What to do when your top two bracket winners haven't paid
April 5, 2016 9:55 AM   Subscribe

I guess this is why they say don't gamble at work, but in the work pool the top two bracket positions are occupied by two people who haven't paid and ignored messages to pay, though not directed at them specifically.

I haven't sent them anything individually, but I had posted notes on the bracket manager that everyone needs to pay. I'd set a deadline on Mar. 22nd, but haven't even heard from them about the bracket or their contribution. What should the move here be?
posted by Carillon to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (20 answers total)
DQ them, move onto 3rd place winner
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:56 AM on April 5, 2016 [7 favorites]

Should have added, I'm the third place winner. Were that not the case it'd be my immediate move.
posted by Carillon at 9:57 AM on April 5, 2016

Sorry, but their brackets don't count. Split the money you have among the next winners. If they had lost, you know they wouldn't be paying you...
posted by hydra77 at 9:57 AM on April 5, 2016 [11 favorites]

Have the other players take a vote. (They will vote to disqualify.)
posted by michaelh at 9:58 AM on April 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

With your update, it's still legit. Did the non-payers give you ANY indication that they would pay? Radio silence means they didn't care enough. If you feel guilty, poll the rest of the participants.
posted by hydra77 at 9:59 AM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

...and in the future: No pay, no play.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:00 AM on April 5, 2016 [10 favorites]

In my office the bracket manager goes around and does individual asks as soon as it's clear that there are a few specific people who haven't paid. Assuming this is not a high-stakes pool where you're asking for thousands of dollars or something, it shouldn't be any big thing to just say, "Hey, Phil, could I get that $10 for your March Madness bracket?"

Also, the person at my office who manages this is the lowest ranking PA, and he has to go around and ask people like the company CEO for the money. It's sort of embarrassing but it's gotta be done.
posted by Sara C. at 10:04 AM on April 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

They're out. If you feel awkward about it because you're third, you can give fourth and fifth more, but it isn't necessary and I wouldn't look askance if I were in your bracket.
posted by jeather at 10:05 AM on April 5, 2016

Another option, if you are feeling nice (or need to avoid offending these two for work-politics reasons), would be to send their winnings net of the buy-in along with a snarky note that they should be glad they got anything at all, the damn freeloaders.

Then next year either decline to run the pool at all or email a full week in advance that NO BUYIN = NO BRACKET; NO EXCEPTIONS, then stick to it. Unfortunately there is always one who is going to whine and complain and not pay on time. Sorry you got two. Sigh.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 10:11 AM on April 5, 2016 [12 favorites]

I'd go with Joey's recommendation. Keep it quite and just pay out minus the buy in amount.

Everyone has to work with these people all year long and the potential for sour grapes complications could be awful and overwhelm any possible monetary or social justice benefit for others.

Next time around be strict.
posted by srboisvert at 10:15 AM on April 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

Yeah, I'd deduct their buy-in from their winnings.

In my bracket, you have until the end of the first round to pay and if you don't, you're out.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 10:19 AM on April 5, 2016 [6 favorites]

Just deduct the entry fee from their winnings. You really can't assume that they wouldn't have paid up if they didn't finish in the money. They may be assuming you'll just deduct it from their winnings.
posted by COD at 10:33 AM on April 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

I would deduct the buy in from their winnings.

For whatever the next pool is I would make a rule that anyone who hasn't paid by X date will have their entry nullified.
posted by CoffeeHikeNapWine at 10:40 AM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

That you're the 3rd place winner (well, the 1st place VALID winner) doesn't change what the right thing to do is, just how you have to do it.

You have a vested interest so you need to recuse yourself and either have everyone else vote or just appoint someone else to run the remainder of the contest and then lay out your case for why you should win to them as if you were never in charge.

You're all adults, the information was available to them and they had every opportunity to follow them and chose not to.

This is one of the reasons a lot of companies just don't allow gambling at work.
posted by VTX at 10:53 AM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am guessing they may not have paid because it seems silly to hand over $10 only to get $90 back (or whatever the case may be). I did a small bracket with friends, and basically the way we handled it was for losers to pay winners after the fact rather than one person to collect all the entry fees and then distribute. So if the rules were not clear, I think there could be legitimate confusion here. I would just forward them their winnings minus whatever they owe for entry fee. If you want to run something like this in the future, I would make a clear rule one way or another about when money is due -- for larger pools, it seems to make the most sense to just say that if your money is not in before games begin, you are out of the pool and not participating.
posted by rainbowbrite at 11:23 AM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nope, no mercy for freeloaders. Having been in exactly this situation, when the two deadbeats didn't finish in the money, it took months of cajoling and public shaming to get them to pay up, which was uncomfortable for me, the actual winner, and presumably everyone within earshot of the deadbeats. Your two winners think they found a soft touch, so they could privatize the reward and publicize the risk. Money goes to third and fourth place, with a prominent email explaining why. (If you want to legitimize it, hold a vote. N-2 people will vote for what I just proposed, with the two obvious exceptions)
posted by Mayor West at 1:00 PM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Is the idea that you want them to give you money so that you can hand it right back to them? It's reasonable that they might be confused about this.
posted by andoatnp at 3:00 PM on April 5, 2016

The time to disqualify (or threaten to disqualify) them was March 22nd, via some sort of personal communication. And there's no point in making them pay in now; such ceremony will be lost.

If this was a friendly thing where nearly everyone in the office participated/was encouraged to participate, then I would pay out to them, minus their buy in, and recommend a hard limit next time around.
posted by mountmccabe at 4:36 PM on April 5, 2016

You really can't be lax at all where this sort of thing happens at work. Even among friends, things can go so wrong where there is money involved
posted by Samarium at 4:39 PM on April 5, 2016

What are the odds that these folks have been following the brackets, know they've won, and will be expecting to get paid? How public is their 'win'? What kind of abilities do you have to manage the bracket (I'm assuming this is online)?

Were it me, and I had this kind of control over the bracket system, I would simply remove their entries. If they question it, respond with "oh, Dave, I'm sorry! You never paid the entry fee; I sent a couple reminders and you never answered, so I assumed you weren't interested in participating anymore and pulled you out of the bracket. Let me know if you want in for [next year | fantasy baseball | snowfall total pool] and I'll make sure you're in the loop!"

And nthing "you don't get to submit your bracket until I have your entry fee".
posted by SquidLips at 8:10 PM on April 5, 2016

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