Nothing Is Exempt From This Economic Downturn

triciaeDecember 8, 2008

Even recycling has hit the skids...


Here is a link that might be useful: Price of recycles plummets

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Tricia, I used to work for a non-profit agency that provided employment to people with mental disabilities. They run a recycling center, a shredding service and a thrift shop. I loved my work and I grew to love the people that we served.

People stole things from the recycling bins (such as books and magazines). Some stole aluminum cans that were donated and then sold them back to us. Others dumped horrible stained and damaged things off on us "for our thrift shop" that we ended up having to pay to haul to the landfill. I'm not kidding you -- I have pictures of old stained mattresses, broken couches, stained and tattered carpet someone tore out of their house, etc., etc. Or they'd leave a TV or something electronic out in the elements where it would be rained on. If anything was left at our gates after hours that was any good, somebody else came along and stole it before we opened up. I have pictures of that, too, from the security camera. And then there were the dumpster divers, who scattered things out of the roll-off all over the parking lot, which blew onto our neighbors and caused us to get fined. Not to mention that I actually have watched dumpster divers graduate from just taking stuff we didn't want to taking things we did. We finally had to build a fence and lock it after hours, which meant people couldn't come drop off recyclables any time they chose any more. The local pilot club and the Masonic Lodge helped us with fund raisers to buy the fence material and the men's group at a church where one of our board members belonged installed it. But we could've so much used that same money and labor for something else, you know?

The workshop began consistently running in the red because of the thoughtlessness and selfishness of others and eventually the only way we could continue to offer services was to be taken over by the agency that provides residential support to these same people. I retired from there in March, after seeing several fine staff members get laid off. I had been really wanting to retire, and I thought if I did maybe it would help preserve a job for someone else who needed it more than I did.

So if you frequent a recycling center, if you want to preserve their ability to make money, please heed their list of what they can and can't process. Don't leave a computer monitor in with the glass bottles simply because you need to get rid of it. Don't leave half a turkey carcass in a cardboard box in the cardboard bin.

We always wondered what people were thinking. Or if they were, at all.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 10:03AM
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We live in small town and not much recycling is available. Our grocery store tried it with glass, but people left trash as well in the bin. Some left lids on, but I am sure that was out of not knowing how to sort. No publicity or instructions were given.

Our local mission has a sign not to leave items outside, but I seem dumpster divers and items left outside all the time.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 10:44AM
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Hi Truiciae,

Yeah - the prices offered for various types of recycled materials has plummeted.

But - I broke a spring on my car the other day ... it's 20 years old and, though the mechanic is seeking a used one, I think there's a slim possibility of finding one.

Since it's Japanese, I suspect that the price of a new one will be high ... high enough to make me "re-coil"?

But I can scarcely complain ... I've had it for nearly two years and have needed almost no repairs.

Also ... I think that my pensions will continue unabated.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 3:42AM
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I know nothing is except from the economic downturn, however there are some great money saving tips that seems like pennies at the time, but do accumulate into hundreds of dollars a year.

One example: I bought one of those cheesy change counting machines that show you the value of the coins you drop in the jar. My boyfriend had a routine, everyday he would come home from work and throw his money in a jar. And then grab some in the morning to have change on hand (usually cigarettes, a BAD expensive habit).

Just to show him how much he could SAVE by putting the change in the jar and not taking it out to buy cigs or coffee every morning, he made it to $100 in 4 months. I told him for every $100 he made, I'd roll the coins myself and we'd deposit it in his savings account. To date, and it may not seem like alot, but he has $400 - just by putting his money in this counting jar and not taking it out.

Not a bad return. Anyways, I know we still all have mortgages and credit cards to pay that we HAVE to pay every month. That's the depressing part. At least with food and cleaners and even gas and electric, our cell phones - we can control that.

I bought this house only 6 months ago, where the hidden problems would make your skin crawl. It's an older house, but had very good staging, and a very bad home inspector. I've saved every penny my whole life to buy a house (I've always lived in apartments and I'm 37), and I made sure to budget in for hard times and some home expenses. Little did I know I'd immediately have to shell out close to $15K to repair burst pipes in the bathroom that flooded the floor and ceiling below, fix the other two cracked pipes in the kitchen and downstairs bathroom, and the worst was discovering that due to a faulty chimney "liner" hookup, carbon monoxide was pouring into my kitchen. The stainless steel liners properly installed with material and labor cost me $5000, and the rebuilding of the rotting timbers under the bathroom floor that had been rotting for 70 years, putting in all new piping, cost to repair entire hallway ceiling underneath and rewire got up to $8000. The other two thousand was gutting the kitchen floor after we removed the fridge to find that the floor was all the was rotting down to the joists.

