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Old 06-01-2014, 08:55 AM   #21
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At retirement, I received a folded American flag inside a triangular glass-fronted wooden box. My name is on a plastic peel-off strip, so I guess I could sell it on Ebay if I wanted to. But I won't.

Also got some printed certificates in cheap plastic frames, which I threw away. The language on them is boilerplate and not really about me, so they have no sentimental value.

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Old 06-01-2014, 09:01 AM   #22
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Where I worked the traditional retirement gift is a picture of the Perimeter Acquisition Radar building signed by those one works with. I prefer it to the useless trinkets some places give out. Here is a poor picture of mine.
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Old 06-01-2014, 10:35 AM   #23
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Someone came up with the idea that I needed a picture of all of the 74 folks I supervised, so unknown to me, each one posed for separate pictures (like a high school annual picture) that were then framed and matted in a $500 frame. I know how much it cost because I had to approve the purchase order after the event.

I appreciated the thought and enjoyed working with these people for the most part, but who could think that I would hang a giant picture of people that I wouldn't miss for 10 seconds on a wall in my house? It's in the shed where the frame is waiting for the declutter/downsize garage sale that's coming soon.

Certainly would have rather had the cash.
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Old 06-01-2014, 10:42 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
I got a 100% COLA'd pension that is enough to live on with medical, dental, and prescription coverage. Nothing else.

That was enough, I didn't care about any bling.

I got a few things at our retirement party which was nice of them. But 4 years later I can't remember what they were...but I still remember vividly a few weeks later when my first COLA'd pension check hit the bank account. A most significant day, as I always cashed my paper check. Probably only one of a couple that did.


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Old 06-01-2014, 11:19 AM   #25
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DHs public agency would acknowledge milestone anniversaries with points that you could use to pick out something from a catalog. I remember him getting a watch and a pocketknife and some other trinkets.

When he left for good (retirement is so freaking good!) it was decided for him, so they gave him the box for his personal stuff and a chance to say goodbye to his staff. They didn't bother with the escort out to his car, I guess they trusted him.

They thought they were dumping him without enough years to retire and get the pension. They didn't know he had accumulated 5 years at another public agency. So along with giving him the rest of the day off, he's now free for the rest of his life.

COLAed pension, used to include medical for both of us but that has been drastically modified since he left in 2010.

Today is the 4 year anniversary of his retirement. The yearly COLA is better than any trinket from that catalog!
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Old 06-01-2014, 12:21 PM   #26
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I got the standard clock set in something hard, shiny and heavy with my name engraved. It will go into the trash when we next move.

More importantly I got a $500 gift card to a store of my choice ( I chose Walmart ) and the advice to delay my retirement by 1 day in order to exceed my 25 year anniversary and qualify for a week's extra vacation, which was paid as an extra week on my final salary check
This is ironic because I know 2 people (my dad, in 1994, and a coworker, in 2003) who changed their final day to be one day earlier because it would help them receive their first pension check earlier. In both cases, they were going to retire on the first day of a new quarter (July 1 for my dad, October 1 for the coworker) but rolled it back to the last day of the previous quarter so they could collect their first pension check right away instead of waiting 3 months (working a single day in a new quarter made them ineligible for collecting a pension in that quarter).

I recall at least one person writing about this one-day-difference here and my replying with my two stories.
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Old 06-01-2014, 01:03 PM   #27
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This thread reminds me of the cashmere sweater we got one year for Christmas. With the company logo embroidered on the chest of it. I can't remember if I cut it up to use for rags (it's really soft!) or if I tossed it in the goodwill donation bag. Out of the 25 employees at the company, 23 never wore sweaters, and 2 did (the President and the Vice President). I heard you had to dry clean the cashmere sweater, but I never wore it to even need to wash it. I think they spent over $100 per sweater.

And one year they gave out leather bags with the company logo embossed into it. The problem was that they were very heavy and rather small, so it wasn't useful to carry a laptop and could barely hold a letter-sized paper pad let alone a notebook or file folder. I think I tossed it or donated it. The thing probably weighed 8 pounds by itself compared to a pound or two for a shoulder bag of similar size and capacity. Another $100-200 probably.

Eventually they switched to good gifts. One year was a catalog where you pick $250 worth of stuff (all company logo embroidered/embossed/printed) like umbrellas, polo shirts and folding camp chairs. They also had a camera with the company logo on it (which came off in two seconds when I scratched it off with the edge of a dime). I loaded up on that stuff. Still have 4 company logo folding chairs (3 aren't broken) and a handful of company shirts (good for yardwork or cooking/grilling).

Another year they gave $100 gift cards to Lowe's for the guys (yeah!) or Macy's for the ladies (ladies were pissed since none ever shop at Macy's).

One year they gave us a check. That was the best year ever. After tax it was about $100 IIRC.
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Old 06-01-2014, 01:31 PM   #28
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Although not retirement gifts, I did receive some good ones in my years of working. One year, we got a $20 gift card for Borders Books (this was back in 2000). I knew I was going to get this because my divisionhead asked me a few weeks earlier for alternatives to taking out the staff to lunch at the end of the year (many staff including myself missed it because we took lots of days off). I suggested the Borders gift cards and he went for it.

