Miss Manners: I don’t wish to preserve shopping for muffins for workplace birthdays


Expensive Miss Manners: I’m an legal professional at a small agency. When the employees member who used to purchase birthday muffins retired, I picked up a cake for a birthday that was going to be noticed proper after she left.

I then purchased the subsequent birthday cake, which was for my favourite member of the agency. After which I purchased a cake for the least-liked individual within the workplace, fearing that his emotions can be damage as a result of nobody else was going to rise to the event.

Now, there’s an expectation that I’ll provide all birthday muffins. This expectation is dangerous as a result of I’m the primary and solely girl legal professional on the agency, and one of many youngest, as effectively. It is also an costly behavior; the time taken getting the muffins equates to a whole lot of {dollars} in billable hours, which I make up for by working later.

Do you could have any options on the way to cease this cycle? I do know that I’ve been a part of the issue, however sadly my time machine is on the fritz.

Are there any junior employees members or receptionists at your agency? If that’s the case, Miss Manners suggests you solicit their help. Or construct a rotating schedule among the many attorneys.

Or better of all, counsel to your agency that you just abandon the apply altogether. Cake within the workplace just isn’t sufficient of a deal with (and is commonly the item of dread by these watching sugar, gluten and different components) to warrant all of this expense and angst.

Absolutely a card would suffice as a substitute. However please promise simply to depart it within the break room for folks to signal — moderately than use billable hours going from workplace to workplace amassing signatures.

Expensive Miss Manners: I dislike it when folks fuss over me, however I’ve kinfolk who can not appear to assist themselves. Any try at a dialog at all times circles again to questions on whether or not I’m too scorching, too chilly, whether or not I’d like a brownie, or …

Makes an attempt to vary the dialog may fit momentarily, however one way or the other at all times devolve again into fussing over me. I do know they intend to be variety and hospitable, but it surely makes me really feel a bit snappish after some time.

What’s the politest solution to say, “Can we please speak about something apart from whether or not I’m too scorching, too chilly, would possibly like a brownie …?”

If you don’t want it, might Miss Manners please have the brownie?

As a result of it does sound as in case your kinfolk are merely being hospitable, if maybe (overly) involved in your well being and well-being. Or they’re avoiding your chosen subjects of dialog and attempting to vary them (during which case, the brownie factor abruptly makes extra sense).

In any occasion, if you don’t prefer it, chances are you’ll merely say, “Thanks in your concern, however I guarantee you that my temperature and structure are completely positive. Now, let’s speak about your tiff with Aunt Eloise.”

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday by Saturday on You’ll be able to ship inquiries to Miss Manners at her web site, You may as well observe her @RealMissManners.

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