
Hepner, manager of its online education.
But the goodwill has already proved too costly for at least
Washington's restaurant chain Z-Burger, which had been
offering free burgers to furloughed workers, said on Thursday on
Twitter it was ending the program due to "overwhelming demand."