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My Gratitude Would Be Complete If You Would Only Buy This Wine

My husband works at a small nonprofit. One of his colleagues recently lost his mother to an illness she’d been battling for about a year. Of course he was devastated, and all of his co-workers, including the organization’s director, gave him the time and space he needed to deal both with practical matters and the early stages of grief.

Yesterday, at the weekly staff meeting, he announced that as a thank-you to all of his co-workers, who had been so supportive, he had organized a wine-tasting for everybody at 4:30 that afternoon in the conference room. This was news to everyone, including the director. The short notice was just sort of accepted by everyone since he was just trying to be nice, and he’s still grieving.

My husband had a lot of work to do, so he privately told the co-worker that he probably wouldn’t be able to come, but appreciated the gesture and hoped everyone would have fun. (He’s not much of a drinker anyway). At 5:00, he’s ready to leave and pops his head in the conference room where the wine-tasting is – to find that it’s not so much a wine-tasting as a wine-selling party. You know, like Tupperware parties? Co-worker had invited his friend with this wine-selling business to come and shill his wares as a “thank you” to his co-workers.

My husband was shocked but didn’t say anything, just a cheery “see you tomorrow!” and then came home and told me about it. I don’t think any of the co-workers are going to say anything about the unbelievable rudeness, but I’m pretty sure the director is planning to have some words with him about having a wine-selling party in a non-profit’s conference room on work time.   0226-16


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  • Vic February 29, 2016, 10:41 am

    I don’t know what kind of nonprofit this is. But, even if it had been just a wine-tasting, it sounds highly inappropriate to have this on company property. The director should have put a stop to this as soon as it was announced. Yes, the coworker was wrong to do this. But, it’s the director’s job to protect the business and the employees, and he failed. I put just as much blame on him/her. The fact that the coworker was grieving and probably had good intentions is no excuse. It’s the director’s job to look at the bigger picture and put aside his own discomfort to do the right thing for everyone.

  • Anne February 29, 2016, 10:52 am

    I’m sorry, I don’t have much of a comment because I seem to be having a time trying to pick up my jaw from the floor. Wine, on company time cannot be a good idea. At my place of employment, HR would be having a field day. I hope everyone made it home safely, not that they would be drunk, but what company wants you to take a chance.

  • mark February 29, 2016, 10:52 am

    What are people thinking? (I’ll ignore the obvious problem of holding a sales party on work time.) Holding a wine tasting just before leaving work. I assume most people aren’t going to drink enough to worry about, but I wouldn’t want to accept that risk as a business. Seriously no intoxicants at work, period.

  • PJ February 29, 2016, 11:03 am

    There’s all kinds of wrong going on there!

    My first impression is to think that the wine business representative took advantage of the coworker at a vulnerable time. Not to let CW off the hook, because adults are expected to know better, but how completely tasteless of that salesperson to choose that moment for a business opportunity.

    • INeedANap February 29, 2016, 3:13 pm

      That’s what I was thinking too. I don’t know if it’s possible to both be devastated and grieving the loss of a parent, at the same time as being sneaky and a gimme-pig. Sounds like he wasn’t in a right state of affairs.

    • Angela February 29, 2016, 4:02 pm

      Yeah, my experience is that people who sell stuff will often pitch it as a demonstration or the like and when the event happens, the hard sell comes out.

    • DanaJ March 1, 2016, 11:22 am

      The fact that CW didn’t go to his boss to get permission or at the very least advance warning suggests he knew darn well the answer would be “No, you can’t do that here.” He may have had a spine too tarnished by grief to say no to his winey friend, but he knew what he was doing wasn’t kosher and took some pretty weasely steps all on his own.

  • Shoegal February 29, 2016, 11:09 am

    Well, everyone had a free tasting I’m assuming – without the obligation of buying wine? I suppose that is what he was doing to be appreciative? It is a rather weird gesture. A thank you note would have been better and more appropriate.