My lawyer said I had a great case to sue the previous owner for lying on the actual disclosure agreement (even about the electrical, which he said was all up to code...not even close, we couldn't even get insulation because this place is full of the old knob-n-tube wiring). The only reason my lawyer (and others) didn't take it on was because I didn't have the money to pay them. And they wouldn't work on per diem. Oh well.

So, that wiped me out financially, and my boyfriend does not have any savings so he couldn't help me out that way.
I just got laid off from my job, and a few weeks ago, my boyfriend did too. And the bills don't stop. So, we look everyday for a job - anything. And have asked our family for some limited help. But, they are having a rough go of it too.

I don't want to lose my house, but I'm facing the fact that it may have to go on the market in the spring. We are using this time now (between looking for jobs), to fix, paint, everything we can that doesn't cost money.

We also have become pros at cooking over our super tiny woodstove so we don't have to use the real one and use up the gas. We really do everything imaginable to save money. We wash our clothes and hang them on lines by the fire to dry, we re-use and re-purpose everything.

I know it's just not me going through this, but I wanted to share my story, and let who ever is reading this who is going through a tough time to hang in there.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 8:56AM
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Clover, bless your heart.

We experienced similar things after we moved into our house. Termites that had made lace out of the framing on a corner of the house, no insulation, cold drafts coming in everywhere because they sealed nothing off, DH sat down in a chair on the front porch and one leg of the chair went right through the porch because of rotten wood. When you go to look over a house you just can't see everything. Apparently it is so for inspectors, as well. But, with time we have repaired things and made the house comfortable for us.

We considered buying the house next door to use as a rental, but several red flags went up during the negotiations process and so we didn't. The people who moved in, on a 'lease to own' agreement, have already had to replace the sewer lines. Wait till they find out about their roof and what's under the house..... At least with a lease to own they can walk off from it at some point.

I hope you and your boyfriend are able to find work soon so you won't lose your house after all the money you've put into it. My daughter has lost her job. She was able to find another one pretty quickly, but it's less pay and no benefits, plus a little longer drive. But it's better than nothing. She had built herself up on her job and received several raises to the point where it was cheaper for the corporation to watch for reasons to fire her. They then replaced her with someone for less money. Since she was fired, she didn't qualify for Unemployment. These big corporations are smart and they don't give a rat's you-know-what about their employees. She needs surgery and now they're dragging their feet on the COBRA paper work so she wasn't able to get anything done for the whole month of December. By law they have 45 days to get her COBRA stuff to her.

Good luck to you. --Ilene

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 12:01PM
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Ilene, I always thought that if you quit a job, you wouldn't get unemployment insurance but if you were fired, you would automatically be qualified for it. Both DH and I had received unemployment after being fired from our jobs. Did your daughter call the state unemployment office?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 12:49PM
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I think there is a difference between "fired" and being "laid off" from a job. For example, if you're let go for poor performance (i.e. fired) then you wouldn't be able to get benefits. If you're let go (as in laid off due to reduction in budget etc) then you can get benefits. At least that has been the case for me. I have been laid off three times (budget cuts) and each time I have been able to get unemployment benefits. However, if I had been sucky at my job and got into trouble and fired, then I wouldn't be able to get the benefits. How much you get depends on how much you earned and how long you worked at your place of employment -- plus I expect it varies from state to state.

Good luck on that though. It's worth fighting for as it might not be much but it makes a difference.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 1:08PM
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Although every unemployment hearing may come out with different results than expected, my understanding is that you can get unemployment after getting fired for poor performance. If you get fired for willful misconduct then you would not get it.

Willful misconduct would be things like theft, drunk or drugged while working, fighting, or breaking a rule that is specific in the employee handbook like surfing inappropriate sites from a work computer or refusing to follow a dress code.

If you get fired for "poor performance" may still be eligible for UC. This would mean things like not meeting your monthly projected sales quota, too many mistakes with work performed even something simple like typos in paperwork turned in, too many sick days - even if you are really sick, not smiling at customers, anything.

You also may get UC if you quit a job for *good cause*. This is why they have UC hearings.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 1:30PM
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That's rough.

