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Old December 12th, 2007, 04:35 PM   #1
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gift giving etiquette for customer

ok, I suppose this could apply in many situations, but this happens to be for a video project in progress, so I'll post it here.

I've got a corp. cust. who has given me work all year long.

I'd like to send them a holiday gift (basket). The work is for the 'big boss', who I've only talked with once. (video tape conversions, etc.). I typically deal with his executive assistant, talk with her every two weeks. She gets many projects done for him.

Question - do I:
- send one basket, addressed to him c/o her
- send one to him and one to her
- send one to the company name care of her
- other?

I'm sure he doesn't need a gift basket per se, and she might enjoy it. But, I'd really like thank both of them for their patronage - his for selecting me as the vendor and hers for the weekly working relationship.

I can't afford to send them both large baskets, so what would you do?

Interested in your thoughts, has to be ordered tomorrow or Fri latest. (and now, back to the real work!!).
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Old December 12th, 2007, 04:49 PM   #2
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I normally say thanks and such but I have never sent a gift to the people using my services. Some times I "gift" them a small modification to the production without charging them but that is about it. I do however always gift the assistants or accounts who pay the invoices. They are the ones who will stay the extra five minutes friday night to get your pay check in the mail :)

My favorite is a gift card to starbucks. Small and easy to deliver and don't attract as much attention as a large gift basket being deliverd does. I usually put enough on for a couple of drinks and most people seem to use it pretty quick. It is also imporant to see if there are any rules in the company about accepting gifts over a certain value but I have only seen this rule at larger corperations.

Thats just me though. If you are going to send the guy a gift I would def. send one to the secretary as she seems to be the one you deal with most so keep that person happy to.

I am interested in what others do if anything.
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Old December 12th, 2007, 10:36 PM   #3
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Be careful here.

Most major corporations have VERY strict rules about accepting gifts from vendors. (They don't want even the appearance of vendors "buying" work by gifting key employees!)

In fact, my largest client (1000+ stores) has a TWENTY-FIVE DOLLAR gift value limit that's very strictly enforced. I've even had unused theater tickets and tried to pass them along to longtime clients that I consider friends, and they've had to decline because the face value of the tickets were over the limits.

I've found that the safest course is a "department" gift. Usually food.

Because it's for the whole department, I can send over a couple of premium cheesecakes, or a really nice gift basket - and keep within the rules.

Everyone shares so no-one is being "influenced" and they know I'm thinking of them and appreciate the year's work.

FWIW
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Old December 13th, 2007, 04:15 AM   #4
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Ahhh, Another fine idea :) I will have to remember the group food to get around the limit and not go broke.
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 12:17 AM   #5
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It's quite common for salesmen to buy lunch for their clients and in most cases (as long as it's a reasonable lunch) it isn't an issue, but I have had some customers who were so strict about not accepting any kind of gift that THEY would buy ME lunch instead.

In particular the Federal Government is very picky about things like this and I can remember having a govenrment employee in a class I was running and he refused the free lunch that we provided for every attendee and paid for his own. I think he drank the coffee that was on a table in the conference room though. Nobody could claim that there was any value to our horrible coffee
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Old January 4th, 2008, 04:03 PM   #6
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just to wrap it up, I did end up sending a basket (fruit, nuts, cookies, chocolates, etc.) and it was much enjoyed at their office.
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