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Wednesday, July 8, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Miss Manners: Co-worker takes collection for gift, doesn’t deliver it

Judith Martin

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Before my wedding last year, a colleague sent an email encouraging staff contributions for a wedding gift to me at a local spa. Many contributed and some didn’t.

My wedding came and went, and the colleague who was responsible for the gift never delivered it. She kept the funds for herself.

Many asked if I enjoyed my experience, and I admitted I had never received the gift.

I am obligated by management to work directly with this person and have ignored the issue for some time, not wanting to seem spiteful, but I have a sincere issue with this being kept a secret, as it is one of the reasons I have a hard time trusting this individual.

I have shared this with my direct office supervisor (who is not her direct supervisor), but nothing has been done. I am working toward a promotion and want to do the right thing. Is there anything that can be done to courteously handle this situation? Was it appropriate for me to share that the gift was never delivered?

GENTLE READER: As always, it depends on the delivery (of the news, not of the present – you seemed to have missed out on that).

If you share the information in an accusatory way, superiors will likely not want to get involved in a social transaction executed in a professional setting. Miss Manners would advise you to approach your colleague directly – and in a panic, if you can muster it – saying: “I am so horribly embarrassed. It has come to my attention that the staff contributed to a spa gift for my wedding, but I never received it. I am terribly remiss in writing thank-you notes, but I don’t know to whom I should send them. Do you know anything about this?”

Either your colleague will cop to it and know you are on to her – or she will claim innocence. If the latter, continue by saying: “Oh dear. I hate to think the rest of the staff is making this up. Would you help me broach the subject with them since they claim you were the collector?”

Miss Manners hopes this will call her bluff – and let her know you will notice any future botched deliveries.

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