Workplace How Would You Handle This?

stephc005

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Aug 7, 2008
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Just wanted to get some opinions on this situation:

So 1 of my coworkers' birthday is coming up, and my boss approached me with the idea to throw a small bday celebration. I have no problem doing this because my coworker and I are friends, not just coworkers who only see each other at work.

So we decided to have the celebration on this Wednesday (day before Thanksgiving). My boss asked me today if I'd have time to get a cake tomorrow (my day off); he said he'd "give me some money." He brought some knick knacks from home that he intends to use as snacks for Wed. It was a bag of M&Ms and a box of Ritz Crackerfuls. He said we should still get some chips or something else.

By the end of the day, he didn't mention anything more about the party nor did he actually give me any money. I guess he'd offer money after I purchased everything?

I just get the feeling that he doesn't really want to contribute much. Like he's giving the snacks he already had at home, so he expects me to buy everything else. I truly don't mind because it's for a friend's bday, but I just think his behavior is odd. I mean, it wouldn't have been hard or expensive for him to buy potato chips instead of basically telling me to.

Am I reading into it too much? Or should I really not expect him to contribute anything else?

If I'm paying for everything, then I'm not going to skimp on my friend's bday. I want her to have a nice cake! But I don't want my boss to think I'm being excessive and expecting him to pay half for a cake that I could have gotten cheaper from somewhere else.
 

francyFG

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Jun 26, 2008
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I hate this kind of situations!!! Just mention you're about to go get the cake, if he really wants to give you money that should be enough...
 

siworae

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Jul 20, 2006
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Can you call him and ask about what kind of cake you should get and within what price range? I'm not really sure how to handle this, either. If it were me, I would have said something before leaving work.

I can't tell if he expects you to pay for the cake and chips or extra snacks... but you can show him the receipt and ask him about it.
 

bnjj

Jovi Junkie
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Apr 20, 2007
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Knick knacks??

How do you get reimbursed for business expenses otherwise? I would handle these costs in the same way.
 

stephc005

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thanks for the input! i guess what makes the situation even more awkward is that i know how frugal my boss can be.

examples: there was a thanksgiving pot luck at work. the day of, he said he brought broccoli. i assumed it was a casserole or something. nope, it was a bag of frozen broccoli that he microwaved right before the pot luck. with a work bbq during the summer, he took food from someone else to bring because he wasn't going to bring anything at all until he saw me and my coworker with stuff we had bought for it. then for an intern's bday, my coworker bought cupcakes for her, and my boss kinda acted like it was from him too even though he had no idea it was her bday. i could go on and on, but i think you get the idea.

i think i'll just buy whatever cake i think my coworker would like best, and if my boss does offer money tomorrow after the celebration, i'll just tell him not to worry about it. i doubt he'd feel bad for me not taking his money lol.

bnjj- since this isn't really a work related event, i doubt we'd get reimbursed for anything. we can't even be reimbursed for holiday decorations. typically, we have to submit our receipts and guest lists (for events) to a budget analyst for approval.
 

kayti

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Jan 21, 2010
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I'd say something to your boss like "I'm picking up the cake, how much should I spend?" I think everyone should chip in or the boss should cover it entirely.. Even if the boss chips in and you're left with some of the burden, it's not fair to you..
 

lorihmatthews

A taste for the arts
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Oct 7, 2006
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You know, I'd call your boss out on this kind of behavior as it seems like he's gotten away with it for far too long. Get the money from him BEFORE you buy anything. The financial burden shouldn't be on you. Don't let him weasel out of it. I'd even say something like "The cake cost $X, and your share is $Y."
 

stephc005

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another factor to throw into the mix:

i'm leaving my job at the end of the month to go to europe for 2 months. of course i'm nervous about coming back and not having a job, but then again i wouldn't expect my boss to save my job for me. i wouldn't mind coming back to work, so i guess i want to stay on his good side even though his behavior drives me nuts sometimes.

would you then choose to forget about asking to be reimbursed in hopes of staying on his good side? or would you still let him know how much everything costs so he could pitch in?
 

CocoMeow

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Oct 23, 2011
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Hey may not be cheap.. some men are clueless! lol. Im willing to bet hes either single or lives alone. Who brings frozen broccoli to a potluck? lmao These are the types of things men NEED women for ladies! lol..

I wouldnt worry about losing your job over a cake. Think about it, your boss isnt going to think: "Well shes gone on vacation for 2 months. I would keep her but she did ask me to pay for that cake. So I think Ill just let her go." Lmao. See how silly that sounds?

If I were you, I would just say: "Im going to pick up the cake today, how much would you like to contribute?" Theres no harm in asking after all hes already offered. Its a simple reminder. Now if he really is a cheap ____ than he'll say.. "Oh ya Ill get you later..." and then "forget" about you paying for the cake. If thats the case, I'd just leave it. Technically you dont have to pay for the cake but she is your friend so you're going to do it and thats your decision.

Since everyones going to be enjoying the cake.. how about asking everyone if they can pitch in a dollar or two at the office? Thats what we used to do.. its not fair for one or two people to have to buy for a cake for (technically) everyone.
 

ILuvShopping

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Jun 4, 2007
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i'd go to your boss and say "i'm going to get the cake but i need the money for it"
it's a work function you shouldn't have to spend a penny of your own money AT ALL.

or if you have someone that you hand in receipts to for work expenses then give them receipts for everything you bought.

i wouldn't buy anything unless he handed you cash or a company cc to use.
 

stephc005

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Aug 7, 2008
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thanks ladies!

so today is the day, and i laid out all the food. my boss then comes to me and says "so how much do you need for the cake?" i replied that the cake cost only $18, so i figured he'd pay half. he handed me a 20. now i'm in the awkward situation of deciding if i should give him change lol (either the $2 or $10 back so it's 50/50).
 

natalie78

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May 6, 2008
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I would just give him back the $2. I am assuming that there will be other people at the party, not just you and the boss. The cost should be split between everyone since it is an office function.