    • Stephbwfern February 29, 2016, 2:38 pm

      I’m definitely in agreement, if it were not for the fact that it was on company property, in company time and a non-disclosed product party.
      If he’d said “Hey everyone, come to my place at 7 for wine tasting. It is a product party, thing, but seriously, you have no obligation to buy, I’d just love to have you all around, and the free wine is just a bonus. I’ve made some bean dip and crockpot mushrooms, too” that would have been lovely.

      • daphne February 29, 2016, 6:07 pm

        I always feel obligated to buy something at a product party. It’s not fair to the salesperson to invite a bunch of people and tell them not to buy anything.

        • NostalgicGal March 1, 2016, 6:02 pm

          I don’t. I was invited to a Longaberger Basket party and the cheapest basket they had was well more than I wanted to spend. Out of a dozen or so guests she got one sale and no where NEAR what would snag her the ‘hostess basket’ she really wanted. They were beautiful, well made, USA made at the time and… too far out of the price range of most of us… so, no. Doubly so if it was disguised a bit, walking into what I thought was a bit of a social thing and having someone trying to sell me something-I can politely decline and depart if the sales rep gets in a snit or is too pushy. Or the person who invited me. Starting with living in the dorms, I learned to turn stuff down if I didn’t want it or couldn’t afford it or might be downright allergic to it.

          • daphne March 6, 2016, 2:43 pm

            I was invited to those basket parties ALL the time, as my husband’s boss’s wife sold them. I always turned it down because I knew I couldn’t afford them.
            And now that I can afford them, I still wouldn’t go because I think they are ugly. 🙂

    • mark February 29, 2016, 3:18 pm

      I would imagine there would be a fair amount of “social pressure” to buy. That’s why I don’t go to “parties” like this.

      • Emmy March 4, 2016, 2:47 pm

        I agree. Often at these parties there is a different salesperson who is not the host. Even if the host didn’t think it was a big deal for people not to buy, a salesperson would want to make some money and put on the pressure. Besides, offering hospitality where there is something for sale is not really hospitality in my book. I am a little put off with all the MLMs – if somebody want to socialize with me just to present me with a ‘business opportunity’ or sell me products, I know they are more interested in my pocketbook than me.

    • Lex March 1, 2016, 9:02 am

      Indeed, or a selection of Cupcakes/Doughnuts/Sweets/Chocolate put out in the common food area for all to enjoy to express his thanks – that’s what generally happens in offices here in the UK – at Birthdays, or for other events, the ‘host’ usually supplies some form of baked goods or confectionery then leaves a card or note addressed to the intended audience inviting them to help themselves.

      I just find product parties weird all round. I feel guilty trying stuff and not buying, even if I don’t like what is on offer. I’ve been to a couple of ‘Hen party’ type product parties – a Make up and beauty/hair product one and a ‘personal enjoyment device’ one and I didn’t enjoy either. I have sensitive skin so the Make up ones are a bit too full on and choosing a personal enjoyment device in front of older co-workers is my idea of mortification hell…

      Wine tasting on work property, even if it wasn’t a product party, is still a bit weird IMO.

  • nannerdoman February 29, 2016, 11:16 am

    Wow. That takes a pair of brass ones. (And does the non-profit have any regulations about alcohol on the premises?)

  • clairedelune February 29, 2016, 11:43 am

    I’m shocked that the director didn’t put a stop to that as soon as it started.

  • JD February 29, 2016, 11:54 am

    I have to say, this is a new one on me. This guy was wrong in so many ways. Grasping for sales is not a thank you. Work is not the place to host side-job parties. Surprising the boss like that is never a good idea. I’m sure he’s still recovering from grief, and I give a lot of leniency to grieving people, but using the moment to make money is mind-boggling.
    I’m picturing this in other scenarios: “Mary, I’m so sorry your father died.”
    “Thanks, Barb.”
    “Mary, we realize you may need some extra time off or might have some things to take care of, so please do if you need to.”
    “Thanks, Barb! I appreciate that so much –wanna buy some Mary Kay makeup?”

