So at least once every month one of the employees in our office has a birthday. The way the celebration is inaugurated is by the birthday boy or girl going to the bakery to buy a gigantic cake covered in fruit and frosting. They also manage to buy some bottles of wine and champagne, and the festivities begin back at the office. Sometimes if you're lucky he or she throws in some barbecue or pizza as a bonus. It's nice of them to do it, but it is considered standard practice to do so for some reason. I don't remember having terrible bakery-fresh cake here, so it's always a treat and I can't really complain.
But when it comes to purchasing the gift and taking up a collection, I find some problems. Today one of the women in the office came to my desk, actually startling me, and said, "We're collecting money." When I asked why, the answer was, "It's Liana's birthday." After she walked away I asked the guy sitting next to me what's it to us (especially given the fact that birthday girl didn't bother bringing us any cake or champagne) and the answer was, "It's Liana's birthday."
It's odd to me that some self-designated person has to bother everyone in the office about such trivialities. It's very thoughtful of the workmates to want to purchase some sort of birthday gift, but when she told me how much I was required to give, I thought that was going a bit overboard. I don't even know what they intend to buy for her, and she didn't even consider whether I or anyone for that matter could afford it, not to mention if they wanted to contribute to the fund. You know, an e-mail message to everyone would suffice suggesting they chip in if wish to do so. But here, it seems you are obliged no matter what. Vsyo.
So this is the situation. I wanted to tell the woman after I gave her the money that it is not right to go around and demand cash from everyone, especially if they may not be inclined to donate for whatever reason. The conundrum is the following: if I complain to her, she will think that I am a mean, boring bastard. If I do not give her the money, she will think I am a cheap and selfish asshole. So it's a catch-22 of sorts. I don't know what to fathom about these monthly dues, but it seems I have no choice but to commit.
Labels: Personal Experiences, Social and Cultural, Thoughts and Musings