Author Topic: The Disappearing Gift Kitty  (Read 12568 times)

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Rusty

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The Disappearing Gift Kitty
« on: December 20, 2012, 06:13:55 AM »
My DD asked me what she ought to do about an awkward situation at her daughter's pre-school group.  DD is the social secretary of the parents committee and as the teacher was leaving, the parents were asked to contribute to a gift for her.  DD arranged a collection among parents and raised $150 (this covers three classes).  As DD was going on holiday another committee member volunteered to get the present and give it at a small ceremony the following week.  When DD returned from holiday several parents approached her complaining about the gift given, some even quite annoyed.   After some invesigation (including contacting the ex-teacher) it turns out that the gift would have amounted to approximately $30.    DD hasn't approached the committee member concerned yet, but has asked her to meet her to discuss a few matters about the Committee.  She will have to address the matter of the missing money but is worrying about how to handle it.

SingMeAway

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Re: The Disappearing Gift Kitty
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2012, 06:59:06 AM »
If I was in her position and I was absolutely sure that only $30 out of the $150 was used on the gift, I would probably bring it up by saying, "What did you use the remaining $120 for? Has another gift been ordered for teacher?". That way, there's an apparent presumption of innocence on the part of the buyer.

That's the first thing that comes to my mind, but I'll be interested to see what other have to say.

cicero

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Re: The Disappearing Gift Kitty
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2012, 07:02:49 AM »
wow.

I would start by the assumption that there is some kind of mistake or misunderstanding. like - maybe there was a gift card in there that got overlooked? maybe she bought something that was expensive but looks cheap? maybe she got mixed up and thought there was only 30 $?

so I would start by asking Committee Member if she has the receipt ("we need it for our records"). If she doesn't (which i imagine is the case), then i would flat out ask her how much she spent on the gift and was there any money leftover. politely of course, but make it like a "we need to get to the botom of this".

if this is a mistake or some kind of misunderstanding, that's one thing . but if someone stole my and other parents' money, i wouldm't be too happy. I would say "so you got her the purple cat mink stole, right? I think those run for about 30$, right? and did you get her anything else?"

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Rusty

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Re: The Disappearing Gift Kitty
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2012, 07:18:28 AM »
Just to clarify, DD asked one of her friends exactly what was bought and checked out the prices, the range would be $20 to $35 max.  She rang the teacher herself, being careful not to let on about the problem, and asked what was given and if she liked it, just to check that it was the only present.  She did mention wanting the receipt for the accounts records to the member concerned, and the reply was "oh, I'll have to try and find it somewhere".   I myself suggested to DD that she say she had visited the teacher, seen the present herself, in which case money was owing back, that DD was sure the member was only trying to save the parents from overspending.

oogyda

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Re: The Disappearing Gift Kitty
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2012, 08:36:17 AM »
Let DD be honest. 

There were complaints from those that had contributed toward the gift.  From what DD has learned, those complaints are justified and she is following up on this. 

It's not what we gather along the way that matters.  It's what we scatter.

EmmaJ.

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Re: The Disappearing Gift Kitty
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2012, 09:22:16 AM »
Definitely follow up, as diplomatically as possible.  Something similar happened in my group a few years ago.  One of our managers was celebrating his 50th birthday and his admin was circulating a birthday card for everyone to sign plus a envelope for contributions toward a gift.

This manager was respected in his field and very well-liked.  He was a kind, generous, fun-loving person and by the time the envelope got to me it was stuffed with bills.  Partly because I was curious but mostly because I **had** to straighten, arrange and sort the bills, I counted a total of $225.00.  The final total was more than that as the contributions continued after my count.

His admin handed him two gifts to open at his party.  One was a baseball cap with the number 50 on the visor, and the other was a silly plastic walking cane with an "oooga" horn attached.

We all kept waiting for his real gift to be given to him.  I was thinking surely she had enough funds to buy a nice watch or Mont Blanc pen or something memorable.  But nothing more was given or said and the party ended. 

No one ever followed up or had the courage to ask her about the missing funds, but none of us ever forgot about it.   :(

cicero

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Re: The Disappearing Gift Kitty
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2012, 09:38:48 AM »
Just to clarify, DD asked one of her friends exactly what was bought and checked out the prices, the range would be $20 to $35 max.  She rang the teacher herself, being careful not to let on about the problem, and asked what was given and if she liked it, just to check that it was the only present.  She did mention wanting the receipt for the accounts records to the member concerned, and the reply was "oh, I'll have to try and find it somewhere".   I myself suggested to DD that she say she had visited the teacher, seen the present herself, in which case money was owing back, that DD was sure the member was only trying to save the parents from overspending.
then she needs to ask her - she needs to be upfront and not sugar coat it.

(I dont' envy your daughter!)

I am usually the one in our office who buys the gifts for people - I *always* bring back the receipt and i always bring back all the change (down to the 5 cents or whatever is left). Nobody will ever have grounds for accusing me of robbing a gift kitty - that is just so... low. :-[

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Hopefull

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Re: The Disappearing Gift Kitty
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2012, 09:47:49 AM »
This is really an unfortunate situation. But your DD has to address this directly with the person in question. DD shouldn't let the person slide with an excuse. She needs the rest of the money that was given ASAP and Dd should never trust this person with money again. If the person doesn't have the money or wont' give what is owed back............... well that would get this thread shut down. Please let us know how this transpires. I am nosey.
I felt this thrill going up my leg!

