McDonalds suggests low paid employees sell their Christmas gifts?

Employees working at McDonalds have often been used as the punchline of many jokes, such as, "What do you say to a [insert undervalued qualification] graduate? Can I have fries with that?". But now it seems that the company they work for have also decided to stick the boot in as well.

Advice from McResource, a website set up by the company to help its 1.8 million employees trying to manage life on the extremely low wage the company offers ($7.75 (£4.80) an hour in the US), reportedly included a tip to sell Christmas gifts in order to help dig themselves out of any holiday related debt.

"You may also want to consider returning some of your unopened purchases that may not seem appealing as they did. Selling some of your unwanted possessions on eBay or Craigslist could bring in some quick cash."

The advice was brought to light by campaign group Low Pay Is Not Ok, which reports that it has since been withdrawn from the McResource website.

This isn't the first time that advice the company offers its workforce has seemed more than a little absurd and unkind in its tone. One worker who called the resource's hotline was advised to apply for foodstamps when she asked for financial help. Other gems of suggestions reportedly include singing along to your favourite songs every day to reduce blood pressure, breaking up your food into smaller meals across the day so you eat less and still feel full, and amazingly the idea that McDonalds workers should take two holidays per year. Two holidays, for people working $7.75 an hour? It has appeared to many who have used this website that the McResource writers have absolutely no sense of irony.

McDonalds has responded by saying that the items in question are advice that has been taken out of context, and that the Low Pay is Not OK group are attempting to undermine a "well-intended employee assistance resource". Clearly though, this intent has not washed over well with the LPinOK group, who have staged a number of one day strikes demanding an increase in wages to $15 per hour, which they argue is a US living wage.

But it seems even these protests are something that McResource is keen to advise against. The website points out that "Stress hormone levels rise by 15% after 10 minutes of complaining". After an entire day of striking, one wonders how stressed McDonalds thinks these people will be.