I don’t know what it’s like at your office, but at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Valentine’s Day is a big deal. Staffers frequently beat suitors off with a stick and on February 14, the deliveries of candy, chocolates, flower arrangements, and edible undies do not stop. So when workers were notified just days before the big day that moving forward, such shipments were banned, there was no way they were going to take the news lying down.
In what even the regulator’s management acknowledged might be seen as a heartless move, SEC workers were notified earlier this week that the agency was prohibited by law from using government resources for personal reasons — and that included accepting and delivering flowers to employees’ offices. The ban didn’t sit well with SEC union chief Greg Gilman who quickly fired off an e-mail to his troops telling them he had demanded the SEC provide “the legal basis for the assertion.” Pizza is routinely delivered to SEC offices, Gilman noted, so why not flowers?
Before the dustup could devolve into a hard-hearted legal battle, Gilman offered up his own bouquet to management, proposing that union volunteers sit at tables in office lobbies to accept flower deliveries. “This seems to us a sensible resolution, and more in keeping with the spirit of Valentine’s Day,” he wrote. Red-faced, SEC management backtracked on Feb. 12, offering a “clarification” that deliveries could be received and employees would be called down to pick up their flowers.
Let this be a lesson.