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  • mayling03
    • #2
    • 12th Apr 11, 9:12 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Apr 11, 9:12 PM
    Did he ask for your permission beforehand? If not then there are 2 things you can do
    a) Do not contribute based on moral grounds.
    b) You can pay to keep the peace in the office! As you are Senior and may be deemed as 'tight'

    When you say junior colleague, junior as in to you or is he new (ish)?
    Last edited by mayling03; 12-04-2011 at 9:15 PM.
    • boots_babe
    • By boots_babe 12th Apr 11, 9:13 PM
    • 2,894 Posts
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    • #3
    • 12th Apr 11, 9:13 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Apr 11, 9:13 PM
    If you weren't there I don't see how your contribution could be either expected or assumed

    • billbennett
    • By billbennett 12th Apr 11, 10:49 PM
    • 2,270 Posts
    • 1,623 Thanks
    • #4
    • 12th Apr 11, 10:49 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Apr 11, 10:49 PM
    Hell no. I'd have told him that I would have done if I'd been asked beforehand.
    In "Monopoly", what makes the "Super Tax" so super?
  • tryfive
    • #5
    • 13th Apr 11, 12:03 AM
    For a *birthday*?!
    • #5
    • 13th Apr 11, 12:03 AM
    A whip-round for a leaving present when a permanent member of staff is leaving (i.e. NOT a contractor, who would typically be expected to be leaving after their contract ran out anyway) isn't uncommon, but for a birthday?!!

    I'd quietly take the junior staff member to one side, and point this out to him/her - though I'd certainly try to be tactful about it.

    As for asking for a contribution post-event from someone who didn't know about it, wasn't there, was only a contractor, and for just a birthday, etc: NO, you should NOT stump up the fiver asked for - and I don't think there's any doubt that it's just plain not appropriate for them to have asked. Again, it would be better if this was put tactfully - it's a junior member of staff, so it sounds like they're probably not be up to speed with "company culture", and there's no reason to put their nose out of joint!

    What they did may have been nice, but was certainly in no way expected (buying a cake?!!), and is really the sort of thing that someone more senior would have organised if it was. Presumably this is a very small company - a medium to large enterprise, and they'd be eating birthday cake practically every working day of the week!

    From my experience, these things are normally handled the other way around (if at all), with the birthday boy bringing in a bunch of small cakes, doughnuts, or similar for the office to enjoy - or buying a round of drinks down the pub at lunchtime!
    Last edited by tryfive; 13-04-2011 at 12:08 AM. Reason: Typo
    • sashadesade
    • By sashadesade 13th Apr 11, 12:21 AM
    • 292 Posts
    • 909 Thanks
    • #6
    • 13th Apr 11, 12:21 AM
    • #6
    • 13th Apr 11, 12:21 AM
    I haven't heard of birthday whiprounds in offices before, so don't know if this would be normal for the OP's workplace. But either way, getting a present for a contractor is surely a bit strange. I would probably explain to the junior member of staff how these things normally work so it didn't become a regular thing. If you had to contribute for everybody's birthday it could end up being quite expensive, after all.
    • Aldahbra
    • By Aldahbra 13th Apr 11, 1:03 AM
    • 315 Posts
    • 3,684 Thanks
    • #7
    • 13th Apr 11, 1:03 AM
    • #7
    • 13th Apr 11, 1:03 AM
    Yes I think you should cough up. A junior colleague paid money up front. It was nieve of them, they should at very lease had a whip round first to see how much money would be available and as a senior member of staff it is your duty really to tactfuly point this out.

    If you are senior and you don't pay out for this I think it will reflect very badly on you.

    One thing that worries me though, how many staff are paying 5 for a bit of cake and a small gift? What was the small gift - diamond earings?

    I think the fact that the contractor is not staff, in a modern working environment, is probably not to relevent (other than the fact that they probably earn a lot more than you). Unless they were only on site for a very short period.

