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Author Topic: I don't want to be "paid back" Update: page 2  (Read 9394 times)

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NyaChan

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Re: I don't want to be "paid back" Update: page 2
« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2012, 09:20:23 PM »
I think the expense of the gift, the fact that the gift only stayed with Boss for a couple weeks, and the fact that this is a work situation all play a role in why this situation is different.  If Mrs. Boss had given it to the neighbor or her grandchild, I don't think anyone at the office would think they were entitled to repayment. 

If she had offered it to the office at large, I bet more than one person would have wanted a free iPad.  It just so happened that it ended up with Sue.  I don't think the coworkers would necessarily like the idea of having paid a large sum of money only to have the iPad end up with their coworker. 

In a strict passing of property sort of sense, yes the gift is Boss' family's to do with what they want - but that's what would happen in an emotionless vacuum.  Here we have a widow who is kindly returning a generous gift to her husband's employees, Sue who doesn't want to profit from a gift given to a dying man, coworkers who may not want any money back because it was originally a gift, and coworkers who might feel upset that they all gave money as a gift and yet the gift ended up back in the hands of one of the contributors.

sammycat

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Re: I don't want to be "paid back" Update: page 2
« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2012, 09:25:12 PM »
If I were a coworker I would want to be paid back and a donation to charity would not placate me at all. But it would make me resent Sue and could possibly damage our relationship - and who knows how that will effect the work environment.

Ditto.

SiotehCat

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Re: I don't want to be "paid back" Update: page 2
« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2012, 09:28:20 PM »
If she had offered it to the office at large, I bet more than one person would have wanted a free iPad.  It just so happened that it ended up with Sue.  I don't think the coworkers would necessarily like the idea of having paid a large sum of money only to have the iPad end up with their coworker. 


I was wondering this same thing.

OP, how did Sue end up with the Ipad and was everyone offered a chance at a free Ipad?

Slartibartfast

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Re: I don't want to be "paid back" Update: page 2
« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2012, 09:32:34 PM »
I guess I just don't understand the logic. I'm not being snarky, honest! :) If you give a gift to person A, and later person A gives that gift to person B, why would that entitle you to anything?Why would person B, to whom you have given nothing, owe you anything at all?

Do you not agree that once you give a gift that you no longer have any say in how it is disposed of? I thought that was something generally agreed upon here in ehell...I haven't heard of any conditions being put on that...why would that rule not apply for Mrs. Boss?

That's a generality, but there are definitely exceptions.  Example: you give your sister-in-law something you think is the PERFECT birthday present, based on her tastes and how she decorates and things she's said in the past.  You get it personalized and everything, and spend a bit more than you normally would on her because you know this present is just so perfect.  Then a week after her birthday you go by a mutual friend's house and you see the - personalized - present sitting there on the shelf.

Even if your SIL technically has the right to do whatever she wants with the present, it's pretty tacky for her to immediately re-gift it to someone you know.  Etiquette would say she should hang onto it for a while (if it's decorative) so you can see it in her home once or twice, then she can quietly give it away to someone not in your social circle.  You would be totally within your rights to be peeved, because by giving it away immediately she's very clearly showing you the gift was not appreciated.

I don't think the OP's in the same situation, but some aspects are similar.  The office got together to give a present to the boss, then the boss gave it (by default after he died) to his wife.  That's all fine and expected.  If the wife had given it to a different friend, someone outside of work, that would have been fine too - same if she had donated it to charity.  However, she gave it back to someone in the same circle with the gift-givers, someone with whom presumably she didn't previously have a gift-giving relationship.  It was her right to give it away to whoever she wanted, but it would have been the coworkers' right to get a bit miffed.  I think the recipient was doing the right thing - she got an iPad, presumably for a bit less than retail, and the co-workers then got their contribution back so they could choose to redirect the gift somewhere else (charity) or just keep it since the original recipient couldn't use it.

SamiHami

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Re: I don't want to be "paid back" Update: page 2
« Reply #34 on: February 21, 2012, 09:55:14 PM »
Okay, interesting responses. I see the perspective you are all coming from, and now that I do I can understand it. I suppose it would have been best if, when it was returned by the widow, it was simply returned for a refund (if possible) or that the contributors came to an agreement about how to dispose of it (having a little office raffle? donating it to charity? Letting Sue take it but having her pay them back? Something else?). I stand corrected and officially am changing my opinion.