Isisnin

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Re: The Disappearing Gift Kitty
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2012, 10:20:03 AM »
yes, DD needs to insist on a receipt and return of the unspent funds. 

Should the member keep procrastinating, DD should give her a deadline.  DD can mention to /forewarn the member that without a receipt and return of the balance, a statement from the store will be obtained to verify the cost of the gift. Then the whole committee (whole group would be even better) will have to meet to review what happen, take suggestions as to resolutions of the discrepancy, a  and to vote which resolution to proceed with.

Hopefully then, the member will realize that her "antics" will be public and she will pony up the rest of the money to avoid that.

Penguin_ar

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Re: The Disappearing Gift Kitty
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2012, 10:40:06 AM »
That does sound dodgy.  Giving the other member the benefit of the doubt, could they have spent money on decorations/ food for the party?

I would also go for the straightforward approach- mention some parents thought the present didn't look like it cost $150, and if she cannot locate the receipt by X date, maybe she could contact her credit card company or say where she bought it so DD could prove to the other parents that indeed $150 was spent..

Drawberry

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Re: The Disappearing Gift Kitty
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2012, 10:51:17 AM »
Let DD be honest. 

There were complaints from those that had contributed toward the gift.  From what DD has learned, those complaints are justified and she is following up on this.

I am agreeing with oogyda.

There's no reason to skirt the issue because DD can come across as a doormat.If the other $120 some odd dollars has been pocketed by Friend then she will surely look for any opening to walk all over DD to get away with her stealing. I think a firm but accusatory meeting where everything is laid out clearly would be better then trying to gently tip toe around things.

"Friend I've been approached by several parents about the gift purchased for Teacher and they brought it to my attention that a large portion of the money has not been contributed. Where is it? Has a larger gift not arrived yet or been ordered? I am going to need to see it ASAP to complete the gift for Teacher and get something ordered promptly."

PastryGoddess

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Re: The Disappearing Gift Kitty
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2012, 12:16:08 PM »
Let DD be honest. 

There were complaints from those that had contributed toward the gift.  From what DD has learned, those complaints are justified and she is following up on this.

I am agreeing with oogyda.

There's no reason to skirt the issue because DD can come across as a doormat.If the other $120 some odd dollars has been pocketed by Friend then she will surely look for any opening to walk all over DD to get away with her stealing. I think a firm but accusatory meeting where everything is laid out clearly would be better then trying to gently tip toe around things.

"Friend I've been approached by several parents about the gift purchased for Teacher and they brought it to my attention that a large portion of the money has not been contributed accounted for. Where is the receipt for the gift you purchased it? Has a larger gift not arrived yet or been ordered? I am going to need the additional $120 returned immediately in order to see it ASAP to complete the gift for Teacher and get something ordered promptly."
My changes above

The use of extended silence and the Toots Special is also a great tool.  The other mom may try to bluster her way out of it, so DD should come up with a phrase that she can repeat to make it clear that the only option for mom is to return the $120


After the meeting I would send her an email follow up and CC the rest of the committee leadership to make it clear that everyone knows about her behavior and to hammer the point that the missing cash needs to be ponied up immediately.

doodlemor

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Re: The Disappearing Gift Kitty
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2012, 12:18:14 PM »
yes, DD needs to insist on a receipt and return of the unspent funds. 

Should the member keep procrastinating, DD should give her a deadline.  DD can mention to /forewarn the member that without a receipt and return of the balance, a statement from the store will be obtained to verify the cost of the gift. Then the whole committee (whole group would be even better) will have to meet to review what happen, take suggestions as to resolutions of the discrepancy, a  and to vote which resolution to proceed with.

Hopefully then, the member will realize that her "antics" will be public and she will pony up the rest of the money to avoid that.

I like this.  She should be outed, so that no one ever trusts her with money again.

Fleur

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Re: The Disappearing Gift Kitty
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2012, 12:28:53 PM »
I have no advice that has not already been stated and better than I could do. However, I have to say that the title of this thread gave me a lovely mental image of a magic cat, its neck bedecked with gifts, that disappears and reappears at random. Yeah, I have cats on the brain  ;D

Bexx27

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Re: The Disappearing Gift Kitty
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2012, 12:34:32 PM »
Let DD be honest. 

There were complaints from those that had contributed toward the gift.  From what DD has learned, those complaints are justified and she is following up on this.

I am agreeing with oogyda.

There's no reason to skirt the issue because DD can come across as a doormat.If the other $120 some odd dollars has been pocketed by Friend then she will surely look for any opening to walk all over DD to get away with her stealing. I think a firm but accusatory meeting where everything is laid out clearly would be better then trying to gently tip toe around things.

"Friend I've been approached by several parents about the gift purchased for Teacher and they brought it to my attention that a large portion of the money has not been contributed accounted for. Where is the receipt for the gift you purchased it? Has a larger gift not arrived yet or been ordered? I am going to need the additional $120 returned immediately in order to see it ASAP to complete the gift for Teacher and get something ordered promptly."
My changes above

The use of extended silence and the Toots Special is also a great tool.  The other mom may try to bluster her way out of it, so DD should come up with a phrase that she can repeat to make it clear that the only option for mom is to return the $120


After the meeting I would send her an email follow up and CC the rest of the committee leadership to make it clear that everyone knows about her behavior and to hammer the point that the missing cash needs to be ponied up immediately.

All of this. Straightforward, firm, clear and meaningful consequences. Letting this person get away with something so low would be wrong on your DD's part.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver