Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: MissBrit on April 18, 2013, 01:06:10 PM

Title: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: MissBrit on April 18, 2013, 01:06:10 PM
At the doctor's office I work at we have drug reps that come in periodically to talk to the doctors. Sometimes they go above and beyond and bring us snacks, drinks, or breakfast. Yesterday, a drug rep brought us breakfast that consisted of bagels and coffee. I was very greatful as a vegetarian that there was something that I could eat but you would have thought the food was incredibly inedible according to my coworkers. One person flipped out because there was no orange juice and others scoffed at the fact that there wasn't more food. Seriously, the drug rep didn't have to do this for us. It's FREE FOOD. The drug rep told me that she felt very disrespected. Shouldn't my coworkers have at least managed to be polite and say thank you despite their disappointment? I told my boss and one of the doctors about this. My boss didn't seem to care but the doctor says that the next time she sees this rep she is going to apologize to her.  What do you think? Isn't this terrible?
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Hillia on April 18, 2013, 01:13:08 PM
It's incredibly  rude.  I hope the doctor rips the office staff a new one for their rudeness, and the office manager a new one for not taking action.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: WillyNilly on April 18, 2013, 01:13:32 PM
I think it depends on how it was presented. If the breakfast was announced a day in advance and people were led to believe they were getting a full meal and they should not eat before work, I think people deserve to get a full meal - a hunk of bread and butter/cream cheese is not a full meal. If the breakfast was just an extra mid-morning snack type thing and people had already eaten a proper meal before hand, then yes of course their griping was uncalled for.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: susantoyota on April 18, 2013, 01:15:11 PM
Your co-workers were definitely rude. The drug reps definitely don't have to do that and I seem to remember that there was a fairly recent crackdown on what types of "rewards" drug reps could bring with them on their calls.

Does anyone else remember this?
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: FauxFoodist on April 18, 2013, 01:39:49 PM
Your co-workers were definitely rude. The drug reps definitely don't have to do that and I seem to remember that there was a fairly recent crackdown on what types of "rewards" drug reps could bring with them on their calls.

Does anyone else remember this?

I remember it because I work for a public university hospital, and the policy is absolutely no gifts.

I think, even if the drup rep mentioned it advance he/she were bringing breakfast, the reaction was still rude as it was a gift.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: siamesecat2965 on April 18, 2013, 01:49:28 PM
Whether or not they thought they were getting a "full" breakfast or just bagels, etc. they were rude. I've been in similar situations, and want to crawl under something when I hear others complain about something that was free, and wasn't a necessity. I was always taught you accept any gift gracefully. There are times when I've been in situations where food was provided, and I either didn't like it or couldn't eat it, but I keep my mouth shut.

Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: AngelicGamer on April 18, 2013, 01:53:09 PM
I think it depends on how it was presented. If the breakfast was announced a day in advance and people were led to believe they were getting a full meal and they should not eat before work, I think people deserve to get a full meal - a hunk of bread and butter/cream cheese is not a full meal. If the breakfast was just an extra mid-morning snack type thing and people had already eaten a proper meal before hand, then yes of course their griping was uncalled for.

RE: the bolded - to me, it is.  However, I know that I am not the norm.  I cannot eat a lot in the morning and am very picky about breakfast meats due to my taste buds being different in the morning vs. the rest of the day.

As for the situation, the staff were very rude.  The rep didn't have to do anything and probably won't do anything in the future.  Heck, the rep might even decide that the office isn't worth it and pass off your office to someone who isn't as nice so she can focus on her good clients.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: WillyNilly on April 18, 2013, 02:07:57 PM
I don't see a work breakfast as a gift. Its certainly nothing like an ugly sweater you can just smile about while you say "thank you", then put to the side and never look at again. This is the fuel a person needs in order to perform their job functions over the next few hours.

