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Everything You Wanted to Know About Finances but Were Afraid to Ask Ronald McDonald

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This week's poll from the Lester & Charlie Institute of Forward Thinking!

We're not sure, but we think we've found a slight inconsistency in all the hubbub over how stores like Kmart, Target, and Walmart are throwing open their doors this year on Thanksgiving -- one of them as early as 6 a.m. Thursday (ouch). Outrage has been lighting up the Twittersphere with comments like "Is there no end to greed?" and "u obviously don't make family a priority." Sign the petition! Boycott! Tell the big-box stores that taking employees away from dinners with their families on Thanksgiving is not OK!

The inconsistency we found comes from another story this week, about a Walmart in Ohio that is asking its workers to donate holiday food to other Walmart workers: people who might not get a decent Thanksgiving meal this year -- because they don't earn enough money working at Walmart.

Seriously. So now everyone (even Ashton Kutcher!) is telling stores like Walmart that their employees should be home on Thanksgiving enjoying fabulous family feasts...that they can't afford. Talk about lose-lose.

We were trying to come to terms with Big Box Grinches when the news hit that the fast-food chain McDonald's -- no stranger to criticism of how badly it pays its workers -- has an employee hotline (called McResources, natch) that exists to help McDonald's employees figure out how to make ends meet when their job doesn't pay enough.

We were already pretty sure that McResources wasn't going to suggest that employees, say, demand a raise or organize a walkout when a few of the company's actual money-saving ideas were revealed:

  • Chewing gum can reduce cortisol levels by 16%!
  • Singing along to your favorite songs can lower your blood pressure!
  • Breaking food into pieces often results in eating less and still feeling full!
  • Stress hormone levels rise by 15% after ten minutes of complaining!

Wow. We've lived in this era of unchecked corporate greed for a while now. So it's rare that a company's actions take our breath away. But there you have it. The McDonald's hotline stopped just short of pointing out how much cheaper it is to kill yourself. This Thanksgiving, no matter where you are, how little or how much you have, be thankful at least for that.

How far will this all go? How long can companies in America get away with this -- before employees take action? We've studied a little history and there's every reason to believe that you can push people only so far. Eventually, McDonald's workers will get together and present their demands. They're going to want more.

Not more money. More money-saving ideas!! After all, who in America can resist helpful hints designed to keep your household under budget? So we're wondering: What's the next penny-pinching tip a cash-strapped employee might get from McDonald's?

What do YOU think?

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