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Oink! Oink!

I have to tell you about the wedding of one of my colleagues that happened last summer. Having worked with him for the past five years, his behavior did not surprise me in the least.

This guy (we’ll call him Ricky) has an almost notorious reputation for being rude, obnoxious and just generally difficult to work with. The very mention of his name usually evokes anything from eye rolls to shouts of rage throughout our company. As infuriating as he is however, even I was stunned at how he handled his wedding.

Vancouver has a large Chinese community and most of us have been to traditional Chinese weddings at some point. We all understand that as per tradition, gifts consist of money placed in a red envelope and that the amount given is up to each guest. Most people I know (myself included) give as much as we can realistically afford and the bride and groom usually wind up with a very substantial amount at the end. Until recently, I’d never heard of anyone stating a minimum “required” amount.

And then Ricky’s invites started coming out. He had told everyone in his department that he would not be inviting anyone on his level because he didn’t think that they made enough to contribute a satisfactory gift. He had sent invitations to everyone in upper management because even if he hadn’t met him yet they surely knew who he was. And lastly, at the bottom of each invitation was a nice little note stating that the REQUIRED gift was no less than 100.00 per guest. Shocking right? 0424-11

You have to pity people like Ricky because they seem to completely unaware that their self-serving behavior may have temporary benefits ( a large cash infusion from the wedding guests) but eventually yields poor long-term dividends as friends and co-workers slowly ween themselves from having any substantial acquaintance with the gimme pig.

{ 51 comments… add one }
  • karma April 26, 2011, 5:42 am

    To quote Mr.T, “Pity the fool….who married him.”

  • DGS April 26, 2011, 6:07 am

    Ah, yet another example of someone hijacking a cultural/ethnic/religious tradition to serve their own selfish purposes. What a rude and classless individual! Here’s the thing: if someone invited me to the wedding, being aware of that tradition, I would have been inclined to give a nice gift (affordable, but substantial), but if someone told me what the minimum gift was to be, I would have immediately declined the invitation and given the offender bubkis.

  • QueenofAllThings April 26, 2011, 6:32 am

    Wean yourself away, is right! Holy gimme pig, batman.
    One would hope that most of the potential guests declined to attend.

  • --Lia April 26, 2011, 7:15 am

    I wonder what he’d do if a guest didn’t fork over the required amount. Send a bill to the higher ups in his company?

  • Dorothy Bruce April 26, 2011, 7:20 am

    Agreed. He and the bride are going to be really surprise who doesn’t show up for the wedding. And his attitude at work will cost him either promotion or could get him kicked out the door.

  • Mrs. Soandso April 26, 2011, 7:28 am

    Not only was that awfully rude, which I think we all can agree on. But it was also a terrible career choice. I doubt that the “higher ups” appreciated being used in such a transparent way. If hes lucky, and they have a sense of humour, they will just laugh at his presumption and decline the invitation.

  • SHOEGAL April 26, 2011, 7:42 am

    So what happens if a guest doesn’t give the “REQUIRED” $100 gift?? Are you thrown out of the wedding – forbidden to eat the food – are guest weeded out before are allowed to walk into the room? Does the groom hurriedly tear apart the red envelope to make sure there is the required amount??? If he doesn’t make sure all guests have given properly – are they singled out by the DJ – called on the spot – “Hey will Mr. & Mrs. Smith ante up the remaining $50 they owe for this wedding!!” Ridiculous. This is disgusting behavior – this isn’t a wedding where guests important to the couple are asked to share in this joyous occassion – but a $100 a plate dinner thrown to feed these pigs. Oink is right!

  • AS April 26, 2011, 8:21 am

    And then he’ll wonder why so many people didn’t turn up for his wedding (or RSVPed negative, if he has RSVP cards).
    How did he even find a woman to marry? Or, is she like him too?

  • DGS April 26, 2011, 8:39 am

    I was actually, at a post-wedding brunch once for a member of my extended family (sad to say, although disclaimer here: we are related by marriage, not by blood, thank goodness), where the bride and groom were loudly complaining that after they tallied up their “loot” on their wedding night (funny, my hubby and I had more exciting things to do on our wedding night than count up how much money people gave us), they came up “short a few thousand” because their guests “were stingy and cheap”. I mildly inquired of the bride if she was going to send bills to her guests detailing the difference between the cost of their dinner and the present they gave her.

