back to article Podgy Googlers get shrunken plates

In a calculated effort to halt the expansion of its staff, Google has shrunk the size of its plates. The data-obsessed search colossus recently ran a study that showed its employees would eat less if it gave them smaller plates. So it gave them smaller plates. Google's on-campus eateries are inordinately famous for serving …

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FAIL

So you go back twice?

Sounds like nanny state to me...

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Pint

more exercise?

If you have to go back a second time, then that is more exercise helping burn the calories gained by going for the second serving?

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Meh

Just build a wall of potato salad round the edge so you can stack the plate higher.

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h 6
FAIL

Maybe

Maybe they should just serve healthy food or healthy versions of recipes.

When I worked at Blue Cross, the fatties ate pancakes, bacon, eggs, grits and sausage (and a diet coke) whey morning. Good lord!

And it is a HEALTH insurance company!

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Bleh!

I just googled grits. Now I feel ill.

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because

the diet coke makes it all ok.

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Bronze badge

Diet Coke

Umpteen years ago I accompanied a friend to a 100-mile race. I was very interested to see that the runners, most of them with the body fat of a famine victim, were washing down their noodles with diet soft drinks. Then I discovered the my friend favored that as a mid-race tipple.

So this odd weakness for diet soft drinks crosses the BMI spectrum. Just another thing to frighten the foreigners with, I guess.

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re: diet coke

Possibly because runners typically want complex carbs - not straight sugar.

But I agree that "diet" soft drinks are anathema. (quotes around diet, since studies indicate they muck with your metabolism in ways that may not promote weight loss).

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Bronze badge

Worse than that

Actually, it was worse than that, as I realized after posting: they were drinking lite beer. I guess that my subconscious had suppressed the horror of it. But my friend definitely packed sugarless soft drinks to sip mid-race.

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h 6
Go

Grits

I'm not a grits fan--as it's all carbs-- but taste-wise, grits actually aren't that bad.

Soft ground corn with a little butter, or cheese, or the Southern staple: shrimp and grits (usually has sausage in it to boot!)

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Joke

Nothing wrong with grits

Just throw in some salt, butter and melted cheese and they're completely delicious.

Oh, wait...bugger.

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Boffin

Faddism is endemic

in athletics, just as in the rest of life. Take those silly nose plasters for eg when we know that lung capacity is not limiting for exercise unless you have emphesema (it's cardiac output that is limiting). Until recently mid run rehydration drinks were all sugar, partially inverted dextrose to be precise. I used them dilute since at full strength they were anything but refreshing. Then they got some more science and you got some replacement salts in your sugar solution. Now the thing is all salt drinks (they come in tablets that fizz and dissolve in water), they don't taste of salt (much) because there are no chloride ions (bicarbonate ions instead).

The problem is we have know for several decades now (it won a Nobel prize) that you need some glucose in oral rehydration solutions for optimum and speedy uptake in the gut. But never mind I just add some sugary salt drink powder to the salt only stuff. Good job I have PhD in Physiology to be able to handle this stuff.

As for drinking diet drinks mid race, well it's got water in it and will be mildly acidic (aids absorption) but other than that no benefit. Mind you there is a LOT of sugar in full strength soft drinks, one small can of Coke has around 6 teaspoons of sugar in it.

Back when marathon running got going with the resurrection of the Olympics they swore by alcohol during a long run so I am just waiting for that one. Mind you a while ago I did go for a run a scant couple of hours after having a pint and had a blinder. Excuse me, I have a business proposal to write, in athletics there truly is one born every minute.

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re: diet coke

Everybody I know, lardy or not, drinks "diet" soft drinks because they think they taste a lot better, not for any perceived health benefits.

This is possibly different in America, compared to the UK, as their soft drinks use different sweeteners, and consequently taste different.

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Heart

But wait, there's more

I'm told they aren't so bad with enough butter.

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FAIL

there's a good reason

they don't like the slimey feel on their teeth that the sugary stuff leaves.

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Happy

pretty much

everyone who knows about grits feels that way. they are great, however, under your tyres in the middle of a winter snowstorm.

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Pint

diet soft drinks: UK vs. USA

I won't speak for the UK, but in the USA diet soft drinks taste godawful -- at least to me. As I understand it, I'm part of that percentage who can detect artificial vs. real sugar, and to whom diet soft drinks taste like aluminum.

Beer, because it's what I _really_ want right now.

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Anonymous Coward

um...

why not just use two plates?

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Coat

Just add more plates

G OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GLE

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Anonymous Coward

Sounds like the Googlers made the rim

the third half of their plate

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Thumb Down

You do not need HR algorithm for that

"[Our human resources algorithm helps Google] get inside people's heads even before they know they might leave," said human resource head Laszlo Bock.

Any manager worth his/her salary should know this regarding their staff. It is a sad day when algorithms replace basic human social skills.

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WTF?

before the staff

any manager knows it before the staff themselves? that's what google are claiming!

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Coat

beardys have no social skills

i'm done.

