Author Topic: Solicitations at work - how to word email to HR or just let it pass??  (Read 3383 times)

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OSUJillyBean

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BG:  I hired on in mid-January in a very large multi-national company with several hundred employees here at HQ.  I'm ecstatic to finally have a good job after three years of part-time barely-over-minimum wage jobs.  But new job comes with quirky new coworkers!  I am debating emailing this to my HR department.  I would love any feedback on if it's appropriate or could be better expressed.

Every week since I started at this company Iíve been getting solicitations from coworkers for money for this event or that.  We are expected to donate to religious causes (which is a whole can of worms as obviously not everyone is the same religion).  In my department we are supposed to put $5 towards a coworkers birthday (only to later find out this coworker does NOT donate to anyone elseís birthday.  Oh and weíre supposed to throw this person a potluck dinner during company time as well so youíd better bring some food!).  There is also a regular lottery pool.  And the betting pool on when so-and-so will have her baby.  Iíve had a coworker walk her young daughter around to pitch Girl Scout cookies.  Iíve had emails from people I have had no previous interaction with trying to sell me chocolate bars.
 
Iím also in the awkward position of having paid for items a coworker was selling and three to four weeks later my items have never appeared.  I donít want to hound somebody at work but it was more than twenty dollarsí worth of stuff I supposedly ďboughtĒ from her.
 
Now of course all of this is 100% voluntary but I get at least two solicitations a week and Iím getting aggravated.  Itís hard to turn down everyone without feeling like the bad guy, or to buy Girl Scout cookies from one kid but not another.  Is there a company policy on this? 
 
Thank you,
 
OSUJillyBean



DH told me not to send the email but he admits that this level of money-grubbing is extreme.

ETA - thank you CakeBeret!  I am new and really appreciate being pointed in the right direction so I don't get my threads locked.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 03:22:38 PM by OSUJillyBean »

CakeBeret

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Re: I need to vent - solicitations at work
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2013, 03:13:26 PM »
Just to let you know, "venting" is against the forum rules. You might want to re-word your post so it is not a 'vent', or it may get locked.

That said, you have a valid complaint. I personally would just start saying no to everything except causes/people you know, like, and genuinely want to support.
"From a procrastination standpoint, today has been wildly successful."

SiotehCat

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Re: I need to vent - solicitations at work
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2013, 03:15:23 PM »
That letter is not appropriate at all.

Also, a quick look at the forum rules will tell you that venting is not allowed. You might want to change the title of this thread. I have seen threads locked because of this and I would hate to see yours locked.

Edited- Sorry, I didn't see Cakeberets post. I didn't mean to pile on.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 03:17:15 PM by SiotehCat »

Sharnita

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Re: I need to vent - solicitations at work
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2013, 03:22:46 PM »
I think your concerns are valid but I also think that, while unfair, company culture  might require you to play along. For example, if the big bosses are religious I wouldn't complain  about the requests for religious causes. It might give you an opt out of lottery and betting on baby's birth for religious reason's though. For scout sales maybe you've bought all yours from your meighbor/cousin/niece?

alice

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Re: Solicitations at work - how to word email to HR or just let it pass??
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2013, 03:31:27 PM »
I would not send that letter.  I would just say no thank you, the next time, and the next, and the next.  You are in charge of how you spend your money.  It will not be easy, but eventually they will stop asking.

rashea

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Re: Solicitations at work - how to word email to HR or just let it pass??
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2013, 03:36:29 PM »
I think I'd just start telling people that you don't do business with coworkers to keep it from getting awkward.

If you decide to send something, I'd keep it shorter.

HR,

I'm concerned with the number of requests to sponsor various co-worker's fundraisers. Is there any sort of policy about this?

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Judah

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Re: Solicitations at work - how to word email to HR or just let it pass??
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2013, 03:40:29 PM »
I would ignore any emails or indirect requests and say "no, thank you" or "sorry, I can't" to any direct requests.  I guarantee you that you are not the only one not buying stuff.
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
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Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

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siamesecat2965

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Re: Solicitations at work - how to word email to HR or just let it pass??
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2013, 03:40:48 PM »
I would not send that letter.  I would just say no thank you, the next time, and the next, and the next.  You are in charge of how you spend your money.  It will not be easy, but eventually they will stop asking.

This. My co-workers at both jobs have kids who sell everything under the sun.  And otherrs who participate in various fundraisers.  And then some. I simply decline politely. A couple who I'm close with and have asked I've simply said there are so many people selling stuff, I can't do all, so I choose to do none.

Just remember, "no is a complete sentence" and if said politely, you're fine.

Zizi-K

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Re: Solicitations at work - how to word email to HR or just let it pass??
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2013, 03:43:01 PM »
I agree - I would not send this letter, nor would I contact HR unless the pressure bordered on bullying. This is a great opportunity to develop a polite spine. You may have to come up with some 'personal rules' to live (work) by, and that may include a blanket policy not to purchase/donate through work. It helps if you have a robust family plan for donating to charities, so you can say - "Sorry, all my charity dollars are spoken for. We donate to X, Y, and Z." However, you might make some exceptions for birthday parties and baby showers. It helps with camaraderie, and you might like your birthday or baby to be feted one day, too. But to the everyday solicitations for girl scout cookies, chocolate bars and the like - just remember, you are not obligated to respond to any mass email, nor are you obligated to buy anything from anyone. Just perfect a toothy grin, and the line: "Sorry, not today." or "Sorry, I'm going to pass this round."

