Business gifting season

There are a few clients at my job that must think I’m the bee’s knees. I mean, seriously, every year they send me something intended just for me. They might send a huge basket of overflowing chocolate goodness for the entire office, but then there’s that box of Godiva just for me. It’s madness. I cannot sprint down the hallway fast enough to get it off my desk and out of my easy reach before I overdose on the mere proximity of good chocolate.

Let me be clear: I really, genuinely appreciate the sentiment. It’s thoughtful and nice of them to think of me at the holidays.

Then there is the booze. As a firm we receive bottles of wine and cases of beer from clients and vendors alike. One client I have met with once a month, every month for the 10+ years I have been with the firm, and the closest thing to pleasant, personal chit-chat we have ever enjoyed is my automatic “hi, how are you?” greeting and his “just fine, thank you” response. Yet every year the week before Thanksgiving he sends my boss an assortment of wines and me a bottle of liquor. I think it is actually pretty good liquor, because every year I offer it to someone else and they seem overjoyed to receive it. M being a recovering (36+ years sober and counting) drug addict and me because I despise the taste of booze, we have no use for it. In 10 years I have not figured out a way to thank him while diplomatically saying that we do not drink alcohol.

I suppose this is better than the box of cigars I received my first year with this firm. M was still enjoying an occasional cigar at that time and said they were excellent, but it was an interesting thank you to write. The client did apologize for it – said there had been a mix-up with gifting that year and his assistant did not realize I was a woman (not precisely sure that matters, because I happen to know several women who enjoy cigars) – and I did all I could to assure him it was fine, my husband was enjoying the cigars and I certainly appreciated the thought. It was the next year the bottles of booze began and have continued unabated each year since.

Today an assortment of tequila was delivered for me, which kicks off my thinking about the season of gifts. Already I am pulling out my thank you note to get it written and off my to-do list. Yes, I am someone who still hand writes thank you notes for business gifts I receive; it seems unnatural to just send an email. But I am feeling very insincere in my gratitude. Thanks for the tequila; my friend/coworker/neighbor/complete stranger [insert name here] thanks you for making their year of margaritas?

Not to worry – I absolutely won’t say that. I may be thinking it, but I can muster some creative grace. It is the thought that counts, after all.

2 thoughts on “Business gifting season

  1. Try to keep it light, but say he has such good tastes that you are hoping he can find excellent chocolate for you next year since alcohol is no longer on the horizon. Then, maybe next October, send a silly note saying you hope he has found you the perfect substitute for alcohol.

    • Thanks for the suggestions, but I am not going to make alternative suggestions for gifts or ever send anything approaching a “silly” note. I have told him every year that a gift is unnecessary, and every year a different type of good booze is delivered. Ours is the most purely business relationship I have ever experience. I believe the most personal exchange we have ever had was cigar year, when I assured him my husband was enjoying the gift.

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