I have been blogging recently about ‘not cutting off your nose to spite your face’ in a corporate cost cutting sense. So we set about collecting some stories about extreme cost cutting: We had many – feel free to add your examples. Is there anything that is going on in your office right now?
- ”Many years ago (actually just after the early 80’s recession), the management team where I worked decided to cut back on stationery items as post-it-notes were too expensive and we kept ‘losing’ our pens. Consequently, we were all issued with 1 biro, with a string attached, and were expected to tie it to our desks to avoid incidental loss – just like in a bank branch! When the pen eventually ran dry, we had to prove this before receiving a replacement… Fortunately for their attrition rate, the team was very good natured about the change! As we move into another potential recession 20 years later, I’m still not sure how far we’ve come…”
- ”Every year we print out an annual stock take. This year I was told to omit any shading and remove all the lines to save ink when printing out a copy. This makes reading a page full of numbers very difficult! And in the long run, more mistakes have been made misreading numbers and ordering stock where we thought we had none.” – and what about the time it took to remove the lines?
- ”This is not at my company, but just yesterday I heard that in one of the hospitals, they have started to Load the hand wipes in the Toilets only once in the morning, before lunch they are finished, and rest of the day there is nothing, and there is no Blow drying device either!! And to disguise the reason, they have indicated for Environmental reasons!”
- ”The company I worked for decided not to send out terms & conditions with their contracts to save on paper costs but then got into legal trouble for not informing 1000’s of customers of their contract terms & conditions!”
- ”One company I worked for was so stingy they would “time” our toilet breaks – no more than 5 minutes – to ensure we weren’t wasting valuable work time. Someone would come and check up on you if they thought you had been in there over your allocated time. As you can imagine that company had a very high turnover rate.”
- ”The worst example I’ve heard of, and it seems too ghastly to believe it’s anything but an urban myth, is one company making staff use one ply instead of two-ply toilet paper!”
- ”A client told me that they would organise the wait staff for a work function. I was extremely hesitant and explained it was a hard job. The couple running the bar turned up an hour late so the drinks weren’t iced until an hour before the event and they asked what they needed to do. I said… ‘There is your bar, the cool room, the alcohol, the glassware and your staff’. They fumbled about. I recognised him as the maintenance man from the client’s office and his wife. They were certainly cursing their boss about roping them in when I was asking them to collect glassware from the portable bathrooms at 1.30am in the morning.”
It is sure to be other cost-cutting stories heading our way… do share.
Just today I have started worrying about what’s going to happen around my office after feeling the calm before a cost cutting storm but hearing these stories makes me feel much better knowing that there’s a lot more to be done before they get down to that level of patheticness