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AIBU over non-paying colleague? Lunch dramas

(1000 Posts)
Amelia2000 Fri 11-Oct-19 12:06:46

I work in an open plan office. Every Friday we order lunch from a local food place. I happen to have a discount credit card for said food outlet, where I receive 30% off. I pay on this credit card and then on the first day of the next month it is paid off via direct debit from my current account. My six other colleagues always pay me in cash on the day (it's usually around/just over £5 each). Sometimes they will bank transfer it to me from their phone if they have forgotten cash. It is a bit of a pain having £30/£40 in cash every week that I then have to put aside rather than spend so that I can put it into the bank to pay off the card every month, but I do it so that we have a nice lunch and that everyone gets to take advantage of the discount. I've ended up getting a little petty cash tin that I keep everyone's money in so that I don't end up frittering it and then having to fork out at the end of the month myself.

There is one person out of the six, let's call her B, that over the last 6 months, always "forgets" her money. It started with me saying "don't worry just bring it in tomorrow" or "I don't have to pay the credit card off until the end of the month so it's OK, just transfer it before then". After saying this, she started not paying me at all until the end of the month, and made a little comment about me taking the money from everyone before I even needed to pay it off. This is true, however everyone else has continued to give me their cash. Like I say above, it's kept in my locked drawer in my desk so it's not like I am spending it! I would be happier if everyone paid me directly into my bank at the end of the month if they wanted to, as it would be easier for me than going into town to go into the bank.

So for the last few months I have had to keep a tally of what B has ordered every week and then let her know that's what she owes when it comes towards the end of the month. This worked for a few months, but the money was always late. She would pay on the 4th or the 5th and I would have to ask every day "ah B, have you got that money for me" and end up subbing her.

So it's now the 11th, it's Friday, she hasn't paid me for last month and so I am £24 out of pocket (The direct debit for the card gets taken out of my current account on the 1st). She obviously hasn't paid me for last week (Friday 4th) either. I have asked every single morning, and reminded her every evening. She just says "I've forgotten sorry, will bring it in tomorrow" and then it never happens. I've asked if she would rather transfer it and she has said no. I've started asking in front of other people (it's an open plan office) in the hope that she would be embarrassed into remembering but it doesn't seem to bother her. It's now got to the point where I am fuming!

We just all started talking about lunch this morning and I have said I no longer want to provide the discount card lunch for everyone as I am not getting the money back in full and on time. One of the other girls has said "who's not paying you?", I looked awkward and said "B, I know you keep forgetting but I am £24 out of pocket, and I can't afford to keep doing it". She basically accused me of bullying her and has run off to the toilets. Two of the other girls followed and said she's in there crying. There is now a horrible atmosphere in the office. She's now back at her desk and ignoring me. The others have said about not having any lunch and how they're going to starve all day. So I've given in and let them use the card. I didn't think B would have the brass neck to order something but she has.


BlingLoving Fri 11-Oct-19 12:10:01

I'm not sure what the answer is because it's clear that this woman has no intention of paying but wanted to say that the date the money is taken out etc is all COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT. You paid on Friday. You should be paid back immediately or soon after. This other woman is being completely unreasonable.

Lulualla Fri 11-Oct-19 12:12:35

Eh... how would they have no lunch? Why didn’t you just tell them to order and pay for their own lunch because, as you explained, you havn’t been paid back in full. Why did you give them the card?

And when she ordered something, why didn’t you speak up?

It doesn’t matter when you need to pay it off. They are spending your money so they need to give you it. And you don’t need to keep it in your desk, and try to defend yourself by saying “it’s not like I’m spending it”. It is your money, you can do as you like.

Right now, you need to turn to B and say “you owe me £24 for last month, and now you owe me that plus £X for last Friday and £X for today. Let’s go to the cash machine once we’ve eaten because I can’t afford this. You’ve ordered it, you’ve eaten it but I’ve paid for it. This isn’t fair and I have been very patient”.

x2boys Fri 11-Oct-19 12:13:55

I just wouldn't do this ,it's too.much hassle and your out of pocket ,I would let everyone make their own arrangements for lunch

SoupDragon Fri 11-Oct-19 12:14:22

Don't give her the food until she pays.

Ghostontoast Fri 11-Oct-19 12:14:45

No good deed goes unpunished!

antisupermum Fri 11-Oct-19 12:14:53

You had already done the hard part so why on earth did you then backtrack and let them use the card?! Especially B! I could have maybe not really understood letting the other girls use it, but why on earth would you not have said "I'm afraid that I am unwilling to extend you andy more credit, B. You will need to pay me what you owe, or buy your own lunch today".

Also, why would the other girls have had to starve? If they always pay you on the day via transfer or cash, then why not just use that and buy their own effing lunch from else where?

I'm sorry to say that I think you done yourself a disservice here by doing 98% of the hard work and then backtracking. You're gonna need to do it all again next week, but make sure you stick to your guns. B being a big baby and crying in the toilet really isn't your problem and certainly isn't bully. By her causing a scene she is manipulating you and those around you, and it is not on.

DeepDarkWoods Fri 11-Oct-19 12:15:19

Do something nice and there's always someone who takes the piss.

