There's a "Simpsons" character named Lyle Lanley, the fictional swindler in the "Marge vs. the Monorail" episode who uses his silver tongue to woo the town of Springfield into buying a poorly built mass-transit system that nearly bankrupts the town.
It appears Googlers in Australia are either unacquainted with "The Simpsons," or (more realistically) are unlikely to face down any financial problems in the near future.
An engineer at the company's Sydney office submitted a joke request for a monorail and got it -- well, a couple monorail cars, anyway.
Paul Cowen, the Google engineer in question, took to his Google+ profile to explain how this happened: "At Google, we have (like most large companies do) an internal ticketing system for keeping track of jobs for our building management team. ... Sometimes, though, this ticket system is abused by idiots* trying to be funny." (And by "idiots," he later writes that he means "generally me.")
After learning Google's Australia campus would soon expand from two buildings to three, Cowen suggested the company purchase the Sydney Monorail, a train system that ultimately shared too much in common with its "Simpsons" variant and was headed to the scrapyard.
"This idiot suggested that maybe Google should buy the monorail and install it between the three buildings in a loop," writes Cowan, "because we're lazy and besides how cool would it be to have a monorail.
"Everyone had a chuckle at this lame joke, and then that was it, until a particularly awesome member of our Facilities team, Alecia, replied to the ticket, giving an hilarious and clever feasibility study as to why purchasing the monorail would be a bad plan. ... Joke dies down, everyone's happy."
Months later, Cowen and Alecia learned that Google's brass didn't think the monorail idea was all that bad. They're asked to go pick out a couple monorail cars from the junkyard to use as meeting rooms in the company's newest building.
The cars were installed Tuesday, Oct. 8, in what Cowen has termed a "herculean effort" and a process the Sydney Morning Herald estimates to have cost $250,000.
I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and by gum it put them on the map! pic.twitter.com/ypFjcdRM8I— James W. Manning (@thejamesmanning) October 8, 2013
Worth it? Maybe -- though it still seems like more of a Shelbyville idea.
WATCH a video of the installation, below:
Earlier on HuffPost:
I'm not sure if it's an actual perk not to have to leave the office when you're sick, but on-site doctors ensure that this is a reality at Google's Mountain View campus. <a href="http://www.google.com/intl/en/jobs/lifeatgoogle/benefits/#bbb" target="_hplink">According to Google's benefits site,</a> physical therapy and chiropractic services are also available.
Japanese Toto Toilets
Is it really any wonder that Googlers have access to some of the most high-tech toilets around? <a href="http://sfist.com/2008/06/26/behold_google_offices_toilets.php?gallery6095Pic=1#gallery" target="_hplink">These Japanese johns</a> offer washing and drying of your nether regions as well as the mysterious "wand cleaning." Both the wash water and the seat itself can be warmed or cooled depending on your preference. Want to see what it's like to be a Google employee? <a href="http://www.totousa.com/Washlet/TryaWashlet.aspx" target="_hplink">On its website,</a> manufacturer Toto lists restaurants around the country where you can have your own luxury toilet experience on one of their Washlets.
Endless Lap Pools
One perk about not working at Google is that Gawker never posts a photo of you swimming <a href="http://gawker.com/217775/man-in-google-lap-pool" target="_hplink">in one of the Googleplex's lap pools.</a> The outdoor mini-pools are like water treadmills: a strong current allows the Googler to swim and swim and go nowhere. <a href="http://computer.howstuffworks.com/googleplex3.htm" target="_hplink">Luckily, according to How Stuff Works,</a> lifeguards are always on duty in case someone gets in over their head. Google is big on water sports. In August, the company installed a temporary wave pool on campus to celebrate the Google+ team, <a href="http://www.launch.is/blog/sergey-brin-surfs-at-google-beach-party-id-1-that.html" target="_hplink">reported Launch. </a> See a picture of Google co-founder Sergey Brin riding the waves <a href="http://www.launch.is/blog/sergey-brin-surfs-at-google-beach-party-id-1-that.html" target="_hplink">here.</a>
<a href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2344010,00.asp" target="_hplink">According to PC Magazine,</a> Google's Conference Bike is used as a team-building exercise for new employees. It has four wheels and five riders who work together to move it around.
Google's food program may not be the most creative perk at the company, but it is probably the most valuable to employees. Everyday, Googlers get three full meals and unlimited snacks from the campus' 25 cafeterias totally cost free. <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/07/what-googles-famous-cafeterias-can-teach-us-about-health/241876/" target="_hplink">According to The Atlantic,</a> the company makes an effort to keep the meals as healthy as possible by putting vegetables in every dish, using small plates and giving healthy items prime real estate in the cafeterias. <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/07/what-googles-famous-cafeterias-can-teach-us-about-health/241876/" target="_hplink">Google has also developed a creative pricing system</a> for vending machine food (the only edibles that cost money). The more sugar and fat contained in the snacks, the more they cost, which Google hopes will be enough incentive to keep its employees from gaining weight. Image via Flickr: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/brettlider/" target="_hplink">Brett L.</a>
Employees who don't have the time or inclination to get haircuts in the real world can get trimmed up at Google for free. <a href="Haircuts just one of Google's employee perks" target="_hplink">According to Reuters,</a> the service is provided by a company called <a href="http://www.onsitehaircuts.com/" target="_hplink">Onsite Haircuts</a> which operates out of mobile homes that travel around cutting the hair of Silicon Valley's tech army. Image via Flickr: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mwichary/" target="_hplink">Marcin Wichary</a>
Google has two things in common with McDonald's: an inclination toward primary colors and a ball pit. The Google Chrome ball pit is as you might expect a ball pit filled with plastic balls in the yellow, red, blue and green of the Google designed browser, Chrome. Check out the video above to see employees having too much fun at work.