There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

(pronounced: tan-stah-ful)

An oldie but a goodie, this abbreviation used primarily in texting, online chat, instant messaging, e-mail, blogsnewsgroup postings, and social media, it is also considered a form of online jargon or text message shorthand.

Historical perspective: Even though TANSTAAFL is one of the oldest Internet abbreviations, it fell out of popularity until the so-called "Tech Wars" of San Francisco in 2018. According to The New York Times, it’s nothing less than an attack on one of the modern tech industry’s most entrenched traditions: the cafeteria lunch. Two San Francisco legislators have proposed an ordinance that would take away the perk of bountiful free meals, made by the best chefs poached from the region’s famous restaurants. The idea is to force tech workers out of their offices, which have become independent fiefs, offering elaborate cafeterias as well as complimentary dry cleaning, gyms, and hair salons. While existing tech companies would be exempted, newcomers would have to either eat out at local restaurants, order in, or bring a lunch bag. Emotions have run hot in the city, where the influx of tech companies has left longtime residents feeling like the city is ever more divided between the haves who work for tech companies versus just about everyone else. But to tech workers, who struggle with San Francisco’s infamously high rents, targeting their free food feels more like scapegoating for the city’s problems than like sound policy. Film at 11.

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See also : FOC  OTL  acronym  cyberslang  shorthand  
NetLingo Classification: Acronyms and Text Message

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