What do I get you?
November 10, 2005 10:35 AM   Subscribe

SayonaraFilter: I've shared an office with a colleague for 3 years and tomorrow is his last day. I would very much like to get him some sort of sincere gift, but he doesn't drink booze or eat chocolate, so that's both my plans nixed already. To make matters worse...

...he really doesn't have any interests - "what did you do at the weekend?" - "nothing." "What are you doing for the holidays?" - "I dunno." Doesn't listen to music, has a girlfriend of 8 years he never talks about, never goes to the movies. We're friends and we respect each other, and 3 years is a long time to share a space with someone, but we don't hang out after work or anything.

So I guess what I'm saying is, what do you buy the man who has nothing...? In 24hrs...?
posted by russmail to Grab Bag (36 answers total)
Other kinds of food? A fruit basket maybe, or a gift certificate to Omaha Steaks, or someplace more local, like a fancy restaurant?
posted by JanetLand at 10:38 AM on November 10, 2005

Something for his office at his next job? Maybe a nice plant, or, if you think he'd appreciate it, something funny like one of the many Dilbert-related toys?
posted by cerebus19 at 10:43 AM on November 10, 2005

A nice card... a gift certificate to Best Buy... where's he going anyway? A new job? Maybe get him a nice pen or a leather portfolio...
posted by peppermint22 at 10:43 AM on November 10, 2005

oh sorry - I should have mentioned: he's Vietnamese and Western humor doesn't really push his buttons. I know this is hard - that's why I have to ask!
posted by russmail at 10:46 AM on November 10, 2005

A nice pen/pencil set.
posted by Sara Anne at 10:49 AM on November 10, 2005

Some good coffee? Does he do that?
posted by ITheCosmos at 11:02 AM on November 10, 2005

A nice magnifying glass, or a carved decorative wooden box.
posted by leapingsheep at 11:02 AM on November 10, 2005

Seriously, what Sara Anne said. For pens, check out this AskMe thread and this one. Some of the manufacturers listed make matching pencils.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 11:05 AM on November 10, 2005

What's his job / field?

A beautiful calendar for next year, or maybe a book of pretty pictures?

Here's something off the wall - a kite! Sounds like this guy could use a little something fun to do with his girlfriend :)
posted by amtho at 11:07 AM on November 10, 2005

second the suggestion of a leather portfolio or desk blotter. If the only thing you know is that his interests include the office (he's worked for three years...) get him something to do with that. Things like a portfolio have a reasonable "good impression per dollar" ratio.

(of course, if he's retiring do ignore me)
posted by patricio at 11:16 AM on November 10, 2005

Maybe he has a really great life but he's just a very private person, or doesn't feel it's culturally appropriate to talk about his life at work.

When all else fails, an Amazon.com gift certificate is a good fallback.
posted by matildaben at 11:31 AM on November 10, 2005

When I left my last job, I bought my co-worker a cool desk clock.
posted by jrossi4r at 11:31 AM on November 10, 2005

More apologies - we work in IT, so I don't think "classic" gifts like portfolios or pens working well. Difficult, huh?
posted by russmail at 11:43 AM on November 10, 2005

Gift Certificate to a Bookstore.
posted by lyam at 11:51 AM on November 10, 2005

Oh come on, even if you're in IT you use pens sometimes. And if it's nice, and if your friendship is meaningful, he will value it.
posted by aubilenon at 11:51 AM on November 10, 2005

Nothing. Seriously. Sounds like you really do not know him at all, that he is very private person and any gift will land like a dud.
posted by Dick Paris at 11:56 AM on November 10, 2005

There are some cool geek widgets at CyberGuys especially in the Desk Toys section.

If it were me, I'd want one of the Twisted Metal warrior figures.

And if you get him a pen, make sure its got a laser pointer built-in.

Though, I kind of actually agree with Dick Paris.
posted by fenriq at 12:01 PM on November 10, 2005

Yes Dick Paris, that is exactly the situation I am in - I don't think that means I should compeltely blow him off though!