    • shhh its me February 29, 2016, 3:02 pm

      That actually remind me , my ex once booked me an appointment for a “free facial” with a Mary Kay rep. He had no idea the point was for her to high pressure sell cosmetics, some people are that clueless.

      So I am willing to consider that the person who “threw” the tasting didn’t understand it was a selling party. That still leaves how odd wine tasting is as a thank you to co-workers who helped you while grieving in general.

      • Becca February 29, 2016, 3:46 pm

        That’s a good point. Since it was a friend of the co-worker. I can see it happening in that sort of “Hey why don’t we throw a wine tasting at your place of business, you think your coworkers would like a nice little wine tasting?”

        Then it went into the high pressure.

        Granted, let’s all remember that wine tastings in general are normally about selling wine. You don’t just hangout and taste wines in a party atmosphere, the point of tasting them is so folks buy an entire bottle. So I’m not shocked it was a sales-pitch at all more than it was on company property and apparently during work hours!

      • Chefnutmeg March 1, 2016, 10:49 am

        My mom has sold MK for years. Not all of them are hyper aggressive. Most of the ladies who sell that I have met are not. Just my two cents on that.

        That said, who the heck throws a wine tasting party at work? Unless you work at a restaurant and it is to help figure out new things to serve there, but this? Uh, no thank you.

        • NostalgicGal March 1, 2016, 6:12 pm

          A few houses down where I grew up the lady was driving a MK pink caddy. She was always the nicest person and did some bookings herself, supported her downline and never pushed.

        • shhh its me March 2, 2016, 12:29 am

          You’re right they are not all aggressive. I’m sure there are dozens of people I’ve know who sell MK who I don’t even know sell MK. Also, I’ve happily bought things from sales parties

          This particular one was ,It should be noted my ex bought the entire male product line.

  • Green123 February 29, 2016, 12:02 pm

    Goodness – aside from anything else 4.30pm is quite early for a wine-anything, especially when people have to drive home!

  • Cat February 29, 2016, 12:04 pm

    I would have suspected something was up. Wine tasting parties usually come with a sales pitch to buy some of the wine. I would have thought a nice thank you note to everyone would have sufficed.
    Some people are totally clueless about good manners. I taught in the adult ed. dept. of a high school. The high school’s principal’s mother died. Although she was not our principal, we took up a collection and sent flowers to her mother’s funeral.
    We never received a thank you note and someone asked the principal if the flowers had arrived. Her reply was unprintable, but the basic idea was that she didn’t know and didn’t care. We ignored her retirement.

    • Becca February 29, 2016, 3:48 pm

      I gasped, I cannot imagine being so callous about a thoughtful gesture at a time like that. I can ignore her not giving an initial thank-you because perhaps she just was too grief stricken for that. To not say “Oh I’m sorry I didn’t thank you before, yes, we got them, they were beautiful.” and let it be done…I cannot wrap my fragile mind around 🙁

    • Izzley March 1, 2016, 1:24 am

      I would be inclined to cut the principal some major slack on that one. I’m sure she had more pressing things on her mind at the time. Yes, snapping at theasker was rude, but very small in the great scheme of things.

      • Cat March 2, 2016, 7:45 pm

        One would think that, but she was the most ill-mannered person I have ever seen. She screamed obscenities at students and at staff. You could hear her all over the school. She once broke a child’s arm and body-slammed another student ( she was over 6′ tall) who was being restrained by security-she told the security guard to let the boy go so she could claim he attacked her. She picked him up over her head and brought him down on his back.
        I have never in my life seen an administrator act like that, and I have seen a lot of administrators. Our assistant principal was scared to death of her and always asked me to deal with her. I thought I should have been give a whip and a chair before I took on that task.

  • Shoebox February 29, 2016, 12:36 pm

    I am inclined to give the would-be wine merchant a tiny bit of slack in this case; based on my dealings with MLM types, he may genuinely believe he’s doing his colleagues a real favour by giving them an opportunity to buy this wonderful wine. Especially since grieving sometimes makes you less able to think things through.

