Free

A director’s goodie bag…

Many companies routinely give their board members discounts of freebies. After all, it can be a great way to give a board member the customer’s eye-view of the business, say by having them wheel bags of mulch through the checkout line at Home Depot (HD) on a Saturday in May. For the most part, these give-aways have been pretty modest. But a new disclosure in SBC Communications’ (SBC) recent Q is making these goodie bags almost as valuable as those routinely given away in Hollywood. In the Q filed last week, the company says it will provide up to $10,000 a year (plus a gross-up for taxes) worth of services to each of SBC’s 18 directors. Even retired directors — the company just reduced its board by 3 — qualify for the freebies, according to the Q. So do the families of directors who have died, up to 14 months after the death. And, if the director lives in an area where SBC doesn’t operate, the company will reimburse the director for the service, which pretty much defeats the purpose of getting directors to sample the goods. SBC, a telecommunications company based in San Antonio, provides a wide range of services including local and long distance phone services, Internet access, wireless, and satellite television services.