Slartibartfast: My SIL just left my brother after almost 28 years of marriage and has wreaked havoc on the entire family...if this situation came up in my family I would probably want to take that gift and beat her senseless with it!  ;) But somehow I don't think that was quite the imagery you were going for... ;D


What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

CluelessBride

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Re: I don't want to be "paid back" Update: page 2
« Reply #35 on: February 21, 2012, 10:11:00 PM »
From the OP:

His wife didn't want the iPad and asked if any of us did, and one of my coworkers, Sue, said she would take it (she fell in love with it while setting it up and writing a how-to list for him).

To me, this changes it from a simple re-gift situation.  Because the wife didn't just give it to Sue - she offered it back to the collective group that gave the gift.  Sue then said she would take it.  Therefore, I think the gift from the wife is in a way to the office (instead of to Sue), which makes it appropriate for Sue to compensate the coworkers.  Or at least offer to - I also think it would be fine for a coworker to (politely) say no thank you. 

Now, if the wife had just taken the ipad and given it to Sue, I don't think Sue would have the same obligation to her coworkers.  Because it's more like a gift from the wife to Sue.  And in fact, if that *had* happened the coworkers wouldn't know what happened to ipad, making it a non-issue.

To be honest, if I were in the OP's situation (where the ipad was offered to the office at large and another coworker claimed it), I wouldn't specifically care if I were paid back.  If the coworker offered, I would likely say "oh, that's okay, I don't need to be paid back."  And then if they offered again/insisted, I would politely accept.  But if the coworker *didn't* offer, I wouldn't think very highly of them.

Calypso

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Re: I don't want to be "paid back" Update: page 2
« Reply #36 on: February 22, 2012, 02:47:08 PM »
If she had offered it to the office at large, I bet more than one person would have wanted a free iPad.  It just so happened that it ended up with Sue.  I don't think the coworkers would necessarily like the idea of having paid a large sum of money only to have the iPad end up with their coworker. 


I was wondering this same thing.

OP, how did Sue end up with the Ipad and was everyone offered a chance at a free Ipad?

She brought it back from the hospital and "passed the word" that she didn't want it, did any of us? (it's a very, very small business---"us" constitutes only a handful of people). Sue really was the only person interested in it----I don't know what would have happened if two people had been interested in it, but given the dynamic around here (very laid back) I think there would have been a flurry of "ok, well, then you have it" "no, you have it" "no, really, it's ok, you have it" and so on.

SamiHami's reasoning is exactly where I was in my thinking (and still, "on paper," would argue that point in a written etiquette test. Maybe.  ;) But, what's "letter of the law" etiquette and what the expectations are around her don't always coincide. I took a couple of my coworkers out for dinner on my birthday a couple of years ago, thinking it was clear I was the host, and they offered to pay their share when the bill came! (I did not accept that---that really would have been going too far).

JenJay

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Re: I don't want to be "paid back"
« Reply #37 on: February 22, 2012, 03:07:28 PM »
I think to keep the peace you could accept the money and then use it to make a donation in honor of your boss.  It will make her feel better to reimburse folks for the iPad, and will hopefully make you feel good for making a difference with a contribution.

This is a great idea. If I were Sue I'd feel very uncomfortable keeping such an expensive item and not repaying those who pitched in for it. If I were one of your coworkers I'd feel uncomfortable accepting the money if other people were refusing it. I think, because this is a work environment, the best thing for everyone is if Sue repays the donations and you all do what makes you comfortable with the money.

Dorrie78

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Re: I don't want to be "paid back"
« Reply #38 on: February 22, 2012, 03:40:47 PM »
I think to keep the peace you could accept the money and then use it to make a donation in honor of your boss.  It will make her feel better to reimburse folks for the iPad, and will hopefully make you feel good for making a difference with a contribution.

This is a great idea. If I were Sue I'd feel very uncomfortable keeping such an expensive item and not repaying those who pitched in for it. If I were one of your coworkers I'd feel uncomfortable accepting the money if other people were refusing it. I think, because this is a work environment, the best thing for everyone is if Sue repays the donations and you all do what makes you comfortable with the money.
I agree with this. I think it is very important that no one else makes a decision for all of the other co-workers on this issue. Everyone should privately do what makes them comfortable with the money, but Sue should be allowed to pay it back. And I think she should. It sounds like it would be a rather significant amount of money per person, if there are only a few people in the office. IPads are expensive!