    • admin April 26, 2011, 9:27 am


      Unfortunately there are stories on Ehell of brides and grooms who actually did confront guests about their insufficient giving. One example was at the wedding reception where the groom took the mike from the DJ to castigate his guests and at least one, possibly two, stories of bride’s writing thank you notes that were really invoices informing guests of how much the reception was per person and how much they owed since the gift given wasn’t sufficient to cover reception expenses.

  • Enna April 26, 2011, 9:03 am

    I agree with you Dorothy Bruce – was going to say the same thing. If I was on the “upper level” of a company and a collegue did this to me I would be very offended and schocked. Wouldn’t promote him nor would I want him to remain in the company.

  • Stepmomster April 26, 2011, 9:04 am

    But, on a more pleasant note, nobody in your office had to endure his wedding! YAY!

    He is very lucky he doesn’t work in my company, they have major senses of humor, he might have had all those invites tacked to his cube wall, or received $100 monopoly bills in every gift card…. or 100 yen in a gift box.

    We had a man who reminded everyone that it was his birthday every year, besides being a combative person in general, he was also extremely entitled and rude without provocation. He was finally let go last year after insulting and intimidating the head of engineering’s executive assistant. The engineering department manager is a very nice man though, so the manager did get him a cake for a goodbye present. He was released back into the wild about a week before his birthday, so the cake said “Happy Birthday, and good luck in your future endeavors”


  • Katniss April 26, 2011, 9:06 am

    It must be wonderful to go through life without a sense of shame. So liberating!

  • Elizabeth April 26, 2011, 9:07 am

    I wouldn’t be surprised if upper management calls him in for a little chat.

  • ferretrick April 26, 2011, 9:12 am

    The wonders of google. Isn’t the prescribed Etiquette Hell solution here to give the gift in small denominations and/or foreign currency? Since the wedding is Chinese, I think yuan is prescribed here. Some quick research told me 6.527 yuan = 1 US dollar, currently, so I think 653 yuan would send a message. I’m even being generous and rounding up. If I was really mean, I’d give the smallest paper currency, the jiao, which is .1 yuan, so 6530 jiao.

  • Wink-n-Smile April 26, 2011, 9:15 am

    I doubt very much whether any of those higher-ups whom he has never met, but surely “know of him,” will accept the invitation. If they know of him, it’s through the grapevine, which, apparently, involves howls of rage in his case.

    Sounds like he wasted a lot of money on printing those invitations. He would have done much better to 1) Be nice to those on his level and below, 2) invite them after having been nice to them, 3) Not mention money or gifts, at all, and 4) keep the wedding simple, more in line with his social position.

    I have no problem with elaborate weddings if the bride and groom are in the social position which affords or requires them. Really rich people can afford the chocolate fountains and ice sculptures, and those who can properly lay claim to the term “socialite,” probably need to invite all and sundry in order to keep their claim. However, most people would do best with a small, simple wedding.

  • DGS April 26, 2011, 9:38 am

    SCARY stuff…do people have no shame? (Rhetorical question)…

  • ashley April 26, 2011, 10:36 am

    It seems that Ricky truely doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “gift”.

  • Ashley April 26, 2011, 10:41 am

    Can’t people just be happy that guests even show up?? I know there are plenty of people out there who are thrilled just to have people at their wedding sharing in the good time with them, but then I read stories like this and it makes me…Idk what it makes me…appalled doesn’t seem to be quite strong enough a word. “Required amount” must be code for “Throw this invite in the trash, we obviously only care about your money anyway”.

  • Just Laura April 26, 2011, 10:46 am

    Unfortunately there are stories on Ehell of brides and grooms who actually did confront guests about their insufficient giving.

    I guess I’m behind the times. My wedding was last month, and out of around 35 attendees, I only received presents from 12 of them. I really need to get on top of my invoice writing, apparently. Stupid me, I was just so happy they showed up.

  • nannerdoman April 26, 2011, 10:49 am

    “Required gift”?

    That’s the biggest oxymoron since the phrase “my cat” was first spoken.

  • SML April 26, 2011, 11:20 am

    Update: Ricky left the company shortly after and now works elsewhere 🙂

  • Caper April 26, 2011, 11:28 am

    Where are all of these gimme pigs coming from ?! I’m not married yet, but have been to quite a few weddings and I don’t know, but I never felt the gift was expected ? In fact, It was always my thoughts that the wedding was hosted by the bride and groom and as the bride and groom, we are inviting you to share in the special moment, and as the hosts, that’s our bill to foot. It doesn’t matter if it’s $10/head or $10,000/head. That’s the bride and groom’s choice and their bill to pay.