And its supposed to be a sales incentive (which is why there are so many rules about this type of thing). The sales rep wants something from the staff, not so much the other way around. The meal's function is to make the medical facility (which is comprised of staff) want to do business with that rep and push that rep's product. If the rep drops the medical office, its not a problem, there are no doubt a dozen more reps waiting to just get their foot in the door to make their pitch... along with a meal for their audience.

One shouldn't be outright rude of course, but certainly one needn't just put and shut up about being offered a meal and then served something sub-par when the provider is trying to get the staff to do something for them.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: cheyne on April 18, 2013, 02:12:23 PM
I think the staff was rude.  They actually complained to the Rep?  Talk about entitlement!  If someone, anyone, brings an office a food item they should be thanked.

Example:  I work in a male dominated industry.  The default morning gift is a couple of dozen donuts.  I cannot eat donuts in any way, shape or form (horrible heartburn).  I always thank the "gifter" profusely for their contribution.  Even if I can't eat the donuts it doesn't mean that the rest of the employees won't enjoy them.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Hillia on April 18, 2013, 02:18:05 PM
It would be pretty foolish, IMO, to plan your day's nutrition around an expected gift of food.  Even if the rep said, 'I'll bring breakfast on Thursday', there are many reasons why it might not materialize.  What if the rep were ill that day and couldn't make the call?  What if she was in an accident, or some other emergency came up?  What if she was just stuck in traffic and late getting in? If you know that your day will not go right if you don't have a particular type/amount of food, it's up to you to make sure all contingencies are covered.  Griping about a gift is always rude.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 18, 2013, 02:32:06 PM
I think the staff is horribly rude. Whether a marketing incentive or not, it was still a complimentary offering. Their choice was to either say "Thanks, but no I'll pass" or to say "Thank, I'd love some coffee."

There was no bait and switch that I can tell. It doesn't sound like the rep said I'm bringing bagels, fruit, coffee, juice and breakfast tacos tomorrow and then only showed up with bagels and coffee.  And even if the rep had promised a more substantial breakfast, it was still impolite to complain about it to the rep.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Jones on April 18, 2013, 02:43:58 PM
I've never heard of someone bringing a full breakfast buffet to an office before. An on-the-job breakfast is usually bagels, donuts or muffins, sometimes with coffee and occasionally with juice. It would be very silly, IMO, for someone to depend on a free office gift for their morning's nutrition. That is, if they even knew in advance, as quite often these things are a total surprise.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: PastryGoddess on April 18, 2013, 02:49:20 PM
I've never heard of someone bringing a full breakfast buffet to an office before. An on-the-job breakfast is usually bagels, donuts or muffins, sometimes with coffee and occasionally with juice. It would be very silly, IMO, for someone to depend on a free office gift for their morning's nutrition. That is, if they even knew in advance, as quite often these things are a total surprise.

Exactly.  If you need a full breakfast then it's on you to make sure you have one.  It's not the reps job to make sure you eat properly.  It's a gift and those people were rude and entitled


Notice the OP said Sometimes they go above and beyond and bring us snacks, drinks, or breakfast. Which means this does not happen every time a rep comes in.  A sales rep does not announce ahead of time what they are bringing, they will either bring something or they don't
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: WillyNilly on April 18, 2013, 02:58:57 PM
When I worked in a Dr's office we always had advanced notice of drug rep's coming (they had to have a set appointment) and we knew if they were bringing a meal and it was always a full meal. Now it might not be each person's preference, but it was a full meal (usually lunch, but occasionally breakfast). And staff was expected to partake in it unless they had a allergy/noted diet need issue not to. So that's where I'm looking at this from.

