Linky Friday, Food Symposium Edition

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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17 Responses

  1. Saul Degraw says:

    P1: Semi-OT, the big issue I have with all these types of stories is that they chronicle really big and insanely profitable companies that can afford do to all sorts of perks (also hip and new companies where the average employee age seems to be under 40). Most people will not work for such companies. My experience in law is that it really depends on the firm. The Big Corporate firms in Manhattan have or had subsidized cafeterias (I did freelance proofreading during the subprime boom), I worked at a firm that had free soft drinks, coffee, tea, and snacks. Smaller firms have had less so. Not every place or even most places can be a tech 2.0 company in terms of perks.

    My favorite story is that during my legal proofreading days I heard that it was a big deal to be sent to the printers because “they feed you.” I thought this meant pizza or cheap Chinese food. It turns out that feeds you means giving you a whole menu of options and going carte blanche. I got Lobster Tail, Steak and Asparagus. I imagine that these days are over post-boom.

    P2: The guy is a jerk and I think I would be turned off as a customer if a server asked for my e-mail address.

    L1: Tis a very good beer city. This is true.

    A4: That sounds boozy.

    H1: Turkey Mole is very very good.

    F2: Some people are still skeptical of CPK.

    F7: Chicken with Brocolli and Sesame Chicken are two of my favorite Chinese fast foods.Report

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The CEO of the first startup I worked for had a great argument with the CFO over how much money they were spending on takeout for dinner for the engineers. The CEO said, “If you can figure out a cheaper way to get engineers to put in an extra couple of hours than $15 worth of raw fish, I’m all ears. As far as I know, only sea lions work for that rate.” We were definitely not a big and wealthy operation.

      Flash forward a few years and a couple of acquisitions. They were maintaining freezers with frozen dinners in them to keep you fed when you were working really late, but it caused too much of a stir with the East coast offices that didn’t get the perk. The cultures were very different–ours was long hours and lots of late nights and theirs was a very regimented 9-5, but the idea that we were sometimes eating a frozen box of frozen ziti on the company dime caused enough friction that they had to cut it out. Definitely cultural.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Troublesome Frog says:


        Why do you think the East Coast was more 9-5 and the West Coast was more long hours? I think the working culture for lawyers is the same on either coast. The working culture for lawyers tends to be based on type of law and payment structure over anything else, not geography.

        The problem with perks is that once they are given, they are very hard to take away without doing a serious blow to morale. Sometimes even switching jobs is hard if you know your old job had a perk that most in the industry don’t offer.

        I think the West Coast tech companies are rather extreme in their perkage and I am usually a bit shocked about these perks. One engineer told me that his company had services come to clean the apartments of engineers so they could work more. I found this one to be really shocking for some reason.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

        The North East and Mid-West had much more unionization than the West Coast even during the hey day of unionization or even now. The culture of unionization probably led to a stricter nine to five schedule in many non-unionized industries as well.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

        Our other offices were all definitely more 9-5 operations than our California offices, partially because they were much larger companies when we merged. They had things like administrators and middle management to fill out the ranks and we just had engineers who worked 7 days a week the way they did when we knew the boss had his mortgage on the line. I don’t want to make a value judgment about the employees in either office because the difference was simply one of culture and maturity and honestly, we were basically doing charity work with the extra hours because the work was interesting. I’m not doing nearly as much charity work these days. Tech company execs don’t need my charity.

        But our office was an old cable company office with leaky toilets and theirs was a swanky floor of a highrise with nobody answering the phone after 5:30, so there were noticeable differences in management style and priorities. Not sure about the other office, but our crew was paid less than market for the SF Bay area, so the work had to be interesting and having something to eat after 10pm kept you going.

        In any case, $15 for 2 hours of extra engineer work is a pretty sweet deal, and most of us are analytical enough to know the difference between an extra $5-10K in salary and a ping pong table and ice cream on Fridays. The main deal with the food is that if people have to leave the building to eat dinner after a long day at work, they’re not coming back. If they can have a quick meal and stay at their desks, some of them will stay till midnight to wrap things up. I don’t think lunch is nearly as good as an investment. Lunch is an hour tops, and it’s usually spent eating with colleagues and talking about work whether it happens on or off campus.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

        I used to work for the provincial government in IT, in a building with some Justice ministry people including lawyers (it was across the street from a courthouse), and some folks from what amounted to the ministry of all the boring stuff (IT, payroll, contract management, etc. for other ministries, very little service direct to citizens).

        In our area it was apparently unthinkable to have the employer buy some cans of cheap coffee for the break room, lest the taxpayers realize they had spent a slim fraction of a penny on fancy perks for fat-cat civil servants, and overthrow the government. On the odd occasion when I’d go over to the Justice ministry floors to discuss something with someone there, there were very nicely furnished break rooms with free and quite good tea, coffee, and snacks…Report

      • I don’t think lunch is nearly as good as an investment. Lunch is an hour tops, and it’s usually spent eating with colleagues and talking about work whether it happens on or off campus.

        That reminds me of something that’s even a little more off topic than this sub-thread is. When I was a teller, we were so short staffed that on really busy days we were bribed/ordered/voluntold to skip our lunch break in exchange for pizza, paid for by the bank, which we were to eat at our teller stations. I remember secretly preferring to take my real lunch break instead of having pizza, especially because it’s awkward to eat pizza on the teller line and it’s nice to have a half-hour to sit down, regenerate, and maybe read a little. And besides, it strikes me as a little rude to eat in front of customers.Report

      • Kimmi in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

        there’s a reason video games always end their credits with thanking people who brought the food. People live at the office for the last month or two before deadline. As in, they don’t see sunlight, not as in “we put in 12 hour days”Report

  2. LeeEsq says:

    L3: Humans might qualify as less cute versions of tribbles. We excel at eating and reproducing.Report

  3. LeeEsq says:

    H4: Experiment with cranberry ice-cream and making it into an alcoholic beverage.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to LeeEsq says:

      A most excellent idea!Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Its surprising that there hasn’t seem to be much experimenting in fermenting cranberry juice. There is a long tradition in mixing cranberry juice with spirits and liquor but not making an alcoholic cranberry beverage. Cranberries seem good a choice for fermentation because they aren’t that sweet so you won’t get a spirit that is overly sugary.Report

  4. Christopher Carr says:

    I think that is the most gluttonous image of all time, btw.Report

  5. dragonfrog says:

    [P1] Years ago I washed dishes in the cafeteria of a huge insurance company. Every employee, in a campus of maybe four largish buildings, got a free lunch. (It was a huge industrial operation – they had vinegar delivered by a tanker truck; the big dishwasher took about 10 people to operate when it was running at full steam).

    The first order of business for the kitchen staff was breakfast. We were on the clock, so there was no choice but to be there, but there was just a breakfast buffet and no work going on for 20 or 30 minutes. Between that, the lunch buffet leftovers that we officially totally didn’t take home in containers, and the amazing showers, it was the perfect summer job given that my living situation at the time was an overcrowded campground.Report

  6. ScarletNumbers says:

    49 links are excessive.Report

  7. I really like F6 [the KFC-Taco bell story]. Just saying.Report

  8. Kimmi says:

    20-30% of produce bought is wasted in America? wowsa.Report