Gift Cards in the Workplace, Vol. 16, Issue 47

Dear Etiquetteer:

You helped me so much with my [Insert Name of Popular Cookie Here] problem, a couple months back that I feel bad having to ask for your assistance once again but I am at a loss as to what to do.

Five weeks ago, I began a new job. It's the first 9-5 job I've had in over a decade so it took awhile to get acclimated to the workplace environment. But, my co-workers are nice.

Last week, my boss and her boss brought me into their office to tell me they thought I was doing a great job. As a reward for my hard work, they gave me a gift card to [Insert Name of Unavoidable Global Retailer Here]. It had $25 printed on it.

This past weekend, I tried to use the gift card to make a purchase on the company's website. To my surprise, the gift card wouldn't go through and an error message popped up on my screen: "This card has already been redeemed." I'm not sure what happened. My first guess was that my boss must have made a mistake when buying the card. Then, I thought maybe she was "re-gifting" me a card she, herself, had received.

Perhaps you can guess my dilemma. I'm thinking, "It's the thought that counts" and would never mention this to my boss, but friends and family think I should tell her because she may have spent the $25 to buy the card but somehow not completed the transaction.

To be honest, I'm not always the most confident person, so now I'm even wondering, did my boss do this on purpose? Am I NOT doing a great job?

Dear Gift-Carded:

Reading the end of your query, Etiquetteer immediately remembered the words of Cher in Moonstruck:

Of course you are doing a good job, and your boss and her boss think so, too! This is not some convoluted scheme to undermine your self-confidence and drive you, weak and quivering, over the Brink of Despair. Snap out of it!

And then (Etiquetteer is just full of diva quotes today) one must remember what Lena Horne said when being photographed for the Blackglama mink ads back in the 1970s: "A lady can never get enough mink off a gentleman." In this case, Etiquetteer interprets this Received Wisdom as being sure you receive all possible employee benefits in the workplace. While recognizing your interest in Not Making Trouble, it's better to mention this now so that your employers can address any possible issues with their source - and for all you know they got it directly from [Insert Name of Unavoidable Global Retailer Here]. But when you bring it up, do with with an air of Not Wanting to Make Trouble, which will inspire them to take care of the problem.

Etiquetteer wishes you joy in your new career. And who knows, as your employers get to know you and your work better, they may acknowledge you in future with a $25 package of [Insert Name of Popular Cookie Here]!