16 Most Terrible Holiday “Bonuses” Ever Received

Prepare to be amazed and perhaps a bit dismayed as we delve into 16 Cheap and Terrible Holiday ‘Bonuses’ that people received. From lackluster gifts to underwhelming perks, these supposed rewards for company  loyalty may leave you scratching your head. Join us as we uncover some of the most disappointing holiday bonuses offered by companies.

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#1 Starbucks Sip of Irony

Starbucks Signboard
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“Our boss sent out a $10 Starbucks gift card the day he laid off 10% of our staff. ‘It’s not a layoff, it’s a coffee break’ is now a banned phrase on chat.”

Receiving a $10 Starbucks gift card on the same day as layoffs feels tone-deaf and insensitive. It highlights a lack of empathy and understanding from upper management during a difficult time for employees. Such actions can erode trust and morale within the workplace.

#2 Cheesecake from Costco

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“I used to work at the Cheesecake Factory, and one year they gave everyone a cheesecake. From Costco.”

A supposed sweet treat turned sour when employees of the Cheesecake Factory received a holiday cheesecake—only to discover it was from Costco. Maybe the company couldn’t afford their own products or they didn’t like the taste; the irony left many chuckling at the unexpected twist.

#3 The Gift of Nothing

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“We got told we were getting nothing. And the management excuse was, ‘Well, not everyone celebrates Christmas, so it wouldn’t be fair.'”

Some users found themselves on the naughty list when management declared a holiday bonus of nothing, citing fairness to those who don’t celebrate Christmas. The gift of nothing, it seems, is a universal language understood by all, regardless of holiday traditions. Most people agreed that the company should also get zero work and productivity in return.

#4 Party Fees and Fiscal Festivities

Portrait of businessman in party cone eating birthday cupcake
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“We get a mandatory work party which will cost each of us 25 dollars.”

In a plot twist that could rival a holiday movie, employees were blessed with a mandatory work party that comes with a price tag of $25 per person. A not-so-festive financial obligation for a celebration that leaves many users questioning the true meaning of holiday cheer.

#5 Card Conundrum

Close-Up Shot of a Person Holding a Christmas Card
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“I was handed a stack of holiday cards and told to sign all of them. Once I was done, I was told I was the last one to sign, so I could choose mine… really felt the thoughtfulness of 20 people rapidly signing cards.”

In a tale of holiday card woes, one user experienced the unique joy of signing a stack of cards only to realize this was the holiday gift that they were getting. The gesture, or lack thereof, served as a poignant reminder that not all holiday bonuses come from the heart.

#6 The Spammy Gift Card

Displeased african american woman using air conditioner remote sitting with her laptop.
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“Got a gift card in an email. Turned out it was IT testing our spam detection knowledge… so nothing.”

Some users found themselves caught in the web of lies; discovering it was a cruel test by the IT department. A gift that was almost, but not quite—bringing new meaning to the phrase “holiday surprise.”

#7 Ham for All

Delicious jamon with grapes served on table
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“One year, work bought everyone a ham. Didn’t matter if you couldn’t eat ham. They were delivered to your desk mid-day. There was not enough room in our fridge to store them all. It was weird. Every year prior to that, we got cash.”

#8 Uncooked Turkey Reward

Photo of disgusted guy hold plate baked turkey wear specs suspenders shirt isolated yellow color background.
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“I used to work at a retail store that gave everyone who worked on Black Friday a free, uncooked Thanksgiving turkey.”

Black Friday warriors at a retail store found themselves rewarded not with cash or a day off, but with uncooked Thanksgiving turkeys. A turkey in hand, perhaps not as valuable as two in the bush, left many users scratching their heads at the unconventional holiday offering.

#9 Green Gift with a Catch

Succulent plants
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“I got a house plant. Correction, I got seeds and a planter so I can grow my own plant.”

In a twist on the traditional gift, one user received the promise of greenery—a house plant. However, the holiday cheer was dampened as they discovered it came in the form of seeds and a planter, adding a layer of DIY to their festive celebrations.

#10 A Dance of Generosity

Man looking distressed, with his arms crossed. Upset / sad.
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“A donation has been made in your name to the New York City Ballet.”

In an unexpected turn of events, a holiday bonus took the form of a charitable donation to the New York City Ballet. While supporting the arts is commendable, many would’ve preferred a more personal form of appreciation for a year of hard work.

#11 Dress Code Dilemma

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“My boyfriend got a $50 gift card to his company store to buy a required uniform.”

In a twist that borders on irony, one user’s boyfriend received a $50 gift card to his company store—specifically designated for purchasing a required uniform. It seems the holiday spirit was not exempt from the rigid rules of workplace attire.

#12 Rainy Day Gifts

Young woman in medical mask holding card with coronavirus
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“A workplace branded umbrella and a ‘covid kit’ consisting of sketchy hand sanitizer, some masks, and a COVID test.”

Some users found themselves prepared for both rainy days and pandemic woes with a workplace-branded umbrella and a “COVID kit.” While the sentiment of staying safe is appreciated, most would’ve preferred cash to buy their own gifts.

#13 Sweet (Not So) Sixteen

round ball truffle set of black chocolate cocoa raspberry
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“Company sent one box of candy/snacks for our 14-person team.”

In a tale of shared treats, a company decided to spread holiday cheer by sending one box of candy and snacks to a 14-person team. The generosity seemed to be in short supply, leaving many users wondering if there was a hidden camera capturing their reactions to the meager offering.

#14 Surprise Layoff

Cropped shot of young manager with box of personal stuff outside. Fired from job.
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“I got laid off.”

For some unfortunate individuals, the holiday “bonus” took a dark turn with surprise layoffs. The shock and disappointment of losing one’s job during the festive season added a bitter twist to the holiday experience.

#15 Balancing Act at Tesla

Cropped image of female holding milkshake with chocolate shaving and pistachio nuts, sweet straws, currants, walnuts and mint
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“I don’t work there anymore, but they gave us a cup of hot chocolate at Tesla last year.”

For a company run by the world’s richest man, a cup of hot chocolate as the chosen holiday bonus certainly left employees with a bitter taste in their mouth. Most expected better from a company known for innovation and a soaring stock price.

#16 Broken Checkout Link

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“My wife got a flyer with a QR code so she can pick her own gift from a list of five company-branded items (sweatshirt, speaker, water bottle, etc.). Only the checkout link was broken, so she couldn’t actually order anything.”

The holiday joy turned into a technological headache as the checkout link turned out to be as broken as an ornament dropped from the top of the tree. The frustration of not being able to place orders left employees with festive disappointment, turning their anticipated gifts into virtual wishes that Santa’s IT elves could fix the glitch.

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