Google's freebie problem: "They don't know where to draw the line."

You've seen one Google office, you've seen them all. But Brier Dudley of the Seattle Times had a column to write, so he ate some free food and turned in yet another dutiful profile of the lavish cafeterias in Google's Kirkland office. The outpost of Google is mostly notable for being a stone's throw from Microsoft and Amazon.com's headquarters, whence it's poached countless engineers with free food and other soft benefits.

Perhaps the infusion of competitors' DNA has some value. Unlike the hordes of programmers at Google's Mountain View headquarters, who have gone straight from the cocoon of college dorms to the comforting swaddle of the mothership, Google Kirkland's engineers are a bit more skeptical, having seen office perks come and go as their former employers' fortunes wax and wane.

Says Googler Steve Yegge:

"We've got perks for perks. You go on a company ski trip, and there's this bag for going on the ski trip — it's like the trip was a reward unto itself, right? You know, I got a perk for moving offices — I showed up and there was this box and it had this big red stapler from 'Office Space' in it. It was like, 'Oh, my office moved twice in a quarter.' They don't know where to draw the line."