Another useful gift I got I still have and use all the time. Before my company relocated from lower Manhattan to Jersey City, New Jersey, everyone got a special "relocation tote bag" with the company logo on it. I did not use it much in the first year but after that I used it often and still use it today. It has several pockets and pouches for small items and has a shoulder strap as well as a regular carrying handle strap.
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Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

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Old 06-01-2014, 01:36 PM   #29
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After 10 years with one organization (I was a contractor) I was given a chance to pick a gift from a list. This was promotional material with logos and I chose a travel mug, which I used at work and eventually left at the office. There was another offer after 15 years. This time there was a good selection of useful gifts and no logos were involved. I chose a tabletop grill, which I still use regularly almost 10 years later. When I left that job my coworkers asked me what I would like as a gift. I suggested a Kindle. They bought me a Kindle 2 with the leather cover and reading light, plus a $100 Amazon gift certificate. I was delighted.
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Old 06-01-2014, 01:43 PM   #30
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We receive a gift each year on ESOP anniversary and a gift on years of service, 5, 10, 15. Everything has company logo on it and is ugly, cheap, useless, doesn't work.
I used to work for a sub of Prudential. One of the 5-year gift choices was an office clock, with the logo, of course. Many co-workers had one on their office and I don't remember seeing a single one that still worked. When my turn came, I selected the wooden bookends with the Pru logo in a brass medallion on each. I'm happy to say they're right here on my desk and they still hold up books!
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Old 06-01-2014, 02:09 PM   #31
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After reading some of the posts above, I think I had a better deal.
As part of Mega-corps policy we received a Mastercard gift card equal to some percentage of something I can't remember and it was for about $450.
Then I received another $100 or so from individuals and then another $100 from my immediate Boss at an expensive dinner for the occasion.
All in all, I was very pleased at my employer when I left.
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Old 06-01-2014, 02:50 PM   #32
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Whatever happened to the Gold Pocket Watch ? A real one could set the company back a couple of thousand $ ( I actually have the gold retirement pocket watch from my grandmothers 2nd husband ) I will pass it on when I die, and hope nobody melts it down for the scrap value
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Old 06-01-2014, 04:29 PM   #33
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My own retirement is coming up quickly and I don't expect much at all, as the corporate policy on such matter seems to have moved from minimal monetary support to none at all. Although over the years I've managed to come up with ways of working around that constraint to providing a memento for direct reports who have retired. One was a miniature stainless steel commode custom fabricated in-house for a retiring master plumber. Nice paperweight, if nothing else. In another instance, I took the nameplate from a boiler being decommissioned and after it was signed on the backside by all of his co-workers I presented it to the retiring mechanic, who had been servicing boilers since his youthful days in the navy. Hopefully it found a spot on the wall in his fishing shanty.
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Old 06-01-2014, 04:53 PM   #34
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As a public employee I did not expect much since it would not ethical to use public funds for gifts. But, when I got an T-Shirt two sizes two large and with an obsolete school motto on it, I must admit I was more than a bit disappointed. A $5 Starbucks card would have been better.

Thankfully, I got many nice comments from students and former students before I left. Given that it was middle school, that is a big deal!
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Old 06-01-2014, 04:53 PM   #35
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I got a 60GB Ipod, went on Craigslist the next day.
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Old 06-01-2014, 05:02 PM   #36
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The best sendoff gifts seem to be cash or experiences. Not more stuff. We don't need more stuff.
Ain't it the truth, especially cheap, worthless, logo emblazoned crap. Makes for good target practice though
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Old 06-01-2014, 08:19 PM   #37
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This was not for retirement, but when I had worked 30 years for the federal government, they gave me a small round pin that said 30 on it. There was a hole in the pin that was not supposed to be there. I could not believe that they would give any one who had worked for 30 years a defective pin.
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Old 06-01-2014, 08:31 PM   #38
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What I don't understand is that all the people in charge of giving these gifts know well enough that they are lame-o and would not want to be given them. So how do these things happen?

Some of you must have been in charge of the gift giving. So what gives?
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Old 06-01-2014, 08:38 PM   #39
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We used to get a catalogue at our anniversary where we could order mostly useless items for probably a $100 or less. At my 5 and 10 year I just gave it to our aa to order whatever she wanted. Somewhere along the way they did away with that and last year I had my 20th anniversary and received a piece of paper (no frame) in recognition of my time which I promptly recycled.
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Old 06-01-2014, 08:50 PM   #40
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What I don't understand is that all the people in charge of giving these gifts know well enough that they are lame-o and would not want to be given them. So how do these things happen?

Some of you must have been in charge of the gift giving. So what gives?
When I was at a small company, I worked closely with the lady that picked gifts. She tended to put a lot of effort into picking these gifts that were consistently crappy. I suggested she stop getting what she thought was proper gifts befitting gentlemen of our standing, and instead get stuff that we would actually use.

Her little heart was crushed, but we got decent gifts after that.
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