By now, we've all heard the stories about how Bear Sterns' employees were forced to buy their own paper clips and rubber bands, because the weird corporate culture there insisted on these crazy cost-saving measures (while executives were given million dollar bonuses).
And we all know the end of the story with Bear Stearns' demise, collapse, and "rescue" by the Feds. In fact, in today's news, it was reported that two of Bear Stearns' hedge fund managers were arrested on charges of securities fraud. Not good.
Worrying over the cost of a box of paper clips when you've got problems like that seems a bit hypocritical, doesn't it?
All this got me thinking about the odd (and frequently contradictory) measures that Corporate America takes to save money in the workplace.
I have personally worked at places where:
- Coffee was not free (and let me tell you, this caused considerable ill will amongst the staff). Workers get pissed off when they have to pay for their morning workplace caffeine.
- File folders (the cheap manila kind) had to be reused until they were literally falling apart... and when you moved an old file to storage, you had to pull out the loose paper and rubber band it all together. (Good luck finding something if you ever needed it again.)
- The office supply room was kept locked, and when you needed supplies you had to explain to a manager what you needed from the supply room, and why.
Yet, each of these companies (and these 3 examples were at 3 different companies.... all names you would know) were extremely profitable organizations.
What are your weird Corporate America/workplace stories?