The worst of the worst

2007

The online magazine Slate.com asked America last year for "Corporate Scrooges" in order to create a list of the worst office parties, worst gifts, and worst bonuses the working world had ever seen.

The response was bigger than they had ever expected and the results were printed in an article entitled The Corporate Scrooge Contest Results.

In the category of "bonuses" the magazine received a number of particularly Scrooge-like entries. For example, there were the employees of Wal-Mart who received 20% discount cards for a single item at their own store. At one newspaper, the bonus was a $15 gift card for a department store where $15 wouldn't get anyone more than an empty shopping bag.

Another popular item for managers and companies to hand out were useless gifts. Workers for an Indiana university received a gift basket with paper containers holding dehydrated apple soup. Another college gave out damaged Christmas tree ornaments.

Some companies engaged in what the article calls "bait and switch" techniques. For example, one company held a year-long soda can recycling drive with the promise that the money would be used to buy the employees a catered holiday dinner and door prizes. By the time the holidays arrived, the company offered a pot-luck dinner on a weekend in an office breakroom.

The tales of woe are seemingly endless. Managers should take heed and plan the party well. With that they can gain a lot of respect for the following year.