DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a colleague who consistently asks for what I consider large contributions to work gifts. I’ve explained to her that I’m not comfortable giving that kind of money. I want to show kindness for things such as birthdays and Boss's Day, but the amounts she asks for are above my comfort level.
I get the feeling that everyone begrudgingly agrees. We all feel the same, but none of us wants to be the Scrooge in a group chat.
I finally put my foot down and said "no more birthday gifts" when she wanted the two of us to buy someone a fancy grill, but we still have other events/holidays to celebrate.
When I ask for contributions for something, I usually state that it’s optional, suggest a minimum amount (usually $15 or $20) and don’t ask for a group response in the email or chat. I would never assume everyone is willing to contribute, let alone at the same level. But her emails are worded in a way that we must respond.
I fear that choosing not to contribute will cause me professional hardships, but when I do contribute, it usually results in friction with my spouse due to the large amounts. (We don’t even spend that much on gifts for some family members.)
How can I respond to these requests -- or am I being cheap?
GENTLE READER: It is a pity that modern businesses do not have departments devoted to crafting and enforcing company policies and protecting staff from abuse (sometimes from one another), all while maintaining employee productivity and general well-being.
Or that, when they do have such departments, they (perhaps wisely) want nothing to do with crafting or enforcing company policies and protecting staff from abuse, all while maintaining employee productivity and general well-being.
Recognizing this -- and assuming that it would be too much to simply stick to work during working hours -- Miss Manners recommends that you gather a few like-minded individuals and craft your own guidelines for limiting, or banning, such collections. Then have everyone put a copy in the anonymous suggestion box outside Human Resources so as to help them with their own productivity.