D.C. businesses help out furloughed workers

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Inside Sapore Oil and Vinegar Specialty Store on Capitol Hill, owner Renee Farr has an array of unique items for sale – like Meyers Lemon Olive Oil and Ruby Red Grapefruit Balsamic.

But it’s her sign outside on Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast that is getting attention these days – Farr is offering a 10-percent discount for all furloughed federal workers, but tacking on an extra 10-percent for any member of Congress.

“A lot of our customers are federal workers -- we thought it might help them out a little bit... We thought we would soften the pinch to federal worker, but give a little pinch back to the Congress, said Farr.

Signs of frustration with Congress can be seen all over Capitol Hill, but there is undoubtedly more sympathy for furloughed workers.

On Tuesday at a Capitol Hill Starbucks, Washington Informer photographer Khalid Naji-Allah took pictures and watched as money poured in for furloughed workers in this cash donation box.

“I just found it an act of human kindness," he said. "There was a bunch of money inside the container and the sign basically said, "If you are a furloughed worker or affected by the furlough, or just need help, take. If not, donate."

Tourist Theresa Ratti window shops on Capitol Hill since so many museums are closed. She teaches U.S. Government to high school seniors in Arizona, and says she feels sorry for the furloughed workers – but not members of Congress.

"It is really frustrating when -- as I say to my students -- the two-year-olds can't play well in the sandbox," she said.

While numerous businesses throughout the Washington area are offering special deals and discounts to help out furloughed workers, there is no rescue package for these businesses.

They are simply out the money they have lost while workers who usually patronize their stores and restaurants are forced to stay home.