It's a crummy day for some 800,000 workers who have been sent home from their jobs without pay. With no agreement from Congress on the horizon, what should the furloughed do with their day(s)?
If you live in Washington D.C., where the vast majority of the out-of-work federal employees reside, why not take advantage of this sudden vacation? Today, and for as long as this shutdown goes on, the city's finest proprietors and purveyors are throwing all sorts of deals at the feet of the furloughed.
Here, a list of the many ways you can take advantage of the government shutdown. Go on, it's the patriotic thing to do.
1. Meet 'n greet
If you're just one day in and already sick of yourself or missing that office chatter, why not take this opportunity to meet some like-minded folks? A MeetUp.com organizer is calling for fellow out-of-work employees interested in trying new hobbies and exploring the city during Furlough Fun Days. If you're looking for something a little more frisky, look no further than Craigslist for shutdown-related personals. Take the below example, which is the least X-rated one I could find.
2. Happy hour every hour!
Oh, the drinking options. The Washington Post has a fantastically thorough and alphabetized list of all the bars in DC that are offering deals to both government workers and gainfully employed alike. Union Pub in Capitol Hill, for example, is generously offering $3 "shut it down" whiskey shots and $6 pizzas during the afternoons for as long as the shutdown lasts. But it's probably Kangaroo Boxing Club that puts it best: "If the government is screwing you, you might as well come get some $3 screwdrivers!"
3. Food freebies
If munchies are more your thing, D.C. eateries are are also rising to the challenge. The Washington City Paper has the ultimate guide to sating your hunger during the government shutdown. At the Daily Dish in Silver Springs, for example, any customer can get a free cup of regular coffee throughout the shutdown. But members of Congress have to pay double (womp womp). Over at the cupcake hub Sprinkles in Georgetown, anyone with a valid federal ID gets a free cupcake (today only, though, so you better run!).
4. Sweat it out
Need to physically vent your frustrations? Or, perhaps, you'd like to work off all the eating and boozing you've been doing all day? Potomic Pilates in Maryland is offering two free drop-in classes to all government employees. According to The Hill, the company sent out a promotional email with this encouragement, "Don't let the shutdown bring you down!"
5. Knit the day away
If you're more of the sit-down type, why not take up knitting? Fibre Space in Old Town is offering free knitting lessons for federal workers in the afternoons on any day the government is closed. While the cost of the class — normally $75 — is waived, you will have to shell out between $5-$20 for needles and yarn, if you don't already have them.
6. Furlough day camp
If you're really at a loss as to what to do with your free-form days, consider Sixth & I synagogue as your tour guide. Head over to the self-proclaimed "Shutdown Central" for Political Ping Pong, and board games. They will also be constantly streaming episodes of The West Wing so you might get a glimpse of what a functional — if fictional — government looks like.
7. Luxuriate in that empty rush hour commute
What, like the furloughed are the only ones to get a good deal? With much of Washington D.C. stuck at home, your morning commute just got a whole lot easier. During the government shutdown, the usually jam-packed Metro now comes complete with available seats for you and your gigantic bag. Go ahead and put a foot up.
8. Dress for furlough success
Hey guess what! You don't have to wear a suit today! So, what does one opt for when business casual is no longer necessary? How about a witty t-shirt that captures this illustrious moment in our nation's history? Bonus: You don't need to be a D.C. resident to take advantage of this special opportunity. CafePress.com has several solid options including one with cats dancing on top of the White House that's — well, what do you know — discounted.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Here comes the Pentagon's newest space plane
- Let us now praise Billy Joel
- Extreme haunted houses: Inside Halloween's most terrifying new trend
- 10 things you need to know today: October 25, 2014
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How Scott Brown is executing the perfect GOP Senate campaign
- How foreign aid screwed up Liberia's ability to fight Ebola
- Why the government should pay every American child an allowance
Subscribe to the Week