So Marketplace did a piece on this same topic last week, and their guest expert (a historian at Harvard Business School, no less) was all "yeah, I can't think of an example of a real company ever doing this, except for startups, and they grow out of it." ... which is unfortunate, because there's a company called Valve Software (founded in 1996, ~330 employees and estimated $2.5 billion in equity), that does exactly this. It has a completely flat, "boss-less" corporate structure, which is described in (very amusing) detail in its employee handbook : http://media.steampowered.com/apps/valve/Valve_NewEmployeeHandbook.pdf There's been quite a bit of media interest and some very interesting interviews with Valve's founder, Gabe Newell, on how the non-hierarchical structure actually works for the company. Here are two pretty good articles that address some of people's usual questions ("how do salaries get determined?" "how do you fire people?", "how do people know what to do if they don't have a boss?") : http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-04-27/why-there-are-no-bosses-at-valve http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/01/03/gabe-newell-on-what-makes-valve-tick/ Amusingly, the employee handbook describes Newell as "of all the people ... who aren't your boss, (he) is the MOST not your boss, if you get what we're saying."
I'm going to take the contrary view and point out that if I die, I want my office to completely ignore the event. Just sweep off my desk into a box, give my computer to someone else, and line-item me off your spreadsheets. I cannot fathom anything more profoundly depressing than one's coworkers being all "we only knew him in a professional context and really didn't know him at all, but he was always there, with the job and the being there every day so we have to say something and OUR GRIEF IS WHAT'S IMPORTANT LET US GRIIIIEEEEVE." Just leave the memorializing up to my family and, y'know, real friends, and spare everyone your guilty, forced routine. In sum, if my coworkers memorialize me, I will come back and haunt that office in the worst way.
@r&rkd : Right there with you. At my local store, I recently went to pull a bottle off the top of one of those vertical wine-bottle-stacks and pulled three bottles off instead. Two bottles smashed to bits on the floor. Clerk was just "it happens all the time, don't worry about it" which made me first grateful and second hey, why is she so blase' about this wine getting destroyed? Is this stuff super-cheap and then marked way the hell up, and I'm a sucker for buying it? because, thanks brain.
@pissy elliott : A 2.5-hour wait, starting around 11:00 AM, to see The Clock when it was at Lincoln Center was so worth it, I went back that night to wait in line again (~1 hour, just after midnight) to see more of it.
@jfruh : Consider it this way -- it's only a zero-interest savings account for the person who has the final number. For everyone else, it's an interest-free short-term loan with a down payment. Depending on your place in line, the size of the loan and the down payment varies, but any way you slice it, that's a serious financial benefit. Say there are 10 people in a tanda, and the buy-in is a weekly $20. For the first person in line, it's a straight-up $180 loan which they repay over the course of 10 weeks. For the second person in line, it's a $160 loan with a down payment of $20 (and a repayment time of 9 weeks), and so on. As you get further down the line, the "loan" part gets smaller, and the "saving" part gets larger. For the second-to-last person, it's a $20 loan with a $160 downpayment, and for the final person, it's a $180 forced-saving scheme. As the original poster pointed out, people generally bargain for a particular spot in line. Basically, you balance your need for a short-term loan over your need for enforced saving. It's particularly good for people whose alternative source for a short-term loan would normally be a payday lender (and, generally speaking, the demographics for tanda participation and taking out a payday loan overlap substantially).* The only person who doesn't really benefit financially is the last person in line. Of course, the last person in line does get the economic benefit of a forced-saving scheme, but they get an arguably more important reward as well : the social benefit of visibly supporting the group for the least reward. Since tandas are based in tight social groups by default, the social benefit is not insignificant. Remember too that tandas are usually not one-off setups. In the recurring tandas I've seen, the person last in line on the current one usually gets to be first in line on the next tanda, so today's forced-savings scheme is tomorrow's zero-interest loan. * ie, folks who don't use traditional banking, have reasonably regular income, but don't make enough each payday to have a lump sum for emergency use.
@cmcm : "Hm, that is definitely a human ear in a jar." "Well, at least it's identifiable."
@oiseau : Or even Tupperware parties with cheese instead of Tupperware. WE COULD ALL BE RICH AND FULL OF DELICIOUS CHEESE.
From the Village Voice's article: David Espinoza, 48, also has spent time at a New York City homeless shelter, and echoes Rick's assessment that, while better than sleeping in a doorway, it's not necessarily a "pleasurable experience." He also had some (ahem) kind words for Mr. Bloomberg. "Don't that guy have, like, a bazillion dollars and a mansion?" he asks. After we explained that "a bazillion" isn't an actual number, but that the mayor owns 11 homes and is worth an estimated $22 billion, Espinoza said "well, fuck that guy!" Indeed.
@oiseau : I vote we merge your comments with bex's, above, and encourage the author to hold (cheese-tastings? cheese seminars?) in pubs that have a lot of specialty beers. Really good cheese plus good beers -- holy God, I would plan my entire week around something like that. Also, Whole Foods customers are like customers everywhere -- usually pleasant, sometimes insane -- except when they bring the crazy, they bring a special level of it. A friend who worked at the Whole Foods deli counter said that it was the job where he'd had the most customers swear at him on a daily basis. And the only place where he'd had customers actually throw items at him across the counter.
@Megano!, @Non-anonymous : Or both! Because he was basically edge-of-starvation poor a lot of the time. There're two lines in Houellebecq's (brilliant, insane) biography of Lovecraft that still stick with me. After a long description of HPL's fruitless, self-defeating efforts at job-hunting in New York, Houellebecq writes : He was inadaptable to the market economy. And he began to sell his furniture. Ugh, doesn't that just sum it up.