Haute cuisine from Vistaprint…

August 10, 2012

It turns out there’s a lot of money to be made in business cards and marketing brochures — and some good eating, too.

We know this because Vistaprint (VPRT) told investors yesterday, via this 8-K, that executive Katryn Blake is headed to Paris for three years.

The company will gin up business cards, brochures, pens, postcards and more for your business, and Blake has the unwieldy title of “Chief Customer Officer and Executive Vice President Global Marketing,” but we wouldn’t fuss about a cumbersome title either, if we were getting the deal she is.

Not so unusually, the company is picking up a bunch of expenses related to Blake’s move. One thing that got our attention was the generous living expenses of È108,000 (around $133,222) per year to be stationed in Paris, a hardship assignment if ever there was one. It also happens to be where Vistaprint’s CEO is based. But the real piâce de râŸsistance is this perk, which in nine years of reading filings, we can’t recall seeing in an employment contract:

“a food allowance of È29,382 per 12-month period”

Now, we get the idea that it’s more expensive to live some places than others, and the company wants her to go to France. But an extra $36,124 a year for food? That’s $98.97 a day. That buys an awful lot of pain au chocolat.

Heck, it can probably buy a lot of foie gras — according to 2011 figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, total per-person expenditures in France for food (and related services) was $24,576. So in effect, the Vistaprint food allowance would appear to be able to pay nearly all of the annual food budget for Blake, with some left over — not just the difference between what the French spend and what the U.S. spends.

Except, oh, wait — by that measure, Americans actually spend more: $33,575 a year, per person. That’s a pretty all-inclusive number. Apparently if you just look at the food itself, the U.S. spends about a third less than France. And those figures are much lower: $2,239 per person here vs. $3,263 in France. It’s not really clear from the filings which Vistaprint office Blake will be relocating from, but our best guess is the U.S. headquarters in Lexington, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston and not exactly an inexpensive place.

Any way you cut it, Blake should eat pretty well in the City of Lights. Too bad we probably just blew our chance of getting an invitation to dinner.

Image source: Snail with butter and parsley via Shutterstock.com

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