OK, so now that I have had a nice rest, let's pick up pretty much where we left off.
Just in case you need to catch up here are links to the previous posts about the trip:
Gigi Goes to Ben & Jerry's Week Intro
Gigi Goes to Ben & Jerry's Part 1
Gigi Goes to Ben & Jerry's Part Deux!
Once we got off the shuttle bus, we were dropped off in front of an enormous office building. I thought I got a picture but it appears that I did not. But honestly, from the exterior, it's pretty much like any office building. Heck, it could be this one:
As with so many other things in life, it's what's inside that counts...and the inside is pretty kick ass.
Even if they don't manufacture ice cream here, you know nothing but good things can come of a place that not only features a life-size cow sculpture (topped by stuffed cows) in the lobby...
...but also has a slide! And not just any slide, but a curly slide!
And yes, several of us did in fact go down it.
The place is enormous. They even have directional signs:
We were whisked (Whisked, get it? Oh, I am so funny...) into one of the many conference rooms. All of the different rooms, by the way, have names either taken from actual product names, or something ice cream related -- except for the legal department, which is still just called Legal -- aah, lawyers, that wacky bunch! I did take pictures, but my batteries had seen better days by that point, and only one came out:
Once in the room, we were fed again (we will never be able to accuse of hosts of starving us). But we were given a small reprieve from the ice cream (just a small one, though -- I promise there is a lot more ice cream to come) and we got to talk to the man who puts together the social incentives the company comes up with, and about his career with Ben & Jerry's that goes back to almost the very beginning. I have to apologize for the gentleman's name slipping my mind now -- I was on such a sugar high at that point that the facts started to blur. (Maybe some other nice blogger or PR person will jump in here and remind me). We also met Lisa, the self titled "Keeper of Stuff," who is in charge of keeping track of all of the Ben & Jerry's archives. Oh, but to be able to rummage around through her collection! The building is lined with all sorts of cool memorabilia of the company's past, and Lisa's dream is that one day there will be an actual museum.
Here's a tiny sampling:
It was time for a deeper tour into the building and talk about some of the perks of working there. Yes, I did tell you yesterday that there is a nap room...and below is photographic proof!
You can also get massages in that room as well.
Got kids or even pets you want to bring to work? (Or pets you consider kids?) They've got you covered there, too. There are rooms for not only kids but also pets. Or they can be at you personal desk/office.
If you are a breastfeeding mom, they have a room called "The Milky Way" in which you can feed or pump in privacy (for obvious reasons we did not enter or take photos of that room).
There is also a full gym, personal trainers, and yoga offered -- as well as free membership to a local gym.
If you feel the need for a midday game of foosball...hey, go for it.
And let's not forget that you are working for Ben and Jerry's, so there are freezers fully stocked with pints. All Ben & Jerry's employees are welcome to take home a whopping three pints a day!
There is so much room that they even donate office space to the Dream Program (which is a youth mentoring program).
The office is just filled with so much that I think we couldn't possibly have seen it all, even though we walked around several times. There's an area with computers set up should you wish to use some downtime to surf/check email, etc. (And yes, Jerry himself uses these computers!)
The area by the CEO's office is set up almost like an indoor garden. There's even a conference room at the top of the slide called the "Tree House."
There is even a life-sized, fully functional scoop shop where the company runs "Scoop U." Scoop U is where franchise owners, managers, retail employees, and bloggers who would like to go through the program (OK, I made that last part up -- but I would not object) go to be trained on how to actually run a store -- and the art of the perfect scoop. Incidentally, should you ever want to know, a perfect single scoop of any Ben & Jerry's ice cream should weigh 3 ounces.
That is also where the amazing PR folks magically made a couple of pints of the much talked about Flourless Chocolate Cake flavor appear for us!
Mini-review: If you like Chocolate Fudge Brownie, you will looooovve this flavor. It's like CFB dialed up to 11! Very rich and dark, with dense patches of cake. My local store is trying to get me some. There there may be more of an official review later; but to be brutally honest, I do not have a lot of faith in my local store actually following through.
Other cool things to be found in the office:
(One of the fab PR folks, above)
I really wanted to take this one home with me -- but it is almost as tall as I am, and they didn't seem to want to part with it. (Anyone who knows me knows I would in fact put it in my living room.)
To be fair, I have told bits and pieces of this afternoon out of sequence because I wanted to dedicate an entire post to what was the highlight of the trip for me: meeting the Flavor Gurus!
Wanna see the Gurus? Well then, you better come back tomorrow!