The recent recession sadly left a lot many people with 'pink slips' in their hands. But in the old world English it would have been- " a lot many people were given 'the sack' !" Ever wondered where this term must have come from? I did. It didnt strike me that I could have googled it to get rid of that question mark. But I prefer and relish discovering the answer like this.... And what better place to have found the answer after long ages of wondering and asking but the Readers Digest. So yes, I found the May 2009 edition on the back seat of B's car and as I waited for him to return with our take-away, I was scanning the pages and there it was the tidbit! The phrase comes from the Sultan of Turkey's Harem. The Sultan would put members of his harem, with whom he'd become bored , into a sack and throw them down into the Bosphorous Strait. Aaargh! Fortunately for modern day employees, their bosses don't get such gross freedoms to translate the phrase into action literally like that!