Not all reps brought food and that was totally ok, but if a rep offered a meal they were expected to provide a meal. If a rep said "breakfast" and came in with just bagels and coffee (aka a snack) - no fruit, no protein (eggs, yogurts, etc) that rep almost certainly would not be granted another appointment time to hawk their goods anytime soon. If they offered a snack or didn't make mention of food at all, then there would be nothing but "thank you"'s from the staff.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Talamarie on April 18, 2013, 03:07:58 PM
When I worked in a Dr's office we always had advanced notice of drug rep's coming (they had to have a set appointment) and we knew if they were bringing a meal and it was always a full meal. Now it might not be each person's preference, but it was a full meal (usually lunch, but occasionally breakfast). And staff was expected to partake in it unless they had a allergy/noted diet need issue not to. So that's where I'm looking at this from.

Not all reps brought food and that was totally ok, but if a rep offered a meal they were expected to provide a meal. If a rep said "breakfast" and came in with just bagels and coffee (aka a snack) - no fruit, no protein (eggs, yogurts, etc) that rep almost certainly would not be granted another appointment time to hawk their goods anytime soon. If they offered a snack or didn't make mention of food at all, then there would be nothing but "thank you"'s from the staff.

I had similar experiences as WillyNilly on this one. Our pharmaceutical reps would contact me to set the meetings up, and would find out dietary restrictions, restaurant preferences, etc. There would be times that they'd occasionally just pop in with something to be nice (a round of generic frappacinos for example) but any time there was a meal scheduled it meant that a set amount of time was being given to that rep to sell whatever product (under the guise of information), the staff was held "hostage" for that period (because really, the medical assistants/receptionists/etc aren't going to be the one okaying a switch to use of ___ medication) and the trade was "yay, free food!".

That lead to other much more awful snowflake-like behavior.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 18, 2013, 03:14:16 PM
When I worked in a Dr's office we always had advanced notice of drug rep's coming (they had to have a set appointment) and we knew if they were bringing a meal and it was always a full meal. Now it might not be each person's preference, but it was a full meal (usually lunch, but occasionally breakfast). And staff was expected to partake in it unless they had a allergy/noted diet need issue not to. So that's where I'm looking at this from.

Not all reps brought food and that was totally ok, but if a rep offered a meal they were expected to provide a meal. If a rep said "breakfast" and came in with just bagels and coffee (aka a snack) - no fruit, no protein (eggs, yogurts, etc) that rep almost certainly would not be granted another appointment time to hawk their goods anytime soon. If they offered a snack or didn't make mention of food at all, then there would be nothing but "thank you"'s from the staff.

That sounds like the rep was coming in and giving a presentation to the office staff. I'm imagining a rep coming in to meet with the doctors and drops off bagels and coffee in the staff break room for a "help yourself if you'd like some."

Yes, if I were expected to give up some of my day to sit through a formal presentation, I'd like more than coffee and bagels. But I'm still not going to complain about it to the person who supplied the meal.

I get asked to a lot of marketing luncheons where we are in a private room at a restaurant and we sit through a 20-30 min marketing presentation and then mingle. I don't go to many but will if a product I'm interested in. If I attended a one and it consisted of a bottle of water, 2 slices of white bread, a couple of pieces of budig turkey, and a slice of pre-wraped Kraft fake american cheese, I'm not going to criticize it to the rep who invited me. But I am going to laugh about it my DH when I get home.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Sharnita on April 18, 2013, 03:18:44 PM
I have no idea if the employees were told to expect breakfast ahead of time. I will day that if the rep did promise breakfast they had an obligation to follow through on that commitment.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: WillyNilly on April 18, 2013, 03:32:08 PM
No one should be rude, but letting a rep know they did not actually come through on their offer in the eyes of the client is to me the proper thing to do, and to keep quiet about it and just think privately that they dropped the ball or worse are incompetent is far ruder IMO.

Business etiquette is not social etiquette. There is no such thing as a "free lunch" (in this case breakfast). The meal is meant as more then just a happy go lucky gift, it is a marketing tool. And if the tool is not functioning properly, it is not rude to point that out.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: That Anime Chick on April 18, 2013, 04:49:48 PM
If the rep warned the office staff that he/she was going to bring breakfast, yes I'd expect something more than just bagels and coffee (unless it's bagels from a local shop that are freakin' huge. those things are meal in itself). But if it's a spur of the moment thing, then no, they shouldn't have to pull out all the stops.

