Chapter

Corporate Expense Policies You (won’t) Want to Consider

When on business travel, I would often write to fill the time. This is the product of one such trip in which you might detect that I was quite bored.  I swear that this was written and circulated at the company as a joke… well, sort of.

 

MEMO

From: Frank Wilem

TO: All Employees

Subject: Draft Policy on New Expense Regulations

From time to time, it is important to stress the importance of keeping expenses in line, particularly when we travel.  To that end, I am forwarding some suggestions for new policies.  Please review these and return your comments.  Other new suggestions are encouraged, but please, let’s be serious about this very serious subject.

Transportation

Hitchhiking in lieu of commercial transportation is encouraged.  Luminescent safety vests will be issued to all employees prior to their departure.  Bus transportation should be utilized whenever possible.  Airline tickets will be authorized for purchase only in extreme circumstances, in which case, the lowest possible fares must be used.  If, for example, a meeting is scheduled in Seattle, but a lower fare can be obtained by traveling to Detroit, then travel to Detroit will be substituted for travel to Seattle.  If you can not arrange to have the meeting moved there, then you will be required to obtain transportation on to Seattle at your own expense.

When traveling to foreign countries, you may find that their air safety regulations are not as needlessly restrictive as our own.  Thus, check out whether or not they will permit sharing a seat with another passenger – a  simple way to cut your airfare in half!!  Also, many times the flight attendants will allow you to have additional bags of peanuts, which can be used to keep your meal costs down or can even be used as a light meal when entertaining a customer.

Lodging

All employees are encouraged to stay with relatives or friends while on company business.  If weather permits, public areas such as parks and parking lots may be used as travel lodging or alternately, abandoned buildings can work quite nicely.  Bridges can provide shelter in periods of inclement weather.  In the event that you must actually pay for a room, please seek out a YMCA/YWCA or homeless shelter first.  If these are filled, then find the hotel with the lowest room rate.

In the event you are not especially tired, you might try a facility that will allow renting by the hour.  (In this event, please note the entertainment section below.)  When paying for a room, remember that any and all free soap and shampoo are to be turned in to the head of human resources within 24 hours after returning to the office.

Meals

Expenditures for meals must be kept to an absolute minimum.  It should be noted that some grocery chains provide free samples of promotional items.  Entire meals may often be obtained in this manner.  Travelers should become familiar with indigenous roots, berries, and other protein sources available at their destination.

If a restaurant must be utilized, travelers should seek establishments offering “all-you-can-eat” buffets.  This will be especially cost effective for employees traveling together, as a single plate can be used to feed an entire group. Employees are also encouraged to bring their own food while on travel.  Cans of tuna fish, SPAM, pork-n-beans, and Beefaroni can be conveniently consumed at your leisure, without the unnecessary need for heating or other costly preparation.  Once again, homeless shelters may often be a source of hot, nutritious, free meals.

Entertainment

Entertainment while traveling on official company business is discouraged.  If such extravagances are unavoidable, customers should be encouraged to “pick up the tab.”  Such actions will save company money and convince the customer that we are focused on providing a good product, not on useless extravagances.  If you end up in such a situation, there are ways to have a heck of a lot of fun AND keep costs down.  Try suggesting a weenie roast to your customer, and quickly note that YOU will be picking up the tab.  You may be surprised by the reaction you will get.

If you end up in a restaurant situation in which you feel it is certain that you will have to pick up the tab, there are a number of other techniques that can help keep your costs down.  After finishing dinner, but before the check arrives, clutch your chest and fall to the floor pretending to be unconscious.  This will often enable you to avoid the check while also fostering sympathy from your customer.

If it is clear that you will be the one paying, tell the waiter that you want only one menu, as YOU are picking up the tab and want to treat your customer right, so will be ordering for them.  Then you are free to pick the cheapest menu items.

Make sure you order with a flourish to enhance their dining experience.  Instead of ordering a hot dog and fries, you should order as follows: “We would like two of your finest tube steaks, nestled on fresh white buns, with minced scallions, Gray Poupon, shaved dill garnishes, to be served with European prepared sliced tubers lightly fried in corn oil.”  Also, remember that after the first glass of wine, they probably won’t be able to spot a cheap wine.  Thus, make certain to arrange with the waiter beforehand to switch to the cheap stuff after the first bottle or glass.

The hospitality provided to customers who visit our facilities should also be tasteful, yet cost effective.  In lieu of coffee and doughnuts, picnic benches will be placed in the parking lots next to dumpsters for convenience in foraging.  In addition, garden hoses will be available so that liquid refreshments can be provided to our guests.

Miscellaneous

All employees are encouraged to employ innovative techniques in our team effort to save company money.  One enterprising individual has already suggested that money could be raised during airport layover periods.  In support of this idea, “red caps” will be issued to all employees prior to departure so that they may earn tips by helping other travelers with their luggage.  Small plastic roses will also be available to employees so that direct sales may be made as time permits between flights.  As an incentive for other ideas such as these, the person who submitted the above idea received a bar of soap and a small bottle of shampoo as a reward. You too could be so lucky.

Disclaimer: Frank Wilem is an author, speaker, and all around funny and entertaining guy. On this blog, his stories are based on his real life experiences, often with a satirical twist.

Invite Frank to speak to your next conference, corporate retreat or club meeting. Ask about having his speaker's fee waived when you purchase his latest novel for each of your attendees!

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