A 23-year-old Google software engineer named Brandon has been living in a truck in the company parking lot for the past five months to save on rent.
“Interestingly enough, the place I picked to park the box truck was already inhabited by more than a few equally sketchy looking vehicles: an RV, a few hippy vans, and a large truck or two,” he writes on his blog. “I have a hunch that I’m not the only person doing this.”
According to a thread on Quora, he’s not the first to try it out.
Google perks — from free, gourmet food to complimentary fitness classes and gyms — are so versatile that multiple employees say they have spent weeks living on campus to save on rent, according to the Quora thread.
With 24/7 access to Google’s buildings, they have every necessity at their fingertips: showers, bathrooms, laundry, electricity, and food. Plus, the commute from the parking lot is a few seconds on foot, rather than hours sitting in traffic commuting from San Francisco, where many Google employees live.
“Technically, you weren’t supposed to live at the office, but people got around that by living in their cars in the parking lot of the office or the Shoreline parking lot,” one Googler writes on Quora.
One “guy lived in the camper for two to three years. Showered at the gym. Did his laundry on campus. Ate every meal on campus he could. After the two to three years, he had saved up enough money to buy a house.”
Another Googler, programmer Ben Discoe, says on Quora that he lived on Google’s campus for 13 months, starting in October 2011.
“I had a house payment and alimony to pay,” he writes. “No money left for South Bay rental prices. I got a 1990 GMC Vandura custom conversion van for $US1800 (blue velour, wood paneling, previously tricked out by a burner) and that (roughly speaking) was my entire rent for the 13 months.”
He bought an IKEA mattress to sleep on in his car and covered his windows with curtains to block out the light.
Like Discoe, former Google designer Brandon Oxedine says he outfitted his car with a mattress and curtains, and lived on campus for three months in 2013.
“I was in a unique situation working at Google where I had showers and food that were very convenient to me,” he writes on Quora. “I lived in a Volvo station wagon. … I set up a twin mattress from IKEA and put up black curtains (on the 90% blacked out windows) and slept there mostly every night.”
Does Google care?
The company didn’t respond when Business Insider reached out about Brandon’s living situation. The Googlers write that they haven’t been actively discouraged from living on campus.
“It is very likely technically in violation of some obscure code or city ordinance,” Discoe writes, but the company isn’t preventing it. “Google Security came by very early on, but once they determined that the guy in the mysteriously parked white van was just an eccentric Googler and not the Unabomber, they never came by again.”
The most recent campus resident — 23-year-old Brandon, who is saving 90% of his income by living in a truck on the periphery of campus — had a similar friendly run-in with security after getting home late from a movie one evening. He says he was greeted by about 10 security personnel that night, but after showing them his corporate badge — and even offering to move the truck — they apologised for waking him and even said he had a “sweet setup.”