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11 26 2015 | by Victor Xing | Other

Why doesn’t Goldman Sachs provide free food for staff?

My take is that senior folks often pay for junior staff’s lunch (free food) because they can (a tradition well documented as early as Liar’s Poker), not because they have to.

For example, senior folks (MD and such) would offer to buy, and the most junior person (analyst) would do the ordering and pick-up (“I buy, you fly”).  It is interesting that it works into the “performance evaluation” – if a junior person messes up the order or gets lost while getting to the place, what are the odds that the junior person messes up the spreadsheet or misheard client orders in the future?  Many junior people take it very seriously (for good reasons).

Then the GS folks would come to the buy-side and train us to do the same.  It would mostly be breakfast or coffee, as the firm provides catered lunch for PMs, portfolio analysts, and traders on the desk.

Catered lunch would come with desserts

Free food

One of the senior PMs who came from the rival firm (he was a MD there) would ask me to buy coffee every morning – mostly my treat, it was an environment that there were a lot of “Chiefs” and only a few “Indians,” so even the “Indians” were no longer junior rank, thus no longer benefit from the “I buy” part of the policy.

I never messed up his coffee orders to the day that he passed away.

Next article11 25 2015 | by Victor Xing | Economics

October Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE)