True Professionals

It would seem that free soda and software development go hand-in-hand. Years ago, when I worked as an engineer, it was one of the perks we could partake in. I remember my sugar consumption back then was off the charts. Thankfully, I’ve kicked the cola habit.

So, my question to those of you who develop software at work: what type of food / beverage perks do you get? Are beverages de rigor in your company? Sound off in the comments below.


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  • JasonReply
    January 9, 2012 at 5:58 am

    Actually we don’t get any perks. Of course our primary development isn’t just focused on software. What our software team did was to get our own coffee machine with a subscription for the capsules. We are now paying about half what the rest of the company does for coffee … and ours is actually a full ceramic cup instead of the little paper or plastic cups that usually come from coin operated coffee machines.

  • JamesReply
    January 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    About 4 years ago we moved to a new building and had those one cup coffee makers installed. Choice of like 15 different coffees, teas, hot chocolate, espresso, etc. The company supplied ceramic cups for everyone to be green and not use paper or Styrofoam disposable cups. Then the economy tanked and they replaced the fancy one cup makers with Bunn coffee pots and put the most horrific generic coffee in the cabinet. Now everyone leaves an empty pot without making a new one and that is considering you can stomach to the god awful stuff they call “coffee”.

    Then they went green and shutoff the lights inside the soda vending machines so cannot see what number to punch in. I carry a flashlight on my keychain, seriously… Soda’s cost $1.40 each.

    I went and bought a small personal french press that makes about 4 cups of coffee. Buy very rough fresh ground coffee in an airtight pouch at the supermarket and make my own in the french press. Learned to drink it black with one Splenda.

    Speaking of “green”, the new building is supposed to be super energy efficient but they keep the temperature pretty low in winter, so all the women have space heaters under their desks. They claim the company uses all wind power but they are just buying carbon credits, there is no wind power anywhere near us that can be transmitted. So they pay for the actual electricity then they pay more for useless carbon credits so Al Gore can get richer. Lovely…

    • Kevin RubinReply
      January 9, 2012 at 7:07 pm

      Speaking of your “god awful stuff they call ‘coffee'” it reminded me of a previous office I worked at where someone emailed the whole company to complain about the “ghastly coffee”. The facilities guy sent back this awesome reply:

      I believe the downfall of the Dot Coms is due to ‘good’ coffee. Look at the tech stocks on the NASDAQ…they’re getting hammered. Meanwhile Starbucks (‘good’ coffee) announces a two-for-one stock split.

      America was built on ghastly coffee. My uncle, who actually helped design the original Internet (it wasn’t invented by ‘good’ coffee Al Gore), drank as much as 10 cups a day of Navy submarine swill coffee. The Empire State Building was built by construction workers who drank ghastly coffee. The American West was tamed by frontiersmen who drank what would be considered almost undrinkable coffee.

      Drinking our current coffee isn’t going to increase maximEyes sales, paradEyes transactions, but it’ll save us some money by not switching vendors.

      Our coffee is OK. It’s not as good as having a barrista on site, but if we all follow a couple simple guidelines, the coffee won’t turn out half bad (or even ghastly). Use only one bag of java when making coffee. If you take the last cup, please make another pot.

      It’s not Starbucks, or Torrefazione, but it’s only office coffee. It’s supposed to taste like that.


  • Kevin RubinReply
    January 9, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I’ve never worked at a place that gave free soda before…

    My current office has instant coffee and tea, but nothing I drink. We have a hot pot for heating water for those, and I use it for all the green tea I bring to work, and we have to refill it four or five times a day (we had a big 5 gallon dispenser, but the office designer didn’t like the look of it, so it’s gone now). I supply my own nariyal pani as well…

    We had our annual Chanukah party a few weeks ago in the office (the only company I’ve worked for when the annual party was in the office, during work hours) so there is leftover cans of pop available for the moment. Once they’re gone it’s not policy to supply it…

    My previous office in India there were machines that made chai, coffee and tomato soup from hot water, flavor powders and sweetened milk powder. Protein was provided by cockroaches. I used them once in a while, but consistently got stomach aches from using them, and gave up after an incident of full-blown food poisoning…

    The Indian office before that supplied instant coffee and teabags, along with dishes of sugar and powdered milk. People used to dip their fingers into the powdered milk to take pinches to eat (many of the same people I shared the bathrooms with who didn’t wash their hands after using the loo…), and there were mushrooms growing from many of the wooden parts of the kitchen, so I didn’t really trust hygiene there…

    At neither office was hot water reliable from the 20 litre dispensers. Most Indians don’t drink either hot or cold water, but prefer room temperature, claiming it’s much healthier, so people frequently turned off the hot and cold switches on the machines. I’d have to go turn them on and wait for the water to heat up to make my green tea…

    My million dollar idea is to sell water dispensers in India with three taps, hot, cold and room temperature…

    The office I made frequent business trips to in the United Kingdom had a super fancy hot drink machine that was free for us to use. It used foil, single-serving packets of coffees and teas that we’d pick from a rack and stick in. We could use our own mugs if we wanted to (both more environmentally friendly and useful for bigger servings). Of course, I only drink coffee with tons and tons of sugar…

    None of the office I worked at in the U.S. had free beverages supplied. Some had coin op soda machines, some just had cans of soda in the fridge with the “honor system” of paying for it in a cup nearby. None of them supplied coffee either, it was only available to those who chipped in as a group towards purchasing the supplies…

    • KrishnaReply
      January 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm

      I’ve never worked in India before, but I can vividly picture the scenario you’ve described, Kevin. I guess I was lucky then – it was always SOP to have the fridge stocked with cans of soda.

  • Kevin SReply
    January 9, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    I’m running a small web development business of my own. We have 3-4 employees, in a shared office environment.

    One of the first things I did when we moved in was to install a mini-fridge, kettle, coffeemaker, microwave and water cooler. We stock the mini-fridge with sugar-free sodas (to avoid the sky-high sugar consumption), and a little beer on Fridays. We buy whole-bean coffee from a gourmet local roaster. It’s a little expensive, but it’s also some of the most delicious coffee I’ve ever tasted.

    Is it necessary? Probably not. But it helps to keep the office environment relaxed, energized, happy, and motivated… especially during crunch time.

Tell me what you think!