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Gift collection for colleagues - expected to fork out £25+ for someone I barely know :(

(35 Posts)
Gson Fri 09-Aug-19 20:16:08

Hi all,

Not sure what topic I should be putting this in but here we go.

So I joined a new company a month ago. I LOVE my new team, great morale and really close. However, I am at the lower end of the pay scale (lowest) and during my first week someone on the team left. I was expected to pay £15 towards their leaving gift, even though I had been in the company for a matter of days. I wasn't asked-an email just flew into my inbox saying along the lines of 'we've bought this present so can you transfer me this amount, here are my bank details'.

Now that really annoyed me. I earn little, I pay an AWFUL lot in travel to and from work and I am saving for a flat. I don't do anything nice for me. all my money goes into savings and travel. I would have been happy to contribute, say a fiver. But it was the expectation.

Anyway I did transfer the money and let It go. And then...this week. Another email comes into my inbox - someone on the team is leaving to have a baby in just over a month. Someone again who I don't speak to often, don't work with closely. I am incredibly happy for her that she's having a baby - what fantastic news and of course I would be happy to contribute. But now they've asked for £25 + from each of us.

I am so upset. I cannot afford to keep putting this kind of money in and not being given a CHOICE. But I fear this is how it is. WHY? Wherever I've worked previously - an envelope has gone round and I have never ever put more that £10 in. Help! What to do!!!

Celebelly Fri 09-Aug-19 20:19:28

I think you just have to be honest. Reply and say that you cannot manage that amount at the moment, but you'd like to contribute what you can and thank them for arranging.

Walkmehome Fri 09-Aug-19 20:22:35

I think you should opt out completely and get your own present for people if/when you want to.

bouncingraindrops Fri 09-Aug-19 20:24:08

Just say no. Don't fret over it, and certainly don't make excuses. Just a simple no, i won't be contributing is fine.

StealthPolarBear Fri 09-Aug-19 20:25:48

I suspect you're on a mailing list and these probably aren't really intended for everyone on it but the sender expects the recipients to know iyswim.

Gson Fri 09-Aug-19 20:27:10

Thanks for your speedy replies - I think on Monday I will just pop together an email and say I am ALWAYS happy to contribute - but that is all. I cannot afford to pay out £25+ whilst I have the commitments that I do.

I just worry it comes across badly - do I not look like a team player? Maybe I'm being paranoid because I am new.

Gson Fri 09-Aug-19 20:28:40

@StealthPolarBear unfortunately not sad There is only a small direct team (6 people). They intended for us all!

WrongKindOfFace Fri 09-Aug-19 20:28:44

£25 is insane. I bet there will be others who are glad that you speak up.

JoyceJeffries Fri 09-Aug-19 20:29:07

Just be honest and say you can’t afford it. Offer what you feel comfortable with.

grafittiartist Fri 09-Aug-19 20:31:46

Ha- it's like the episode of friends where Ross moves into a new apartment and refuses to chip in to a leaving collection.
Be Ross!
I think that the amount is ridiculous, and there will be others thinking the same. It's one thing having an envelope that you can just pop a few coins / fiver in , but expecting an set amount is cheeky.

Gson Fri 09-Aug-19 20:35:24

Can I just add - On top of this we are going for a dinner that we have to pay for. Plus contribute to snacks and games on the day. hmm

SRK16 Fri 09-Aug-19 20:36:02

This is nuts- in our office an envelope goes round for collections and you contribute what you want/are able to. Expecting such a big amount is ridiculous! Maybe have a quiet chat with whoever organises this stuff? I’m sure others must feel similarly.

Pipandmum Fri 09-Aug-19 20:36:36

In my old office we’d do a whip round but it was up to individuals if and how much. It’s very cheeky to tell people what amount to contribute. I’m sure they don’t expect you to contribute the full amount if anything and it’s just that you are on the office email now.

TeachesOfPeaches Fri 09-Aug-19 20:37:19

When I had no money I always found the best thing was to simply say 'sorry, I can't afford it'. It shuts the conversation down pretty quickly as there nothing you can do and talking about money is awkward.

Gson Fri 09-Aug-19 20:38:10

The person organising this stuff is v senior.
Maybe they forget what it's like to be at the bottom of the chain

I just feel bad being the party pooper. At the end of the day if I don't cough up - someone else will have to sad

Thank so much all!

Sarcelle Fri 09-Aug-19 20:40:23

Opt out. I am not stingy but I have considerably pulled back from contributing to endless collections. I will for someone I like, but others I am not keen on who I don't really know, I never do. I never tell anybody my birthday and have never been the recipient of a collection apart from a leaving one years ago. I certainly would not be putting in 25 quid, or even 15 come to that. They are being extremely cheeky in doing this.

CrazyOldBagLady Fri 09-Aug-19 20:43:53

Honestly, I'd just ignore the email. If anyone has the cheek to come to my desk and ask me for £25 I'd tell them I can't afford it and let them feel awkward. Cheeky bastards.

timshelthechoice Fri 09-Aug-19 20:46:24

Just be honest! 'Thank you for making me part of the team. Unfortunately I am on a very limited and tight budget and cannot extend to collective gifts,' and bow out of the dinner with extra contribution for snacks and games. WTAF? That's a bloody fortune! I could afford that but I'd be pretty miffed to be hit up for that much every time someone went on mat leave.

EileenAlanna Fri 09-Aug-19 20:48:59

Sounds like things have gotten badly out of hand there. It's unreasonable to expect you to pay that kind of money when you're on a low salary & they must be well aware of that. It was always my experience that the newcomer was actively told not to pay into collections because they didn't actually know the person from Adam. Extending this into dinners & paid games etc is madness. Can you open a conversation with the rest of the team? Let them know that you're glad you're part of a close team but that you really, really can't afford the contributions they're specifying, or the additional dinners out etc.
Buying a present then asking people for the money is putting the cart before the horse. When the collection's been taken up & counted the decision what to buy should be based on that.

timshelthechoice Fri 09-Aug-19 20:49:50

At the end of the day if I don't cough up - someone else will have to sad

Then maybe they'll think twice about the extravagant gifts. Fucking cheeky to expect specific amounts from employees.

EvaHarknessRose Fri 09-Aug-19 20:49:56

I think it would be fine to transfer a contribution and just email ‘I’ve transferred a contribution, is it OK that its not the full amount as I am on a tight budget?’ Their system is ridiculous.

YesQueen Fri 09-Aug-19 20:57:35

That's crazy. We pay £1 a month for a birthday club

Winterfellismyhome Fri 09-Aug-19 21:03:41

We had this at work too. A lot of staff were taking voluntary severance and walking away with 100 grand payouts (many years of service) i was then expected to give 20 quid towards leaving gifts...nope

Gson Fri 09-Aug-19 21:06:22

@Winterfellismyhome how did you get out of it in the end?

CloudRusting Fri 09-Aug-19 21:08:32

I would speak to your manager about how to handle it.

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