Barclay employees lose job after 44000 pound dinner
February 25, 2002 7:53 AM   Subscribe

Barclay employees lose job after 44000 pound dinner Mind you: they paid for the meal out of their own pockets. They were fired because of their decadence (while the City was suffering a slow period) and their behaviour when the details of the meal became public. (The story started in July last year, but I couldn't find anything about it in the archive). Next time you order a bottle of '47 Petrus, make sure your boss is not looking.
posted by swordfishtrombones (16 comments total)
"Fired because of their decadence"? Or lack of contrition? Or not creatively finding a way to charge it back to a customer?
posted by tommasz at 8:07 AM on February 25, 2002

So, what does a tighter dress code have to do with the performance of a business?

And how does the private spending of its employees affect it?

And who thinks it is unusual for a restaurant not to charge for its food when 44,000 pounds are spent on wine?
posted by magullo at 8:19 AM on February 25, 2002

Oh, pounds as in money! I (admittedly before reading the article) was sitting here going "who on earth would weigh that much food???"

For those not as familiar with British Pounds as they might like, 44,000.00 GBP (United Kingdom Pounds) = $62,811.73 USD.
posted by tsitzlar at 8:23 AM on February 25, 2002

as a former cook and waiter in restaurants of this caliber, i can tell you it is not unusual at all to comp the food if customers are spending a ton of money on other things.

there is no profit margin on food.

booze on the other hand...
posted by o2b at 8:25 AM on February 25, 2002

Seems a bit rough to lose their jobs for a meal they paid for out of their own (obviously well padded) pockets.

Own time + own money surely = none of an employers business. Are there any employment lawyers out there who would care to shed some light on whether this is even vaguely allowable?

Perhaps they angered management by paying with a rival banks platinum card
posted by urban greeting at 8:25 AM on February 25, 2002

What's wrong with spending your own money? For a bank?! Methinks the whole story may be somewhat different.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:26 AM on February 25, 2002

So they got fired, for spending money, in a city going through a slow period ... and they boosted the local economy... and...?

Here in the states, they'd be lauded for doing their patriotic duty.
posted by crunchland at 8:31 AM on February 25, 2002

there is no profit margin on food.

Huh? o2b: there must be some very complex equation at work but still... Isn't this a whopper proprietors tell their employees and customers?

What about Muslim restaurants? I once read, for fun, an enormous textbook on restaurant costing and it was baffling but surely...

You can tell I'm not sure, can't you?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:31 AM on February 25, 2002

Somehow you can just imagine that Enron executives were at the table....
posted by panopticon at 8:32 AM on February 25, 2002

That article struck me as genuinely baffling. Yes, it probably seems in poor taste, in the "there are starving children in Africa!" sense, but why on earth is it Barclay's business what they do, legally, with their own money? If they had all purchased new $100,000 cars--translate to pounds sterling equivalent--would Barclay's still object? I'm lost. (If anything, it's a great advertisement for the company--"look how much money our employees make!" ;) ) Perhaps this has more to do with how they behaved "after" the news leaked, as per the article, than it does with how much money they spent?
posted by thomas j wise at 8:50 AM on February 25, 2002

For the food vs. booze argument, it is well documented that if a restaurant has a successful bar, it does not have to charge for its food. This goes for your little dinky places to Morton's Steakhouses. It's one of the prime considerations in the time you spend waiting for a table at a Japanese steakhouse.. one drink, then just enough time to oder a second drink before you are seated.

As for the article - it is baffling. They spent their own money. They were out celebrating. Along these lines, they would't be able to take their bonuses and go on some extravegant trip, either. They'd have to sock it into a pass-book savings at 5% and drive around in Puegots.
posted by rich at 8:51 AM on February 25, 2002

Apparently at the bottom of the drinks bill were three other items, an orange juice, and two beers. I want to know which person turned down the £12,300 wine in favour of a beer...
posted by Spoon at 9:12 AM on February 25, 2002

The beer was probably a starter, and the orange juice probably belonged to the guy who wasn't fired. (The one that supervisors said "wasn't responsible.") That said, I gotta agree -- own money, own time, none of Barclay's business. I don't know about employment law in the UK, but in the US this would have lawsuit written all over it before the guys got home after being escorted out of the building.
posted by Dreama at 9:33 AM on February 25, 2002

I can't tell for sure from reading that article that those people lost their jobs because of the dinner. The article seems to make that implication without any real support. It also sounds more like they were obnoxious after details of the dinner became public and embarrassed the firms. Then again, maybe they were just expendable and laid off the way other people were. You just can't tell.

All that said, it's pretty moronic to spend upwards of $15,000 on a bottle of wine. And for the price of that dinner, they could have purchased several thousand copies of Babette's Feast, instead.
posted by anapestic at 9:42 AM on February 25, 2002

If the article is accurate, am I correct in assuming that the bank's thinking was "if they're blowing that kind of money on food and wine, they're being paid too much?" If that's the case - legal or not - I can sort of relate. I've certainly gone out with colleagues before (out of pocket) and thought better of ordering the most expensive thing on the menu for fear of seeming overpaid. Always a better thing to seem underpaid than over-. Admittedly, it's not really the company's business.
posted by Sinner at 9:55 AM on February 25, 2002

if this is the pre-cursor to "The Full Monty II," count me out.
posted by tsarfan at 10:20 AM on February 25, 2002

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