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Layoffs hit Ben & Jerry's

http://www.salon.com/tech/wire/2002/10/24/layoffs/index.html

Interesting eh?

Farid
Thursday, October 24, 2002

As bad as it sounds, this could be a good sign. Ice Cream is one of the products that often see growth during a reception (depressed people who can’t afford the new car = people who buy ice cream to burry their pain).

If this affects the flavor of my Chunky Monkey however, that would be a different story.

You scream, I scream, we scream for ice cream
Thursday, October 24, 2002

Add Chocolate Brownie Fudge to the list!

ryan ware
Thursday, October 24, 2002

Couple of things happening:

New owners (aka "big corporation") don't give a shit about the Olde Tyme Vermont connection and are streamlining the whole organization, local management, and production facilities.  Something B&J never had the balls to do, that's why the sold after all.

Many old farts like myself (43) stopped drinking milk daily years ago when cows started looking like cancer breeding medically-injected hormone factories (which all passes through to the milk), and now we find ourselves somewhat lactose intolerant, so a big heapin' glob of Ben and Jerry's is exactly what we no longer wish to eat.

Egg McMuffins and Cokes for breakfast, take-out pizza and Mountain Dew the rest of the day.  That is programmer food.  Ben & Jerry's ice cream is for fairies.

Ben Cohen
Thursday, October 24, 2002

Haven't read the posted link, but as Ben mentioned it is a public corporation.  The powers that be are simply following the Al Dunlop slash and burn process that all corporations seem to practice.

one programmer's opinion
Thursday, October 24, 2002

“…Egg McMuffins and Cokes for breakfast, take-out pizza and Mountain Dew the rest of the day.  That is programmer food.…”

Yes! This is what gives us the strength to move mountains, the ability to tackle any amount of data with ease, and the endurance to code for days at a time! Yes! Yes!

It is also what gives us the attention span of a humming bird on methamphetamines, but… Umm... Sorry, what was the topic again?

Marc
Thursday, October 24, 2002

Yet another transatlantic difference...

True fare would be a bacon, sausage, egg and beans sandwich with a either an Army size mug of tea, or in my case a 24 ounce mug of dark, strong coffee.

Simon P. Lucy
Friday, October 25, 2002

We go for cooked breakfasts down under too!

Matthew Lock
Friday, October 25, 2002

The way the guys at fuckedcompany figure it, the hippies were able to cash out, rewarding the workers handsomely, and stick it to the Man.  If this is true, I can get behind that.

Tj
Friday, October 25, 2002

Nothing wrong with bacon, sausage, and eggs for breakfast.  I eat them all the time, and I don't feel guilty about it, either:

http://kanyak.com/fatlie.html

J. D. Trollinger
Friday, October 25, 2002

>>> The way the guys at fuckedcompany figure it, the hippies were able to cash out, rewarding the workers handsomely, and stick it to the Man.  If this is true, I can get behind that.  <<<

"Rewarding the workers"??  That does not compute.  They are losing their jobs.

I worked for several years at a nice small company.  Then the founders decided it was time to cash out. The new big company owners trashed the company culture and people started leaving.

I did get a few bucks out of it, about a year's salary. No where near enough to compensate for the job loss.  Now I work at just another high stress low reward development position. (Yeah, at least I have a job).

But then we're comparing software development to ice cream manufacturing.

mackinac
Friday, October 25, 2002

I just did some checking (slow day) and see that it actually was more of a hostile takeover by Unilever than anthing else. 
http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,35616,00.html
http://www.masslive.com/news/pcommunity/editben.html

Apparently Ben got funding to try taking Ben & Jerry's private, but the shareholders couldn't refuse Unilever's much sweeter deal.

There's a lot of press that Ben and Jerry have come around to believing that Unilever can assist them helping humanity on a global scale, but that's hard to believe.

Tj
Friday, October 25, 2002

Ben and Jerry never should have taken their company public. There is no reason to go public, except to cash out. As a public company, they are held captive by the need to "maximize stockholder value". They are no longer an ice cream company. Like all public companies, they are a "stock price" company.

J. D. Trollinger: you may not be obese (yet) from eating steak and eggs for breakfast, but watch out for those pesky clogged arteries and heart attacks!