[No, he doesn't read books either :-(]
posted by russmail at 12:02 PM on November 10, 2005

If all else fails, why not a simple card? One with a photo or sketch, or maybe a handmade card. The card doesn't have to say anyting in it other than "enjoyed working with you. best of luck" if you don't want to make him feel awkward. Sign your name and say the rest with words as you part.
posted by terrapin at 12:12 PM on November 10, 2005

He has a car, right? So get him something for his car?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 12:16 PM on November 10, 2005

I'd get him a gift card to a general merchandise place--like sears or target.
posted by lester at 12:18 PM on November 10, 2005

Another vote for a gift certificate.
posted by russilwvong at 12:23 PM on November 10, 2005

OK, I just asked someone Vietnamese, and they say, if it was in Vietnam, they wouldn't give gifts. They would take him out to a restaurant and have a nice meal and a few beers. She says, even if he "doesn't drink", he'll drink if you're buying!
posted by AmbroseChapel at 12:25 PM on November 10, 2005

- Nice business card holder. Always useful when meeting new people, which it sounds like he'll be doing.
- Nice travel mug for coffee and the car.
- Nice bag of Vietnamese coffee with a cool mug, if he drinks it.
- Where do you live? Tickets to a museum, new nice laminated map for the city if he's moving elsewhere.
posted by barnone at 12:26 PM on November 10, 2005

posted by Pollomacho at 12:27 PM on November 10, 2005

If you want to provide him with a gift that he might enjoy, but will also remind him of you, what about a copy of your favorite book? Or a book in general? Unless he absolutely hates to read, a classic American novel might be something he'd appreciate.
posted by Atreides at 12:37 PM on November 10, 2005

Why not making something? Just buy the cheapest USB key you can find and fill it with related pictures, video and good luck messages. Personal time is always an appreciated gift, specially in cultural situations.
posted by vieuxmaitres at 12:46 PM on November 10, 2005

He doesn't read?!

Even moderately educated IT folks I know read!

Ah well. I like the restaurant idea. Even if you don't know him and think it might be to forward, take him out to lunch on his last day.
posted by lyam at 12:49 PM on November 10, 2005

I'm voting for amazon gift card as well. There's gotta be something he can want from amazon. And if not? Girlfriend.

If he's private and impersonal then he'd probably like to be treated with some coolness; a gift card is good for giving a gift without being cloying or forcing a level of closeness he's not comfortable with.
posted by birdie birdington at 12:57 PM on November 10, 2005

++porfolio, even for IT. Ever go to a meeting with clients or job interview? Sure you do. Always a useful if perhaps not everyday-so gift for the business set. Laptop bag? Hardback K&R C book? Wireless keyboard? Engraved mug? Some ORA book for a language you guys don't use but might be professionally useful?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:05 PM on November 10, 2005

Yeah - you're right a gift card is a great way to go. I've just never given them before as I've thought them a little impersonal. I guess that's my issue I just have to get over.

I just asked him to lunch and someone had already beaten me to it. And tomorrow... :-(
posted by russmail at 1:07 PM on November 10, 2005

Everybody loves a pirate mug!
posted by coriolisdave at 1:35 PM on November 10, 2005

A firm handshake, and sincere well wishing.

Let's face it, if you buy this man a gift certificate he will never use it.
posted by dgaicun at 1:56 PM on November 10, 2005

A green laser pointer.


Hahaha! Oh, the good old days.
posted by craniac at 2:03 PM on November 10, 2005

Don't get a gift card - take him out to dinner or buy him a nice wallet. Most men have horrible wallets, and everyone likes a good one.
posted by josh at 3:20 PM on November 10, 2005

Tell him that you valued him as a coworker for the last few years and that the office won't be the same. Then give him a big wet sloppy kiss.
posted by angry modem at 5:54 PM on November 10, 2005

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