WWYD: The Gift from Management

In this installment of “WWYD,” receiving gifts from management:

I started this new job 3 months ago and to congratulate me for passing probation and doing well, my boss gave me expensive tickets to a sporting event that I have no interest in. Our company purchases these tickets to give out as gifts to our customers, and each manager is given a certain number of tickets, the value of which is deducted from their salaries.

I thanked my manager profusely and accepted the tickets, but now I’m stuck with tickets for a sporting event in a month’s time that I can’t use. In this situation, can you give the tickets to a friend or family member who will really enjoy them, and just catch the game highlights in case of any, “So! How was the game?” questions come up? Or is it better to own up and say that while you really appreciate the gesture, you’d rather have the tickets to someone else? I don’t want to be rude or offend my manager (who can be on the sensitive side) by rejecting the gift! — M.

You know what sounds stressful to me? Watching the highlights of a sports game I have no interest in, and then going to work prepared to pretend like I was at the game when, in actuality, I gave the tickets to a friend who I knew would enjoy them a lot more than I would.

Since the value of the tickets is deducted from the manager’s salary, I’d say, “Oh that’s so generous of you, but I’m not much of a [sport] person, and I’d much rather see them go to someone who would appreciate them.”

If you really think the manager would be offended for turning down the offer, I’d graciously accept the tickets and then would either give them to a friend or family member who’s a fan of the sport (they’re your tickets now, and you’re totally allowed to do that), or I’d even go to the game with that friend or family member and would try to have a good time (I’m not much of a sports person either, but I’ve always had fun going to baseball and basketball games with friends because a big part of it is drinking beer, eating greasy food, and having great conversations).

Honesty, in general, is usually the best policy. If the manager follows up later about the tickets and I had decided to give the tickets away, I’d say, “One of my friends is a huge [sport] fan, so I decided to give it to her because I knew she’d appreciate it much more than I would. She had the best time, and I’m so happy I was able to give her those tickets.” Any manager who would have a problem with that—well, prepare yourself to deal with some more office politics coming your way.


Email me your WWYD experiences to me with “WWYD” in the subject line. See previous installments.



19 Comments / Post A Comment

patiolanterns (#2,234)

Are you crying?! There’s no crying! There’s no crying in baseball!

patiolanterns (#2,234)

@patiolanterns Not related to the query, but now that I’ve read this, I can’t believe the company purchases tickets and then deducts them from salaries. The tickets are a cost of doing business that the company has taken on.

Jinxie (#2,987)

@patiolanterns Also, wouldn’t there be a good chance the company can write off the cost on taxes as “client entertainment” expenses/business development?

olivia (#1,618)

I think you should suck it up and go, particularly since your manager is sensitive. I mean you can sit there and read a book on your phone and drink beer, but at least you would have gone.

sunflowernut (#1,638)

Yeah why in the world are the tickets deducted from the managers salaries? That doesn’t make any sense.

Anyway, I think the you should just go to the game. You can get some refreshments, stay for 45 minutes, and then go home. That’s pretty normal as far as sporting events go. I think Mike’s idea of taking a friend who would be into the game is a good one, but only if you’re committed to staying the whole time. If not, you should take someone who will enjoy the new experience, but will also be willing to chat and leave early too.

The manager gave the tickets to be nice, so just go along. In the future if he tries to give you more tickets, be honest and say you aren’t a big sports fan – but at this point I think it’s best to just go along with the whole thing. I would absolutely say DO NOT give the tickets to someone else, particularly if they came out of your bosses salary. That would just be rude

hellonheels (#1,407)

@sunflowernut Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I’ve worked for a few companies that bought tickets for salespeople to give to customers and they always came out of a sales or marketing budget. The setup outlined above makes absolutely no sense. Who would agree to that?

NeenerNeener (#156)

I’m not much of a sports person, but it’s different at a game, especially with good seats, as I’m sure these are. My boss has season tickets for basketball, and about once a year he gives me a pair. Last time, I took my dad, which was great because he hadn’t been to a game in ages and had never had such good seats. So, my suggestion is to bring someone that would really appreciate it (if you know someone) and enjoy the bonding time.
I also kind of think it’s a weird policy to deduct the tickets from pay. I wouldn’t be surprised if what they’re actually doing is adding the value to their pay so that they’re just paying the tax on it.

Lily Rowan (#70)

@NeenerNeener I’ve never been to an NBA game….if you’re looking for someone!

Anyway, this sounds like a personal gift, and I think re-gifting is fine, but also agree with people who enjoy going to The Game, even if they don’t like sports. The first time I ever saw anyone play hockey was at an NHL game, and it was totally fun.

@NeenerNeener This is true! I never watch sports on tv or anything, not even big things like the superbowl. But I have been given tickets to two bulls games and a cubs game since living in Chicago and they were all pretty fun! I brought my husband to them all and while he used to love the NBA in the Jordan age, he is not so into it now, and is not a baseball fan at all, it was still fun. I imagine it’s even more fun if you bring someone who is really pumped.

Go with a friend who likes the sport, as Mike says.

At our work we have access to really nice luxury box seats at a local arena, and I’m going to try to go to something at some point just to experience being a VIP (you can also get them for like, concerts and wrestling and stuff.)

@stuffisthings Unless the sport is cockfighting. Is it cockfighting?

@stuffisthings It’s probably deathrabbits.

jmdj (#2,994)

Are these tickets from a block of seats? You may want to inquire if anyone else from your company is going to the game before giving the seats away.These seats may be in the middle of a group of seats that other employees & clients are sitting in. (This is the practice at my org) If so, you may want to consider using this as a networking “gift” from your boss.

guenna77 (#856)

i agree with the people saying go. A) live sports are always better than on tv. i don’t love baseball per say, but going to a game is always fun. B) if they are nice tickets, you don’y necessarily have to watch- if it’s a luxury box or something that gives you access to a preferred space,there’s plenty else to do and see. C) even if you still don’t think you’ll enjoy watching and there’s no luxury component to take the place of watching, corporate tickets are something you should always say yes to. if nothing else, think of it as 2-3 hours of networking. is going to something that short really so objectionable that you’re risking alienating your boss?

bgprincipessa (#699)

1. Echoing others’ comments that the tickets coming out of their salary is a ridiculous practice.
2. The writer actually says “sporting event in a month’s time that I can’t use” so maybe they genuinely are unable to attend?

Elsajeni (#1,763)

@bgprincipessa If the writer actually can’t attend the game, I’d recommend telling the manager who gave them the tickets that; maybe the tickets can be passed on to someone who’ll actually use them. (In fact, this might also work for just the “I don’t really want to go” situation — claim you just realized you have a previous engagement that day, offer the tickets to someone else.)

@patiolanterns the managers may work off commission and so their salaries may function more as draws on their commission.

I would suggest going. My old company used to give out baseball game tickets and I am no baseball fan let alone a sports person. But when I went to the game, I had so much fun. There was so much audience participation with the mascots, the announcers cracking jokes, free t-shirts thrown in the crowd, dance cam/kiss cams, etc. Before I knew it I was rooting for the home team and cheering with the crowd. Even though I barely know the rules.

So you never know!

ETA: The seats were box seats near first base. That specific section was used by company and most of the other people in box were other employees that I had never met cause the company was so large. So if they are really nice, being that close can make you enjoy it more.

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