(Closed) Feeling awkward about showers at work

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 18
9563 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

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codysgirl16:  Yeah, I mean I totally see where you’re coming from. More often than not, I don’t want to contribute a dime but still do (reluctantly). The risk of not doing it and having my coworkers raise eyebrows at me or think twice about being kind or generous to me in the future just isn’t worth it. So I look at it as the price I have to pay to maintain the dynamic I want to maintain with my coworkers, even though I wish I didn’t have to pay it.

Post # 19
14163 posts
Honey Beekeeper

It might be politically risky and easier said than done to decline a invitation at the office where everyone may know you have no good reason not to attend.   Keep in mind that shower gifts are supposed to be quite small and expensive.  If  these are getting out of hand, it’s really up to the office or the manager of the department to rein them in or prohibit them. Whether to speak up or not would depend on your relationship to the company, your job security, and your own aspirations.  Proceed at your own risk. 

By The Way, it is in no way obligatory for you to shop from the  registry. Books,rattles or wash cloths would cost no more than a small donation toward an office gift. If you are a younger employee, earning less, everyone will understand. As far as contributing nothing, you just have to ask yourself if it’s worth it to stand on your principles to make the point.

Unfortunately, as annoying as these things can be, and I agree that sometimes they can, sometimes it’s better to go along to get along. Ultimately, if you are quite unhappy with the office culture, it might be time to look for another job. 

Post # 20
68 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

I’m glad that my workplace embraces events like weddings, babies, etc. We’re together so much anyway why would I not want to celebrate something so meaningful? I say don’t be a spoilsport and decline. Or do. I’m not the ettiquette police. 

The reason people invited you is so that you could parake in the fun, not as a viscious grab for gifts and cash like you are making it out to be. Go, bring cookies, don’t bring a gift. No one will care. 

Post # 23
1609 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

We do group collections for wedding showers/baby showers/retirement gifts. Anyone who wants to contribute can. I usually do if its someone I know (big office). I always go for cake lol. We do a monthly cake for birthdays and don’t do gifts or cards.

Post # 24
766 posts
Busy bee

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codysgirl16:  I think the cookies and a card is a perfect, and perfectly appropriate gift for someone you don’t know well.  It seems overboard to buy an individual gift off a registry for someone you hardly know.

They do showers at my office as well, but I really like the way they handle it – we do group collections, but there is never any pressure and no one is tallying who contributed and who didn’t.  Sometimes they don’t even know if someone drops off cash and the collector doesn’t happen to be at their desk.  Then the organizer just buys a gift or gets a gift card where they’re registered for the amount collected.  So you can contribute what you want to if you feel so inclined, or nothing at all.  It helps that it’s a large company as well I think.

Post # 25
2544 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

codysgirl16:  I kind of thought showers were only supposed to be for invited guests anyway… I would just decline the invitation and tell them you are sorry but you already had plans for that day/time… 

Post # 26
9538 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

Well, I can understand your point. But, I don’t think you’re going to change this culture. It’s very common and happens at my work as well. At the end of the day, you just need to decide if it’s better to not give anything and potentially get some side eyes or if it’s easier to just get something small or go in on something wih others.

Personally I gift at work showers for people that I work with, but if it was truly someone I never worked with, I wouldn’t feel bad about not going. 

Post # 27
561 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

My work threw me a surprise wedding shower.  I did not invite the entire office but the entire office was at my wedding shower.  the ones who were invited to the wedding gave a gift, the ones who were not…some gave a gift, some contributed to a gift card, some just showed up to the party or brought a dish.  I didn’t expect anything at all and had no part in planning.  My coworker was getting married the week after me and we had joint surprise showers.

Over the years, I’ve been to countless wedding showers, baby showers, birthday parties, retirement parties, work-a-versary parties, etc.  What I learned is this:

1 it’s not about the celebrant.  My office just likes to party.  and they like to plan – especially for surprise parties.  For my wedding shower they convincined me (and my coworker, also celebrating a wedding soon after me) I had a surprise performance review.  My boss gave an oscar worthy performance.

2. No one expects a gift.  the gift is bringing something fun to the party, the people close to you will get your something, probably, but lots of people won’t.

I always contribute, but that is because I like parties.  Sometimes I might just give $10 towards a gift card.  It’s easy to budget for that, I eat some cheapo from home lunches for awhile – instant soup, tuna-on-toast or tuna-and-crackers, etc.  I actually [i]like[/i] those meals every now and then so I don’t feel like i’m punishing myself.  And I don’t take a dime out of savings.  Usually I will go for more than just $10, of course. 

Post # 28
160 posts
Blushing bee

My work has a shower for the first baby and first wedding of employees. I love the showers and think its a great oppurtunity to mingle with co-workers in a fun environment. We generally go in together for gifts off the regstry, my group of five work friends, each chips in about $20 so that we can get a cool gift. I will say we all make enough money that the $20 every 6 months of so is no big deal. l would personally be sad if we stopped having work showers because i really enjoy them.

Post # 29
1980 posts
Buzzing bee

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codysgirl16:  is it the bride’s themselves throwing the shower or someone at the office? Because, if someone at the office is doing the shower (without the bride mentioning wanting a work shower) I wouldn’t consider it gift grabby at all. I certainly wouldn’t spring for the most expensive item on her registry, but at least something off of it. I dint think you’re being tacky or cheap, I understand the budget thing. And I don’t think there was anything wrong with your gift at all, but I don’t agree with you on how you look at work showers.

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