I think the people in OPs office were ungrateful and should not be surprised when the rep comes back with nothing for them in the future.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Poppea on April 18, 2013, 05:49:05 PM
I don't see a work breakfast as a gift. Its certainly nothing like an ugly sweater you can just smile about while you say "thank you", then put to the side and never look at again. This is the fuel a person needs in order to perform their job functions over the next few hours.

And its supposed to be a sales incentive (which is why there are so many rules about this type of thing). The sales rep wants something from the staff, not so much the other way around. The meal's function is to make the medical facility (which is comprised of staff) want to do business with that rep and push that rep's product. If the rep drops the medical office, its not a problem, there are no doubt a dozen more reps waiting to just get their foot in the door to make their pitch... along with a meal for their audience.

One shouldn't be outright rude of course, but certainly one needn't just put and shut up about being offered a meal and then served something sub-par when the provider is trying to get the staff to do something for them.

I agree.  While the staff was not polite, the only reason the drug rep brings things is to butter up the staff so they can get in to see the doctor, so they can get the doctor to prescribe their product.  If I was the drug rep I would want to know what the staff liked/expected since my goal was to generate good feelings.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: RubyCat on April 18, 2013, 07:27:24 PM
When I worked in a doctors office, the drug reps were there to see the doctors. Of course it's easier to gain access to the doctors if you're nice to the support staff, plus it makes a positive impression on the doctors.

I'm not sure we were ever treated to a whole breakfast but they sent us pizza once or twice a year.  It was nice of them and we appreciated it. Other times during the year they'd leave pens and note pads and other small items. Now that I'm working in a hospital, we still get pens and note pads but from facilities and companies that we do business with. I think the man from the hospital bed company brought us donuts once, but the four-color pens were a bigger hit. 

Bottom line, if there were no promises made, bringing bagels was a treat and a very nice gesture. If that were the case, I think your coworkers were rude.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: artk2002 on April 18, 2013, 10:03:41 PM
Your co-workers were definitely rude. The drug reps definitely don't have to do that and I seem to remember that there was a fairly recent crackdown on what types of "rewards" drug reps could bring with them on their calls.

Does anyone else remember this?

I remember it because I work for a public university hospital, and the policy is absolutely no gifts.

I think, even if the drup rep mentioned it advance he/she were bringing breakfast, the reaction was still rude as it was a gift.

Yup. No more big lunches or training in Vegas. Both the AMA an PhRMA (a drug industry organization) place pretty tight restrictions on gifts.  Here's what the AMA has to say about it (http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/legal-topics/business-management-topics/interactions-pharmaceutical-industry-representatives.page).

That said, the coworkers were very rude.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: kareng57 on April 18, 2013, 11:28:46 PM
I agree, I wouldn't call it sub-par at all.  This is breakfast, not lunch or dinner.  Bagels and fruit plus coffee/tea sound just fine to me.  For people expecting more - how would the reps be able to supply something such as cooked eggs?
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: WillyNilly on April 18, 2013, 11:34:49 PM
I agree, I wouldn't call it sub-par at all.  This is breakfast, not lunch or dinner.  Bagels and fruit plus coffee/tea sound just fine to me.  For people expecting more - how would the reps be able to supply something such as cooked eggs?

It was bagels and coffee, the OP says nothing of fruit.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: kareng57 on April 18, 2013, 11:52:36 PM
I agree, I wouldn't call it sub-par at all.  This is breakfast, not lunch or dinner.  Bagels and fruit plus coffee/tea sound just fine to me.  For people expecting more - how would the reps be able to supply something such as cooked eggs?

It was bagels and coffee, the OP says nothing of fruit.


Okay, fair enough.  It's still quite a bit more breakfast than I eat on weekdays.

