When my co-worker, *Jane* was pregnant with her second child, some of us at the office decided to throw her an office baby shower since her first child was 11, and this was her first child with her new husband. I and three other co-workers took on the responsibility of hosting and informed Jane of our plans. A few days later, Jane informs us that none of her friends or family can host a shower for her, and asked if we could make the work shower an “everyone shower.” She said her sister and mother couldn’t plan anything or help out ahead of time, but was willing to help out the day of and contribute financially. We already have a bad feeling about this, but smile and agree to host the shower for all of her friends and family.
Initially we had planned to have the event at a small conference center at our office (since it was initially only for our office of 20 people), but Jane’s sister informs us that their mother wants it moved to the rec center at her apartment complex. Again, we agree. Jane’s sister also tells us that she and her mother will contribute to the food since we will now be expecting a few more guests. A few more? When Jane provides us with the list, it has over 60 names in addition to our co-workers. Still, we plug on…
On the day of the shower, we arrive at the complex and find we are the only ones there to set up. Even though Jane’s mom lives at the complex and her sister is at the mom’s house, neither of them come over to help set anything up, not even the food they promised to provide. My co-workers and I hustle to decorate and one runs to the nearest grocery store to get more food since without the promised contributions from the family we don’t have enough. Finally, less than five minutes before the guests are set to arrive, Jane and her family saunter in with a small tray of appetizers (good thing we had already purchased more). Jane sits imperiously in the chair we had set up for her and does not move again for the rest of the shower. She doesn’t greet guests or speak to anyone who does not come to her. NO ONE in the family assisted us with anything. No one offered to help us serve food, take gifts, or anything. They certainly didn’t stay to clean up. And throughout the shower, the ONLY time anyone in her family spoke to us it was to tell us that a tray needed to be refilled. They clearly saw us as the hired help, as opposed to work friends who were hosting a beautiful and expensive shower for their daughter/sister.
As Jane opened gifts from the guests, she never said “thank you” or even positive comments like “how cute.” She simply opened them, looked at the gift, put it on the table next to her and reached for the next gift. We had taken up money from all our co-workers and purchased the expensive stroller Jane had registered for as well as a tall wicker laundry basket that was FULL of smaller items, including several handmade gifts, spending well over $500. I know you don’t buy over-the-top gifts for the accolades, but I was shocked when Jane looked at it all, and moved on without a word. We had put every penny our co-workers had contributed towards gifts (splitting the entire bill for the shower between the four of us), and purchased considerably more than she should have been expecting, but not even a murmur of appreciation. Fortunately, by this time, her bizarre behavior at work has also alienated most of her co-workers, and only one co-worker outside of the four of us that hosted showed up for the shower, so at least our co-workers did not see this rudeness (and we have never told them).
A few excruciating hours later, my co-workers and I are cleaning up (without help) and are stunned by the way that Jane and her family had treated us. None of them helped at all, contributed financially, or even said thank you. By the time it was over, we glad that Jane was planning on her quitting her job to stay home with her baby the first year. By the way, Jane never sent thank you notes to any of us that hosted. She didn’t send a thank you to the office for the gifts until a former co-worker called her (several months after the shower) to tell her she thought it was rude that Jane never acknowledged the gift. At that point, Jane sent a generic thank you to the office. 0727-11