Years and years ago, I wrote ON THESE VERY PAGES about my Birthday Club woes. I never seem to end up on the right side of that equation at work.
I have managed to skirt the issue over the past four years, but only because my workplace had no Birthday Club. Whenever it was someone’s birthday, at least one co-worker remembered at the last minute, rushed to the boss to announce the information, was given Petty Cash and told to pick up two expensive cakes from an exclusive bakery nearby.
One of the two cakes was for the birthday person and would be made of their favorite flavor combinations of cake, filling and frosting.
The other cake was always a white cake with fresh strawberry filling and whipped cream frosting. That cake was for The Angry Old Woman, since she didn’t trust the other flavors someone might choose.
Everyone could choose a slice from either cake, but we made sure TAOW got her massive portion before anyone else was served. If there were any leftovers of the white cake, she took them home. The birthday person was allowed to take home any leftovers of “the other cake”.
Now I have a new workplace and there IS a Birthday Club. There is no option to decline membership and each co-worker must “donate” one dollar per month towards the purchase of a single sheet cake per month. All the birthdays for the month are celebrated at one time with one cake and everyone is invited to attend the “party”.
The first month I was here, I was out of the office at an off-site meeting when the Monthly Birthday Party took place.
This month, the event was on my Outlook calendar and I received a reminder to attend at 2 PM. I walked over to the conference room at 2:05 PM and looked in to see ten people out of the hundred employees eligible to participate. They had intense stares on their faces. I saw they were looking at the July Cake, which was decorated as an American flag. A woman was slicing the cake. I walked away.
At 2:15 PM, I wandered back to the conference room. The room had cleared out and the cake had been removed from the table. There was no leftover cake in the kitchen and no evidence of anyone eating cake at his or her desk.
It was as if it never happened.