    That said, I agree this was grossly inappropriate in a work environment, and the directors would be quite correct to call him on it (and your husband, conversely, was quite right to resist the urge to make a scene then and there). On a personal level… well, the good news is everyone else that was invited also had the opportunity to suddenly remember an important appointment and slip away, and my guess would be a lot of people did,or at least enough that the host got the distinct idea that, contrary to what his handbook likely says, using your co-workers’ goodwill isn’t an awesome sales tactic.

  • NostalgicGal February 29, 2016, 12:38 pm

    Low class.

    Understandable about giving the person some slack about life because of the bereavement.

    NO slack about the wine selling party. I should hope the Director has some words with the person after this. Tack-ee.

  • Devin February 29, 2016, 12:46 pm

    You should share this blog with the co-worker to help him build up his polite spine. I find that people who are good salesmen know how to pressure people into hosting for them. They take any information and use it as their selling point. He might have originally approached this sales person to purchase thank you gifts of wine and the ‘good sales person’ turned it into you should host a party for these people as a thank you and then you’ll get free bottles to give away!! This exact thing happened to a friend of mine who was hosting a bachelorette party. She was going to buy some ‘adult toys’ as gag gifts at a home sales party and the sales person talked her into hosting a party as part of the bachelorette evening. After the fact she realized she’d been talked into more than she had bargained for (and was embarrassed the sales person was prodding guests to buy presents for the bride to be). This man, dealing with grief, probably agreed to it before he realized how it might look to his coworkers. I’d give him a pass this once, but be weary of any ‘party’ invites from him the future.

    • Bellyjean March 1, 2016, 11:49 am

      I bet you’re right – this gives the poor gentleman the benefit of the doubt. Thanks for the perspective!

  • JO February 29, 2016, 12:49 pm

    Umm…wow. I do hope the director does indeed speak to him. How odd…and awkward.

  • Charliesmum February 29, 2016, 12:56 pm

    I actually had to look up that selling wine thing, because my first thought was ‘that’s a thing?’

    My husband and I really enjoy going to wineries, and we enjoy our wine. I’m not 100% I would enjoy that kind of ‘party’, though, just because I’m not crazy about that sort of party to begin with. I don’t like feeling obligated to buy stuff. Especially if I was told ‘oh this is a thank you gesture’.

    I suppose we could give the co-worker the benefit of the doubt and say that perhaps his wine-selling friends misled him slightly as to the nature of the party. Maybe they just told him they do wine-tastings, and neglected to mention the part about selling the wine?

  • TaterTot February 29, 2016, 1:02 pm

    Grieving or not, what that coworker did was really tacky.

  • Lisa February 29, 2016, 1:24 pm

    I’m usually the cynic, but there MAY be an explanation to this.

    A girlfriend of mine was a victim of the “Let me host a facial for you and a few of your friends as a mom’s night”! She told her that she does this on the side and it would cost her nothing and that she would bring all the stuff needed. Well of course, it was a ‘Cary May*’ make up party! (*name changed..lol)

    Could it be that his friend said he would do a wine tasting and he no know that he was going to be hocking wine?

    Just a thought

    • mark February 29, 2016, 3:16 pm

      It’s definitely possible. Though I would hope it’s a one time thing.

  • Dawn February 29, 2016, 1:28 pm

    Oh, that would *so* not fly where I work. First, having alcohol on company property (open – giving a sealed bottle as a gift is OK) is grounds for dismissal. Second, ANY selling is prohibited though I’ll admit they look the other way at people bringing in girl scout cookie forms, school wrapping paper, etc. However, any pressure to purchase would raise a stink and I’ve never heard of it happening without the seller being either fired or given a written warning with no further attempts to do it.

    Even if I was a drinker, the minute he started his spiel I would have used my spine and walked out.

  • Ernie February 29, 2016, 1:45 pm

    I would probably let the dirtector handle this as well, as it was something that happened on company time, no matter how rude and annoying it is.

    I would also take any future invites from this person with a grain of salt.

  • Dee February 29, 2016, 2:15 pm

    Well, if it was an actual wine tasting event then the tasters aren’t actually drinking the wine, they’re tasting it and then spitting it out. Alternatively, it is only a sip of each wine that is taken. So nobody is actually drinking the wine, to any degree, anyway.

