Business trips: I’m (not) lovin it
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Business trips: I’m (not) lovin it

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Remember the days of limitless expense accounts, client entertainment, obligatory five star travel arrangements for managing directors and lowly analysts alike? Well, things are certainly not what they used to be.

This could not be made clearer than by the recent tale from a banker friend. The European bank that employs him, which shall remain nameless lest too much shame is brought upon its brand, sent him on a business trip to China.

As we all know, China has come a long way in a short time, and even its second and  third tier  cities are perfectly capable of offering high quality accommodation. But unfortunately my friend’s bank did not get that memo.

The chap was forced to stay in what he described as a “dump of a hotel”. The service was shoddy, the room bleak and musty smelling, and any facilities on offer you used at your own risk.

It did not end there. After waking up from his first, uncomfortable night on bedsheets of dubious cleanliness, he made his way down to breakfast . But when faced with the horror that was the hotel food, he stumbled out, desperate for a half decent meal. And it was in this gastronomic desert that he spotted an oasis — or, in this case, a branch of McDonald’s. He rapidly made his way over to enjoy a slightly less depressing breakfast.

Here the story takes another sad turn, for while McDonald’s meals are cheap as chips (pun intended), the guy’s bank didn’t seem to think so. On returning to Hong Kong, his finance department showed no sympathy, rejecting his breakfast expense claims. The reason? He should have eaten the complimentary hotel meal.

Sad times indeed to be a banker! 

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