If anyone had serious diet concerns then I don't see why they wouldn't have clarified it with the drug rep beforehand, rather than complaining afterwards.  IMO any food gifts from a drug rep are just that - gifts.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: JoieGirl7 on April 19, 2013, 12:08:52 AM
It's not a gift, it's a bribe.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Library Dragon on April 19, 2013, 12:16:56 AM
Your co-workers were definitely rude. The drug reps definitely don't have to do that and I seem to remember that there was a fairly recent crackdown on what types of "rewards" drug reps could bring with them on their calls.

Does anyone else remember this?

I remember it because I work for a public university hospital, and the policy is absolutely no gifts.

I think, even if the drup rep mentioned it advance he/she were bringing breakfast, the reaction was still rude as it was a gift.

Yup. No more big lunches or training in Vegas. Both the AMA an PhRMA (a drug industry organization) place pretty tight restrictions on gifts.  Here's what the AMA has to say about it (http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/legal-topics/business-management-topics/interactions-pharmaceutical-industry-representatives.page).

That said, the coworkers were very rude.

POD. Rude.  The realities of what is allowed is much different than in previous years.  DH is an anesthetist and I've accompanied him to nice dinners.  DS1's first major league baseball game was in a skybox with a full buffet, waiters, full bar, etc., all at the expense of a drug company.  DH was the only one in the staff that received tickets that showed up.  (When DS1's school took a field trip to a game he didn't understand why he did have a private waiter.  ;D )

Fast forward two decades.  You're lucky if you get bagels and cream cheese.  Unless there is a formal training session you rarely get a full meal.  The freebies at conferences has been seriously curtailed. 
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Sharnita on April 19, 2013, 04:05:53 AM
I agree, I wouldn't call it sub-par at all.  This is breakfast, not lunch or dinner.  Bagels and fruit plus coffee/tea sound just fine to me.  For people expecting more - how would the reps be able to supply something such as cooked eggs?

You call a restaurant and order it.  I could do it pretty easily.  It comes in a pan.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: lowspark on April 19, 2013, 07:26:02 AM
I agree, I wouldn't call it sub-par at all.  This is breakfast, not lunch or dinner.  Bagels and fruit plus coffee/tea sound just fine to me.  For people expecting more - how would the reps be able to supply something such as cooked eggs?

Breakfast tacos are one example. Every fast food place has some kind of cooked egg sandwich and so do a lot of local type bakeries that sell donuts and the like.

Where I work (not in the medical field) thare are companies who bring in breakfast occasionally. They ususally bring in some combination of bagels, muffins, kolaches, breakfast tacos, chic-fil-a breakfast sandwiches, etc. Most times, fruit is included, often orange juice. And they always bring too much, meaning, there's leftovers which people will graze at lunch time. So, it's not hard to do.

However, if they didn't bring enough or didn't bring what someone considered to be the right thing, I simply cannot imagine anyone in this office saying something rude to their face. We're always just happy someone brought us food!

It would be one thing if someone took the rep aside and just said, thanks but next time, you might want to bring x, y & z if you want to get in good with the office staff. It's a whole other *rude* thing for the staff members themselves "flip out" and "scoff" right to the rep's face.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 19, 2013, 08:33:35 AM
I agree, I wouldn't call it sub-par at all.  This is breakfast, not lunch or dinner.  Bagels and fruit plus coffee/tea sound just fine to me.  For people expecting more - how would the reps be able to supply something such as cooked eggs?

Breakfast tacos are one example. Every fast food place has some kind of cooked egg sandwich and so do a lot of local type bakeries that sell donuts and the like.

Where I work (not in the medical field) thare are companies who bring in breakfast occasionally. They ususally bring in some combination of bagels, muffins, kolaches, breakfast tacos, chic-fil-a breakfast sandwiches, etc. Most times, fruit is included, often orange juice. And they always bring too much, meaning, there's leftovers which people will graze at lunch time. So, it's not hard to do.

