Listen To That Twitching Gut…It’s More Of A Gimme Pig Detector Than You Think

by admin on July 28, 2011

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

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Chocobo July 28, 2011 at 9:36 am

Oh boy, so many warning signs…. lesson learned!

The worst part about stories like these are that rude, entitled people like Jane ruin it for the next, honest coworker who would have really appreciated all the work they did. My bet is the four co-hostesses will never go through such a touching gesture again, or at least they will with great reservation.

My mother told me several years ago, when I was just starting out my career out of college, that “there is no such thing as an office friend.” I remember feeling shocked at the time, but have since come to see her point. That’s not to say there are not people that I have lunch with all the time, or am friendly with, but it’s a whole different category from “actual friend.” I have had some people with whom an office relationship has become a real relationship after they or I have left the same workplace, but not while we were still working together.

Parties are the same — social and professional parties should not mix, or else we end up with stories like this one. It was well-intentioned of the coworkers to throw a social party for Jane, but ill-advised. Stick to the office next time, if there is one.

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Bint July 28, 2011 at 9:50 am

I would like to give a big hand to the colleague who told Jane how rude she was. Having just realized that my cousin has decided not to thank anyone for any of the money she received for her wedding, I would love to ring her up and give her an earful but sadly this is not nice.

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josie July 28, 2011 at 9:50 am

I just wonder what goes thru a person’s mind when other people have been so generous with the gifts/shower/attending the shower. Doesn’t the word “thank you” even remotely come to mind? The mother/sister and Jane are all sadly lacking.

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Mjaye July 28, 2011 at 9:52 am

I live in a condo complex and they have a rec room where you have to put down a cleaning deposit ($100.00) which is refundable if you clean up when your event is done. I think this is pretty much a common thing in most condo or rental units. So unless you put the money up, I would have left the place and the cost would have come out of the mother’s wallet.

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Serenity S. July 28, 2011 at 9:56 am

Wow! I feel so bad for the OP and her co-workers. Jane was very rude at the shower, especially after the co-workers had gone out of their way to include her family and friends. And it was poor etiquette not to send thank you notes until it was mentioned by a co-worker, and then send only one mass thank you note. I wonder if Jane sent thank you notes to her “real” friends and family.

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Xtina July 28, 2011 at 10:00 am

Chocobo said it well about keeping office and social friends/events separate. In my experience, they do not mix well. Also true about office friends–you may feel close with them, but remove the setting of the office and usually those relationships just don’t carry through, for some reason.

Jane is unspeakably rude–sending no thank-you notes after the fact is bad enough, but coupled with the fact that she did not say boo to anyone or thank people for their gifts while at the party is unspeakably rude. What, did she think her party guests were so much trash under her feet who are meant to come worship at her throne?

As for the OP, I hope she (they) learned a lesson about trusting your instincts. A polite spine should have sprouted when the red flags went up, but I think they’ve learned the signs now very well. It is a shame that someone like Jane has soured and taken advantage of the generosity that the OP and co-workers meant in their gesture–it sounds like they worked very hard to give her a great party!

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Ista July 28, 2011 at 10:02 am

My handful of pennies on this…
First…I’ve never been to any sort of gifting shower that had more than 18-20 people. That number of guests in and of itself is ridiculous. Granted I may be prejudiced because mine had less than 10.
Second…who the hocky stick doesn’t get all excited and crooney over teeny-weeny baby socks and such? Both of my pregnancies had me gasping at the cuteness of tiny things. This woman sounds drugged or something. If she was truly that bizarre at work, I would have sent my standard baby shower gift of lotion, teething tablets and butt paste, and my regrets. I would have skipped the “cute” thing usually throw in based on what I know of the parents’ situation and lifestyle.
Third…I’m not the most genteel person in the world, but if Mom and Sister said they would help with setup and teardown (and had so far skimped on every request/promise made), you can bet I’d be knocking on their apartment door, followed by sitting in front of it with a cup of coffee chatting with the other coworkers until they came to help. If they didn’t want to decorate, there would be no decorations: I did my part by supplying the stuff and putting it up was up to them.

