Thursday, March 5, 2009

And now for something completely different

DATE: MARCH 5, 2009

As a participant in the Department of Treasury TARP Capital Purchase Program, your institution is also entitled to participate in additional support programs. As you know, Senior Officers of CPP institutions are now subject to limitations on executive compensation. This requirement has caused a number of questions among Senior Officers and, not surprisingly, from their spouses and dependants. As a result,the Department of Treasury has developed information for executives who now find themselves needing additional information about how to cope with their reduced circumstances. We have prepared the following letter, or Statement Of Procedure for Occupational Reduction, known as SO POOR, for your benefit.

As a beneficiary of our SO POOR program, we would like to introduce you to certain information of which you may not be aware. This information has been gathered from a number of sources, including customers whose borrowing was based on optimistic business plans, underemployed workers purchasing additional “primary” residences to flip in hot real estate markets, builders and contractors with significant spec. home inventories and workers who were previously providing luxury goods and conveniences to bank executives.

The SO POOR information covers some basic needs necessary for your new life as an employee forced to live on compensation at or even, for some unfortunate executives, below $500,000 per year or less than $42,000 per month. Subjects will include housing, clothing and food.

Housing. Some SO POOR executives find that they need to consider their living situations. We have early reports that some of these executives have been forced to part with their 5th and even 4th homes. While real estate developer projections indicated that home prices would continue to rise indefinitely and eventually reach infinite pricing, it is now apparent that these projections were somewhat overstated. The difficulty for SO POOR executives is that while realtors are currently willing to debase themselves even further than previously recognized in order to obtain sales listings on these additional excessive homes, current indications are that there are no buyers for these homes. As a result, increasing discounts from previous value estimates are required. For additional information on this topic, please see your REO portfolio.

Clothing. Many SO POOR executives have had difficulty explaining to their tailors and spouses that clothing continues to maintain viability beyond their currently expected life cycle of three months. While spouses and dependents will indeed need to adjust their expectations and standards, we have scientific evidence that clothing can be worn multiple times and indeed for multiple years, not months or weeks as previously thought. One handy tool in having this conversation with your spouse is to have them to engage in conversations with “normal” people with whom they have contact, for instance one of the house staff, one of the yard staff, one of the country club staff, one of the other country club staff or even front line employees at the BMW/Audi/Mercedes dealership. Your spouse can casually inquire as to how long these people have had the clothes they are wearing. The answers will undoubtedly provide valuable information about clothing, the concept of washing one’s own clothes, and can even lead to basic social interaction with people previously unseen in the social milieu.

Food. While housing and clothing examples are not provided with your SO POOR package, certain food items are included. In part, this is done because many SO POOR executives and spouses are not aware that food can be purchased in packages for further preparation. Most SO POOR executives are aware of the existence of grocery stores, having financed the establishment of power centers and super stores, but were not aware of the implications of these establishments. Having only experienced food service in restaurants, take away meals and fundraiser dinners, you may not be aware many people purchase packaged and fresh food in these “grocery” stores, which is then transported to their homes and “cooked.” Occasionally SO POOR executives are aware of Dean & Deluca and therefore consider themselves aware of the variety of foodstuffs available, however, there is a greater variety than exhibited in this retailer.

The items included in your package include the following:

Spam – Having had box seats for a Broadway production of Spamalot, some SO POOR executives have heard this word, Spam. Beyond a comedic device for vaguely effeminate stage players, it is also an actual food item. This item is included first on your list because it contains a “User Guide” on the end of the can and it is virtually impossible to mis-prepare this food, as it can be eaten directly from the can or heated in virtually any fashion. Upon opening, the can may not appear to contain anything that humans consider edible, but please be assured that it will not cause any immediate harm. It is best to ignore the actual ingredients and endeavor to eat this food stuff as if it was a truffle-laden aspic similar to those served at the country club.

Top Ramen – The Top Ramen is included as it is the least expensive food stuff available in the grocery store. It does involve “preparation”, so please carefully consider the instructions, which are included on the back of the package. Just after the difficulty of preparing Spam, this product involves primarily boiling water. Please note, the package must be opened first. It is not intended to boil inside the package, although admittedly it does not change the flavor very much. This food is also included because any dependents planning to attend college will undoubtedly find themselves with classmates (typically those on scholarships) who “live on Ramen”. Yes, unfortunately, they do mean this literally. Most people recover from the side effects of this over a period of years.

Hamburger Helper/Sloppy Joes – This food item can be considered in the advanced food preparation category for those not accustomed to cooking, so please familiarize yourself with Spam and Top Ramen procedures first. The original concept for Hamburger Helper was for families on a budget to yield more food from a protein source by mixing it with lower cost or lower quality items. Think of this meal as a lower tranche of a mortgage-backed security. There is some good stuff there, but it is primarily surrounded by junk.

Jug Wine – Obviously SO POOR executives are quite familiar with wine, however, most are not aware that wine can be purchased without the helpful aid of a sommelier. Indeed, many people purchase wine directly from retail outlets and it can even be purchased “on sale”. You will note that the wine in your package has a few characteristics with which you may not be aware. First, while you will need to open this wine by yourself (remember, no sommelier will be involved), do not attempt to open this with a corkscrew. It has a “screw” top, which means you twist the top off. Second, we left a price tag on this wine so that you can familiarize yourself with the concept. The tag represents the actual price of this wine, not a per glass price and not the sales tax amount of your customary bottle of wine. Do not be alarmed, as this wine is still considered to be safe for human consumption. Lastly, however, it is not appropriate, no matter what the economic circumstances, to keep a jug of wine in your desk drawer.

Conclusion. We hope you find this Statement Of Procedure for Occupational Reduction helpful. As a SO POOR executive, you will experience many changes in your lifestyle and spending habits, but take heart, many people have successfully sustained themselves on salaries even lower than your reduced wages. Also, while most SO POOR bank executives had not previously noted that the economy has cycles, they are taking solace in this concept now. This means that your wages and salary are likely to soar once again, assuming that is, that your position survives this current cycle. For more information on this concept, please see the follow up to SO POOR, our Statement Of Supplanted And Displaced executives, or SO SAD.

Department of Treasury
Bureau of Helpful and Sarcastic Advice

1 comment:

  1. I think I just peed my pants that I've had for 2 years.