Several American businesses reacted to the news of President Barack Obama’s re-election with both anger and despair, as one McDonald’s location hung the US flag at half-mast and upside-down.
Some diners at the Follansbee restaurant in West Virginia could not believe their eyes when the say the flag on the day after Barack Obama secured more electoral votes than Republican rival Mitt Romney.
An upside-down flag is a “signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property”, according to federal law.
Mitt Romney won West Virginia in Tuesday night’s election – and its five electoral votes.
Karen Mezan, the McDonald’s franchise owner, said in an emailed statement to WTOV-TV: “Unfortunately, a flag cable broke and during the process of trying the fix the flag, it was inadvertently turned upside down.
“It wasn’t noticed that the flag was upside down until a customer inquired about it. We are working on fixing the flag right now. It’s important to note that this was an accident, not intentional.”
While US flag flew in reverse in West Virginia, a Florida real estate mogul backed down from a pledge to lay off some or all of his 8,000 in protest of Barack Obama’s victory.
Instead, David Siegel says he gave all of his workers a raise this week, to help them cope with new taxes and regulations that he believes the president will heap on in his second term.
David Siegel is perhaps known for his ambitious attempts to build the largest house in the world outside Orlando, Florida.
Modeled after the Palace of Versailles in France, he hopes it will be worth $100 million when it’s completed.
The property magnate’s 1,400-word rant was largely copied from a chain email which circulated around the time of the 2008 presidential election, according to Gawker.
David Siegel told Bloomberg BusinessWeek on Wednesday, the day after the election, that he hadn’t laid off anyone – yet.
“I’m going to work my hardest to keep the company going and expand the best I can. We’ll see what happens,” he said.
He added that he had given all employees in his company a raise, at least five per cent, to “help them handle the additional burdens the government will put on them”.
Last month, David Siegel told his workers that the company was performing well, saying: “The economy doesn’t currently pose a threat to your job.
“What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration. Of course, as your employer, I can’t tell you whom to vote for, and I certainly wouldn’t interfere with your right to vote for whomever you choose. In fact, I encourage you to vote for whomever you think will serve your interests the best.”
He added: “So where am I going with all this? It’s quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current president plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company.
“Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.
“So, when you make your decision to vote, ask yourself, which candidate understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn’t? Whose policies will endanger your job?
“Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of protecting and saving your job.”
The 77-year-old starred alongside his wife Jackie, 46, in a documentary film titled Queen of Versailles, chronicling the construction of the 30-bedroom house and the struggles of David Siegel’s company during the financial crisis and recession.
The flamboyant businessman has previously boasted of using his employees for political ends.
He apparently surveyed his 8,000 workers before the 2000 election, and encouraged only those who supported George W. Bush to vote – an act which he believes brought the Republican victory in Florida, and therefore in the race as a whole.
In Bedford, Virginia, Lyons Jewelers posted a massive sign in the store window saying: “Closed to mourn the loss of the America that our forefathers endowed to us.”
WDBJ-TV reports that the store also had a sign that said “Shame on the U.S. and Virginia” and one that read “Lyons will reopen tomorrow to continue the fight against a president who seeks my demise”.
Also on Wednesday, a man who claimed to own a business in Las Vegas called into a local radio station to announce he had fired 20% of his staff.
The man, who called a talk radio program on KXNT, gave his name only as “Dave” and said “elections have consequences”.
He claimed that Tuesday night’s victory for the Democratic president was the tipping point for him to decide that he needed to cut back his business to save money.
He said he had 114 employees and that he sacked 22 of them.
“I explained to them a month ago that if Obama gets in office that the regulations for Obamacare are gonna hurt our business, and I’m gonna have to make provisions to make sure I have enough money to cover the payroll taxes, the additional health care I’m gonna have to do, and I explained that to them and I said you do what you feel like in your heart you need to do, but I’m just letting you know as a warning this is things I have to think of as a business owner,” he said.