Was the rental of the rec room in Mom’s name? If all else failed, I’d have been tempted to gather the coworkers and depart early, leaving the mess for her to clean up, as her contribution.
Manners DOESN’T mean you have to let yourself resemble a rug. They mean that you make accomodations for other people within reason.
I’m sure you’ve practiced the phrase since this event but…”No, I’m sorry, we already have plans and can’t accomodate that request.” Followed by a gentle “Take it or leave it” if the mom to be persists.

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Lilybell July 28, 2011 at 10:02 am

I have to say that the OP and her coworkers were huge doormats. Jane was awful, but I’m afraid I don’t have much sympathy when there were plenty of times they should have just said NO. I can be too easy-going sometimes, but if someone handed me a list of 60 more people to invite, I wouldn’t have felt the least bit guilty for saying that there was no way in heck we could have that many people to an office party and that this was the last straw. I also don’t understand why they were so extravagant with gifts for someone they didn’t even like that much.

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sj July 28, 2011 at 10:11 am

When a coworker asks if it can be an “everyone shower” what is the polite way to say no?

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Lola July 28, 2011 at 10:13 am

I hope OP has learned her lesson in letting herself be used. The fist warning sign (request to add personal guests to what essentially is a work event) should have been the last. That wasn’t just a red flag – that was a fire truck with a siren blazing! For the guest of honor to make any sort of request from a host is presumptuous and rude. The rule of thumb is — if you’re not hosting, you don’t get to provide input, unless asked to do so. The nice-but-firm way to get it across would have been along the lines of, “You know, while I’m happy to host the work shower for you, I’m just not up to the responsibility of hosting the main shower. Thank you for understanding.”

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Raven July 28, 2011 at 10:16 am

Chocobo, I have to disagree with you here. I think “work friends” can be real friends – I actually have a few “work friends” from more than one job I’ve had, and there haven’t been any problems. I don’t think that’s where the problem for OP came in. The problem here was that the shower for a coworker (a nice gesture, I think, if it matches the general atmosphere of your office) was railroaded by the showeree’s family. Had the shower been office-only, it probably would have been just fine.

I admit that her behaviour was odd (not saying “thank you,” etc) but then again, people are different animals around their families. Clearly the showeree’s mother and sister have equally bad manners, so we know where she probably gets it. If the showeree behaved like such a buffoon at the office, I doubt anyone would have been moved to throw her a shower.

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Ashley July 28, 2011 at 10:37 am

I couldn’t imagine standing buy and watching other people set up and not offering to help. Jane shouldn’t really be helping set up, it is a party in her honor after all, but the fact that her own relatives who offered to help financially and all that didn’t do a thing? That alone blows my mind. Also, while I wouldn’t expect Jane to leap out of her chair and hug someone after opening their gift, I can’t understand how she can open a whole pile of them and not acknowledge them in some way, especially baby stuff, which is notoriously adorable! Speaking of that chair, I know full well that some women have a difficult pregnancy, but to not greet guests unless they come to your chair is just rude, unless your doctor told you flat out not to move from that chair.

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AS July 28, 2011 at 10:41 am

OP, you and your friends had your hearts in the right place. As Chocobo said, people like “Jane” spoil it for everyone by taking undue advantage of someone’s generosity. I might be wrong, but chances are that a lot of the other family members might have actually thought that you and the 3 other ladies were actually paid staff or something like that, unless Jane, mother or sister explicitly introduced the four of you.

At least, the next time you’ll know better to trust your instincts. Good lesson for all of us too, I guess – if the guest of honor makes an undue demand, call it quits as soon as something else comes along.

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Hemi Halliwell July 28, 2011 at 10:53 am

Wow, OP. When Jane said her family and friends could not host a shower, plan anything or help out aheah of time, you knew it was going to bad. Add that with moving it to the rec center of the Mom’s complex and 60 additional invitees ….
That fact that they lied about helping financially, helping the day of the shower and ordering you & the other co-hostesses around are pretty big faux pas. However, Jane not interacting with the guests, saying thank you or sending thank you notes, is what really stokes the fires of E-hell for her.I would use the generic thank you note to start the fire. And @Chocobo is right- this experience has probably ruined it for other coworkers who would be more appreciative & grateful and professional & social parties do not mix.

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Daisy July 28, 2011 at 10:57 am

Nothing kills generosity faster than ingratitude. Chocobo said it all.

