Disclaimer: This actually happened.
Imagine a multi-million dollar outsourcing company in the dot-com 90’s. We’ll name it BigCo. They need programming expertise, so they buy a company based on the west coast.
Until now, BigCo has operated out of one site in the Midwest. They suddenly have two different sites and two different cultures.
Well, it’s not really that different. For example – even after the purchase, all of the employees of BigCo are still considered humans. Actually, they’re all fairly normal. We should probably just call them people. And for the most part, they’re probably all fairly competent (after all, both companies were successful on their own).
But at the executive level, before all else, there was one looming issue for those at the helm of BigCo:
These programmers drank free Starbucks coffee at the office.
I imagine the board meeting on the issue went like this:
BigCo 1: “Next on the agenda, cutting costs”
BigCo 2: “What about those programmers we just bought? They drink up tons of Starbucks coffee. We could cut that out.”
BigCo 3: “Yeah – by God! Folgers is good enough for us, it’s good enough for them.”
BigCo 1: “Sounds good. Folgers it is. I’ll send a memo.”
And there it was – the new target on the expense list: Starbucks coffee.
Here’s the problem with that strategy: Beyond simply being a dick move, on the list of things you do NOT mess with when it comes to your programmers, their caffeine source is tops.
When you do, they’re likely to start something called “Rebellion Day” – a day they celebrate every Friday by wearing a Hawaiian shirt (instead of a BigCo branded shirt) and drinking all the Starbucks they can stomach.
Eventually, this response trickles back to the BigCo folks. They handle this with the same logic that got them here:
“Let’s send a camera crew on Friday for “corporate photo day”
Again, disclaimer: This actually happened.
So in walks this photographer and before him are about 100 programmers, all but one of which are smiling in their bright floral shirts. I imagine that one guy was either some sort of manager or simply forgot his Hawaiian shirt.
Until BigCo went under, that enlarged photo hung as a rebel flag in the main entrance at the programming facility.
Morals of this story: BigCo doesn’t exist anymore. Don’t mess with people’s caffeine. Pick your battles. In general, don’t be a dick.