Q: My co-workers are asking me yet again to chip in $10 for a gift—last week it was for a colleague’s birthday, this time for a wedding. If I decline, will I become the office pariah?
— K.D., TRURO, N.S.
A: If you’re tired of shelling out for office gifts, you’re not alone, says Linda Allan, a Toronto business etiquette expert. Overzealous office gifting has become all too commonplace, and while it’s perfectly reasonable to say no, you’re asking for trouble by doing so. “You are going to be blackballed a little bit,” Allan warns. Instead, bring it up for discussion at the next staff meeting, since it’s typically just a couple of people driving the gift requests. Keep your approach simple when you broach the topic: “I’m just wondering how everybody is feeling about this? We used to have to contribute every three months, and now it’s every week.” Chances are the majority of your colleagues feel the same way and will back you up.
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