    Actually, on reflection you might want to nip this in the bud, paying out 5 every time anyone has a birthday will get a bit much. Maybe 18, 21, 30, 40, 50 and 65 birthdays only.
    Last edited by Aldahbra; 13-04-2011 at 1:10 AM. Reason: I thought a bit more about it
    • *Louise*
    • By *Louise* 13th Apr 11, 2:33 AM
    • 9,046 Posts
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    • #8
    • 13th Apr 11, 2:33 AM
    • #8
    • 13th Apr 11, 2:33 AM
    I would pay it this time, since dippy junior colleague is out of pocket, but would make sure company policy is known from now on to juniors. ie. whether gifts are bought for permanent staff only / special birthdays / money is collected up front etc.

    I also would wonder at the cost of the gift - I could understand if there were only around 4 staff members but 5 a head for more people than that is working out an expensive gift!
    Cross Stitch Cafe member No. 3
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  • ailuro2
    • #9
    • 13th Apr 11, 6:39 AM
    • #9
    • 13th Apr 11, 6:39 AM
    If it's normal to celebrate people's birthdays then yes, I'd pay up but suggest next time it would be fairer to only include people who will get a share of the cake on the day.

    If it's not usual then I'd make it clear that it wasn't normal practice to celebrate birthdays and definitely not normal practice to assume someone wants to contribute, but I'd also thank them for being nice and give them the fiver.

    Going to work can get costly when there's a bunch of retirements going on- somehow over the years the price jumped from ONE pound to 5, then up to 10! Wouldn't like to calculate the inflation rate on that. The people who retire are taking a large lump sum with them, so my tenner doesn't really make much of a dent in that, all it means is there's a nicer picture/golf club to present to them when they go.

    The only time I don't mind putting my hand in my pocket for a work colleague is when someone is off long term sick with something serious. I know that might sound mean, but some people start collections for soon to be ex colleagues who are leaving work to go to another job! I just DON'T get that one at all!
    Member of the first Mortgage Free in 3 challenge, no.19
    Balance 19th April '07 = minus 27,640
    Balance 1st November '09 = mortgage paid off with 1903 left over. Title deeds are now ours.
    • scotsbob
    • By scotsbob 13th Apr 11, 7:07 AM
    • 4,462 Posts
    • 6,958 Thanks
    You don't want to pay for a gift because you weren't physically present. If you apply that standard to family and friends then I guess it is OK.
    If you don't, then why be mean spirited?
    • gaily
    • By gaily 13th Apr 11, 8:36 AM
    • 188 Posts
    • 157 Thanks
    We have office collections, there's about 15 of us, and each stick 3 in a pot (or 5 for a special birthday 40, 50, wedding, baby etc - we're finished with the 30's now!!). The lucky birthdayee then gets an envelope of cash, and an order list of cakes that everyone wants - usually from the Sayer's down the road (other shops are available). They usually have enough for a small round at the local with the other half later. Sorted.

    We have one person who does the collection, usually on pay day each month, and yes, it can get expensive - in additon to the lotto syndicate etc.

    HOWEVER - I work in an office where we have all worked together for the past 5 years or so, we all know the score, and all go by the same 'rules'. Newcomers are not expected to join in, until they want to. Graduates, summer people etc who have a celebration during their time with us usually get a 'token' gesture - ie chocs/wine etc, but are encouraged not to get cakes for us lot.

    As for a collection after the even, dodgy ground there. I'd like to hope that they saved you a bit of cake to go with the request. If someone's put thier hand inn their pocket for you, you can't not really, but as a lot of people are saying - how big is the gift??
    Always on the hunt for a bargain. :rolleyes:

    Always grateful for any hints, tips or guidance as to where the best deals are
  • noodle
    Would you have put 5 in if you'd been there? If so, then maybe pay-up, but warn the collector not to be so presumptive in the future.

    Alternatively, and f you want to avoid being seen as tight, then give the collector 5 but insist that s/he puts it in a charity box or somesuch... your non-skinflint credentials are intact, and the collector has, rightly, 'suffered' due to spending someone elses money without asking first.
  • bluebird
    No, you do not have to contribute the 5.00.

    more of a case of would you have done so before?

    Its a choice you would need to make but if it were me NO i would not cough up for someone i barely know.

    Its very wrong of anyone assuming you'd pay,what gave them the right to decide you'd bung in a fiver?

    NO NO and No again.
  • JoannaS
    Office politics
    Hi there,

    I don't think it is fair for the member of staff who arranged the cake etc to ask you to contribute when you weren't even there!

