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Cost Cutting Gone Wrong

One company I used to work for used to have a pop machine that sold 25-cent sodas. That's right: A quarter. Particularly for the Diet Coke addicts, that was a huge perk — and a sensible solution; you buy in bulk, you can keep prices closer to cost. One fellow I worked with took ample advantage of the deep discount, even buying multiple cans of soda to take home for the weekend.

Then the company decided to cut that out (not because of his bulk buying) and increased the price to 75 cents. I stopped buying soda at work. Having experienced the loss of a simple but effective perk, I was somewhat amused to read about the Minneapolis Star Tribune's recent decision to no longer provide free copies of the paper to... its staff of reporters and editors.

Wait a minute. You work for a newspaper and can't quickly and easily — cheaply or freely — get a copy of your daily product? That'd be like Fast Company deciding that staffers have to buy the magazine we make every month. (Don't get any ideas, folks!)

What are some ways you've experienced cost cutting that didn't impact your productivity? Or take away a small, but simple perk?

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  • roger fulton

    accountants...their idea of a wild night is colored shoe laces and a third glass of wine.

    Roger Fulton
    Yuma, Az

  • John Burks

    At a branch of a large money center bank that I worked for, the branch manager stopped buying disposable cups in order to save money. Employees had to bring their own cups from home. When someone asked for a cup of coffee including customers you had go rise out the stains and in some cases mold.

  • Carl

    We still have the quarter pops and that is nice, but the idea of charging those employees for the general waste that they are producing is quite the joke. They'd be better to justify some wage cuts and offer the free paper and free pops.

  • Jim Wesnor

    The company I work for did something different.

    When the vending machine operator wanted to raise the price of soda from $0.50 to $0.55 management asked them to maintain the $0.50 price on the machine and bill the company for the extra nickel. And they did it without fanfare - not too many workers know about it.

    It's not much, but happy caffeinated workers are productive workers.

  • Michael

    I too remember .25 pop. Of course it started out free. But even when we raised it we used the .25 to go into an account that we used for employee parties and the such (including a PS2 for the employees). What a simple and effective gesture.

  • Daryl Kulak

    Hmm, maybe the company upped the price of Diet Coke because aspartame is toxic and linked to so many illnesses, including ADD and autism?

    Maybe they were doing you a favor.

    But, to your point, these types of cost-cutting are so silly. It's what happens when an "in-the-weeds" person is in charge.

  • jer0mey

    my current company took away the large styrofoam cups in an attempt to cut costs. they tried to encourage employees to bring their own cups to work. (like i need something else to put in my box when i pack up my desk to leave this place! now i just use 2 of the smaller cups.)

    ...all this while they brought in contract accounting personnel at double the price of the previous employees when 66% of the accounting dept. left.