    *Unfortunately my thoughts sounded much better in my head, and I don’t think I typed it out as clear as I intended them to be.

  • Hal April 26, 2011, 11:35 am

    Bless you, “Just Laura.” This having a wedding to receive gifts must end. It is a social occasion. If a gift is given it ought to be received with a surprised “Thank You!” I have suggested before that it be made known to wedding guests that no gifts will be accepted. State that all wedding gifts sent in defiance of the bride’s wishes will be sent, unopened, to a charity. Checks and money, too. Last time I suggested this be done there were several who wrote to say it would be rude not to accept gifts. There are other times to give gifts. Do it privately for other reasons. And, if the family of the bride has never given a formal party other than a wedding do not start with one. Backyard weddings and beach weddings are great. Have a BBQ. Serve beer and wine. Don’t break the family budget for a showcase event for a self-centered bride.

  • Rattus April 26, 2011, 11:36 am

    I have to say that if I were to receive an invoice to cover the cost of my supper, I would, if I didn’t know the person well, ignore it with a large harrumph. If I knew the person well, I would cover the amount requested and let me know that this payment was being rendered upon the conclusion of our dealings with each other. I can’t imagine I could be friends with someone who would do such a thing, but if it turned out that I had been so very wrong, I suppose that it’s better to know now than when I need them and they don’t come through because there’s nothing in it for them.

  • Psyche April 26, 2011, 11:53 am

    Be glad this guy isn’t from India. I hear dowries are getting so out of hand, there have been stories of brides “accidently” being burnt by their mothers in law-and wouldn’t you know it!-they all seen to happen just after the parents of the bride tell the FMIL that she’s being too unreasonable with the dowry demands. I can only imagine how picky those people must be over gifts from the guests. I agree-either this guy shows a different side of himself to the woman he marries, or she’s just as bad as him.

  • Brenda April 26, 2011, 12:07 pm

    I used to work with another legal secretary who, at her second wedding, not only set up a registry (yes, her second wedding, and she had been living with her fiancé for years), but invited only senior lawyers to her wedding and reception, people who would have the money to purchase the incredibly expensive items on her registry.

    She has since moved to another firm, one in the same building, but only one person ever bothers to even stop by there to say, “Hi.”

  • Kat April 26, 2011, 12:14 pm

    How on earth does he plan to enforce THAT? …never mind, I don’t think I want to know.

  • Xtina April 26, 2011, 12:25 pm

    Wow, that is just….heinous. I have never seen such an outward display of stupidity and greed. Not only is he hurting himself personally, but he’s really sending a horrible message to his superiors at work; he will be remembered for this and it will surely negatively impact his career. He has absolutely alienated and offended every single person he knows.

  • Vrinda April 26, 2011, 12:30 pm

    You were clear, Caper. I understood you. 🙂

    SML, I’m glad that you are finally rid of Ricky.

  • June April 26, 2011, 12:31 pm

    Caper, I’m with you.
    And it’s also a pet peeve of mine when people say that the money grubbing is “according to etiquette”. As in, “Well, you still have a year to send a gift, according to etiquette.”

  • Michelle P April 26, 2011, 12:44 pm

    Caper, you were as clear as day. Totally agree. My jaw is still on the floor from this one, and other stories on here that admin has described.

  • Allie April 26, 2011, 1:03 pm

    Caper, I think you expressed yourself quite well, and I completely agree. The bride and groom host the reception for the benefit of the guests who have come to bear witness to their union, and it is their bill to foot, with the cost depending on what kind of reception they choose, be it a casual afternoon tea or a sit down dinner with all the trimmings. Gifts, as always, are at the option of the guests and are not meant to be a quid pro quo for the cost of the reception. They may be given as a token to mark the occasion and/or to help the newlyweds start out in their life together.

  • Hemi Halliwell April 26, 2011, 1:29 pm

    Wow. I am glad that the only gifts I had to count on my wedding day were my blessings.

  • Lady Silver April 26, 2011, 2:18 pm

    Ferretrick- your solution made me laugh, but I think the prescribed solution would actually be to ignore this guy and to plan to do something else on the day of the wedding. Why waste your time plotting some sort of revenge with currency when you can just decline and spend the energy doing something nice for yourself or a loved one instead?