    If they had gone round all staff and asked if they would like to contribute first, that might have been a better idea then just going out and buying things and then expecting other staff memebrs to contribute.

    It's always difficult as these 'collections' always seem to happen on the wrong side of pay day, I have a colleague who is leaving after being here 6 months and a collection is being sent I contributing? No....Why? well it's the wrong side of payday and in the 6months we've been colleagues we've probably had a total of 5minutes worth of conversation and as money is tight, I think it is more important to spend my money on those I care about instead of those I don't really know!

    It's a bit like the 'discretionary' service charge added to restaurant bills, you can cross it off and not pay it if you don't want to, it doesn't make you tight!

    If I were you I would not contribute and have a quiet word with the person asking for your contribution and say that as you weren't at work on the day and hadn't been asked about it before, you won't be contributing...what they then do with that information is up to them but I feel principals should be stuck to!

    Good luck and whatever your decision, don't feel bad about it!
    Debt owed 4000, Saved (to pay back) 300, only 3,700 to go!!

    My best money saving tip: Good manners cost NOTHING! So please be nice to each other!
    • Augustus the Strong
    • By Augustus the Strong 13th Apr 11, 11:47 AM
    • 304 Posts
    • 313 Thanks
    Augustus the Strong
    I don't see why you should have to pay up if you don't want to, plus 5 seems a lot. However, it may be worth being generous in this instance, but point out you won't be doing it again. I think Noodle's idea about telling junior to put it in a charity box is a good one.
    • happyinflorida
    • By happyinflorida 13th Apr 11, 12:15 PM
    • 727 Posts
    • 610 Thanks
    Normally in offices where I've worked, whether you're there or not, makes no difference, you are expected to contribute to people's birthdays.

    If however, you're facing financial hardship, then just have a word and offer either what you can afford or say you're broke and really cannot afford it, I'm sure they won't mind if it's true! As long as you're not going out enjoying yourself other nights of the week?!

    It's not a great deal nowadays, 5, so if you can afford it, why on earth are you asking?!
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 13th Apr 11, 12:22 PM
    • 2,127 Posts
    • 16,678 Thanks
    Cough up!
    It's harder to judge when we don't know the size of your office, or whether it was an important birthday, or if you normally celebrate birthdays like this.

    If it was an important birthday, or it's what your office normally does, then cough up - you're paying for the gift as well, and arguing you weren't there to see him get it is just tight fisted.

    If it wasn't an important birthday, or your office doesn't normally celebrate, then ask the juniors' line manager to explain how things are normally done. In the mean time you should still pay up - leaving an office junior out of pocket is mean.
    • geri1965
    • By geri1965 13th Apr 11, 12:45 PM
    • 8,366 Posts
    • 14,004 Thanks
    I used to work for a well known insurance company, and it seemed like every day someone would come round with an envelope collecting for birthdays/weddings etc, it was 2 for a normal birthday or leaving present, 5 for a "special" birthday (18,21,30,40,50!) Once there was even a collection for flowers because the mother of someone who I didn't know had died.

    I always paid up but I wasn't happy about it. On the plus side, when I left after only being there 3 months I got a pretty decent present!

    Where I work now we don't bother with stuff like that. If someone has a birthday they usually bring cakes in but it's not expected, and we only tend to buy leaving presents for someone if they have been here a long time.
    • zx81
    • By zx81 13th Apr 11, 12:49 PM
    • 19,397 Posts
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    Resign immediately in protest at having to pay 5. Live in a box outside the office, so they can see what they've done to you and feel really bad. If you're lucky, they may throw you small pieces of old birthday cake so you can survive.
    • Tigsteroonie
    • By Tigsteroonie 13th Apr 11, 12:51 PM
    • 22,976 Posts
    • 57,599 Thanks
    As others have said, I think it depends on what is the "custom" in that workplace. Are there normally collections for birthdays? Was their a collection for your birthday last year? Are the whiprounds ad-hoc (only those present) or organised?

    We have a "birthday club", there's a published list of birthdays, and every payday we collect 2 per birthday in the coming month. Last month was expensive, this month there are none.
    Mrs Marleyboy

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