CCquavers Fri 11-Oct-19 12:15:30

Speak to line manager. Technically not a work issue but it might shame her into doing the right thing. Then when you’ve had all your money conveniently leave the card at home.

HollowTalk Fri 11-Oct-19 12:15:33

You must have been paid in the interim - why couldn't she transfer the money on pay day?

And sod her for crying - you're £24+ down and she's £24+ up. You should be the one crying!

Aprillygirl Fri 11-Oct-19 12:15:57

If B has not paid up come Monday tell her you will accept no more orders from her until she has. Ignore any tears and theatricals, she is a cheeky fucker who has taken advantage of your goodwill gesture for long enough.

AllFourOfThem Fri 11-Oct-19 12:16:42

I would just say either people pay you before you place the order or else you won’t order anything in their behalf. Stop being a doormat to B.

mankyfourthtoe Fri 11-Oct-19 12:17:13

I'd say pay on the day. You had the food and pay for it. Give her the food and the bill.

Amelia2000 Fri 11-Oct-19 12:17:23


The majority of them just have the same thing every week. So will just bring in their £5.20 or whatever it costs. They wouldn't receive the discount without using my card so wouldn't have enough cash, plus there is a minimum order charge for free delivery. I gave them the card as I didn't feel it was really fair to punish everyone for B's actions, I genuinely didn't expect her to order anything today after this mornings antics.

IncognitaIgnorama Fri 11-Oct-19 12:17:56

When lunch arrives, make a point of saying that from next week, everyone needs to remember to bring their lunch on Fridays. Remind them again next Thursday. Say to B in front of everyone that you are sorry she feels that you are bullying her, but you have been covering her lunch for the last five (or however many weeks) and it's clear, for whatever reason, that she's unable or unwilling to reimburse you, so you are no longer willing to subsidise her Fridays, as you are sure she can appreciate.

If there's outcry, then say people need to pay on the day, by instant bank transfer, before you place the order. No payment, no food. Full stop. Or perhaps one of your colleagues would prefer to pay for B, in which case, things can continue as before.

Stiffen your sinews, OP, you can do this!

AnneLovesGilbert Fri 11-Oct-19 12:19:03

Why did you let her order something today?!!!

TheRobinIsBobbingAlong Fri 11-Oct-19 12:19:04

I'd order everyone else's food but not B's. When she asks for hers, say "oh, sorry, I've forgotten it". Seriously though, stop ordering stuff for her until she settles up.

Brefugee Fri 11-Oct-19 12:19:09

you were doing so well until you let them use your card.

Give them a bit of info about opportunity cost of not having money available to spend on your card. And of the £24 - what if you want something and you're short £24? you can't have it because you're subbing someone else.

New rule: cash before ordering.

Or just do your own thing and let them work it out. If they are prepared to shun you and gang up on you, tell them to divvy up the £24 between them and in future pay for B's lunch but that from now on you're not going to.

TheFutureMrsB Fri 11-Oct-19 12:19:26

You need to ask her for the money now, she's a right CF!

Doesitevenmatternow Fri 11-Oct-19 12:19:43

Oh my goodness I absolutely hate people like your colleague - you have gone out of your way to accommodate people and let them share your discount and this is the thanks you get; out of pocket and being made feel guilty.

Your other colleagues are not blameless either. I can't believe they were all moaning about no lunch. They could have ordered directly and paid full price.

I would just explain next week you are only taking lunch orders with money upfront. And I would have nothing to do with that colleague whatsoever outside of work necessities.

DontGoIntoTheLongGrass Fri 11-Oct-19 12:19:54

You should be asking for money upfront before they get their lunch. That's what normal shops do. You pay before you eat it! Stick to your guns and don't be treat like a doormat! She's got more neck than a giraffe ordering after you said that haha.

I have the same issue at work. I buy the fruit and biscuits for the office and claim it from petty cash weekly. However it comes out of my bank and I can't be bothered going to bank with £30 a week to replenish it. I put my cash in my purse and use it towards my own food shop when I go.

Lulualla Fri 11-Oct-19 12:20:07

They could have gone to a shop and got a sandwich for less than £5.20.

It isn’t your job to feed them.

Have you asked B for the money yet? You need to just do it now.

TrendyNorthLondonTeen Fri 11-Oct-19 12:20:09

Dont give it to them again. Tell them NOW this will be the last time so that they have plenty of warning.

DrJackDaniels Fri 11-Oct-19 12:20:30

Refuse to order anything for B until she pays you and if you see she’s put in an order, remove it and keep repeating ‘once you’ve paid me for all the lunches you owe, I’ll be happy to order for you again providing you give me cash/bank transfer on the day’

The fact your credit card payment isn’t due till the end of the month is totally irrelevant. They pay you when they order. Jeez there are some CFs out there!

Bluntness100 Fri 11-Oct-19 12:20:35

I think you've major grounds for next month then, don't worry. So next time say I'm still owed the money and I can't afford it, im sorry, I can't keep paying for bs lunch.

First time with the crying and bullying , fair enough she gets sympathy , but next month she's no excuse and won't get it again.

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