  • Mary April 26, 2011, 4:04 pm

    I wonder about these greedy people that expect the gifts from the guests to cover the cost of the reception. If the parents of the bride and groom contribute or pay for the reception, wouldn’t that mean that the gifts of money should go to pay the parents back according to that philosophy?

  • Miss Raven April 26, 2011, 5:05 pm

    I bet his intended is the kind of bridezilla who announces at her showers how much the gifts probably cost and how much each check is for. Can’t imagine she’s not complicit in the gimme-piggery.

  • Amanda Kate April 26, 2011, 7:23 pm

    If I were invited, I would give him a card saying that $100 had been donated to a charity in his name. This is the kind of retort I like because you are doing something good, and the person can’t complain about it because you did something good.

  • Hazmat April 26, 2011, 7:52 pm

    “Wow. I am glad that the only gifts I had to count on my wedding day were my blessings.”
    Hemi Halliwell

    Where’s that like button at?

  • MeganAmy April 27, 2011, 12:21 am

    It’s appalling that some people think they are being clever by doing things like this! I also wonder what the bride was like!

    I remember reading a story a few years ago about a woman whose mother threw her a baby shower. Within each invitation, the mother-to-be included the name of the item on her registry that that guest was required to purchase for her. She’d base the gift upon the guest’s house size, job and what kinds of cars they drove. The person telling the story said her mother had been asked to buy a $150 gift and that while her mother wasn’t sure she’d buy that, she was going to go to the shower because she was a close relative of the husband of the mother-to-be. I think about 30 people were invited and the person writing the story said that she attended and split the gift with her mother instead of buying the one she was told to purchase on her own. She said that she and her mother, along with the mother-to-be and her own mother (who was the hostess) were the only attendees of the shower. And that the mother-to-be ran out of the room in tears when the $150 gift was given by the two guests together because it meant she wouldn’t be getting more gifts.

  • Enna April 27, 2011, 8:56 am

    Interesting Rickey left the company soon after – they must have had words with him about this – maybe no one form the “upper level” was prepared to give $100 so he took himself and his big greedy ego to where he “would feel more valued”. Or his manager said this was unacceptable and either sacked him over it or due to another of other similar selfish acts on Rick’s part.

  • AS April 27, 2011, 9:18 am

    @Psyche – I don’t deny that dowry, unfortunately, is still prevalent in some parts of India. But your comment and generalization is extremely offensive. What you read or hear in some news is some of the stories that have been blown up out of proportion because they only report the extreme cases and don’t usually talk about the masses. So, unless you have attended enough traditional Indian weddings, I don’t think you should judge all Indians based on some random stories. I have never seen anyone taking dowries, let alone getting out of hands (and I have been to several Indian weddings and heard of several more because I am an Indian).

    Given that we are on topic about Indian weddings, let me tell you that in India, it is customary to invite everyone you know for the wedding, because it is considered to be an honor to be invited to the wedding. In fact, some people take offence if they aren’t invited to, say for example, to their boss’s grand daughter’s wedding. But gifts are not mandatory for the wedding. In fact, I often know people who have gone to weddings without gifts. The couple knew it, yet they were as gracious as ever and were happy that they made it to the wedding. The idea behind inviting everyone is that the couple wants good wishes and blessings from everyone they know; and also because marriages are considered something that adds to the society. I don’t know what people who solicit dowries do to their guests; but I don’t think they make the guests pay anything and dowry is only between the bride’s and the groom’s family. I think it is extremely bad to take dowries, and I don’t condone them. But I speak on behalf of all good citizens of India that most Indians don’t take dowry. And I’d request you not to judge the people and make such offensive comments.

    This stupid guy is a greedy groom which has nothing to do with his nationality. I was so glad that no one brought up his nationality as being an issue (or maybe the admins blocked such comments). And then I read your comment, and it was as if you slapped on the face of all Indians because of some wrong information or idea you got from somewhere.

  • Sharon April 27, 2011, 5:52 pm

    Caper, I thought what you posted was great. My thoughts exactly!

