It's a Struggle for Startup Workers to Eat Awesome Food All the Time
Also: free Pinkberry, booze, and gym memberships.
This week, the New York Times Styles section continues in its quest to document #firstworldproblems of the highest degree. The latest topic of discussion: the ridiculous perks that startups like Tumblr, Bitly, and Birchbox hand out to their employees like candy—sometimes literally. The main focus of the article are the calorie-laden treats that have tempted office workers since the invention of the communal kitchen. The difference? Startups tend to prefer $4 a pop Levain Bakery cookies over leftovers from the receptionist’s kid’s bake sale.
Here is the sad, sad tale of the author’s first day at hip eyeglass brand Warby Parker:
On Monday, warm cookies from the Upper West Side bakery Levain appeared in the kitchen. Buttercream cupcakes followed; apparently it was somebody’s birthday. (It is always somebody’s birthday.) At noon, employees gathered for a catered lunch of barbecue. Two hours later, a Pinkberry station rolled into the office with the full battery of toppings. I helped myself to an incapacitating dose. By 5 p.m. my dress had grown so tight around the middle that I had to unzip it to my coccyx and put a sweater on top just to breathe.
And that was only the first day.
And it gets worse! Behold, the horror that is the Squarespace office:
On a recent Friday afternoon, employees sat serenely in the firm’s SoHo offices, the room silent except for rapid keyboard clicks. A slim woman wearing her hair in a topknot ferried dishes of shrimp gumbo and quinoa salad to a buffet; midday meals for Squarespace employees are prepared four days a week. (On the fifth day, they order out.) Gluten-free and vegetarian options are offered at each meal, as well as a fridge stocked with Tecate and Red Bull.
Other companies stock $6,500 cappuccino machines, kegs in refrigerators, and bottomless supplies of Greek yogurt. “Random hula-hooping sessions” and “group SoulCycle outings” help employees work off their gluten-free lunches. Oh, and most of these workers have unlimited vacation time. Wondering if any of this is necessary yet? Check out Atari founder Nolan Bushnell’s totally convincing explanation:
“I’ve often felt that it is somehow wrong to have an engineer spend any time at all scrubbing his own toilet,” he said. “It sounds elitist, but these people are highly important to the economy and to the company. Offering maid service to them as a perk makes total sense.”
Maid service, in-office Pinkberry stations: same difference.
[via NY Times]