Office Politics 101: A gift that warns

A salesperson who calls on our company has recently begun sending small gifts to my home.

Q: A salesperson who calls on our company has recently begun sending small gifts to my home. He has never mentioned the gifts when visiting my office, but I feel I should say something. Do you have any suggestions?

A: You need to ask yourself, “Why is he giving me these gifts?”

The answer may be more complex than you realize. Gifts given to people in a business relationship generally have a different intention than those given to friends.

If you recall the last time you received a gift from a relative or close friend, you valued it is a symbol of love or affection. The motive was obvious and nothing was expected in return.

On the other hand, the salesperson is giving you these gifts with a more practical purpose in mind. You have rewarded him with business — which has probably enhanced his commissions — and so now he is tangibly demonstrating his appreciation.

In addition, the gifts are implicitly communicating that continued business will mean more gifts. The connection between the two should not be overlooked.

More troubling, however, is the fact the gifts have been sent furtively to your home. They are, in effect, being given to you secretly in order than no one in your office should know.

You say he has not mentioned the gifts when visiting you; this is not surprising because the gifts have been given to you personally.

You may not like the word, but I would suggest you are accepting “bribes.”

And, while the gifts are not particularly valuable — at least in contrast to the money offered to some disgraced politicians — it is really the principle you should consider.

It is entirely possible the gifts will incrementally increase in value, so you may suddenly realize they total something quite significant.

Your only option I believe is to return all the gifts and request he immediately desist sending you any further gifts.

You don’t have to embarrass him or make him feel uncomfortable.

The idea of sending you gifts make even have originated with his supervisor, so it is not necessary for you to reprimand him.

Once the slate is clean, you may continue to have a productive professional relationship, which should not affect the continued opportunities for you to purchase needed products and services from him and his company.

Submit your confidential questions relating to work and office life to simon@officepolitics101.com

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles blast Kelowna Rockets in first game of the Championships in Port Hardy

The Eagles are back in action at 7:30 p.m. tonight against the Dawson Creek KFC Canucks.

Mowi Canada West releases statement on Nanaimo teenager’s workplace death

“Our thoughts are with the family at this time, all of us at Mowi are devastated by this tragedy.”

MLA Claire Trevena talks 12 new licensed child care spaces to Port Hardy

“Parents have struggled to find adequate child care for years”

MLA Claire Trevena welcomes funding for school upgrades

“For 16 years, the BC Liberals cut funding for our school districts”

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Travel expected to be slowed by fallout from fire at Toronto’s Pearson airport

All U.S.-bound flights from Terminal 1 were cancelled Sunday night after the fire broke out near a security checkpoint

Trudeau fills vacancy in cabinet with B.C. MP Joyce Murray

Murray, 64, was elected in 2008 and served previously as a minister in B.C.’s provincial government

Leivo nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Stars 3-2

Schaller scores first 2 goals of season for Vancouver

UBC study shows honey bees can help monitor pollution in cities

Scientists analyzed beehives in high density urban areas to those off on Galiano Island

Most Read