18 June 2014

Receiving Through Rejection

So, this happened at work today... 
We had our annual company picnic, which involves a raffle for various prizes donated by sponsors, namely other companies we work with. They're often fairly substantial, with things like televisions, grills, tablets, small refrigerators, and all the way up to deck furniture. 
I happened to win tickets to a Cardinals game. I really didn't want them. I don't like baseball, I hate driving around St. Louis, and it doesn't help that my last outing to that area was less than pleasant. Of course, I didn't want to seem rude or ungrateful, so in a pinch a little white lie slipped out. I said I couldn't go on that day. They asked me to come up and draw another number to give the tickets away. Good, I thought, problem solved. A few minutes later, they had another set of tickets, and just outright asked me if I could make it to a different game. Okay, they caught me. I said I don't watch baseball. 
The president of the company asked me to come up. As I walked to where all the prizes were gathered, he said, "We've been doing this for years, we've never had someone refuse prizes like this." This isn't 100% true. Since everyone in attendance gets a raffle ticket, the higher-ups and visitors (from other companies) often give their prizes away. It occasionally happens with those lower down the ladder, but apparently I'm the first to do it twice. Anyway, as a consolation prize for putting me on the spot about the baseball tickets, he told me I had a choice of a prize. The choices were a tent, a gazebo, and a gas grill. 
I live in a fairly small apartment (gazebo), I don't go camping (tent), and not only does the apartment complex have a barbecue pit, but I also have a griddle I use for making burgers (gas grill). I felt very guilty, and apparently looked the part as well. I quietly said I didn't have space for any of that stuff. He was stunned. I think I even offended him. After sharing his disbelief with the audience, he reached into his pocket, pulled out some cash, handed it to me, and said, "Here's a hundred bucks, get outta here." 
Okay, he was smiling as he said it, and in addition to raffle prizes, he would give out a few hundred dollars for various reasons (if someone brought a certain household item, or had a birth date closest to one of our guest's, or had a baby recently, anything like that), so this wasn't any sort of upset in the grand scheme of things, simply awkward. In fact, when I got back to my seat, my supervisor leaned over to me and said, "Good holdout strategy." 
I gave the money to my roommate. She's going to Florida in July to visit her boyfriend, so now she's got a little extra spending cash. 
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