Hope everything works out.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 2:18PM
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I usually lurk here, but wanted to reiterate what other posters have said -- even if you are fired you may be eligible for unemployment. The unemployment office will review your case and you may have to have a hearing, but most times (as Dilly Dally said) you can still get unemployment benefits. One of my good friends faced the same situation (she was thrown to the wolves by the law firm she worked for to appease a big-wig client -- a long, ugly story) and she is now receiving benefits. Please look into it, you've paid into the system, you deserve to have this help when you need it!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 4:53PM
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Actually, I can think of a couple of jobs that seem to be holding their own in this economy. My husband works for the local utility company. I've never seen him have so much overtime in all the 40 years he's worked for them. He's a cutman--a bill collector who has the ability to cut service to customers who do not pay their bills. He's been working an extra hour or 2 every day, and most Saturdays. The meter readers are working even longer hours right now--12 hour days AND even working Sat. and Sunday. I can understand why the collection dept. has so much work, am not quite sure why the meter readers are cleaning up like that.

I've been advising anyone who asks about looking for work in this climate, to look into bill collection. It may no be one's first choice of a job, but better to be on the other side of that door, than be the one the collector is asking for money. In this kind of economic time, a job is a job. And who knows--some may try another line of work and discover they have a real flair for it. I never wanted my husband to get into collecting (projecting my own feelings on him--I'd NEVER be able to do that sort of work, I don't think), but he's been doing that work for about 15 years now, loves his job and is so good at it that his name is known statewide as being one of the best collectors they have in the (very large) company.

For those out of work--take a look around. There are still jobs that are flourishing. There will be new opporunities that arise from a bad economy. The smart, creative, bold people who are open to new ideas will probably come out of this depression wealthy--those who don't have the courage to strike out in a new direction, will end up losing all.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 3:47PM
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I worked at the call center for WMT/Sam's Club disability for awhile. It was the most gut-wrenching job I ever had. I worked the job till I could find something else and that wasn't easy since it was so hard to get away to interview.

I would find it hard to bill collect also -- calling and threatening people who've lost their jobs and have nowhere to turn. And on the other hand being mad at the folks who COULD pay and just WON'T. Of course every one of them will tell you a big long sad story and you don't have a way to tell if it's the truth or they're just workin' you. If I needed a job and that's all I could find I'd take whatever I could get to take care of my family. But the minute I could find something else I'd be gone. I've talked to some of these bill collectors -- they call me when my grown kids don't answer their calls. What's up with THAT? I don't want to know my kids' financial dealings, I didn't have anything to do with it whatsoever. I won't give them any information or pass their messages on to my kids and I tell them so, because I don't want them thinking of me as the go-to person. I tell them to take my number off their records. I tell my kids, pay your darned bills and don't give these people my name or my number! These bill collectors are rude and they are persistent. I pay my bills, including the one for my phone and I really resent them using my phone to harass me about some debt I don't even have any responsibility for. That's my rant for the day.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 11:54AM
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My daughter counsels people who have been laid off.

Big increase in their business, recently.

She lately received a "promotion" ... more responsibilities, more hours to be in office, some oversight of other employees ...

... but no increase in pay.

Don't you just love that kind of apples?

Good wishes for a much better New Year, Clover.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 5:08AM
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Unemployment laws vary so research it before applying. Here's why: In Minnesota, if you apply for unemployment and are denied, you automatically become ineligible for unemployment for a period of I think it's 2 years, even if you would have qualified in that case. So for example, I quit job A and apply for unemployment. They turn me down. I go to work for job B and after a year I'm laid off. I am ineligible because of the prior application. I was fortunate to have researched this after a situation about 15 years ago. And the justice that came was that the scoundrels who scammed me the most, got stuck paying the unemployment. I was very happy.

So the point is, do your homework. Get the books, make phone calls, research the internet and be prepared.

Yes, here you can quit for GOOD cause, but they're limited. And in order to terminate, there's certain procedures employers need to follow to be unemployment-proof, but many will not. Another thing is if you're involuntarily terminated in this state they must provide you your final check within 24 hours of termination, or they get penalized one day of pay for each day it's late. That too will vary from area to area of course.

Here's hoping 2009 is a far better year for us all!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 3:02PM
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In Oklahoma, if you are fired for any reason, you generally are denied unemployment. However, if you find another job and then get laid off in pretty short order, I think most of your credit comes from the place that fired you. If you quit, then go to work somewhere else, I think the same thing applies, from what I've heard.

The last place I worked, the director told me they always fought unemployment and had never had to pay unemployment to people they had fired.

In my daughter's case, she filed for unemployment but found another job quickly so didn't have to follow through. I'm sure, though, that the company that fired her would've fought it. They are taking their full 45 days to get her Cobra package to her and she can't get medical care until they do. It's a well-known company that provides services to satellite dish viewers, so maybe the reason they can be competitive is because they don't treat their employees very well.

For sure you need to do your homework. In our state, once you're on Unemployment, if you don't find a job before the time runs out, you can file for an extension. I don't know what the rules are for that.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 9:43AM
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