Swag

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Each year I get stuff sent from specialists who want to say “thank you” for sending patients (and oh by the way please send some more). 

Are you curious? Wondering what gets sent? 

So far this year:

A neurosurgeon, as he does every year, sent a stack of personalized note pads of assorted sizes (actually kind of handy). 

An orthopedic surgeon sent a lemon  bundt cake. I used to get half a cow or a smoked turkey but I did not refer to him that much this year…

A hand specialist that I don’t refer to anymore sent a huge gift basket of cheap crackers and processed cheese food and dried meats. Blech.

One bottle of wine. I threw away the card without paying attention to who sent it. Thank you, whoever you are!

A rheumatologist that I don’t ever refer to sent one of those tower boxes of candy and caramel popcorn. 

A large group of GI specialists sent an expensive pecan pie (makes me want to donate it to a patient that will be seeing them shortly so they can hook up with the pie again on its way out).

There is a giant tin of assorted popcorn flavors from a sleep specialist, for late night snacking.

Another giant bin of flavored popcorn from an ENT.

A card from an opthomologost saying that he made a donation to a charity in my name (I might be blind but I don’t see how much of a donation listed anywhere on the card.)

A big box of Swiss chocolates from a bariatric surgeon. Drumming up business in more ways than one, apparently.

More chocolates from an OB/Gyn. Because, you know, periods…

There is still over a week left before Christmas. No telling what else is gonna show up. The people that I refer to the most, though, never send a single thing and I’m actually quite glad for that. 

What are some of the odd things you have gotten from people during the holidays?

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128 thoughts on “Swag

  1. My mother once gave me gold earings with the letter “E” on them, encased in a box that said “Elaine” “Elaine” “Elaine” all over it. I never let the woman who named me Elyse hear the end of it.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. The strangest gift I received was a fake tower fish aquarium when I was 20 from my dad. I found out later that he had also considered a fax machine. A fax machine for a college student in 2004; I have no clue what he was thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a teacher in a “needy” school I have gotten wrapped up earrings. “My mom doesn’t wear these anymore so I thought you would like them”! “Ummm thanks so much but does mom know you brought them to me?” “NO, but I KNOW she doesn’t wear them!” “Thanks for thinking of me… but how about you take them back to mom and draw me a picture?”
    I may take your flavored popcorn!!!

    Liked by 4 people

      • I’ve had someone do this; it stunned me at the time and felt awkward at first. But it wasn’t some priceless family heirloom, and her attitude when presenting it was along the lines of, “because you like it so much I want you to have it”. I can’t even remember what it was now but it touched me deeply at the time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is a meaningful gift! It made me careful about complementing people for a while because I was afraid of something like that occurring again. This woman had very little. It was not a valuable piece of jewelry but she wore it all the time. I felt terribly guilty for taking it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. When I worked in High Street banking, a customer gave me a bar of chocolate through the till window saying I looked starved in my cage. Most of the time though, it was the manager who got the goodies, not the staff. When I was on the ‘other side’, I used to take in a box of shortbread for the bank staff.
    In my International days though, I was sent a bottle of Black Label 12 year old scotch three years running from a customer in India. I gave it to my Dad as it was his favourite. The fourth year, he sent me some jewellery……. a velvet case containing ‘silver’ earrings, brooch, bracelet and necklace with coloured ‘gems’. Mine were blue and a colleague on the other side of the office who also handled aspects of his account had a red set. It’s the thought that counts, but they were a little garish for our taste. Company policy was you couldn’t accept gifts from clients if the value exceeded £25. These didn’t, so I have no idea what metal they actually were.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. bwahahaha. the chocolates from a bariatric surgeon. and chocolates from OB “because periods”. you kill me! cannot stop laughing.

    reminds me of one of the hospitals i used to work at. it was a heart hospital and it had a 24 hour mcdonald’s! on my lunch break from the CVICU we would go eat mcdonalds at 3 a.m. (yea!) of course patients and families were eating there at 3 am as well. =)

    Liked by 1 person

      • I think kindness never hurt a flea – and gratitude is always a harder thing to do that generosity. Only cynics interpret kindness as expectation. Greedy people who have things and are overpaid have expectations that they should and will GET GET GET and HAVE HAVE HAVE. Come on, doctor. Show some care and get yourself a soul.