Zwarm Monkey
Friday, October 25, 2002

Zwarm wrote:

"J. D. Trollinger: you may not be obese (yet) from eating steak and eggs for breakfast, but watch out for those pesky clogged arteries and heart attacks!"

No, I've actually lost 28 pounds since I started eating a high-protein, high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet.  (Did you click on the link I provided?)  My cholesterol profile is also better than it was before I changed my eating habits.  No troll -- troof!

Sadly, I can't eat Ben & Jerry's ice cream anymore -- it has way too much sugar.  I used to love Phish Food and Chubby Hubby, in particular.

J. D. Trollinger
Friday, October 25, 2002

'I did get a few bucks out of it, about a year's salary. No where near enough to compensate for the job loss.  Now I work at just another high stress low reward development position. (Yeah, at least I have a job).'

Somehow, this doesn't compute.  A *year's salary* didn't make it worth it?

Jason McCullough
Friday, October 25, 2002

>>> Somehow, this doesn't compute.  A *year's salary* didn't make it worth it?  <<<

Maybe my explanation wasn't clear enough.  I worked for little company for 15 years and had a few shares of stock. Big company came along and bought the company for mostly cash.  I don't remember the specific amount that I got, but about the same or a little more than a year's salary.

While the company was far from perfect, it actually had some indications of being Peopleware compliant.  Most of the time I enjoyed coming in to work and thought that being a software engineer might be a career with a future.

Having lost that job I realize how rare such a work environment is.  We have frequent discussions about that on this board.  My current job is tolerable for now (while the economy is bad), but I hope to find something better in the not too distant future.

The amount of cash I received was no where near enough compensation for the loss of the job I had worked at for 15 years.

mackinac
Friday, October 25, 2002

[ot]

JD's right - check out the New York Times article he posted. Actual science has discounted the myth of low fat diets being healthier. There is no evidence to support that viewpoint. Low fat diets make you obese and increase risk of heart disease by raising triglycerides, amount other things (such as the surge of blood surger and following crash you get from eating carbohydrates makes you hungrier than you were before). High protein, high fat, low-refined-carbohydrate diets are the way to go if you want to lose weight, live longer and feel better. Ask any 98 year old farmer if you don't think so.

Ed the Millwright
Sunday, October 27, 2002

I hate to disagree, especially since I'm too lazy to back up my argument with well researched facts...

While protein and fat are not necessarily bad, and I agree you should stay away from _refined_ carbohydtates, there's plenty of evidence that high-protein diets aren't good for you.

I think the best way to look at what our species has eaten for the past 2 million years, and you won't find a lot of meat there. I believe the best diet is lots of fruits and vegtables, as much of it organic as possible. A limited amount of meat, fat and carbohydrates is good, in my opinion, though I have heard it suggested that you should not combine protein and carbohydrates in the same meal.

I try to keep away from dairy as far as possible. I've felt much healthier since I gave it up, though I am still partial to the occasional indulgance of ice cream. And B&J is (was) my very favourite.

All this is, of course, just my opinion, and I would never presume to tell anyone what to eat.

James

James Shields
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Um...What's wrong with Ben and Jerry cashing out? Are they supposed to stay with the company until they die for the simple reason that we like their ice cream?

They built a company, made a ton of cash and now they want the huge paycheck in the end. Where's the problem with that? Their workers were given a job, not a lifelong guarantee of employment.

If the "big evil corporation" wants to slash jobs, do you think it's because they just get their jollies putting people out on the street? Or perhaps its because they feel that some employees are no longer necessary.

I understand corporate boondoggles and bone-headed decision making, but it wouldn't be terribly surprising to hear that Ben and Jerry's wasn't exactly a model of efficiency and now must pay the price.

Mark Hoffman
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

The problem isn't that Ben & Jerry's wasn't efficient by technical standards.  Look at the growth of the company when it was being run by the "aging hippies" and you'll see a model of good business.  The problem is, it isn't efficient by the standards of corporate execs and shareholders who want to milk the calf for 20%.  Even if that means laying off workers making the product, after all you could always cut out certain flavors and lower standards, but those hundred or so workers are standing between the rich and an extra quarter of a million profit.  I loved B&J's original philosophy and I'm sorry to see it sacrificed on the corporate alter, not because the idea was flawed, but because the rest of the world is.

S Crahan
Thursday, July 08, 2004

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