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Emails roll in, you click “yes” on a meeting invite that blissfully got pushed till Q1, and you wait. You wait for any type of notice or inclination that someone, somewhere thinks you might make the final decision in budgetary decisions for 2019 and is therefore sending you something to help grease the wheels. Embrace it, you’ve entered the office ritual otherwise known as vendor gifting season.
If you work a typical desk job, you probably outsource some type of tech or business process to a third-party vendor who rely on re-upping contracts when it comes time in Q4. While fancy business plans and actual tangible depictions of ROI are great, many vendors think the best way to win over a prospective client or entice a current one to spend more is to send them a gift just in time for Christmas. While most fall on deaf ears, some do generate pristine office jealousy within departments. Here are my power rankings of the best vendor gifts to receive.
5. Invite to a Holiday Dinner/Party
This one might bring the most perks but also entails the most work on your end, which is never ideal when you’re being pulled between a myriad of holiday obligations this time of year. While the prospect of getting wine’d and dine’d sounds good in theory, it’s typically an awkward affair that leaves you out of your depth and receiving numerous follow-ups the year after about if you’ve received their new proposal. I’d stay away if you can. Then again, a free meal is a free meal.
4. Popcorn Tin
Never has a food item generated such heated debate within an office space. The trio of caramel, cheddar and butter popcorn tins arrive like clockwork throughout December and are quickly dissected by picky eaters with a sweet tooth. Being the first to roll through a freshly-opened tin is bliss; after a few days, the popcorn inside grows stale, begins to take up space, and generates more germs than you’re comfortable with. You will absolutely see half-empty tins littered throughout your office as the weeks wear on. If you get a popcorn tin with only one flavor inside, consider canceling your related vendor contract immediately.
3. Assorted Candy/Chocolate-Covered Pretzels
This one seems to vary by size and by region. I’ve seen people get huge bins of assorted Christmas candies, almond bark, the works. I’ve also received a good share of festive, chocolate-covered pretzels which are always my favorite. Regardless of what shape or size you receive, getting some sort of Christmas sweet delivered straight to your desk is a great way to generate a sugar rush that could power Santa’s sleigh through the Eastern seaboard. It also works well as a light snack to work off the hangover from your company’s party the night before.
2. Just Booze
Simple yet effective. If you have a vendor willing to get a bit risque and send through a nice bottle of wine or scotch, you know you have a winner on your hands. The nice thing about receiving booze as a gift is that it has a function outside of work. Because it’s typically frowned upon to crack open champagne during your 10 a.m. status call, you typically have the flexibility to bring this one home without having the obligation to share with your co-workers. A nice bottle of whiskey sure would be nice this year.
1. Peace and Quiet
Sometimes the best way to stand out is to say nothing – or close to nothing – at all. While a lot of these gifts above come with social obligations, having a vendor send nothing more than a short email or hand-written letter acknowledging your working relationship is a nice change of pace. My holiday body can only take so much this time of year. .