  • Maggie April 28, 2011, 12:15 am

    I live in Hong Kong and I know the amount should be an even amount. If anyone wanted to be rude back and stick it to Ricky, they could give say $11 and, according to Chinese superstition, you’d be wishing the couple bad luck (odd amounts are given at funerals.) Not that anyone would want to be rude of course…

  • Mahal April 28, 2011, 12:28 am

    I’ve never understood the gimme pigs. Our wedding was in the UK, with the family (we live overseas) and my mother in law had to ask me to find a way to accept cash gifts from the relatives who wanted to give to us – I’d never expected any, not least because my husband and I had lived together for nearly four years prior to the wedding. We eventually settled on asking that no gifts be brought to the reception, as we had luggage constraints due to flying in from elsewhere. I was astounded by the generosity shown, and my great-aunt was surprised – and pleased – to find me writing thank-you notes two days after the wedding!

  • AS April 28, 2011, 9:36 am

    @Maggie, that is interesting because in our custom, it is exactly the opposite – you shouldn’t give even amounts for anything auspicious, and never give some amount ending with zero. I still do that, and add a dollar if I give gift cards for say $50 or so. Good to know the custom before I attended any Chinese weddings where I gave money (I sent a gift to the only friend whose wedding I was invited to).

  • Angie April 28, 2011, 12:25 pm

    Wow, that takes the cake. I knew a couple who told everyone that they were only inviting people who they thought would give them at least a “C-note”, but I don’t think they had the gall to actually put it on their invitation.

    (I wasn’t invited to this particular wedding, because apparently they thought I was too poor, so I never saw the invitation.)

  • Maryann May 1, 2011, 3:55 am

    @Katniss –

    I strongly recommend the book “The Sociopath Next Door,” by Dr. Martha Stout. In it, she explains why while it may seem that people who truly act without shame or conscience (who exhibit antisocial personality disorder, AKA sociopathy, a condition that’s alarmingly common, encompassing about 4% of the American population, most of whom are entirely non-violent and appear mostly normal) are very free, ultimately they miss out enormously on most aspects of human life, often reducing it to a dull and never-ending competition. They tend to lead lives of remarkable emptiness.

    I wouldn’t romanticize the lack of shame too much.

  • Anonymous May 2, 2011, 2:42 am

    I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned people who write cutesy poems to let their guests know that they’d rather have money than physical gifts. Here, let me have a go:

    Bob and Sue are getting married,
    But they’ve been cohabitating,
    And your presence at their wedding,
    They are both anticipating!

    They already have fine china,
    And a plasma television,
    So, as they write their registry,
    They’re wracked with indecision.

    Their adolescent children
    Will soon be bound for college,
    To fill their livers up with booze,
    And brains with pricey knowledge.

    They have a mega-mortgage,
    Several maxed-out credit cards,
    But all that debt is worth it
    For the hot tub in their yard!

    Their house is filled with knick-knacks
    That just sit and gather dust,
    So, they don’t need any presents,
    But your money is a must!

    They’ll take cash, or cheques, or AMEX,
    VISA Gold, or MasterCard,
    Come finance their bad decisions–
    Hey, it’s really not that hard!

    They’re saving you the hassle
    Of shopping in the mall,
    Or creating something heartfelt,
    So, your sacrifice is small!

    You really should be thanking THEM,
    They saved you SO much time,
    And they’re fully within etiquette,
    Because they begged in rhyme.

  • Izzy May 2, 2011, 4:42 am

    @AS chinese custom isn’t as simple as that, almost EVERYTHING has meaning, so if you gave say, $99 you could reason it means longevity/eternal love and has less zero’s than 100 O_o
    I wonder if this ricky would bill a guest who gave $99? 😛

  • Fung October 4, 2011, 11:35 am

    If Ricky is chinese, he doesn’t have to pay a penny for his wedding since it’s the grooms parents to pay for it. The red envelope is already the well wish and the money inside a bonus. Indeed the chinese do hold dear on the auspicous meaning of numbers, with the numbers 8 and 9 being the most auspicous numbers.
    Chinese never really never ever dictate a giver a minimal amount of the money for present that’s one of the mortal sin with the chinese, with doing this Ricky has sent himself to the lowest level of the chinese hell.
    In some traditional families I know the red envelope money is going to the parents, a way to help them out with the costs of the wedding (this would only cover a fifth of totalling costs made), the groomparents really pay for everything from the wedding garments of bride and groom to the last drop of beverages, so a wedding couple has lil to none costs to make for their wedding.
    What Ricky did is a major NO NO, unless he isn’t a chinese, then he had abused a very respected and beautiful chinese tradition.

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