punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Christmas Bonus

On Fark, they discussed "What's the worst Christmas bonus you have ever received?"

I haven't really worked at many places that gave me a bonus. I guess my work had the party last week, but I didn't go. But when I worked for Crown Books, I got a very nice bonus one year. They sent some oranges from a grove the company owned (Crown Books was part of a bigger conglomerate at the time, The Dart Group, under Haft Enterprises). They sent a crate of them to all managers, and they were very sweet and juicy.

But the next year, they sent us smoked turkeys. I knew it was a smoked turkey, because that's what the letter included with it said. The letter was necessary because what was in the small, plain, unlabeled white box looked like a diseased balloon. It seems that at some point, someone smoked a turkey (which was actually about the size of a small chicken), vacuum-sealed it in a thick plastic bag, put a sticker on it, and stacked it somewhere. The letter said that the turkey must be refrigerated immediately, a statement also stated on the label. The problem was, no one told UPS. I mean, the outside of the box was plain. It just had my address on it, and a return address with no name (just an address in Florida), but no instructions. Who knows how long the turkey had been sitting in non-refrigerated conditions, but industrious bacteria had already released enough gas inside the vacuum-packed plastic that it swelled up like a balloon so taught, it filled the box, pushing the foam peanuts flat. If it wasn't for the strong packing tape holding the box together, it surely would have been much larger. The brown lump sloshed aggressively inside its diseased plastic cocoon; I feared planning for an explosive escape. I couldn't see what the turkey looked like, because the bacteria had graciously obscured the clear plastic with a coating of sticky brown film. I tossed it right away. In fact, I recall opening it in my living room, figuring out the situation, and then taking it right outside to the trash cans before it went off like a bomb of stench. Other managers weren't so lucky. Many didn't get theirs, and those that did reported mixed reports of "it looked fine" to "the stench was abysmal."

I think when I worked for Chesapeake Knife and Tool, I got a Swiss Army T-shirt one year, and an "opportunity to buy up to five items at cost" the next year, which wasn't company policy, I think it was just a kind offer by my manager. Cargo never sent us bonuses. Christine got a work bonus a few years ago, but now the company can't afford it. I have never gotten a Christmas bonus in any tech job I have ever had. Although, when I used to work a 24/7 international network operations center, for holidays we had to work, they'd have it catered, so when you could get away from your desk, you'd go out to some room in the building where they'd have hot meals in chafing dishes, cookies, cake, whatever. So that was cool. Plus you got 2.5 x normal pay, so that was sort of a bonus.

A side note: Cargo gave some great gifts when your store made quota, though. Twice I won a trip to Cancun. The first time, they gave us $200 spending money before the trip, but the next year, they didn't, and many managers balked, and said they needed the $200 to afford "incidentals" in Cancun (I am not sure why, Cancun is CHEAP). When we arrived the second time, the company gave us $200 when we got there. They said, "Last year, everyone spent theirs before the trip. This year, we wanted to make sure you had fun in Cancun itself." That was very nice, IMHO.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000324.html
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