Goldman Sachs bankers — many of them already jittery over the prospect of getting fired — were greeted with a cold slap as they returned to work on Tuesday: crappy coffee that was no longer free.
As the rank and file filtered into the mega-bank’s posh Manhattan headquarters at 200 West St., those that went to grab their usual cup of joe in the so-called “Sky Lobby” on the 11th floor were confronted with “a sign and a woman yelling at us that it was no longer complimentary,” one caffeine-addicted employee griped.
“We had to go to the checkout counter before we could leave. I paid $2.99 this morning for a sh-tty cup of Seattle’s Best,” the frustrated financier fumed. “Nothing says ‘Happy New Year’ like ‘You’re already on the verge of losing your jobs — but let’s just make sure you lose your free coffee, too.’”
Goldmanites were on edge on the first work day of 2023 after Chief Executive David Solomon revealed plans to lay off another round of workers during “the first half of January.” Last month, Semafor reported Goldman will lay off 4,000 “low performing” staff — roughly 8% of its workforce — although insiders noted it may ultimately be a smaller number.
Another staffer took the coffee clampdown in stride, noting that “All the floors have coffee machines… just the drip isn’t free anymore” — the latter being the serve-yourself stuff that’s dispensed from the spigots in the Sky Lobby. The staffer also admitted, however, that the coffee machines inside the offices are frequently broken.
“Kick a man while they are down seems to be Goldman’s 2023 mantra,” the first source added. “People aren’t jovial from the holiday rest … now they’re pissed about the loss of coffee, too.”
A Goldman rep pointed to the coffee machines Goldman provides. “There is free coffee available to all employees on every floor – from drip coffee to espresso drinks,” spokesperson Abbey Collins told The Post.
But employees employees claim the machines are frequently out of commission, and the ones that do work make coffee that “sucks.”
After Labor Day, Goldman removed the last vestige of a pandemic perks: The complimentary “grab and go” coffee station at the entrance of 200 West St. — stocked with coldbrew, as well as stashes of French vanilla creamer, almond milk, soy milk and half-and-half — that appeared during the pandemic to encourage attendance.
It’s not just coffee that has been yanked. In April, Goldman announced that employees were once again on the hook for the cost of breakfast and lunch. Goldman hiked its meal allowance for dinner to $30 from $25 after The Post reported staff were griping they couldn’t even buy a Chipotle dinner with the stingy stipend.
Also in April, Solomon ended free daily car rides to and from the office, which the bank had begun offering at the start of the COVID outbreak, The Post was first to report. It now limits the benefit to employees who work well into the evening, sources said.
Ultimately, the brass determined it didn’t need sweeteners to get people back to the office, sources told The Post. Instead, management believed the threat of getting fired should more than enough incentive, the sources said.
“There are a variety of factors impacting the business landscape, including tightening monetary conditions that are slowing down economic activity,” Solomon said in a voice memo sent to employees last week. “We need to proceed with caution and manage our resources wisely.”
The year-end memo came as profits at major banks slump and the top brass at those firms look to downsize their workforce amid a slowing economy. In September, Goldman chopped roughly 1% to 5% of underperformers.
While every bank on Wall Street is faced with troubling economic conditions, Goldman appears to be in a particularly precarious position. Earlier this week, The Post reported some Goldman partners believe Solomon isn’t up to the task of running the prestigious firm. Goldman is dwarfed in size by banks like Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan, and insiders feel Solomon hasn’t done enough to compete with the rivals, insiders told The Post’s Charlie Gasparino.
But employees say removing a little boost of caffeine isn’t the way to ramp up revenues.
“It’s pretty f***ed they want us to work 90 hour weeks but can’t get a free cup of coffee in exchange to keep us awake? Come on.”
Comments are closed.