    If it’s a wine drinking party then, of course, cheese and such should also be served to slow down the rate of absorption of alcohol. And the party would last a while to allow guests to be quite sober before leaving.

    In the case of the former, it is an event to either judge or sell wines. There’s no other purpose for it. In that way, the coworkers were sort of warned. And the event was then not inappropriate in terms of employees drinking on the job and then going home.

    I think the problem here is that the grieving is being mixed up with the huge etiquette blunder of using sympathy to try to make money off of others. The coworker may be truly grieving and may truly need sympathy and be deserving of such but also may be selfish, or boorish, or opportunistic, or whatever. None of these is exclusive. So, he should receive sympathy and assistance as he needs it and reprimands and restrictions for when he crosses the line. One issue (the loss of his mother) should not unduly affect the other (his behaviour at work). As long as his superiors and coworkers understand this there shouldn’t be a conflict in giving him what he needs (sympathy) while telling him that the party is inappropriate and not allowed.

    • Becca February 29, 2016, 4:35 pm

      Spitting at wine tastings is a choice, it’s not mandated by any means. It depends usually on how many wines are available and price point. You get about a quarter glass of wine, much more than just a sip. So if you were to taste four wines, you’d have essentially a full glass of wine under your belt.

    • Ernie February 29, 2016, 7:01 pm

      I think that while traditionally, a wine tasting involved spitting the wine out, in my experience in the last decade or so, wine tastings involved getting poured one to two sips, and actually drinking the wine. This might be one of those things that varies by region and group, but when I am asked to a wine tasting, I go expecting to drink the equivalent of at least a glass or two of wine.

      I agree with everything you said in your last paragraph.

  • PhDeath February 29, 2016, 2:29 pm

    I’m in no way excusing the behavior described in the OP, but did want to point out that many organizations have in place policies for serving alcohol during work hours. At my former place of employment (a university), alcohol was permitted at approved functions from 4:30 PM on.

    A non-profit might host functions with alcohol for potential donors and partners. Just pointing out that drinking at work isn’t necessarily verboten (or Mad Men-esque!).

    • Just4Kicks March 1, 2016, 4:40 am

      I just finished binging on the last season of Mad Men over the weekend, I felt drunk just watching!

    • Louise March 2, 2016, 11:45 am

      I was going to say this too – my company has ‘beer o’clock’ on friday afternoons, where employee’s are free to take (one!) drink from the communal fridge, usually beer or wine, from between 4.30/5.30. We often then go to the pub after work. Drinking after work is not such a big issue in my city as the majority of people rely on public transport and don’t drive.

      Still, trying to sell the wine is a different issue all together…

  • abby February 29, 2016, 2:39 pm

    I agree with those that can’t believe a wine tasting party (even without knowing there was a sales pitch) would have been greenlighted to begin with. I realize he only gave a few hours’ notice, but at any place I’ve ever worked (granted I’ve never worked for a non profit) the director would have pulled him aside after the staff meeting and said that this “thank you gift” would have to be declined. On top of the liability issue involving alcohol, a staff member can’t just decide at the spur of the moment to host any kind of party on company grounds- what if there are clients/customers/presentations also scheduled for that day?

  • Miss-E February 29, 2016, 2:53 pm

    To all those shocked that there would be a wine-tasting on company time: I can’t really speak for non-profits (although so long as it isn’t a religious organization I don’t really see why that would be an issue), but that is par for the course for newer companies. Companies like Google and Facebook have been leading the charge in new, laid back companies where people don’t have set hours and there’s a lot of fun things to do. My husband works for a Google-like company and his office (in NYC) has a huge kitchen packed with food and wine where they have happy hour at 2pm every Friday. They also have games and sleeping pods and all that stuff. They also have flexible hours. Basically, you are free to do what you want, when you want as long as you get your work done on time. It’s revolutionizing the work world because people actually work a lot better when they have freedom.

