This is somewhat unrelated to the topic of this blog, but worth posting about anyway. Many large companies used to be small companies. And their policies don’t always keep up with their size or make sense. The majority of employees at my company travel quite a bit, so expense reports get scrutinized pretty closely. I have to document every single cent I spend on meals. EVERY SINGLE CENT. When I billed the government, I had the option of using a zip code based per diem. That made sense. For my current company, I have to spend a half hour of my time scanning receipts, and writing an expense report using a completely unusable web-based interface. It costs my company OVER A HUNDRED DOLLARS every time it happens. This is not exactly a productive use of my time, but we save every cent. No matter how much it costs.
The reason I bring this up is because we also have a $50/day limit on meal expenses. Doesn’t matter if you are in Omaha or San Francisco, $50/day. And we’re supposed to stay well under that. In Omaha, $40 is breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a few drinks too. In San Francisco, skip breakfast ($0), eat lunch but drink only water ($15), and find a cheap place for a nice sit down dinner ($25). Don’t even ask me about my expense report from Orlando.
If I spend more than the per diem because I eat at nice places, I’m *MORE* than happy to swallow the difference. And if some poor soul with kids wants to make a slight profit by shaving a couple bucks of his travel budget by buying bread and butter at a local grocery store, more power to him. But don’t make me collect and scan 10+ receipts every time I travel. You’re just preventing me from doing my real job.