Monday, December 02, 2013

Personally, I’d rather have a lump of coal, thank you

I’ve never worked at a place where they actually gave you anything for Christmas.

Some places I worked for had the obligatory-fun/command-performance holiday party. Some had Yankee swaps. Or grabs. Some had group get togethers, lunch out of whatever.

But there was never any company gift – no gift certificate, no turkey, and certainly no Tony Robbins video collections. That I most assuredly would have remembered.

But if you worked for, that’s what Santa brought you last year.

Kristopher Jones admits he did a lousy job playing Santa Claus last December when he gave his employees personal-development CDs and workbooks by self-help guru Tony Robbins. It was the first holiday season in which his Web-marketing firm had a sizable staff, and he thought the gifts, valued at about $400 apiece, were a great way to thank everyone for their hard work.

"I'm a huge Tony Robbins fan," says the 37-year-old founder of in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (Source: WSJ Online)

When I saw “Wilkes-Barre” I momentarily confused it with Scranton, and thought that this might have taken place in a branch of Dunder Mifflin. Can’t you see this gifting as an episode of The Office?

…Says Mr. Jones: "The gifts were apparently more about me."

Kudos to Jones for admitting to having a less than deft touch with his gifting.

And who am I to poke fun at Jones to begin with. After all, he’s a successful entrepreneur and author of a book on Internet marketing – SEO Visual Blueprint - that I admittedly never heard of, but which sounds worth buying. (Although the second edition is over three years old, so maybe I’ll hold out for the third.)

But Tony Robbins!

It’s hard for me to think of anything that would be more destined to find it’s way into next year’s Yankee Swap.

Tony Robbins!

Pink Slip is no stranger to the man.

He was the subject of an April 2012 post, when his fire-walking event resulted in hot foots for a number of participants.

What would I rather have than a set of Tony Robbins CD’s and workbooks?

For starters, there’s the $400 that Jones paid for each set. I’d rather have had the $400. Or $40. Or even $4.

I’ll go so far as to say I’d rather have an MP3 player that only plays Horse with No Name, Gangster of Love (Steve Miller version), and Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven (not to be confused with the teen-bouncy Neil Sedaka S-to-H).

While I’m on the subject of music, I’d rather sit through a Miley Cyrus concert. Front row seats.

I’d rather have a 50 lb. bag of turnips.

I’d rather have a gift certificate to Cracker Barrel.

I’d rather have a Thomas Kincaid commemorative plate.

I’d rather have the collected works of Tom Clancy. (As long as I didn’t have to read them, but could just watch the movies.)

I’d rather have a 3XL Winnie the Pooh sweatshirt.

And speaking of shirts, I’d rather have a hair shirt.

And spend an afternoon with Ted Cruz while wearing the hair shirt. (Maybe I’ve gone a bit too far here…)

ReferLocal’s employees may be thinking along the same lines.

It was clear that his 16 staffers weren't impressed with the gifts, some of which still gather dust, unopened, on employee desks.

At least Jones is the type of boss that doesn’t intimidate his employees into feeling they have to suck up to him by pretending to like his gift. Apparently the employees were secure enough to leave those Tony Robbins CDs just sitting there, clearly unused. (A smarter move might have been selling them on eBay.)

When shopping for your employees, my recommendation would be to use the “shopping for a teenager” rule of thumb.

Nothing says loving like cash…

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