Sense & Sensitivity

Colleague Must Pay His Own Way

DEAR HARRIETTE: When I travel on business, it is often with another colleague. We typically eat our meals together in between meetings, but we have to file separate expense reports. In the interest of time, I often buy my colleague a coffee or other breakfast items. I used to include these things on my expense report, but the accounting office is getting stricter. I told my colleague that now he has to pay for his own coffee and even gave him the receipt for one that I picked up for him. He did not reimburse me. I don’t want to make a big deal out of this, but I also do not intend to pay for his food. How can I get him to understand that he has to cover his own expenses? -- No More Coffee

DEAR NO MORE COFFEE: This one is easy, even if it may feel awkward. Stop buying your colleague coffee, snacks or whatever else you used to purchase. You set the tone for this, by the way, by making these purchases and expensing them yourself. He probably isn’t fully aware of the impact of him not picking up his own tab. Nonetheless, if you stop buying his food items, he won’t have them anymore, and it will be jarring. Tell him that you will pick them up if he gives you the money in advance. Otherwise, he has to make the purchases himself. Company rules.

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