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Sarah Jane July 28, 2011 at 11:09 am

It’s been my experience that usually when people at work offer to throw a shower for a co-worker, there are two reasons: 1) they genuinely want to do something thoughtful for the guest of honor; 2) they like the idea of hosting a social gathering for OTHER CO-WORKERS. Suggesting that they invite friends and family outside of work can often throw a damper on these things.

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Enna July 28, 2011 at 11:30 am

Or to avoid non-contributions in the future set a deadline for money to be given or food to be brought. If the majority of money is not provided for by the deadline then no baby shower. If there is a shortage of food actually wait for the “family helpers” to turn up and get them to do it – politely say “have you got the ABC or the XYZ the way we agreed? Oh dear you forgot! Good thing there is a shop you can go to…” That way people don’t wriggle out of it. Since it was done where the mother lives why not knock on the door? Or if there is a porter politely drop them in it “oh Jane’s Mum, can’t quite remember her address could you knock on the door? She said she would help.”

In a simllar story about a baby shower being hosted and with no thank you letters someone said why do people have expensives showers (it was in a response to my comment that baby showers are okay – they are provided:) If it’s done in the more pratical sense that you do what you can afford and the historical/traditional sense of helping a family member out then it’s okay. As for Jane not sending out Thank-you letters – something like post natal depression comes to mind. Sometimes pregnant women can get 1) defensive 2) overtired. and new ones can 3) get depressed.

My grandmother had postnatal drepression and at that time the Dr’s reaction was to shake her by the sholduers and get a grip (this was ages ago btw). I’d say the colleauage who said she was rude should’ve tactfully asked how Jane was doing. If she sounded down or unhappy then it could be post natal depression or sleep depriavation. I don’t have children myselft but I can imagine that if the little cute baby won’t settle at night he can make parents not think right.

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Enna July 28, 2011 at 11:31 am

P.S also if she’s been so busy sorting the baby out she may not have had time to do thank you notes.

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Lily G July 28, 2011 at 11:34 am

Wow. Just …wow.

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Twik July 28, 2011 at 11:36 am

Unfortunately, the idea of the shower has, for many people, mutated from “hey, our friend is getting married/having her first child, and wouldn’t it be nice to get her some essentials!” to “I’m getting married/having a child, and you *owe* me a shower of gifts. Now, hop to it, and make sure that the gifts and the party meet my standards!”

In this case, the attitude rears its head first here – “Jane informs us that none of her friends or family can host a shower for her….” Well, too bad. If her friends can’t invite people to a home and put out some chips and dip (minimal requirements being places to sit and enough food for nibbling), I’m sure they can’t afford gifts either. She should be happy she’s getting an office shower. She’s not entitled to extend that to a gift grab for everyone she knows. This is the point at which, “We’re sorry, that won’t be possible,” should have been applied.

And of course no TY notes were sent, since, in Jane’s world, she was gracious enough on the day to accept the tribute she was given. She has no more obligation to actually *thank* people than the IRS does when people submit their taxes on time.

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DGS July 28, 2011 at 11:40 am

Wow, what a disgusting gimme-pig, and apparently, that feature runs in the family…I’m sad for the OP and her co-workers who worked hard for this ungrateful boor and put themselves out of money and time with no gratitude. And I agree with Chocobo, “there’s no such thing as an office friend”. An office acquiantance, absolutely. A co-worker with whom you become friends once one or both of you no longer works there, definitely. Someone you socialize with at office-related events or may have a drink with after work once in a while, sure thing. But not an actual friend.

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--Lia July 28, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I know that looking back it looks like there were warning signs all over, but I’m going to suggest being easy on yourself and realizing that if you’d played your hand differently, things likely still would have turned out the same. From the moment Jane asked for a larger guest list and a switch of venue, you could have insisted that the shower be held in the office conference center, but then you would have looked unyielding and maybe even selfish for not being willing to invite her mother, sister, family, and friends. Maybe you could have talked to the mother and sister ahead of time and gotten specific about what food they’d provide and how much money they’d contribute, but I’d guess that if you had, they still would have weaseled out of their part of the deal.

I’d be curious what Jane was like at work before the shower and what her bizarre behavior was at work after it. There’s an untold story here. I’m not suggesting anyone try to find out what it is. That would be nosy. But privately, I’m thinking there’s a soap opera behind the scenes, maybe something to do with how she feels about the child or how she’s always gotten along with her family.

