I once got in trouble with HR. No one likes to get a notice that the head of Human Resources wants to see you, right?
As I made my way to the “principal’s office” that early December day, I did a mental check of what it could possibly be about. If you know me (or have been reading my blog for very long), you know I’m a good girl, a straight arrow, the epitome of “always does the right thing.”
It turns out I had been caught soliciting.
No, not that kind of soliciting.
You see, a co-worker had lost all her Christmas decorations when her basement flooded the previous spring. I overheard her talking about how deeply distressed she was about the thought of a tree without ornaments.
I had the bright idea to ask our co-workers if they would donate an ornament or two from their own stash. People brought in lovely ornaments to me. When I made the presentation to her, she cried in gratefulness.
And that was my crime…soliciting used ornaments for someone without any. Guilty as charged.
Yes, I understand that “personal selling” in an office can get out of hand. Through the years, I’ve bought my share of Girl Scout cookies and elementary school wrapping paper. I’ve donated to wonderful causes. It’s hard to tell where to draw the line.
But give me a break. Where does inappropriate soliciting stop and nit-picking begin?
I was reminded of the incident listening to an NPR show the other day. Joy Cho (author, decorator, and founder of the company Oh Joy) was taking viewer calls and emails about holiday decorating on a budget.
A woman whose father’s house had been flooded by Hurricane Harvey asked for an inexpensive way to replace the ornaments he had gathered over the years and lost to the flood waters. As with my co-worker, the dad’s original ornaments and decorations held much meaning to him. New ornaments, fresh from the store packaging, just wouldn’t be the same.
The daughter asked for help in providing her dad decorations that would be “meaningful, decorative, and festive, but also not a huge investment.”
Joy Cho suggested that the daughter send an email to all the relatives and her dad’s close friends. Tell them what happened, and then make this request: “Let’s all send him one ornament that means something to us or reminds us of him, and let’s surprise him with that.”
Cho suggested that the givers write a message with their offerings.
She asked the listeners to imagine the man’s reaction when all those packages started showing up at his door.
What a wonderful new start to a familiar Christmas tradition!
Gee, I wish I had thought of that.