Party Pooper

dear_snarky_logoDear Snarky,

I work in an office where we are always celebrating something. Sounds great right? But no, it’s not because every time we have a party it costs something. At least a couple of times a week the big manila envelope is getting passed around for a cash donation of $10 for so and so’s baby shower, wedding, anniversary, birthday and get this half birthday’s. Seriously, WTH on that? Is there a socially acceptable way to get out of contributing to the party fund.

Signed Going Broke

Dear Going Broke,

You had me at half birthdays. Just wow! If you’re not a young child or terminally ill I think celebrating your half birthday is beyond ridiculous and since when do your office mates give you a wedding anniversary party? Yeah, cake in the break room for hitting the six-year mark in your marriage. It’s dumb. I think a party intervention is called for and you’re just the person to start it.

Here’s how – when the dreaded manilla envelope is passed around state very vocally that you’re on a super tight budget and sadly can’t afford to contribute. When other people in the office hear this, trust me, they will jump aboard the S.S. No More Party Fund. All they’re waiting for is for some brave soul to take the lead. Sure, you could go to Human Resources and complain but this is faster and doesn’t make you the “person who whined to management and killed the parties.” I’m not saying workplaces shouldn’t have celebrations. I’m just saying you shouldn’t be made to feel like you have to contribute cash a couple of times a week to support what I would call a party fetish.

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16 thoughts on “Party Pooper

  1. Claire says:

    Great advice. I also once worked in an office where everything was celebrated with cake in the break room. I gained 5 pounds and lost about 30 bucks a month in party “donations.” Some for people I didn’t even know.

  2. Pearl ;) says:

    I will just respond with “this really takes the cake”!!!! I believe it is the business owner’s responsibility to provide cake, etc…. if you feel so entitled to offer more, it should be by choice. If I liked the person, I brought them a bottle of wine or took them to a personal lunch. Now, I need to wash this down, with a nice glass of wine.

  3. Diana says:

    And don’t get me started about the “my kids school is selling (fill in the blank) this month to raise money”. Mostly it’s for whatever the PTA president deems essential in their budget. Omg

    • T.L says:

      No kidding, I have kids and never foist their junk to sell on anyone else, because it’s crap first of all and second, you could just give the same amount if money to the school and they would actually earn more money than the crappy fundraiser stuff

  4. amee says:

    Lol. Great advice.. and this reader is not alone…i hear about this stuff a lot. It is unnecessary work peer pressure to participate. there’s an episode about exactly this on Rules of Engagement. Hilarious show and episode.

  5. Helen says:

    Just cross your name off the list on the outside of the envelope without putting anything in and pass it on. Or, if someone demands it “right now,” gosh darn it, but you’re fresh out of cash….

  6. T.L says:

    As a previous perky office cheerleader party starter, I can empathize with those that dislike. However, everything I did, I did out of my own pocket; (did I mention I was in my mid-twenties, married with no kids, and I was overqualified for my position). Now that I’ve established that I may have been the office cheerleader you all despised; I would be just as much as a perky smart-ass in my response now. I would create “certificates” to put into the office Manila envelope with the following wording: Greetings, I am at this time disinclined to acquiesce to you request for money or involvement in this particular occasion. However please be sure to pass on my very best regards. Sign if you wish or not, who cares.

  7. Shannon says:

    Just say “oh sorry, no cash today” and pass that envelope on to the next person…..or you could tell them you need to save for your electric bill (times are tough) maybe they’ll start collecting for you! 😉

  8. Tf says:

    Just say “sorry I already got them something personal” and then keep a drawer full of tiny blank cards that you can write congrats on, or whatever and give it to them.– that way they won’t give you that LOOK

  9. Mary C says:

    I worked at a place that did one birthday party a month. Several of us volunteered to make cakes or cup cakes and if you chose to gift someone you did that yourself at a different time to avoid hurt feelings.

  10. suburbanprincessteacher says:

    When I was a classroom teacher, there was some pressure to keep track of every child’s bday and make sure they got cake or cupcakes or an iPad or something on their bday. Any-hoo, it got very stressful and the kids who had bdays on the weekend or holidays or in the summer got nothing. So, I just had one celebration a month and we sang happy birthday to everyone who had had a that month. And then before summer, we had one for the summer bday kids. If 8-year-olds can handle it, grown-ups can certainly handle it! The only time you should ask your employees/co-workers for money is if someone is ill or in dire straights and needs help.

  11. Lynne Sykora Stadler says:

    I like Miss Manner’s response to this situation: You work with these people. They aren’t your friends, they are colleagues. You celebrate with your friends, you work with your colleagues. Not saying you should be rude, but workplace celebrations are just inappropriate.

  12. Dee's Dating Diary says:

    Great advice! I do wonder though, couldn’t doing this still spark some unwanted co-worker attention? I know I’ve been asked in the past how I got certain designer purses without even being asked for money for office celebrations. So, if you are going to take the “money problems” route, definitely don’t come to work with designer do dads and expensive clothes and accessories. You’d be surprised how quick people are to jump into your wallet! Great post!!

  13. Maggie says:

    Very loudly, w/ smile: “I’m sorry, I don’t carry cash. It seems to just fly out my wallet and I’m never sure where it goes!” (You just have to careful not to wave a tenner around when you order your lunch, then.)

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