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should we tell colleague we aren't doing a collection for her wedding or just leave her to be surprised when no money is produced for her

(82 Posts)
takethisonehereforastart Thu 02-Jun-11 20:01:11

A colleague at work is getting married later in the year. There is some bad feeling about her at the moment and most members of our small team (of six people) have said they are not prepared to chip into a collection to buy her a gift.

As background. Two and a half years ago she got married for the second time. We collected over £150 for them and gave them the money as they wanted to buy a new household appliance with it. They received a lot of money from our management too and some of the customers also had a collection for her. At the reception her new husband took all the money from all the cards and put them aside without even looking who had sent them. He then started using the money to buy alcohol with. They didn't thank anybody for any of the gifts and they didn't buy the new appliance. They did spend a lot of money on alcohol and ran up a lot of debts with rent and council tax etc as well as borrowing money from friends.

Just over a year after they got married the new husband died (pre-existing heart condition) and we had another collection, close to £200 just from us, again more from the management and customers. Our colleague also made about £15,000 from the sale of the house she had owned with her first husband. She paid off some of the debts and finally bought the new appliance and other furniture and made a downpayment on her second husbands grave and headstone. She took several months off work to recover and we covered her work as best we could, a lot of extra work for everyone but in the circumstances it was the right thing to do. People made a big effort to look after her, taking her shopping, giving her things she said she needed, driving her about to appointments and the cemetary, inviting her for Christmas etc. One man even left his wife and children on Christmas day to collect her from someone elses house and drive her to the cemetary to visit.

What we didn't know is that within less than a month of her husband dying our colleague was living with his friend as a couple, although she kept this secret at first.

When we found out we felt a bit shocked but it's her business. They are planning to get married later this year, less than two years since her second husband died.

The bad feeling has arisen because since then she has borrowed money, ran up more debts, her new partner doesn't work and she recently asked to reduce her hours to 16 per week because she wants to claim carers allowence from him (but he does not need a carer and she may not get it, he had a biggish operation but is otherwise back to full health and can walk, use the loo, dress himself etc with no problems, he goes out to the pub etc.) She reduced her hours at such short notice that someone else had to cancel a holiday to cover for her. Other people have had bereavements and partners who have been ill or lost jobs in this time and she has never once shown the concern she received.

She expects a lot of favours in regards to picking and chosing the best hours to work etc or having people swap shifts with her if necessary but doesn't do the same in return. She spends a lot of time complaining about everything.

Last week she told us that she wants to buy a new bed and so could we just give her the money again when she gets married rather than use it to buy something for her. We are not invited to the wedding, none of it. Not the hen party, not the service, not the reception or the evening piss up party. Even colleagues who have worked with her for over 20 years have not been invited.

And so my colleagues have said (privately) they are not going to buy her anything or give to a collection. One of them is new and already has had several run-in's with our colleague because she is bossy and hard to get on with, one has two children and her husband is only getting sporadic agency work and one is saying that she is not giving money for a new bed when she knows full well it will be spent on gin (as per last time).

I've known the colleague a long time and even I feel that I don't want to give to a collection.

Would we be more unreasonable to tell her so in advance of the wedding or should we just leave it and see if she says anything when no collection money is offered to her. It doesn't seem to have crossed her mind that we won't be doing a collection for her at all.

TheSecondComing Thu 02-Jun-11 20:03:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

takethisonehereforastart Thu 02-Jun-11 20:04:28

Sorry, children will be there. I feel like I've let mumsnet down grin

trixymalixy Thu 02-Jun-11 20:10:05

Hmm I think you are all a bit mean. A lot of what you have mentioned is none of your business. It's up to them what they did with the gifts and their personal debts are just that, personal. Not being invited to the wedding is a poor excuse too, given it's her third it's bound to be smaller.

I think the collection should be run and people are free to not contribute, but give others the opportunity to. If no money is collected then it will be apparent to her what people think of her, but she can't accuse one person of deciding there is to be no collection, IYSWIM.

TidyDancer Thu 02-Jun-11 20:10:25

Bloody hell! I think I'd have to kill you myself if you gave money to this woman! YADNBU!

catsmother Thu 02-Jun-11 20:10:29

Wow .... you lot sound like a lovely bunch of people to work with - going above and beyond the call of duty to be generous and supportive. However, it does sound as if you have been taken advantage of for quite some time now and in all sorts of ways.

