Goldman Sachs' cafeteria has been described as something out of Gattaca, the 1997 science fiction film. It's a wide-open space full of furniture that looks like it was smuggled from a utopian future in which nothing is ever dirty, broken or unintentionally asymmetrical.
It isn't just the physical design of the 11th-floor space that creates this impression. It's the way Goldman administers it with a clever—almost sinisterly clever—policy designed to economically engineer efficient eating.
The most crowded time of the day to eat lunch is, naturally, during lunch time. For most people, this falls around noon. This creates the phenomenon of the lunchtime rush hour. You know this all too well if you've ever tried to stop in your local chopped salad place at, say, 12:30 in the afternoon.
Goldman didn't like the idea of its people waiting on long lines to get their lunch. People are capital to Goldman. It wants to use its capital efficiently. Standing on line waiting for dumplings or salad or a burger is not an efficient use of Goldman's capital.
So Goldman has installed actual vampire squids in strategic places to encourage people to move faster.
OK. I just made that up. What they actually did is far smarter.