Times are tough. Stupid corporate cost-cutting tricks are rampant. Even within the hallowed confines of media companies! And the situation is growing more dire—no more free gyms, babysitting, good coffee, food, or toilet paper:
ITEM: Channel 9 News station somewhere in Australia has downgraded the staff's free luxury coffee to Nescafe. Brutal.
ITEM: At the Hollywood Reporter, we hear, staffers are no longer allowed to expense lunches. Will this lead to a lean and mean staff eating homemade sandwiches at their desks as they pound out more stories? No, more likely it will lead to staff desperately hinting to assorted industry flacks who still have expense accounts that they should pick up the bill. We'll, uh, get it next time!
ITEM: A tipster forwarded us a Newsweek staff memo about 14 new expense cutbacks. To be honest, Newsweek is still incredibly profligate by today's standards. The terrifying cuts include:
4. Meals while traveling will be reimbursed per day instead of per meal with a maximum of $75 per day. Receipts will be required to be reimbursed.
5. While traveling, dry cleaning cost will only be reimbursed for stays of five days or more.
6. Meals with other Newsweek employees will only be reimbursed when either a VP or above (Business) or Assistant Managing Editor or above (Editorial) take out a subordinate(s) for business purposes.
7. Employees working more then 10 hours in a day (excluding lunch) will be reimbursed up to $25 for the cost of a meal when a receipt is provided.
8. No more than one Company-paid gift per event (wedding, baby shower, etc) will be reimbursed and pre-approval is required by the Editor or his designee or a VP or above on a pre-approval form. No gift should exceed $100.
9. The cost of parties & other staff entertaining must be pre-approved by the department head on a pre-approval form.
10. The reimbursement of rental attire will be limited to twice a calendar year and capped at a $100 per rental and must be pre-approved by the department head on a pre-approval form...
14. The following expenses will no longer be reimbursed:
+ Airline clubs
+ Athletic clubs
+ Luncheon clubs
+ At home delivery of subscriptions
+ Meals for internal meetings with other employees
+ Overnight in town lodging
+ Air travel in first or business class to accompany a client
In other words, Newsweek used to freely reimburse employees for all these things. Sinners.
ITEM: Most terrifying of all, another tipster tells us that Alpha Media—fresh on the heels of folding Blender last week—is now unable to provide sanitary items, such as toilet paper, at least for the women:
In addition to losing half our staff last week (when was the last time you saw grown men sobbing openly in their cubicles?) today we came in to find the women's bathroom on the sales & marketing floor fresh out of toilet paper and paper towels. Rumor has it that office services refuses to restock because there is a "limited supply" of paper products. We're down to a couple of tissues...then there's no telling what will happen.
[Pictured above and at left: Actual images of Alpha Media's woefully bare women's bathroom. Send help!]