Supervisor: "Okay, everyone, you all owe us $20, which we'll need by the end of the month when the gift is delivered."See, it's shit like that right there that gets on my frickin' NERVES. The point isn't Ursula or her retirement. The point is that we deserve to choose whether we donate, how much we donate, and what we're donating it for. Telling us that we owe, how much we owe, and when we're going to pay is overstepping, to say the least. It's especially inappropriate coming from those in positions of power over us.
Me & co-workers: "How's that?"
Supervisor: "Management ordered Ursula's retirement present. Remember when we had that staff meeting six months, ago, where we talked about the [x,y,z]? At the end of that meeting, someone suggested that we might want to get Ursula a retirement present."
Co-worker: "I think I remember that, but I didn't hear anything else about it. I'd forgotten all about it."
Me: "Same here. No one told us the plan, asked us if we wanted to participate, or showed us the gift."
Supervisor: "Look, West, if you just don't want to contribute to Ursula's retirement, you don't have to."
Me: ". . ."
Call me crazy but, personally, I like to "help" decide what gift my money's going toward. My expressing this fact does not automatically mean I don't like Ursula or don't want her to have a gift. It means the situation wasn't handled as well as it could've been.
It's not just the fact that this is a management issue (I'd have felt the same if these were friends or family), but one should recognize that having the guts to speak up to one's "superiors" isn't always an easy thing.
The proper way to respond to thoughtful objection or constructive criticism from a friend, family member, or employee is not to assume that the speaker must be a cheapskate.
See, it's shit like that right there that pisses me off.