There’s a code for expressing one’s importance on Capitol Hill, whether it’s a staff ID that connotes access to inner sanctums or a Members’ pin that shows voting privileges.
Now, staffers proud of their “essential” status during a government shutdown have a way to broadcast their standing as indispensable to the running of the federal government.
Three Hill staffers, who want to remain anonymous, are hawking T-shirts emblazoned with a logo announcing that the wearer is “Officially Essential” to the Senate, House or various other government arms.
And for those who embrace their low-on-the-totem-pole rank, there’s a T-shirt that reads “Officially Non-Essential.”
One of the entrepreneurs tells HOH that the idea was born Wednesday night when he and two friends were joking about the social schism developing between “essentials” and “nonessentials.”
And even though being labeled as essential might mean you’re more important, they decided, being nonessential has its perks.
“Other than the title, no one has any idea whether being essential is actually better — both are equally likely to get paid or stiffed,” he notes. “Being essential may actually mean working for free, while being nonessential might be a nice day off.”
The friends joked that they should wear T-shirts indicating their status, and a small business was born. The shirts are going for $17 a pop through create-your-own-gear shop spreadshirt.com.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.