20-40-60 Etiquette---How do we politely tell our co-worker "no"?
YOU ASK! WE ANSWER! YOU DECIDE!
QUESTION: We bought a new refrigerator for our office. There are five of us who work here. Four of us chipped in money to pay for the refrigerator, and we take turns bringing paper cups and plates for when they are needed for our lunches.
One person declined to chip in. But when the refrigerator arrived, he started using the refrigerator to keep drinks cold and for lunches. He even started using the paper cups and plates.
So, my question is this, how do we politely tell him that the refrigerator is for those who paid for it and the cups and plates are for those who take turns bringing them?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: HA! Office drama? This guy sounds like a moocher, and a jerk, although, maybe he doesn’t realize he is in the wrong. Give him the benefit of the doubt. Tell him that everyone in the office bought the items together and he still owes X for it. Don’t give him a chance to say no.
Don’t be aggressive with him or you’re really going to get some office drama!
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: I can’t imagine how he’s justifying that move in his mind — declining to chip in when it comes to buying the refrigerator but then using it when it comes, knowing that everybody else paid.
He’s got some gall, but then again, telling him off with all the intensity and anger that normal people would feel would be counterproductive to office harmony.
I think the only action here is to be up front, politely, and tell him that he owes money for the refrigerator, the cups and plates if he wants to use any of them. Be clear about how much he owes. Then, if he keeps using them, you either have to designate a person to keep the paper dishware under lock and key, or confront him as an entire group and ask him what his problem is. This type of dilemma leaves me pondering the nerve of some people to ignore etiquette, decency and common sense and act selfishly anyway.
HELEN’S ANSWER: Post the rules of the refrigerator and the paper cups and plates on the refrigerator door. Put names of who is responsible for what week. Politely ask the offender if he wants to be included on the list and at that time remind him that all of you chipped in to buy the refrigerator and made plans for buying paper cups and plates. Ask when what he wants to do. He will have to answer when you ask him directly and he will have to think if he intends to help provide paper cups and plates. If he doesn’t want to help, the posted rules will help remind him.
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