Myself and some co-workers were curious to see if our names even appeared on the invite list at all (we thought maybe they were and someone just forgot to invite us), so we went over to the lunch party room, where they were literally checking people at the door to make sure they were on the list. It was unclear if we actually were, but we were told that we could come back in an hour and partake in it since the room was too full at that point. So we did, got our food, got our 'employee appreciation' mugs. Three hours later, long after the party had ended, the admin. asst. for the company came up to me and explained that she'd have to take my mug away because I was never supposed to receive it in the first place since the lunch was only for this certain department.
Once you checked the guest list and discovered it was 'unclear' if you were supposed to have been included (BTW, I liken this to calling an aquaintence who is throwing a party to make sure you can come since you were never invited...), I think it was presumptive of you to partake of the offerings.
It seems to me that whoever was at the doro did the best they could while trying not to hurt your feelings about not having been included. Essentially, you came across (whether this is actually what you were tyring to do or not) as fishing for an invite. So you were given a polite excuse and asked to come back later, essentially when the festivites were winding down, when it would not be so obvious that you were crashign the party.
She checked one list and our names were not on there, then checked another list where it appeared that our names were on there, but I can't be certain because of the noise around me. When we came back an hour later, there was a whole group of new people just being let in, and there was still plenty of food being served, so it's not like we were told to come back for the leftovers. We weren't fishing for an invite, we were trying to see if our names were on there since people from other departments not related to the one the party was being held for were going to the party -The security guards and cleaning staff attended.
This was a company organized EMPLOYEE party. Regardless how long you have worked with these people, you are not an employee and were rightfully excluded. But rather than accepting that graciously, you put someone on the spot, partook of food and trinkets not meant for you, and then you get upset and snarky when asked to return the trinkets.
She gave me the mug. I never asked for it and didn't even know mugs were being given out until she gave it to me. And regardless, it was very rude of her to take it away from me after the fact, especially since it was some inexpensive crap mug. Talk about petty.
I have done years of temp and contract work, so please don't think I don't know where you're coming from. It's no fun to feel left out or looked down on b/c you're not an employee. But seriously... if they valued you that much, they would hire you and make you an employee. So when you feel undervalued, maybe you are. Might be time to seek a position that doesn't leave you feeling like that.
I am trying to because of those reasons amongst them. And if I'm listed on their company directory along with everyone else as an employee even though technically I'm not, then I and my cohorts should be included in the festivities with the exception of the giving out holiday bonuses thing. It is extremely rude and hurtful to have a shindig and exclude people because of some silly technicality, when we've all been working in this office for the past five or more years.