I tend to agree with you - the cheeky moo doesn't deserve a thing, but maybe you need to weigh up what effect an outright snub might have in the workplace - though obviously you shouldn't have to consider this. Perhaps just buy a bottle of champagne from you all, shouldn't be more than a couple of quid so at least you can't be accused of doing nothing ? If she dared be rude enough to say anything, you can simply state that times are hard, and you (collectively) can't afford to be as generous now as you once were. I'd also tell her - if she did do that - how spectacularly unbgrateful she was being.

scurryfunge Thu 02-Jun-11 20:10:48

Keep it simple. If you want to give, just give and without any conditions. If no one in the office receives any pleasure from giving then they should not bother.

pinkthechaffinch Thu 02-Jun-11 20:10:53

I think I would say to her that she isn't getting a collection as no-one has been invited to the evening do. I don't think I'd go into all the other reasons, valid though they are.

She sounds like a bit of a nutter.

pinkthechaffinch Thu 02-Jun-11 20:11:47

ooh just read catsmothers post- a much better idea.

TidyDancer Thu 02-Jun-11 20:12:54

Yes, catsmother has a sensible compromise suggestion.

DorisIsAPinkDragon Thu 02-Jun-11 20:15:04

I was going to say if she brings it uipn again just be vague, but actually she doesn't want any of you actually at the thing but wants cash to cover her new bed hmm I think I might be a bit more honest along the lines of "I only do presents for weddings I attend, I don't know who's going from here, but maybe you could ask them... "

LindyHemming Thu 02-Jun-11 20:15:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LaurieFairyCake Thu 02-Jun-11 20:16:16

I would do a small collection, with people only putting in if they want to obviously and buy a voucher for a bed shop like John Lewis with the cash - can't be cashed in for gin.

creamola Thu 02-Jun-11 20:16:40

Is she still going to work with after the wedding?

If she is buy a present albeit a small one.

Why create workplace problems when you can avoid them

xstitch Thu 02-Jun-11 20:16:41

Fantastic idea catsmother.

CoffeeIsMyFriend Thu 02-Jun-11 20:17:06

I think it is fair to say that this woman is taking the piss with you all. That said, if no collection is going to be done for this person it is nice if someone let her know because it sounds like she is relying on this money.

Bit cheeky to be expecting a collection.

Bluetinkerbell Thu 02-Jun-11 20:18:02

What they have used the money for is not really anyone's business. We have also asked money for specific things but had to prioritise other things due to circumstances so also not ended up buying things we were going to buy with our money we received for our wedding.

I think you should tell her that you won't make a collection.
Don't know whether you can 'justify' it as it being her second wedding and people can't keep dishing out money... I think she is a bit cheeky to expect she is going to receive money and asking for it herself.

It seems you have done your best to help her out with the circumstances she's been through.

As none of you are invited, just buy them a card to congratulate them!

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Thu 02-Jun-11 20:18:11

I'd pick a nice card and all sign it. And I'd avoid being the one who tells her she's not getting anything. She may well shoot the messenger and your colleagues might chicken out and decide to put some cash in if she kicks off, leaving you to face the flack alone.

I'd avoid anything saying third time lucky...

WhoAteMySnickers Thu 02-Jun-11 20:21:50

I think you should all chip in a couple of quid and buy a token gift, even if it's a bottle of shit wine.

Her debts and how soon she started her new relationship are none of your business. As are her working hours/arrangements. They have obviously been agreed by her manager. If they have affected you and your colleagues that much, take it up with the management, don't feel bitter towards her.

ScrotalPantomime Thu 02-Jun-11 20:22:06

YANBU - you weren't invited. I wouldn't have expected any presents from those I didn't invite!

thefirstMrsDeVere Thu 02-Jun-11 20:22:22

I really dont think you needed to put all those details on here tbh.

The fact its her third wedding in a few years and none of you are invited to any of the wedding is probably enough.

Her debts, shinanigans and her dead husband spending the card money on booze (she didnt do it) are not really relevant although I can see why they seem that way to you.

LaWeasel Thu 02-Jun-11 20:22:46

Laurie the John Lewis vouchers can be used in waitrose so yes, you can use them to bbuy gin!

I'm sure you could find a purely beds store that does do vouchers, but I like the champagne idea more.

Snuppeline Thu 02-Jun-11 20:23:00

Umh, other than you giving quite a lot(!) of info on this women which borders on moralising YANBU. Why don't you just tell her quite simply that you and your colleagues are all struggling at the moment - you know what with the recession and all - so will not be able to give a gift this time. If she seems horrified you can always point out that she is being quite rude.

scurryfunge Thu 02-Jun-11 20:23:34

I wonder what happened to the first husband? wink

UrsulaBuffay Thu 02-Jun-11 20:24:03

I kind of think...well, this woman lost her husband and you were all just arsed about how she spent your money. And if she wants to reduce her hours she can (how do you know that her fiance can wipe his own arse?) she obviously did this through the usual channels via HR/management & it is their responsibility to ensure holidays etc are covered.

If you don't want to collect, don't collect. But there seems to be an awful lot of judging going on.

Maybe she complains all the time cos she's had a hard few years?

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