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Pixie July 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I don’t understand how or why people can be so rude.

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Redneck Gravy July 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I agree with Chocobo, it’s too late now of course, but the best thing you could have done then was say “that will not be possible” and continued on with your office shower for 20.

If she had 60 friends on her list, surely one of them could have hosted another shower.

Office friends are for the office and a shower hosted there would have been very kind but it should have stayed within the office boundaries.

You were gracious to do what you did, yet no good deed goes unpunished and this one bit your behind.

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Numa July 28, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Chocobo-Wow, just told my daughter who is starting college the same thing about “office friends.” I have one friend I met through work for going on 22 years now. She is the exception. The behavior of this boorish woman is the rule.

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grumpy_otter July 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I don’t mean to suggest that the OP was exaggerating, but stories like these make me wonder–can there REALLY be people this appallingly awful?

It also makes me wonder about people who have 60 names to put on a shower invitation list. Seriously? She had 60 people who were close friends or relatives just dying to give her baby presents?

This didn’t happen to take place in Florida, did it? ;-)

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LeeLee88 July 28, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I understand wanting to have a nice shower for Jane, but you said that she’d already been acting bizarrely at the office and had alienated people there, so wouldn’t that be a clue that Jane isn’t the greatest? At any rate, the moment she gives you a list of an additional 60 people, you say, “Jane, I’m afraid that won’t be possible, the budget can’t cover this”. The moment she said her sister and mother would pay the day of (why on Earth did you believe her?), tell her, “That won’t be necessary, we don’t want too many fingers in the pie. Here’s the list back, you’ll need to trim it down to {whatever} number of people.”

I’m very sorry you got taken advantage of. The hardest-learned lessons are always the ones that stick with us the longest.

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Psyche July 28, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I would have put my foot down about hosting the baby shower in the first place.

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Riri July 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Quite rude! I don’t care even if the gift WASN’T thoughtful or expensive (which it certainly was in this case)- always express your gratitude to the giver! It’s understandable that sometimes you might want more (although from this story, Jane certainly seems like she got plenty), but you always show an appreciative face to the giver! It sounds like OP+crew certainly went many extra miles for Jane, and she didn’t even show a happy face at the shower. I’d be horrified to act that way toward someone who has done so much for me (for so little reason).
Personally, I find baby showers quite frivolous and unnecessary; the money spent toward a baby shower can go toward baby’s future piano lessons, camps, uni fund, plastic surgery fund (jk lol) or basically anything else that I guarantee it will appreciate much more in the future. Somemore, even if you have a baby, guests’ gifts are not mandatory… can’t afford to buy baby supplies on your own, don’t have a baby lah… don’t feel entitled that others will provide it for you -_-

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Lolakat July 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm

The OP and her co-workers should have just left after the party was over. The Party was moved to the apartment complex that the mother lived in. They had set up, that’s where their responsibility ends, they didn’t need to clean up.

I agree about the warning signs, self entitlement is an epidemic these days

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SHOEGAL July 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm

The OP and office friends were taken advantage of and were treated poorly by the very people who should have been very appreciative. BUT. . . . . .

One thing I’ve learned, and from this site, I might add, is that things aren’t always what they appear.
Jane might have some underlying reason for her seemingly unappreciative attitude. Jane’s marriage might have been in serious trouble, health issues – a rift with her family – something might have been on her plate that she couldn’t shake and it showed. Perhaps she didn’t want to appear rude – but it couldn’t be helped – she couldn’t muster enough of what was needed for this shower to show even the slightest bit of enthusiasm.

It is very rude not to have sent a warmly written message of thanks for all the hard work, money, time and effort the hostesses put into this shower. It was also inappropriate to have asked these ladies to host this huge shower to begin with – and it was wrong of the family not to have pitched in to help.
I hope the OP and her friends learn to say no in the future – all this could have been avoided.

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K July 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Why didn’t you point them to the food when they said the tray was empty? Why on earth did you stay to clean up? Ya’ll should have left early. It wasn’t held your work place anymore so it wasn’t your problem, it was THEIR apartment complex. They’d be responsible.

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boxy July 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I don’t know why but I have a hard time feeling sorry for the OP.

