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02 October 2008

a thank you gift as being underhanded and a bribe? really? Are thank you gifts really so rare these days that folks are reading them as bribes and the giver 'naive?' really?

am i the only one who grew up in a household where 'being nice to people who are nice to you' and being sure to thank a job well done was par for the course?
Have the bribe comments been deleted? I don't see them.

One summer in high school, I got paid to ride along with some of the city garbage truck drivers (they aren't called "Sanitation Engineers" if they're unionized :) Anyway, the guy I rode along with commented that there's definitely an age/class divide between people that "tip" their public services at Christmas (with cookies, a bottle of wine, or straight-up cash) and those that don't.
posted by muddgirl 02 October | 14:32
You know, there was only one comment in there that you're objecting to. You didn't get jumped on or anything. That means that you came here to complain about a single Metafilter user, which is kinda a no-no here.
posted by mudpuppie 02 October | 15:21
Apologies for offending. There were a few comments that struck me as odd, nothing did insult me was just odd the couple of responses that people thought this delved into a 'possible bribe' or inappropriate action.

Thought it was more of a 'Sign of the times?' discussion opener.
posted by eatdonuts 02 October | 15:24
A thank-you gift among friends is one thing, but a gift for someone doing their job (other than a tip) seems a bit weird. Becoming a regular customer is thanks enough.
posted by Ardiril 02 October | 15:44
A lot of companies don't allow people to accept gifts from customers these days, either. I know my mom can't (nurse), and I don't think my sister can (accountant), either.
I can, but I'm in sales and we're all whores here.
posted by kellydamnit 02 October | 15:47
I don't know. I always thought someone going out of their way to be inordinately nice - even if the task was technically 'within their job description' is something above and beyond the call of duty. We give holiday gifts to the garbage man, the postman, superintendants (even when they're crap) and such for just doing their jobs, but someone whom you have known and relied upon for years - giving a small thank you token for something out of the ordinary seems to me - normal.
posted by eatdonuts 02 October | 15:58
Yeah, a small thank you is normal and appropriate. In this case, I think a thoughtfully written card would be appropriate, a gift of $100 value would not be.
posted by Specklet 02 October | 16:03
We're not supposed to accept gifts either (I work for the government), but things that can be shared around the office (chocolates, mainly!) are judged to be okay. We also get mugs, mouse mats, pens and occasional lunches from the agencies we use as a casual pool. In one place I worked a service user's mother used to bring in bags of used designer clothing - that was also fair game! Otherwise gifts are a no-no.

We give gifts to the service staff we use regularly, our cleaner, our building staff and our vege delivery guy. Sometimes I'll randomly give them some home-baked biscuits, and cash and toys and books for their kids at xmas.
posted by goo 02 October | 16:08
Our ethics/COI policy prohibits gifts, by the way, to the point that we have to be careful about getting treated to dinner by our clients or by potential clients. I occasionally get free stuff from vendors, but I think there's a dollar amount limit.

In college, we'd give a small Christmas gift and big end-of-year gift to our dorm housekeepers, but they deserved it!
posted by muddgirl 02 October | 16:37
I can understand where people are coming from when they say to be careful. I did a training session to be a Hopsice volunteer (something that didn't end up fitting into my schedule at the time, unfortunately), and one thing they discuss is that you are never, ever, ever allowed to accept gifts from the family you're helping. Of course, given all that you've done for them, they might want to, but to allow volunteers to accept gifts would open the door to less-than-savory characters doing the work for the wrong reasons. It's the same with your giving a gift to your accountant. He (presumably) does his job well because he likes to do his job well, and not because he's wanting or expecting you to give him a kickback.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 02 October | 17:00
I give small gifts to people who've done a good job, and I get small and occasionally largish ($100 max) gifts from my bosses' clients who think I've gone above and beyond the call of duty for them. It's never expected but I don't think it's peculiar.
posted by small_ruminant 02 October | 18:11
decided, i bought him one of the met's book suggested and will write a lovely letter of thank you. he really did more than he can know over the years and this last episode especially. it's nice to feel appreciated and i wantz him 2.
posted by eatdonuts 02 October | 23:19
I gave the people who helped with buying my condo gift cards: J&R for the male broker (he received the commission fee from the building owner, but it took about 18 months for me to find what I though was the right place) and enough to cover a massage with tip at a day spa across from her office for the female lawyer who did the negotiations (whose fee I did pay).
posted by brujita 03 October | 01:22
A relevent political allegory for these days? The Walrus and The Carpenter || Dr. Ralph Stanley,