How do you react when you're given an unexpected thank you gift?

A bit of backstory (feel free to skip this :smiley: ):
On April 5, I had back surgery. I was then out of work for 2 months. When I returned to work, it was on a limited basis. I worked 8 hours my first week, 12 the second, 18 the third, 24 after that. When I hit 18 hours a week, I was also offered a great opportunity with another company. I gave my employer 3 weeks notice - only because my coworker was already backed up because I had been out for the surgery. I knew I’d never finish everything I wanted to but, dammit, I was gonna try.

About 1-1/2 weeks ago, three of my former coworkers (from my previous department) were bored. Their department had hit it’s very short (2 week) slow period. So, all three of these lovely ladies took over our filing. They finished setting up the labels on the folders, they took care of my coworkers 6 month filing backlog. They even labelled the drawers. This was a huge deal. We’re talking about a department with only two employees who each service half the country. We enter our own orders, file our own credits and return requests. We do our own filing. We need at least 1 more person to stay ahead. Two would be very preferable. So, thanks to these 3 ladies, I didn’t have to worry about the filing and because of that, I was able to finish all the more important tasks.

To thank them (because we wanted to) my coworker and I got them each a $20 gift certificate to Wal-Mart. Two of them spent about 10 minutes each explaining why we didn’t have to do that. I didn’t get offended. I understand where they were coming from. But, I never understand why people think that no one left on this planet is capable of thanking a person for such a major assistance. If I don’t think someone needed to get me a gift, I basically say “you didn’t have to do that!” and then I thank them profusely and enjoy my gift.

Now I’m wondering:

  1. Why do so many people have this reaction and try to talk you into taking the gift back.
  2. How do YOU react in these situations?

Yeah this is always far more difficult as the receiver than it aught to be. For some reason many people (me included) feel that we shouldn’t receive thank you gifts. It feels like we should try not to receive them and say things like 'You shouldn’t have" “that’s too much” etc. But really they are just nice things and we should accept them simply “Thank you very much, that was a kind gesture.”
In some lines of work thankyou gifts cannot be accepted, but these are rare, and such people can still say “Thank you, but I am not allowed to receive any sort of gift from clients, please either keep the gift yourself or give it to charity”

It is a difficult skill to learn to accept gifts graceously and without causing disscomfort to the givver.

A few years ago, I used to work for a company that took Administrative Assistants’ Day very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that they wouldn’t dream of calling it Secretaries’ Day. As one of only two admins in an office of more than forty people, I was showered with gifts, and I honestly didn’t know how the hell I was supposed to react. Most were gift cards to bookstores and music stores, from the people who didn’t know me as well as some others. One guy (who was the bane of my existence, professionally speaking, but really a nice guy at heart) bought me a box of Sea Monkeys.

To this day, that might be the best thank you a co-worker has ever given me. :slight_smile:

But yes, I do the “Aww, you shouldn’t have, thanks so much.” And then I go enjoy my unexpected gift.

Hey, if those ladies have some free time, send them over to the wad of papers known as Chateau Ujest. :slight_smile:

They did a wonderful thing. You did a wonderful thing by acknowledging it.

Offsetting penalties, as it were.