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GPlates

Presumably these are still in Beta?

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Paris Hilton

Fat merkins

it's the law!

Let's face it, standard food portions are huge in america. Everytime I'm over there it takes a week to adjust!

Every meal is like an episode of Man v Food!

And what's with their inability to hold and use a knife and fork properly!

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FAIL

knife and fork

you use a knife and fork? that's your problem. you're supposed to use a shovel. and that's why you have two hands. duh!

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man vs. food

Yes, the portions are rather large here. Of course, to a guy like me who's been rail-thin all his life and has a metabolism that runs like a Porsche Carrera on the Darmstadt Autobahn at 4am, the portion sizes are just right.

About the fork and knife thing: I don't know what's the "right way", but the first time our family was stationed in Germany (I'm an old Army brat), I was about six years old, and learned to hold the meat down with the fork in my left hand, cut off a piece with the knife in my right hand (I'm right-handed) and then, with the fork still in my left hand, place the piece of meat in my mouth. No big deal -- quick, efficient, no wasted motion. We ate out in town fairly often on weekends -- we were living in Mannheim at the time -- and that's how I saw everybody else eating, and didn't give it a second thought.

So, after returning home from our second stint in Germany (1970), I'm about fourteen; our family is out for dinner, and I'm seeing all these people holding the meat with the fork in their left hands, cutting with the right hands, then putting the knife down and switching hands on the fork before the piece finally gets to their mouths, and I'm thinking, "jeez, man, what's up with that? What's the deal with the hand-switching, all that wasted motion?" In fact, I'm even the only one in our family who's not switching hands on the fork, and I'm starting to feel vaguely self-conscious; finally, my Dad leans over, gives me a nudge and wisecracks, "Jeez, Mike, you eat like a German!"

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Anonymous Coward

It's supposed to be a psychological effect

It's not about people wanting to stuff their faces as, obviously, they can just go back for seconds.

The theory is that a large plate sets an expectation of a certain amount of calories, if you get fewer than expected calories, you still feel hungry. By removing the rim, they haven't shrunk the food plate in any practical sense but have reduced the suggestiveness (Is that a word?) of the plate.

First person to find the link to the related New Scientist article from earlier this year wins a nouveau cuisine meal...

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Headmaster

Cooking's a girlie

... so it's "nouvelle cuisine".

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Happy

Oh no it isn't.

Nouvelle cuisine is all about tiny portions artistically presented in the middle of the plate, not a mountain of food piled all over it.

I was once taken to a nouvelle cuisine restaurant stateside. When I was told where we were going to eat I puzzled over how the miniscule portions associated with nouvelle cuisine could be reconciled with my experiences of Yank food servings to date.

The answer turned out to be 3 foot plates with huge servings of top-notch grub artistically presented in the middle. I suppose I should have guessed.....

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Headmaster

Oh yes it is

I was trying to indicate in a facetious way that "cuisine" is feminine (girlie - geddit?), so the adjective should be "nouvelle", not "nouveau" as in the post I was commenting on.

Portions in novelle cuisine tended to be small, but smallness was never its defining characteristic. Its antecedent, cuisine minceur, was the one where eating less was important.

And, I hate to point this out, but the word is "minuscule".

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Oh I beg to differ...

The Nouvelle Cuisine that you mentioned is the WRONG and twisted Nouvelle Cuisine that unfortunately appeared in the 90s. The orignal Nouvelle Cuisine from the late 70s, developed by Claude Toigros' family had regular portions on a plate, sometimes even big portions. The difference is that this "new cuisine" was suppose to add fresh, local produced food options to a basic recipe and then transform your regular recipe into something sofisticated. The Nouvelle Cuisine concept was greatly distorted in France and many other places. The little food on your plate has nothing to do with Frech cuisne, Nouvelle Cuisine or any other cuisine per se.

Have said that, the amount of food on american plates is obscene. All Google is doing is to remove the rim of the plate to make some psychological impact on the people there. But it makes no difference since the restaurants there are open 24/7. Feels a little bit like WALL-E big fat people concept, but they have bean bag chairs instead of floating ones.

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Ahhh Bless.....

Do the likkle googlywooglies want some more foodywoody?

How about a large helping of reality to go with your stodge!

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@h6

Having had the chance to visit Google and eat at their restaurant, I can confirm the food is very tasty, and, unlike what h6 suggests, does not consist of fat stuff you see elsewhere in the US. It was healty food, lots of veggies and fruit for desert (and also froyo ;) )

So I think also people will go for a second plate. Maybe they should make the food less tasty?

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Got your big plate, Alan?

The chubby googlers may learn something from Mr Partridge:

Alan "...I’ve got a scam going with a big plate. Do you fancy being my… co-eater… lady?"

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Happy

I didn't think..

..that you were allowed to use RIMs in Googleplex!

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Happy

that's no rim jobs...

the plate rims are ok to use.

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They're just...

