Condé Nasty

Belt tightening at the tony publishing empire puts Canadian Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter into the cafeteria lineup, holding a luncheon tray

When the recession comes to visit, even higher-ups at Conde Nast, the posh publishing house responsible for the New Yorker and Vanity Fair, among other titles, are forced to hide the silverware—and the free Orangina, Fiji water and, oh!, no more shrimp at the salad counter. Even Graydon Carter, the Canadian editor of Vanity Fair famous for his snow-jump hairstyle, has been seen sheepishly entering the lineups in the cafeteria, reports the New York Observer. “In all my years here, I’ve never seen him in my life there,” one insider tells the paper. “He was behind me in the line at checkout with his little swipe card. He was milling around uncomfortably with the commoners.” Other recently introduced no-nos, thanks in part to the arrival at Conde Nast of McKinsey & Company, a leading management consulting firm: “Going to the spa is no longer a form of client entertainment,” says one Naster. No more fresh flowers for editors’ and publishers’ desks every Monday morning. Executives do less lunch, more sandwiches. “There are suddenly more people in the cafeteria,” says another. “It’s getting kind of cutthroat with placing your stuff there to save a seat, especially near the window.” No more free Fiji and Red Bull, either: “We have to start drinking tap water.” Observer writer John Koblin asks Condé Nast CEO Chuck Townsend what all this means. “You don’t need it! You don’t need the Orangina!” replies Townsend. Apparently, however, you do need the New Yorker: Editor David Remnick has been assured his title is safe from the indignities of commerce.

New York Observer