Rotten Christmas Parties, Part I: Thomson/West

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Thomson/West is the galaxy's largest publisher of legal and accounting books, with more than $8.7 billion in revenues and 40,000 employees worldwide. Happily, Thomson execs toast their prosperity by giving a little something back at this time of year. Technically, very little: This year's Christmas party at the Independence office was held . . . in the basement . . . during lunch hour. The central attraction? A lone laptop tuned to the Deal or No Deal website. "We were urged to play the online version of the game," says one staffer, still glassy-eyed with dismay. "Few people played, and no one stayed past the first hour, so I have no idea what the prize was." The reward for those who did stick around: docked pay. Though the party was scheduled for 1.5 hours, Thomson granted each employee only one free hour out of the cubicle. The rest came out of pocket. But there was a Christmas bonus for all: Just days prior to the party, Thomson workers were informed that part of their jobs is being outsourced for the new year. Ho-ho-holy shit. -- Erich Burnett

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