However, if they didn't bring enough or didn't bring what someone considered to be the right thing, I simply cannot imagine anyone in this office saying something rude to their face. We're always just happy someone brought us food!

It would be one thing if someone took the rep aside and just said, thanks but next time, you might want to bring x, y & z if you want to get in good with the office staff. It's a whole other *rude* thing for the staff members themselves "flip out" and "scoff" right to the rep's face.

This. And I think part of it is my perception of the offering as a thank you and not a bribe. When a rep drops off donuts at our office it is to say thanks for the business. He doesn't believe a box of donuts is going to impact whether we do future business with him. The ethics of someone saying they wouldn't allow the drug rep future access if they didn't supply appropriate food, especially when related to chhosing medication for patients, boggles my mind.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Eden on April 19, 2013, 09:01:31 AM
I do think the staff was rude, but from a purely practical business standpoint the drug rep should have a thicker skin. They deal with rejected appointment requests and all other kinds of being turned away on a regular basis. People being unhappy with the food the rep brought is the least of the rep's issues.

On the topic of gifts, I think the regulations deal more with things like free trips and such. Edible gifts are generally considered okay.

I do not work in the medical field but the company I work for is incredibly conservative and we would not even be allowed to accept a catered breakfast from a vendor.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Twik on April 19, 2013, 09:29:00 AM
It's rude to complain about something that cannot be immediately corrected, particularly if it's in the category of "gifts". (And I'd hate to think the colleagues were viewing a drug rep's offerings as some sort of payment rather than a gift.) So, the colleagues were out of line.

However, if they had been told there would be a full breakfast, and hadn't eaten their regular breakfast, I can understand being irked at the misinformation (even if they shouldn't have made that obvious). My boss did that to me once - he asked me to come and do morning registration at a conference, and specifically told me not to eat beforehand, because the catered breakfast would be SOOO good. Well, I guess it was - because by the time I'd finished all my work, every scrap of it was gone. I was a hungry pup until lunchtime.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: rose red on April 19, 2013, 09:30:23 AM
Did the rep promise to bring breakfast or did she just show up with a surprise?  Either way, it's rude to flip out and scoff to her face.  You can think it and don't do business with her because only brought bagels, but keep the comments to yourself.  If anything needs to be said, say it to the boss who can decide if they need to talk to the rep. that she better bring a buffet next time.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Visiting Crazy Town on April 19, 2013, 09:34:23 AM
 I have look at the OP about 3 times and no where does she say that  the rep said they would bring in a full breakfast
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Sharnita on April 19, 2013, 09:36:49 AM
I have look at the OP about 3 times and no where does she say that  the rep said they would bring in a full breakfast

That is why people are addressing it as a possibility instead of a certainty.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Visiting Crazy Town on April 19, 2013, 09:40:31 AM
I have look at the OP about 3 times and no where does she say that  the rep said they would bring in a full breakfast

That is why people are addressing it as a possibility instead of a certainty.

several people seem to be address this a certainty, wouldn't it be better to wait until the OP comes back to clarify the issue.  I mean afterall, she works there an though the coworkers were rude and didn't anything wrong with what the drug rep brought in.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast-Update: Pg. 3
Post by: MissBrit on April 23, 2013, 04:30:51 PM
Update:

We were told the day before that we were going to get breakfast. Typical breakfasts are some kind of baked goods, fruit and coffee and juice. Sometime we get mini egg sandwiches. Most of the people in our office do try to eat a little something just in case they can't have what the rep brings (we don't know until he or she gets there). 
We had a department meeting today and the boss did address the rudeness and asked people to be more polite to the reps next time.
Title: Re: Drug Rep Breakfast
Post by: Mopsy428 on April 28, 2013, 01:56:05 PM
To me, bagels and coffee is a complete breakfast. The co-workers were rude.