Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Always trying to cut costs and find bargains, CNN employees became reliant on our internal computer message board called READ-ME. It was a forum for finding a roommate, helpful hints on cheap mechanics, and bitch fests about unfair distribution of free food at the workplace. The staff at CNN Financial Network in New York managed to churn out three pages worth of rants about whether the free Friday afternoon cookies in the break room were a perk or an entitlement until financial guru Lou Dobbs ended the file by stating,
"This is Dobbs...you should know that at this very moment our Technology Division is tracing every message in this file to determine exactly precisely who contributed what and there will be significant, even painful retribution taken against those who’ve expressed themselves too freely on this obviously important workplace issue...
Yours in journalism,
But the best part about READ-ME (and most crucial to us cash strapped peons) was the buying and selling of a litany of strange stuff. A sports anchor moved out of Atlanta and tried to sell a shoebox full of old pens and paper clips for five bucks. A producer requested a used breast pump. A political reporter begged for a kidney. Possibly underestimating his mother, another anchor tried to sell a used mattress claiming,
"Only my mother has used it, so you know there’s been no funny business on it."
My favorite entry was from an employee who managed to provide both gossip and a cheap bridal garment by pitching,
"Wedding Gown. Size 12. Never used."
READ-ME proved instrumental in reporting theft too. If you worked on an overnight shift, odds were you were stuck with the Hard News Café to provide meals after the food court in the atrium closed. This was usually a dismal prospect. The only time people got excited was when the Café offered the famed Turkey Tetrazzini. The electricity in the air! People would message each other exclaiming:
TURKEY TETRAZZINI TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
They would practically skip off to the cafeteria, ululating, pumping their fists in the air in anticipation of the culinary orgasm of Turkey Tetrazzini.
But not everyone chose to play the cafeteria lottery. Some organized, budget-conscious employees brought their leftovers to work in Tupperware. The problem was it was routinely stolen. So, in READ-ME there would be accusatory entries like:
"Today someone stole my lunch. I'm pregnant. How do you feel you bastard, taking food out of the mouth of my fetus?"
Others got specific about the type of food that was snatched:
"Someone stole my blueberries. What kind of an animal steals a man's blueberries?"
Still others tried to get witty, posting gems like:
"Egads! Who is responsible for the theft of my tasty vittles?"
I hated those people. They were the same ones carting around the mugs that read:
“You don’t have to be crazy to work here-but it helps!”