They're just reinventing the Victorian workhouse - expecting the staffers to warily approach the food overlord to beg "Please sir, can I have some more?"

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Coffee/keyboard

Google is a Corporate Cult...

All this company behaviour sounds wonderful at first, such as free food whenever you want it. I've worked in this kind of environment and it takes time to see through it, to see you end up giving up too much of your life to be at the company far too much. Its outright exploitation (its like being paid in "free pizzas", which is never a good sign in a job) but the exploitation is hidden. (This form of staff control is highlighting in the book "Corporate Cults: The Insidious Lure of the All-consuming Organization". I've come to realise its far more the Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) form of dystopian control, rather than the Orwellian form of dystopian control.

Orwell's world controlled by drowning people in overwhelming distracting endless fears. Huxley world controlled by drowning people in endless desires. Sounds wonderful at first, more food, more this, more that, yet its really serving the goal of always distracting you away from seeing the underlying control, where you are basically turned into a battery hen serving the people who are really getting rich and powerful from overworking you to the point you can even loose contact with outside friends and family as you are too often at work.

Here's a shocking comparison of Huxley's Brave New World with George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. It really shocking how much it shows the often hidden social control we now live in is really a combination of both Orwell's and Huxley's versions of control. Its basically control via fears and desires. Google are using Huxley's version to exploit people and many of them can't even see they are being exploited. The job takes over, even marriages can break down.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World#Comparisons_with_George_Orwell.27s_Nineteen_Eighty-Four

As for this... i.e. @"[Our human resources algorithm helps Google] get inside people's heads even before they know they might leave," ... What’s even more shocking is the thought that if they can treat their own staff this way, imagine how they really would try to control and manipulate all of us whenever they get the chance.

Google really is a Corporate Cult and they want all of us to follow that cult.

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Flame

And your point is, caller ?

Or more accurately, what's the answer ?

Communism ? Everybody receives the same, no matter what they do. All for the good of the commune. Everybody equal, but some more equal than others (Orwell again!, Animal Farm)

No matter what system, there will always be winners and losers. There is no right or wrong answer. We all have to make our own mind up, and many will be willing to sell their soul for Pizza.

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Anonymous Coward

dystopian control

But where does narcisstic personality disorder fit into all this?

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Happy

Yeah, whatever.

Me, I see the distinction between Personnel (which tended to sound more personal) and Human Resources (which always smacked of Battery Chicken cube-droid) but ultimately any employer is exchanging your time and attention for their money at a mutually-agreed rate. If they can painlessly encourage you to improve the quality of the attention/time you give them, maybe by added benefits, then so much the sweeter.

Issues arise when the painless becomes painful I guess. Is that what you said? I'm afraid I zoned out somewhere around paragraph 3...

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WTF?

@Velv: "And your point is"

Velv, I can answer you with a very old quote: "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832)

If you still can't see then here's a hint. The answer to your question is to seek a course in life which is freer than the corporate rat race. But then some (the young and/or naive) can't see how they are ultimately wasting their time in the corporate rat race, but in time, most are forced by life to learn the hard lessons. Its up to you if you wish to learn from the mistakes of others or you wish to blindly blunder into the same mistakes to repeat the mistakes of others, so you only learn the hard way.

Whatever you choose, I still see how Google is run (as this news once again helps to show) and I see what a danger their whole attitude is, not just to their staff, but also to the whole world, yet its obvious as Huxley and Orwell showed, some are blind to that danger. Worst still some don't even want to hear any question of it.

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Anonymous Coward

@MinionZero

So, don't work there then.

I don't. But I do get free sarnies at lunch time, which keeps you at your desk working - fine -saves me a fortune. I know why my company does it, but I accept that. (they told me at interview!). Free soft drinks too, but the free crisps are ancient history - DAMN that recession.

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FAIL

Oompa

The author missed out on a number of obvious chocolate factory jokes. I expect better of the Register.

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They've missed something obvious...

If the plates are smaller, you just pile the food higher !

Cue images of Google staff with foot-high piles of mashed potato on tiny plates...

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Coat

They're rehearsing for Oliver!

Please sir, can i have some more?

-No, fuck off back to your desk!

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Happy

new keyboard please

and monitor, too. thanks

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Instead of smaller plates...

...how about providing employees with paid work out times?

Hear me out, I know this sounds far more expensive than simply shrinking the plates. So to make up the costs, why not get rid of the food idea entirely? I get that it's a "thing" with google, but were I an employee I'd be much happier being able to squeeze a workout in my day where I otherwise couldn't ( single father ). You could save on the nightmare that is food service ( believe me it is ), even though it'd likely be a wash with a gym's liability.

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Boffin

Portion Size is All

You may remember a study from a while ago into why the French are not as lard arsed as the Yanks despite their food dripping with butter, cream and stuff. The answer it turned out is portion sizes. The French simply eat less, the actual difference was only around 10% but for every meal, all through life. That is a big difference over time.

Mind you it is also possible to cycle and walk in French towns and cities so the French probably get more exercise too.

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