International trade is what powers the modern, global economy! But Google's bean-counters have taken a horrid protectionist turn by insisting on domestic beer for the search engine's Friday "TGIF" events.

A tipster reports:

Smoot-Hawley it ain't — but, google's just implemented its own horrid "buy american" policy without fanfare. Specifically: the BEERS at the company's famed "tgif" event on late fri afternoons — once a delightful array of Pilsner, Heineken, Beck's and Carlsberg Elephants — have morphed into a sad pick of Bud, Miller, Coors. Nothing was announced: it just happened! A cost-cutting move? Maybe: any googler with a taste for real beer will happily turn to tap water (since the company's discontinued bottled water too, in an obvious cost-saving moved disguised as ecological conscience;-) rather than imbibe such swill, so the sad excuses for bottles can be paraded again the following week for no money down. No idea what's happening at international location — hopefully googlers in dublin or zurich can still enjoy beers worth that name, even while their US colleagues are forced to penance via the sad array of domestic brands:-(

In an ongoing austerity campaign, Google has already hiked prices for childcare, cut in-house tech support, and Christmas bonuses. At any other workplace, these perk slashes would be expected as the economy contracts. At Google? It's proof that the world's most magical employer has become, well, just another company.

Heard of more stupid cost-cutting tricks? Drop us a line.

(Photo by haynes)