General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

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

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I can only agree with Toots et al. The highest ranking person turns down the cupcake.

Outdoor Girl:
I think client was fine, if perhaps a bit overeager.  I do agree with the OP, though, that Associate 1 should have bypassed the cupcake when his client took one, since he could see how many cupcakes there were and knew how many people were in the office.  Unless he couldn't know if someone else had already taken their cupcake.  Then he did nothing wrong.

I think the OP and Associate 2 responded perfectly to the situation by agreeing to share one and sparing the feelings of the new 'neighbours'.

Sparkle Star:
Surianne, to clarify - I didn't at all expect Client to turn down a cupcake, though I did think he was rude to immediately jump up and take one first without exchanging any pleasantries or conversation with New Tenants.

I agree that those higher up the chain should wait until last in such circumstances, but neither Associate 1 nor Associate 2 are my subordinates professionally or report to me unless they are working specifically on a project I have engaged them for - they run their own businesses as sole traders. (We are their landlords in as much as the office lease is in our name, but that is a separate situation.)

The client in this story has engaged Associate 1 and has no connection at all to my business or that of Associate 2 - he is not a shared client and the rest of us had never met him before today. Therefore I felt the right thing would have been for Associate 1 to decline in favour of HIS client.

I also agree that it's *only* a cupcake, but New Tenants were clearly uncomfortable that they might not have enough to go round and while it's no big deal if someone doesn't get one, it's not nice if they feel awkward and embarrassed when they acted with only good intentions (and didn't do anything wrong).

Toots - good point about the perils of taking round cakes as 'hello' gifts! When we moved in to the park we had a drinks party - several other tenants and some of our guests brought along extra people and Associate 2 and I had to sneak off quietly to buy in some extra drinks and nibbles as we were worried about running out! (In the event we didn't and had quite a lot of leftovers, but I'd much rather that than running out.)

I don't think it's such a bad thing to provide food as a "hello" gift, but, yes, you do run the risk of running out and should plan ahead for that as with any event involving food.  That happened to our residents one year -- they gave out too many cookies as they rounded our hospital areas as they introduced themselves and, midway into the morning, had to run out and buy more out of their own pockets (the supervisors had baked the cookies for the residents to give out; the residents were overly generous in handing them out).  I haven't heard of any other year where the residents ran out as they continue to hand out food as a hello.

That aside, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks the higher-up should opt out.  I don't think the client was necessarily rude but clueless (I've done that a few times myself recently).  However, Associate 1 should've not taken a cupcake, but I have a feeling Associate 1 wasn't considering how many would be remaining or didn't care.  That reminds me of the time a friend of mine was moving and had three of us, his friends, at his place early in the morning to help him.  Friend1 stopped and picked up four doughnuts -- one for each of us.  Well Friend1, MutualFriend and I continued working while Friend2 stopped to have his doughnut.  We discovered, when we stopped working to have a doughnut, that Friend2 ate 2.5 doughnuts and wasn't even sorry about it when MutualFriend pointed out there were four doughnuts and four of us so it was supposed to be one for each of us (I think Friend1 was able to get his doughnut; MutualFriend and I certainly weren't going to take it since Friend1 bought them).  Not that it happened again, but I believe MutualFriend and I agreed that should there be future doughnuts, to make sure and stop and set ours aside so Friend2 couldn't eat it (because, given the attitude, we were pretty sure he'd do it again in a heartbeat).

I think the client was...not exactly rude, but socially inept. Sounds like he helped himself when he wasn't part of the interaction.

And I agree that the higher ranking person should decline. Even if the client hadn't helped himself, he should have been offered one by one of the owners being visited and the owners should have smoothed everything over with the visitors and the shortage.


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