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Kitty Lizard July 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Unfortunately there really ARE people like this. When I was pregnant, I had a premature baby. (Three months premature. 1980, when preemie medicine was fairly advanced, but not nearly so much as today. She was 2 3/4 pounds, had a stroke during the c-section with underdeveloped lungs. It was devastating to us. After I got home from the hospital, one of my husband’s friend’s wives made some homemade chocolates and left them on our doorstep. Most people were holding off on baby presents, as it wasn’t really sure if she was going to live. We were living at the hospital. I didn’t get around to writing a thank you note right away. A week later, she left a vitriolic note on our door because I hadn’t written a thank you for the chocolates. They were still sitting on the table by the door because we were at the hospital 16 hours a day. She never spoke to us again. Not that we were unhappy about that.

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Abby July 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I’m always surprised at the nerve of some people. Sounds to me like no one in Jane’s family or circle of friends was willing to host a shower, and Jane didn’t want to miss out on gifts she could still score, and knew she wouldn’t be around after the baby was born, and took complete advantage of her coworkers’ kindness and generosity.

I hate to say it, OP, but I think instances like these are when you HAVE to put your foot down. Jane had no business trying to extend a small office shower into an after hours, offsite party, but people will push as long as you will give in. I agree with those who think this should have been nipped at the bud as soon as Jane asked if she could invite non-coworkers. I could maybe see inviting the father to be, and possibly the mother of the mother to be, but not 60 of her friends.

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Gracie C. July 28, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Wow. I had a friend who behaved that way at her shower (the complete disinterest in the gifts part as she opened them and put them aside with hardly a word and not really saying thank you). It was literally the most bizarre thing I’d ever experienced. With each gift it just got stranger. Some of the stuff she got was so adorable, and you’d have thought she’d just opened an empty box.

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Hemi Halliwell July 28, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Good one grumpy_otter!!

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Saucygirl July 28, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Enna – most baby showers happen 4-6 weeks before the baby is due. Plenty of time to write a few thank you notes a note and be finished before the chaos begins.

I don’t agree with not being friends with coworkers. Maybe I have been lucky, or maybe because I have always worked for small companies where we arent competing for promotions and to climb the corporate ladder, but I have made fantastic friends at every job I’ve had, with the friendships starting while we worked together and continuing long after we stopped working together.

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Clair Seulement July 28, 2011 at 4:02 pm

I too like what Chocobo said. But I interpreted it not to mean that someone can’t be your real friend if you currently work with them (my mom and her best friend have worked together for a decade), but rather that someone is either your real friend or they are not: treating office acquaintances like friends (i.e., throwing them showers, or attempting to do a lot of office-centric outside-the-office socializing) is asking for trouble. In other words, if you wouldn’t have your co-worker to your house/introduce them to your “real” life, they don’t fit the definition of “friend” and you should reserve your deeper concern/free time for people you’re closer to.

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June July 28, 2011 at 4:25 pm

I like the idea of the coworker calling to ask if Jane is all right, ie post-partum depression.
If the coworker wasn’t one of the ones at the shower (since not many attended), it might have been better to act concerned and say, “Oh, I just want to make sure our gift didn’t get lost in the shuffle, since we didn’t get our thank-you note. Isn’t it amazing how fast they grow up?” Then maybe you could get a grudging thanks. Maybe. Or maybe just a grunt.

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Angeldrac July 28, 2011 at 4:52 pm

In Australia (well, in my stomping ground, Sydney), baby showers and bridal showers (we call them a “Kitchen Tea”) are really not seen as gift-extracting extravaganzas. They’re more just celebrations of the events to come. It’s not uncommon at all to have baby showers for second babies and teas for brides-to-be who have been living with their fiancé. Of course, there are often gifts involved, but, especially for the second babies etc. the gifts tend to be very practical (like nappies), or for the brides, things like recipes or tea towels. And everyone likes a party, it’s a lovely chance for all the girls to get together, play games and have a cackle!
I know this has nothing to do with OP’s story (I just can’t comment – it’s too gastly for words), but I just thought you girls from the Northern Hemisphere might like to know this bit of cultural trivia.
I’ve said it now….please return to roasting Jane and her family!

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LonelyHound July 28, 2011 at 5:13 pm

I am going to play Devil’s advocate to Enna… I was always taught that thank you letters should be sent out no later than 2 weeks after the event be it a wedding, Christmas or a baby shower, and usually baby showers are held about a month before the little miracle arrives. Sorry, but I do not see it as a problem to sit down for an hour or two after the event and get out the cards. That was the way I was taught and I am hardcore in that belief so sorry if I come across as aggressive.

