The San Francisco Chronicle, the major newspaper in the Bay Area, carried an article in its Sunday edition that raises some concerns about the culture surrounding the high tech industries that often seem to be re-shaping the world. The article, entitled “Bar’s open at Startups,” reports that at prominent companies such as Twitter and Yelp it’s not unusual for beer to be free and available throughout the work day: “At Yelp Inc.’s San Francisco headquarters, a keg refrigerator provides a never-ending supply of beer to employees, letting them drink as much as they like” according to the article.
For those aware of the destructive power of alcohol, and of the difficulties presented to those struggling with addiction when alcohol is omnipresent, this seems like an alarming step backwards towards the days of the “three-martini lunch” (not that those lunches have ever entirely disappeared).
“We treat employees as adults,” said a Twitter spokesperson, “and they act accordingly.” The spokesperson seems to believe that “adults” don’t run into problems with alcohol.
Nobody wants to return to any sort of prohibition, but a greater realization by employers of the dangers alcohol carries, and the damage it does, is surely not too much to ask.