Q: My office supervisor gave a co-worker an office wedding shower in her supervisor’s home. I could not attend the shower but I did send a lovely gift. The entire office was invited to the wedding, which I could not attend either. My supervisor, after giving the shower, requested the entire office to donate $10.00 a piece for a ‘group gift’. I did not donate to this group gift as I am not close to the bride-to-be and I had already sent a gift to the shower even though I did not attend. My supervisor was upset that I didn’t donate to the group gift and made an issue of it in front of everyone else in the office. My question is who, if anyone in this situation, breached proper manners?
A: Your supervisor did. One does not attempt to humiliate others in public, and one cannot demand a personal contribution to a group gift unless every person has agreed to contribute to that gift. It also is fine, even if everyone else contributes, for one person to decline to participate. This is not a business-related requirement and should not be part of business dealings. It may have been that some wished to give a personal gift, and it also may have been that each person felt that $10.00 for a wedding gift was not their personal choice. Since the waters were muddied by this action, it is unclear what everyone else did, if anything, in addition to the “mandatory” group gift, but ordinarily a wedding gift is sent in response to an invitation, whether one attends or not.