Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Question of Etiquette

Ordinarily I am a very friendly person who likes to see people happy. I would gladly do something that might not be very convenient for myself to see a smile on a child's face. I've been known to help feeble old ladies cross the street when they are too scared of the mean New York crosswalk.

Of course, sometimes my patience and sense of samaritan duty is questioned --

Office celebratory occasions.

I'm no Oscar the Grouch. I love a good reason to kick back a glass of "vino" mid-afternoon and substitute Factiva searches for a piece of Buttercup cake. However, when this celebratory brouhaha is also tied to a gift to a person I don't really know, that's when I get a little peeved.

Sure I've seen you in the hallway Cubicle Cathy, but do I really need to feel obligated to spend money on your engagement? You will probably never know that I contributed, and I probably will be too busy to enjoy your surprise fete.

The only reason at all to help out in the gift is to save face in front of the co-worker who is arranging the whole thing. With all the "corporate team" brain-wash that floats around most offices these days, it's hard to look at someone's face and say "Sorry, I rather spend these 10 bucks on Chinese take-out tonight".

I guess I'm wondering if there is a more polite way to say "no".