General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

New 'Neighbours' Put On The Spot - What Should Have Happened?

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Sparkle Star:
This just happened and I'm interested to know if it could have been handled better.

Our office is in a shared building on a business park; within our space we have myself, OH, our employee and an intern, and we also share with two associates. (We're a sort of 'hub' offering a range of services to many of the same clients.)

A new company has moved into one of the other buildings and the two partners have just visited all the offices, taking cupcakes as a 'hello' gift - a lovely gesture and a great way to meet everyone as otherwise you're unlikely to do so! Because of our location, they got to us last.

Whether by accident or design, there were six cupcakes left - just the right number. Except that Associate 1 had a client visiting. The polite thing to do (in my view) would be for Associate 1 to decline his cake so that Client could have it - I don't know if he would have done so or not, as Client immediately jumped up, grabbed a cake and started to eat it without showing any interest in those who had brought it.

Associate 1 then also took a cake. Associate 2 and I realised straight away that there weren't enough left to go round.... as did New Tenants who immediately began to look embarrassed and a little panicky.
Associate 2 and I are very close friends and often understand each other via expression alone, so we shared a 'look' and immediately said we would split a cake between us as we were both trying to be 'good' and lose a little weight before Christmas. This meant everyone else in the office had one each.

I do feel Client was rude to behave as he did; I also think Associate 1 could have been more aware of the situation. New Tenants were obviously embarrassed at running out of cupcakes, but that wasn't rude, just unfortunate.

Any views?

TootsNYC:

--- Quote from: Sparkle Star on November 22, 2012, 08:45:50 AM --- The polite thing to do (in my view) would be for Associate 1 to decline his cake so that Client could have it -

--- End quote ---

When I'm the boss, I'm the one who passes up the cupcake so that *my* client can have one.

I'm the one who passes up the cupcake so that *my* employee can have one.


I am the one who is at the top of the totem pole, and I am the one who benefits when my department (and even more so if it's a business I own). Therefore it is *my* role to make sure the other people around me are happy and feel appreciated.

Outranking someone, to me, does not mean that I get all the privileges. It means that I get more money, I get the decision-making authority, and I set the standards. Sure, sometimes I get the privileges they don't get, but that's not the main determiner of things like this.

Now, this is "Associate1," and maybe his client doesn't benefit you at all, and maybe he doesn't report to you in any way. In that case, then yes, Associate1 would be the one to pass up the cupcake.

There was a thread here once of an admiral who took a too-big helping of an office treat and left all the lower-ranking people without. It was NOT admired by the people around him, nor the people here. And in fact, Associate1 sure didn't look good either!

I think you and Associate2 did great.

(If I were the client, I'd hang back a bit, thinking that these cupcakes weren't for *me*. But if I were delivering cupcakes, I'd be bummed out that I hadn't thought well enough to be sure I did put one of my new neighbors in this position. And in fact, this is sort of a reason why I think cupcakes aren't the best "hi, I'm a business person who will be working near you" thing.)

camlan:

--- Quote from: TootsNYC on November 22, 2012, 09:30:36 AM ---
--- Quote from: Sparkle Star on November 22, 2012, 08:45:50 AM --- The polite thing to do (in my view) would be for Associate 1 to decline his cake so that Client could have it -

--- End quote ---

When I'm the boss, I'm the one who passes up the cupcake so that *my* client can have one.

I'm the one who passes up the cupcake so that *my* employee can have one.


I am the one who is at the top of the totem pole, and I am the one who benefits when my department (and even more so if it's a business I own). Therefore it is *my* role to make sure the other people around me are happy and feel appreciated.

Outranking someone, to me, does not mean that I get all the privileges. It means that I get more money, I get the decision-making authority, and I set the standards. Sure, sometimes I get the privileges they don't get, but that's not the main determiner of things like this.

--- End quote ---

Pod to everything Toots said.

The higher-ups make sure everyone else has something before they take something for themselves.

Surianne:
Why would you have expected the client to be the one to turn down the cupcake?  How would he know that exactly six people work in your office, and that they all like cupcakes?

I agree with Toots that the boss should be the one turning it down.  The client should definitely be offered one and expected to take one if s/he wants.

Tilt Fairy:
The boss should be the one turning it down but if a boss wasn't present and everyone was equals, any one person if not more could just have turned down a cupcake to save embarrassment for the client and everyone else. It's just a cupcake. I probably would have even offered the client a second one! Clients are unaware of what additional information you are aware of. At most places of business, a client is a valuable person and would be accommodated and a superior or office worker would make a minor sacrifice for the overall harmony of other co-workers and or a client - and in a simple situation such as this which involved cupcakes, any associate or office worker could have easily just refused a cupcake just for the sake of not making anyone, especially a client feel on edge. A cupcake is such a small, insignificant luxury item that passing one up when your client makes a minor faux pas is hardly a large sacrifice.

I'm unsure why a depleting supply of cupcakes would cause anyone to "panic".

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