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  6. Back when I was working in a supermarket, I once got a whole duck liver, the foie gras type, from a supplier. I thought it was a bit extravagant but seeing as the manager wanted to keep his, he made me keep mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Some years ago a Vietnamese refugee family who had NO money to spare – I taught their son – sent me letter of appreciation for the year’s teaching and an invitation to their Christmas party. It was written on the card that they cut from a cereal box. The words were the most valuable present I have ever got.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. Wine and chocolates and notepads FTW!
    Nice!
    Processed cheese? WHO would send processed cheese?!? Ick! I guess you’ll just digest the sweet thought, lol!
    GAWD I love pecan pie. Oh my, oh my, dinner’s still cookin. I might love pecan pie less after I’m full!
    I’ve gotten a lot of teacher-y gifts in the past, 400 colored pencils, a roll of butcher paper, that sorta thing. I don’t reckon I get too many odd gifts.
    My husband bought me a shiny poly-blend blouse once. We never buy gifts for one another, so I don’t know what was wrong with him…bought me a whole outfit. I dunno. I wore the blouse twice, because I love him. Then I donated it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When I was a mailman, I usually got a card with $5 or $10 in it. But sometimes I’ve been given other things, such as a bottle of wine (and I don’t drink alcohol), chocolates, homemade goodies (I usually didn’t dare eat them), and candy. The strangest thing I ever found in a mailbox in December, though, was a fancy hair brush. I keep my hair short, so I just passed this gift on to my wife. I later figured out that these customers were Jehovah’s Witnesses. This led me to conclude that the hair brush must not have been meant as a Christmas gift for me at all. To this day I suppose they’re wondering what happened to the borrowed brush that some friend of theirs claims to have returned.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lol! That is hilarious! My father in law was a mailman, as was my grandfather. They got tons of great gifts each year from people on their routes, people they saw every day for decades. I have no idea who delivers my mail now as it is always someone different and would never think to give them a gift. Times have changed so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve received iffy gifts any number of times. Here’s an unusual gift that stood out this year, but not for the holidays: a former client made a bequest of $10,000 in my honor to the University of Iowa Ophthalmology Department. I’d make a pretty big bet that will never happen again.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. My favorite was a $100 gift card a client gave me to a newly opened restaurant, which he said was his favorite. I took all 3 of my girls, figuring we could have a nice night out, and I might have to chip in another $50 or so, which I was ok with. The actual bill, without tip, came to $350 – and trust me, the food wasn’t all that spectacular.

    I should have realized it was going to be an issue when the hostess took one look at my attire (even though I had dressed up a bit) and immediately escorted us to the upstairs room with all the other low-lifes. Meanwhile, the old lady behind us in line (who was wearing a fur coat and dripping jewelry) was taken to a very nice window table right in the busy downstairs main room.

    I never went to that restaurant again.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My sweet departed Aunt always sent one of us something that was impossible to figure out why she sent it. One year, when I was going to be married, she sent a bag of leather scraps. I have no idea why. The best gift was a piece of “jewelry”. It was the 70’s and so there is some leeway to the puce green color, but it looked like a moldy cat turd on a leather string. My mother wore it as a dare.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am a patient and I do give my doctors a gift at Christmas time, some of them are Jewish. I usually make a nice tray of Lasagna, or Manicotti and some bottles of good wine. We are not wealthy so I cook or bake, but I will only buy good wine. My husband’s cardiologist took the whole pan of Lasagna home. I thought he would share it with the staff. Told my husband it was the best he ever tasted. Now you have me wondering if he trashed it. If anyone threw the wine away they missed out, and I thought I was doing something nice. Yikes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gifts from patients are a completely different thing. They are people that I have a relationship with. You keep giving your lasagna! I bet it IS amazing. Patients are not doing it to make more money, it is not given with expectations or strings attached. These specialists are not sending me things out of kindness or generosity and THAT is what I bristle up over. Give the staff at your office a bonus. Help a needy patient. Go on a vacation. Just don’t waste your money on me. All I care about is that you do a good job taking care of my patients. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. When my son was little, we read an anecdote I haven’t been able to verify since. I remember it this way: Queen Noor of Jordan and her husband King Hussein received gifts from people, countries, and organizations of all types. Almost everything was something that wasn’t useful or appropriate for the royal household. Yet all gifts had to be graciously received. Her thank you notes always stated that the gift would be well used. What the note wouldn’t say was who would use it, or how. Many gifts were donated, or appropriately otherwise passed on.

    We told our son that when he received a gift (like from Grandpa L, who never quite got things right,) he should say the gift would get a lot of use. Usually that meant we would pass it on to Goodwill. He learned the lesson well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. When I was most stressed out at work, doing two big management jobs in parallel for months, one of my staffers brought me a replica of a beautifully decorated antique wooden chin rest for women from Ethiopia. I used it several times a day. Now it sit here in my home office.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pecan pie- classic.

    I work for 5 politicians and I’m not allowed to accept gifts but I did just get flowers from a guy that runs the paper the day after he threatened to print my name and number in his paper as an anti-Christmas person because I wouldn’t let him hang a sign on one of our properties. Flowers are nice but I found them to be a little creepy.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. For my office’s Secret Santa this year I received a furry squeaky toy and a rawhide chew. My guide dog Trigger destroyed the squeaky toy in a matter of minutes (fancy doing that to my gift)! and ate my rawhide chew! I am not letting him get his paws on the minature whiskies I received though …! Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

  18. In Mexico, huge baskets are generally sent, including cheap wine and liquor.
    And sardine cans… (Yuk)
    (Alexandre III bridge. The most beautiful bridge in Paris, therefore in the world. 😉 Taken from a bateau-mouche, considering the angle the photo was taken. I have considered throwing a rope from the bridge, sling down and take that photo. Unfortunately I never have a rope with me when I reach the Pont Alexandre III.)
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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