Jen on the Edge - Annie OakleyBack in early December, my friend Jenn (and by the way, I have something like 15 or 20 friends named some variation of Jennifer, Jen, Jenn, Jenny, etc. and keeping us all straight requires a flowchart) texted me a photo of her Christmas gift from her company. EVERYONE in her office got the item in question.

I’m not going to say quite yet what it was, but I will say that my response was “That is FREAKING awesome.” If I was willing to use so many capital letters in a text, then you know it’s good.

She responded: “Better watch out, one day you’ll open your mailbox and this little gem will be waiting!”

Me: “I will wear it and totally blog about it.”

The next day — and I do mean the very. next. day. — the Fed Ex guy showed up on my front porch with a package from Jenny from the Left Coast (that’s one of my nicknames for her). She had gifted me her fanfreakingtastic employee holiday gift. The generosity, it brings a tear to my eye.

The item in question is wearable, but I needed to do a little shopping and some assembly before I could wear it. With Christmas upon us, the project got back-burnered until after the holidays were packed away.

Finally, however, the stars aligned and I found what I needed and then after some trial and error, I was able to do the handiwork involved. This is the result:

No, no, no. I didn’t dare pair a Liberty of London shirt with my new cowgirl belt buckle. Oh no, my friends, I went preppier: It’s Lands’ End.

Yippee ki yay, motherfucker.

My first task was to figure out how to wear this thing, which, incidentally, weighs around 14 pounds. Okay, not really, but you’d better believe I’ll shed that thing like a snakeskin if I happen to be getting weighed for any reason.

I was going to go to our local cowboy boot store — which is named, so help me, Boot’vil — to see if they had belts, but I ended up stumbling across the blue faux snakeskin one at a local thrift shop and plunked down a whopping $3 for it. It’s actually a darker blue than what is shown in the photo — more of a cobalt blue — which is perfect since that happens to be my exact favorite color. It’s not exactly the right belt to go with such an amazing buckle, so I might still mosey on up to Boot’vil to see what they have in stock. Might also try on some cowgirl boots too. (Dana, if I go, are you my wingman?)

The next trick was attaching the stretch of ersatz leather to that brass beauty. Many methods were pondered and many were rejected. Ultimately, I went with the highly complicated but totally recommended route of slamming three staples into the thing and then coloring over them with blue Sharpie. Class, I gots it.

So there you have it. My new belt buckle. Do I not have the best friends ever?

Now, let’s shift gears and think about this gift that was given to Jenn and her colleagues by the muckety-mucks at her company. What kind of corporate culture exists wherein the giving of big brass belt buckles is considered normal? And it was a custom order, which means that there are dozens or maybe even hundreds of these things gracing waistbands all over California. (Because I am assuming that everyone else is wearing theirs with pride and that my dear friend Jenn gave hers up out of the goodness of her heart.)

Okay, well ranch hands in Oklahoma. No question about that.

And oil workers in Texas, for sure.

But where else?

But a construction company based in California? Mmmmm…. No, that doesn’t really seem like a big honkin’ brass belt buckle kind of situation, does it? Or maybe it does. My experience with California is admittedly limited, so perhaps I’m not savvy about their ways out there.

No matter, that baby is all mine now.

I’m curious: What’s the best or worst gift you’ve ever gotten from an employer?


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21 Responses to Buckled

  1. Jana says:

    I have 11 of these suckas….do you want them?

  2. Smalltown Me says:

    There are a lot of areas in CA where big buckles are de rigeur.

  3. Andrea says:

    The best gift I ever got from an employer was an expensive bottle of champagne when I left the job to pursue my PhD. He gave explicit instructions to save it for when I graduated. Six and a half years later, Jim and I popped that baby open and it was fabulous.

  4. Yee haw!
    LOVE it!
    Fun fact: my karate partner wears a belt buckle with a confederate flag on it. I love the kid, but on so many levels we are the strangest match-up in history.
    Worse employee gift ever? Certainly the bronze 6-inch long ruler that told me “teachers measure up” when I was at good ol’ KHS.

