The summer before our senior year, WG1 and I were interns in NYC at magazines. Mine may have been a tad bit smaller than hers (and by that I mean we had about 6 employees including myself and we worked out of the owner's apartment).
That summer I wrote lots and lots of articles, did tons of research, and also did way too many personal tasks for the owner (not fun lemme tell ya). But because I did so much extra work for them (and because the magazine was teeny tiny), they often let me take home free stuff they had received from companies asking them to write about their products.
I once got my hair cut for free at the Butterfly Studio (which was super out of my price range). I took home a lot of this stuff. And got offered a lot of free dinners at places like this for writing about their restaurant.
And then I went back to school and took some journalism courses and realized that accepting these gifts might not have been such an honest and upstanding thing to do as a journalist.
At work recently I had to take a small online course about what is considered proper and improper acceptance of gifts. It's such a fine line!
In the video they made us watch, a guy received golf clubs (very expensive ones) from a client who wanted his business. And of course he sent them back because it wasn't ethical to accept them even though he was going to do business with him before he received the gift.
In my new position, I've received some gifts but mostly they are after we have done business and I view these as "thank you" gifts. And when I say gifts I don't mean golf clubs. I usually mean champagne, or candy, and one time someone sent me a cooler. And in those instances I don't think it is improper to accept the gift.
I have become a recent fan of the show Parks and Recreation and in one of the most recent episodes, Amy Poehler's character Leslie Knope accepts a wine basket and then feels super guilty about it and turns herself in to her boss. Clip is below and it's hilarious. Please watch.
What do you think is okay to accept and not accept? What does your company's ethics guidelines say about accepting gifts ?