CL32

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Re: Solicitations at work - how to word email to HR or just let it pass??
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2013, 04:36:28 PM »
Do not send that letter to HR. (or anyone else) It's a rambling, self-indulgent mess of complaints. Sorry. I don't mean to offend you, but if I received that letter in a work context, I would think you're a four year-old who really needs a nap.  :-\

If you want to know your company's solicitation policy, check the employee handbook or  website, or contact HR. A short email  like "Dear XXX, could you please tell me where to find the company's workplace solicitation policy or forward a copy? Thank you." would be sufficient.

When people ask you to give money or buy stuff, just say "no." Repeat. Repeat again. It gets easier every time.  :)

AvidReader

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Re: Solicitations at work - how to word email to HR or just let it pass??
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2013, 04:39:00 PM »
No, please don't send that letter.  If there is an employee's handbook with a written policy on solicitations, by all means satisfy your curiosity.  Other than that, just decline.  Solicitations of a recurring nature (scouts, kids' fundraisers being conducted by parents), just decline with a "no thanks, I'm stocked up from my neighbors'/siblings' kids" or some such. 

You can decline betting pools on principle and you can respond to requests for religious donations (frankly, I'm stunned) with "Sorry, but I'm already at my limit for church donations," even if your limit is zero.  If there is an official "cup and flower" fund...the kind of thing that all contribute to so that flowers are sent on the appropriate life changing occasions (hospital stays, funerals, etc.), by all means, participate. 

Please don't begrudge the potlucks!  They are a whole lot cheaper than an obligatory trip out to lunch or dinner or kicking in for a catered meal.   You don't have to go any more elaborate than a box of donuts or a bag of chips and let those who really enjoy that stuff get whipped into a frenzy out-competing each other with their recipes.

Every place I've ever worked had very strong written policies against solicitions and in particular those by supervisors made to subordinates at any level.  Some places had the "cup and flower" type fund for flowers as I described above.   It was even very rare for a well-known cosmetics company catalog to be left out on the break room table for people to place orders. 

My betting pool story.  DH and I simply.do.not.follow.sports.  One year at my place of work, I was approached to put money into the pool for the Super Bowl.  The guy collecting nearly passed out when I asked in all oblivious innocence, "Who's playing?"  No, I did not participate in the pool and neither was I invited to again. 

OSUJillyBean

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Re: Solicitations at work - how to word email to HR or just let it pass??
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2013, 04:44:16 PM »
Do not send that letter to HR. (or anyone else) It's a rambling, self-indulgent mess of complaints. Sorry. I don't mean to offend you, but if I received that letter in a work context, I would think you're a four year-old who really needs a nap.  :-\


Wow - thanks for that I suppose.  My face is red now.

Obviously I won't be sending anything to HR after the overwhelming response here on ehell (and thank you to everyone who replied!).  I am just astounded that this culture is the norm at my job.  It was never allowed at a previous job and I'm still adjusting, apparently. 


Hmmmmm

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Re: Solicitations at work - how to word email to HR or just let it pass??
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2013, 04:56:40 PM »
OSU, the others are right. Your letter is off putting as it is highly critical of a culture that this company obviously supports if as pervasive as you imply.

Here's some strategies.

-Lottery
Oh, thanks but if I play the lottery I want to keep all the money. hahaha
-Betting pools
Oh, thanks, but I'm not much of a gambler. Good luck though.
-Charitable contributions and Cookie/Candy sales
Oh, thanks, but it's not in the budget this month

The only ones I tried to participate in are the group gifts and pot lucks. But if you really feel that you don't want to participate, talk to your supervisor. Just say... "In my previous job, we didn't have group gifts and pot lucks and I'm not used to it. Am I going to be perceived as a non-team player by my co-workers if I opt out?" Make sure to ask her opinion of your co-workers, because as a boss, she obviously wouldn't allow these non-work relative activities to cloud her judgement of you.

If she says "well almost everyone does." then you'll know that it would be best to try and participate and if you don't then you'll know their corporate culture is different than your expectations. But their culture was there first and I wouldn't try to make huge changes as a new employee. 

JenJay

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Re: Solicitations at work - how to word email to HR or just let it pass??
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2013, 05:00:12 PM »
I would not send that letter.  I would just say no thank you, the next time, and the next, and the next.  You are in charge of how you spend your money.  It will not be easy, but eventually they will stop asking.

I agree

When you're asked why you aren't participating in this, that, and the other thing you can say "I can't afford to pitch in for everyone and I'd feel terrible doing for some and not others. My personal policy is not to participate at all." That was my line for years.  ;)

OSUJillyBean

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Re: Solicitations at work - how to word email to HR or just let it pass??
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2013, 05:01:08 PM »
OSU, the others are right. Your letter is off putting as it is highly critical of a culture that this company obviously supports if as pervasive as you imply.

Here's some strategies.

-Lottery
Oh, thanks but if I play the lottery I want to keep all the money. hahaha
-Betting pools
Oh, thanks, but I'm not much of a gambler. Good luck though.
-Charitable contributions and Cookie/Candy sales
Oh, thanks, but it's not in the budget this month

The only ones I tried to participate in are the group gifts and pot lucks. But if you really feel that you don't want to participate, talk to your supervisor. Just say... "In my previous job, we didn't have group gifts and pot lucks and I'm not used to it. Am I going to be perceived as a non-team player by my co-workers if I opt out?" Make sure to ask her opinion of your co-workers, because as a boss, she obviously wouldn't allow these non-work relative activities to cloud her judgement of you.

If she says "well almost everyone does." then you'll know that it would be best to try and participate and if you don't then you'll know their corporate culture is different than your expectations. But their culture was there first and I wouldn't try to make huge changes as a new employee.

Thank you!  That makes a lot of sense to read it like that.