    • Jen says:

      Jana, do you by any chance work with Jenn? If so, then we need to talk about your buckle collection. There MUST be something amazing you can do with them. And I don’t mean using them as poker funds at Gilley’s.

  5. Lisa says:

    BEST gift ever….two weeks before Christmas a month’s salary…oh yes. It was great.
    Never a belt buckle.

  6. Jenn3128 says:

    FANFREAKINGTASTIC! I think the snakeskin is definitely the way to go, and the staples, boy howdy, them there complete that look!

    While I appreciate the fact that the company wants to give us a gift at Xmas, the belt buckle has got to go. We are in the heart of Silicon Valley, it couldn’t possibly get any preppier out here, belt buckles, just don’t fit. (Did a quick search, another employee is attempting to sell theirs on Ebay for $65)!

    Jenny from the Left Coast (Love my rad hipster nickname…it inspires me to end with this)….

    (throws up hands with peace sign fingers)

  7. Becky says:

    Bootville is overpriced. And I’m always underwhelmed by their selection. You’d be better off shopping online.

  8. jen_alluisi says:

    Wow. If my boss gave me that…I just don’t even know what I’d say. I’d probably ask her if she was feeling okay, because we’re a tiny company and I’m comfy enough with her after 8 years to question her mental health! :) I can’t think of a “worst” gift from an employer. Probably “big fat nothing” which is what I got from most employers before I got to where I am now. Best gift would be the lovely, lovely bonus check I get every year right before Christmas. My boss spoils us in many other ways throughout the year, but nothing really beats cold, hard cash, does it? :)

    Now, best gift from a client is undoubtedly the absolutely gorgeous dressy sari that one of my Indian clients brought me at a conference once. I wore it to the gala dinner at that conference (it was an international event, so no one really thought that was weird), and she was so proud – it fit PERFECTLY. I’ve never worn it since (because really, how often does a white girl in Virginia get an opportunity to wear a sari?), but it stays neatly folded in my closet, just waiting for an occasion…

  9. I will absolutely accompany you to Boot’vil! Thinking a lunchtime shopping adventure is in order!

  10. Patience says:

    I’ll take my PTO cashout, thankyouverymuch. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for an employer that handed out actual gifts for Christmas. Where I work now, they sometimes give us these proshop tokens, as little prizes for a job well done, but I have no desire to shop at the proshop and I mostly just throw them away.

  11. One year I got a dollar coin to “represent” a $1000 bonus I could earn if I performed as expected in the next quarter. (I did not perform as expected; so when they fired me I handed them their dang dollar back.) This same employer sometimes handed out $500 bonuses in good years; a welcome solution to the problem of too much income for a non-profit.

    But that’s okay because I can claim that I am actually related to Annie Oakley. It’s a stretch; but my grandmother’s uncle (maybe great uncle? I forget) married Annie Oakley’s mother and became her stepfather. Who needs a job with fame like that?

  12. Worst employer gift – a ham. I do not eat pork.

    Best gift? A big fat bonus check.

  13. Michele P says:

    Love it Jen!!

    Best gift? A hammock with our logo embroidered on the pillow. That thing rocked!! Or maybe a Mont Blanc pen from the same fab boss.

    But the most adorably thoughtful one was a pink diet coke baseball cap. I gross everyone out by drinking dc first thing in the morning. :-) I wear that hat proudly even though I’m absolutely not a pinkish kind of person.

  14. historygirl says:

    One year at the staff holiday breakfast….which was potluck….the former superintendent gave the entire staff—over 100 of us—a tin of cookies. There were 45 cookies in the tin…for over 100 teachers and support staff. And he presented it to us with much fanfare. You could hear crickets in the room when he was done extolling the virtues of the amazing cookie tin he picked up at the local Sam’s Club. :)

    And that’s the only holiday gift we’ve ever gotten from our administration. :)

  15. I have a Lenox jar with my former company’s name on it. In the back of my closet. The very back.

  16. Kim Kasch says:

    Love the blue faux snake skin

  17. Jenny says:

    Best gift – cash. Always appropriate, nice color, good fit (although could be larger).
    Worst gift – plaques. One more thing which does nothing and takes up space. Pffft, don’t waste my time.

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