    So, yeah, wine at work is not so shocking.

    • caverat February 29, 2016, 6:25 pm

      Heck, my husband works in a standard-hours company that is more blue collar and they do beer on Friday once a month, hosted by the boss. It all depends on who you work for, I guess, but it didn’t seem that strange to me. Also given how much drinking at work is portrayed in white collar jobs on TV, I’m surprised everyone else is so shocked at that particular aspect at all.

      That said, the sales party is out of line, of course. But who knows, maybe the boss approved it at a different time.

    • athersgeo March 1, 2016, 4:06 am

      I’d agree with wine at work not being too shocking in a city like NYC where you have plenty of means of getting home without driving afterwards. In the average city, though, you’re looking at people having to drive home and while one glass of wine might not put you over the limit, who the heck wants to risk it?!

    • Lex March 1, 2016, 9:10 am

      I work for a UK University and we regularly have Staff events and celebrations organised and catered for by the University, and there is almost always a meal/buffet and a selection of Beers and Wines as well as soft drinks and we are all invited to share these events with the blessing of, and at the discretion of, our Organisation. So yes, it’s not uncommon to have perfectly acceptable events in the workplace that involve alcohol, but usually the ‘Host’ of these events is the organisation itself, or the head of the faculty who has the authority to authorise such activities. It’s not within the remit of a ‘standard’ level employee to override workplace rules on drinking.

    • JD March 1, 2016, 9:11 am

      I agree. My son-in-law works for a privately owned consulting firm where he can have a beer at his desk on Fridays. My daughter worked for a non-profit for a few years and they didn’t have the money to serve wine at workday parties, but they sure hosted fundraisers in the evening with stocked bars (Kentucky Derby parties, etc.).
      Some religious work/volunteer organizations definitely allow a drink, provided the timing is right and consumption is limited (no drunkenness). I speak from experience on that. None of this is excusing what the employee in this story did of course. His workplace may or may not allow alcohol.

    • Annie March 1, 2016, 11:41 am

      Agreed. I work for a tech company, and beer is stocked in the fridge.

      The etiquette violation of trying to sell stuff to your coworkers still stands, of course.

    • lakey March 1, 2016, 12:43 pm

      Not all religions or religious organizations have a problem with alcohol. I worked for a Catholic school and many after hours functions, such as fund raising dinners, included alcohol. Of course any school staff caught drinking at school would have been fired. My point is that not all religious organizations frown on social drinking. Many religious organizations handle drinking the same way as secular employers, drinking at an evening dinner event, fine, drinking at school during the workday, not fine.

    • NostalgicGal March 1, 2016, 6:17 pm

      A restaurant where I washed dishes for a few months (friends of owner and they were short) on weekends, after we closed the doors at 2pm and started cleaning up, the owner would put out a case of cold beer and we all could have one or two or three. I drank one the first time so as not to be nonsocial and after that declined. It depends on where you work. (I could walk home from there so a beer wasn’t going to be a problem).

  • Yasuragi February 29, 2016, 6:45 pm

    No cheesecakes? 😉

  • mark2 February 29, 2016, 7:17 pm

    Oh I don’t think any terrible tragedy happened here, just clueless I guess. No one had to buy and maybe got a little drink in at the end of the day. I am sure too that when he announced his wine tasting party, then he would have been informed at that point if alcohol was not allowed.

  • Just4Kicks March 1, 2016, 4:41 am

    If I may be devil’s advocate, maybe the cost of the funeral was too much for this man to handle, and this was his way of drumming up a little extra cash???

  • Mojo March 1, 2016, 7:33 am

    I’d cut this guy some slack. I’ve known highly intelligent people fall prey to the dumbest ruses – ‘free microwave – just send us £30 for shipping’, or ‘you’ve won a writing competition – send us £25 to see your name printed in a vanity book’. Clever, kind people can fall for these schemes as well as idiots, that’s why they work. We’re all of us capable of making dumb choices.

    It’s possible he truly believed he was offering his colleagues something wonderful, an opportunity to show his gratitude for their support and kindness. Ill judged, but not ill meaning. I’m sure the director will tell him not to do it again.

