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Driving Down One Cost Drives Up Another

, , , | Working | May 29, 2019

(My workplace offers, through a third party, transportation to and from work to any of the employees who can’t or don’t want to drive, provided that enough of them live fairly close to one another to justify the expense. Those who come by car get comped for travel expenses, as the law here requires, while those who opt to use the rides provided, naturally, do not. I do own a car, but it’s more convenient for me to use the ride. About once or twice a month, when I need to get somewhere other than home quickly after work, I drive to work, instead. One day, the HR manager catches me for a talk.)

HR: “I’ve noticed that on occasion you come to work in your car.”

Me: “That’s right, about twice a month.”

HR: “We need you to notify us in advance when you’re planning to do so.”

Me: “I always call the driver or one of the coworkers on the same ride to let them know not to wait for me.”

HR: “I mean notify us, so we can take you off the roster for the ride in advance.”

(It then occurs to me that what he’s trying to do is to save the little extra money that the company that provides the rides charges for each additional stop — a trivial amount, as all of us who share the ride live close to one another, so it’s not a detour of any sort.)

Me: “But you make these rosters each Wednesday for the following week; most of the times I drive here, it’s because of some urgent errands I couldn’t know about a week in advance!”

HR: *obviously pleased with himself that he found a way to save the company a few bucks* “Sorry, I cannot allow this to continue. It’s a waste of money.”

Me: “I see. So, I’ll at least be comped for my travel expenses, instead?”

HR: “What? Why? We’re providing you with transportation!”

Me: “Currently, you do. That’s why I never asked to be comped for the days I came by car until now — but isn’t the whole point of this conversation is that you wish to stop providing transportation on those days?”

HR: *blank stare*

Me: “So, on days you are not sending a ride to pick me up, you will be legally required to pay for my expenses.”

(It then dawns on him that it would cost the company much more than what they’ll save.)

HR: “Um… well… I don’t know if we can do that. I’ll get back to you after I check what we can do.”

(He never did, and the issue was dropped indefinitely.)

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