What kind of office has an antique popcorn cart that looks like it would be more at home in Disneyland than down the hall from a maze of cubicles? A Silicon Valley office – that’s what.

I’d heard rumors of what could be found in the office complexes dedicated to making some of our most-loved technological marvels, but I’m more of a seeing-is-believing kind of girl.

So when my husband decided to ditch his gig in San Francisco for a job in Silicon Valley, I had to see his office for myself. I’d read about the perks on paper, but it all seemed too good to be true.

I talked Chuck into a Take Your Wife to Work Day earlier this year, and honestly, I am still reeling from what I saw.

I remember when I came to the Register for my job interview, I was jazzed that there was a soda machine and a vending machine. Well, I was just psyched to see a breakroom in general. These were luxuries I’d never had before at my previous mom-and-pop gigs.

Sure, my interview was two days before the 2014 earthquake and I never actually got to work inside the main Register office on Second Street once I was hired, but getting the new shiny office on Soscol Avenue was a treat. A brand new vending machine! A refrigerator with a water and ice dispenser! Plus, I finally had a real desk and not a card table like I had in the not-so-temporary trailers the news team worked out of following the quake.

I’ve given the tour of the Register building to friends and family. It takes about two minutes: main office, newsroom, advertising, breakroom, and we wrap up at my desk which is one of the more colorful workspaces in the office.

When you visit the Register, you sign in on a clipboard and get a visitor’s badge. This is far too basic for Silicon Valley.

When Chuck walked me into his office building – one of 14 buildings that make up his company’s South Bay campus – I was photographed and had to enter my name and contact information into an electronic tablet. In turn I was given a sticker with my name, the date and time of my check-in and the name of the employee I was assigned to.

The first floor tour included a stop at the bike station (why drive to the other office buildings when you can bike?) and the café.

We have a coffeemaker at the Register – as in the machine kind – no barista included.

The café counter set-up impressed me, but then I surveyed the café’s layout. There were snacks and beverages on a counter, and mini fridges stocked with cold drinks and plastic containers with fruit, yogurt, veggie sticks, salads and sandwiches.

“Each floor has a breakroom like this,” Chuck said.

“Wait, so this is all just here for the taking?” I asked. “You can take whatever you want?”

“Yeah,” he replied as I inspected the snacks more closely – organics pretzel nuggets, kettle chips, vegan cheddar flavor squares and seaweed crisps.

Don’t see anything you like? No worries! There is a cafeteria on the top floor.

I found the popcorn cart in a theater area. Chuck’s office building is littered with open spaces outfitted with couches, lounge chairs, beanbags and other new-age hipster seating options. Having a popcorn cart for decoration adds an adorable, but puzzling pop of color.

How does anyone get any work done in a place like this? Other office buildings on campus allegedly have basketball courts and a swimming pool. What more could this place have?

And then I saw it – a flyer for complimentary messages at the wellness center.

Wellness center! Maybe I picked the wrong profession.

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Samie Hartley is the Napa Valley Register online editor. Simple & Sassy runs every other Sunday. She can be reached at shartley@napanews.com.


Online Editor/Calendar Editor

Samie Hartley is the Napa Valley Register online editor. Her column Simple & Sassy runs on alternating Sundays.