Accepting gifts from suppliers

Answered by Suzanne Morgan

Is it appropriate for me to accept gifts from printers?

It depends on several factors:

  1. Policies of your company -- What policies does your company have with regards to accepting gifts? Many companies are now setting limits on receiving gifts from suppliers. You'll want to make sure that you stay within those guidelines. Sometimes those limits have a financial cap of $25 or $50, for example. Or it may be a reciprocal agreement. For instance, if your printer takes you out to lunch this time, it's your treat next time.

  2. Does the acceptance of the gift compromise you? If you feel uncomfortable receiving a gift from any of your suppliers, or a particular supplier, then don't. Individual buyers' opinions may vary a great deal about what feels appropriate. It's important that you do what's right for you.

  3. Does the printer expect something in return? There could be several reasons why a printer might offer a buyer a gift. Usually, the gift is given with good intentions. It's a sign of appreciation for your past business or a new relationship. Sometimes printers feel pressure from their competitors to give gifts and don't want to look cheap if they think they're the only ones not giving gifts. And, once in a while, you may find a printer that does expect something directly in return - the gift in exchange for a print job with their name on it.

  4. It depends on your relationship with the supplier. If you've had a long-standing relationship or do a significant amount of business with a printer, it might be easier and more appropriate to accept a gift, than to receive one from a printer that you've just met.

  5. It depends on the type of gift. For the most part, the business world is more "politically correct" than it used to be. Therefore, most companies refrain from giving alcohol or personal items.

  6. It depends on the expense of the gift. The gift of a nice lunch obviously varies widely from a weekend trip to Cancun (sans the press check).

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