  • DGS March 1, 2016, 8:57 am

    Agree with everything PP’s have said and wondering if the grieving party was bamboozled into a wine-tasting event in the midst of grief, or if he was so conniving as to finagle a party under the excuse of grieving…pretty gross, just the same.

  • Elizabeth March 1, 2016, 11:07 am

    How very self-serving … obligating people to come to his ‘thank you’ and then putting them on the spot to make purchases.

  • Ashley March 1, 2016, 3:23 pm

    My friend had one of these parties for her 30th birthday. We all went into it knowing we were going to have wine being sold to us, and we were fine with it because it was delicious wine and the host was awesome. I learned more about wine in those three hours (we sampled 15 wines!) than I have in the entire rest of my wine drinking time on this earth. It was super fun.

    However, yeah, totally NOT appropriate for the situation in OP’s story. Like, as much as I enjoyed the party my friend threw, I would have been quite upset to find out I was getting suckered into such a party at work, by a coworker.

    I hope his supervisor absolutely has a word with him. I get that he’s grieving and all, but this is highly inappropriate.

  • Marozia March 1, 2016, 3:39 pm

    Vulgar, vulgar, vulgar!!
    But sometimes you just have to forgive people.

  • Just4Kicks March 1, 2016, 9:03 pm

    When I was a receptionist for a radio station, we had the whole ground floor of the building, and some computer company had the top floor.
    One day, close to the holidays, the Fed ex guy dropped off a package for the folks upstairs.
    He seemed very harried, and I told him “no worries, I’ll run it up for you.”
    I told my boss I was stepping out for two minutes, and ran upstairs…..And ran right into their Christmas party.
    They all seemed pretty toasted and I got a collective “HEY!!! It’s the girl from downstairs!!! Have some wine!!!”
    Uh…Thanks, but no…still have some stuff to do.
    “Oh….come ON! One glass won’t kill ya!!!”
    No…but my boss WILL!
    I finally took a half a glass, said thanks, and poured it down the sink when I got back.
    My boss on her way out saw me dumping it out and asked “Was that WINE?!?”
    Yes…They wouldn’t let me leave upstairs until I took a little with me.
    “Why on earth didn’t you drink it?!?”
    Uhhh, because I thought you’d be mad!

  • Surianne March 1, 2016, 11:43 pm

    Weirdly, I don’t see this as that bad. For a couple of reasons:

    1) I don’t think it’s wrong to consume alcohol at the end of the work day. I work in academia and a trip to the college pub after work is pretty normal.

    2) I don’t have a tonne of experience with wine tastings, so I might be wrong here, but usually they involve tasting different wines for free with the option to buy some to take home. When I go to a winery, that’s how it works — and it’s pretty low pressure. Maybe, in the OP’s case, it’s more like a sales party where there is a l0t of pressure. If so, I can see why it’s not appropriate. But if it’s a regular wine tasting (enjoy the wine, if you love it buy some) I can see why it seems like a decent thank you.

  • Crochet Addict March 5, 2016, 3:39 pm

    I think if it’s part of the workplace culture, alcohol isn’t really an issue. But a wine tasting MLM party? Totally not cool and very tacky. At my previous job, we had zero tolerance for drinking in the building. Exceptions were made for very rare events, such as outside organizations, client celebrations, and gift giving (discreetly, and closed bottles only). However, there were a few incidents at the yearly holiday party- one staffer made some sort of cake that had quite a bit of rum in the glaze. Enough to get a bit of a buzz from an average-sized piece. And there was Awesome Developer’s infamous mousse- it was the most luscious creation and had all sorts of chocolate and coffee flavored liquors in it. The first year he made it, we learned not to eat more than a good-sized dollop if we needed to be in top form immediately afterwards. One year, a coworker who was a recovering alcoholic had more than a good-sized dollop. Only a few of us knew this about him, and we sort of looked on in horror trying to decide what to do. Fortunately, it didn’t wreck his recovery or anything.

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