I have never understood not saying thank you to someone who has given you a gift. Nor ignoring people who have put time and effort into giving you a baby shower.

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Jayne July 28, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Wow – a $500+ gift from an office of 20 people? If every single person contributed, that’s $25 minimum a person, which is extremely generous considering most of the contributors probably aren’t even “office friends” with the mother to be. And that doesn’t take into account the cost of food and decorations.

Good grief, if this doesn’t rate a “thank you”, I don’t know what would. The entitlement is mind boggling.

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MellowedOne July 28, 2011 at 6:25 pm

To reply to sj..her question,
“When a coworker asks if it can be an “everyone shower” what is the polite way to say no?”

Answer:
“I’m afraid that won’t be possible.” The forum has a whole section on the subject :)

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Zhoen July 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Never give more than you could deal with not being thanked for. I’m sorry, but I’m with Lilybell. No one can step on you if you don’t lay down in front of the door with Welcome pasted on you. No question Jane is a dreadful user. But you got a valuable (and therefore very expensive) lesson out of this.

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Aje July 28, 2011 at 9:50 pm

If this all happened a quick spontaneous announcement at the end of the shower would have been appropriate. Something like…

“Hi everyone, we’d like to say thank you for coming to Jane’s baby shower! I’m _______, this is my co-worker________ and ____________. These ladies were generous enough to host this shower for Jane.
We’re so glad you could come and enjoy this special day. We’d also like to give shout out to Jane’s Mom and sister, would they please stand? (wait) It’s been nice getting to know them both today. These wonderful ladies graciously offered to help us with food cost, let’s give them a hand.

Thank you all for coming. WIll the family members who volunteered to assist with tear down please stay after for a quick word?

When you see them, grab them. Get them to help and tell them their half of the food cost. :)

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Lisa Marie July 28, 2011 at 10:49 pm

This reminds me of my daughter’s wedding. It was suppose to be small and his parents kept adding out of town guests. The groom’s parents promised to pay for some things like the photographer they hired and then backed out at the last moment leaving my daughter in tears so guess who paid for that. My husband and I sat there like a couple of chumps. At least we get to be close grandparents while his family lives far away.

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--Lia July 28, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Aje’s idea is brilliant.

My thoughts on whether the OP was a doormat– It’s easy to think of the things she might have done differently after the fact, but the point is that she didn’t know how things were going to turn out beforehand. From the moment she offered to host the shower for the office, she could have been taken advantage of as she was, OR it might have turned out to be a fun and meaningful event, maybe something nice for someone who needed the favor. From the moment Jane asked for a change of venue and an increased guest list, the OP didn’t know if she was stepping into something yucky or if it would turn out to be more work but more meaningful, maybe a chance to get to know a whole bunch of terrific people. In business arrangements, we know to get paid in advance, but this wasn’t a business arrangement. The OP didn’t know the mother and sister were going to weasel out on their promise. The alternative is to walk around your whole life never trusting people, to act like you expect people never to show appreciation so you never step up to do something nice. It’s a shame that Jane turned out to be so selfish, but given a choice, I’d rather be like the OP any day. You get burned now and then, but you get the joy of being a giving sort of person too.

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Quieas July 29, 2011 at 2:21 am

I don’t like the idea of baby showers. I will never take it upon myself to host one, nor will I ever speak of them and therefore make people think I want one. Those things just seem like trouble from the start, even though I realize that they are meant well. :(

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livvy July 29, 2011 at 8:20 am

My main curiosity was about Jane – it sounds as though she was a good “office friend” up until a certain point, and then her behavior at work took a major nosedive. Perhaps it was a very difficult pregnancy, or she was having some sort of mental issues related to the pregnancy? Perhaps at some point they discovered something seriously wrong with the baby? (Which could also account for her unexcited attitude during gifts?) Obviously, Jane behaved very badly, but it seems like there’s more to her story, at least.

As for the mother and sister – there’s no excuse. If they insisted the shower be at the rec room, why couldn’t they have planned that and thrown the shower themselves? Horrid that they backed out of their promises, and didn’t even offer to help.

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