No Way Coworker’s White Elephant Gift Under $10 Spending Limit

RIVER NORTH — During their company’s annual holiday party, employees of Franklin & Associates, an accounting firm founded in 1974 during the Accounting Craze of 73-74, were quick to notice that Derek Cermac, 25, a junior data analyst’s White Elephant gift was well above the ten dollar spending limit. The gift, an Oster brand electric wine opener, set off a wave of reactions throughout the office party, ranging from “boiling rage” to “so mad your stomach hurts and your vision gets blurry.”

Coworkers participating in the White Elephant—a classic holiday party game where gifts are exchanged via an incredibly frustrating “steal an open gift or take a chance with a wrapped gift” game mechanic—immediately became suspicious and enraged at Cermac’s gift when it was opened early in the game by Darius Cooper, 56, a CPA at Franklin & Associates. Coworkers noted several clues that the gift had been purchased for more than $10 including its brand, the fact that it came with two name-brand batteries, and a general perception that “wine stuff is fancy.”

“The moment the wrapping paper came off it, my heart started to pound and my jaw clenched,” said Zach Yin, 33, a risk assessment manager, “An electric wine opener? For $10? It just makes you want to put your fist through a wall to think someone would try to pull that shit. We live in a society held together by rules and frankly if you break a rule like a $10 spending limit you should be flayed and fed to ants. Any kind of ants, really.”

Coworkers quickly disguised their seething rage as Cooper showed his gift to the gathered employees, reportedly saying banal congratulatory phrases like “Oh, cool!” and “Are you going to keep that on your desk?” to hide the truth that half of them had gone blind with anger and were just hearing a low buzzing in their ears that drowned out all other noise. It was soon discovered the offending gift was from Cermac.

“That motherfucker was just standing there, grinning like an idiot turd. He immediately nudged me and was like,” said Wendy Robeson, 28, an actuary, before adopting a “dumb guy voice” so thick she drooled on her shirt, “‘That one’s from meeeeee, Mr. Cooper! I’m either a lying piece of shit or an adult man who can’t count to ten!’ like we didn’t all immediately know it was over $10, the fancy prick. Does he think rules don’t apply to him? That he’s special somehow?”

“I should have done what the shrieking, animalistic voice in my head was telling me to do and jumped on him and sunk my teeth into his neck,” she continued, wiping the drool from her shirt.”

“I didn’t want to make a big deal of it ‘cause Derek’s my boy,” said Steve Levison, 24, a junior data analyst and admitted friend of Cermac’s, “but there’s no way that gift was $10. I spent a lot of time watching The Price is Right when I was in the hospital having my legs surgically reattached last Summer. An electric corkscrew like that had to be like $16.99, but I didn’t say anything. I just immediately got so pissed off I blacked out. I woke up standing in the elevator, holding part of a faucet from the bathroom and gripping it so hard my hand’s still in kind of a ‘claw’ shape.”

The corkscrew remained in the possession of Darius Cooper for the remainer of the game, and the mood of the party improved as coworkers bonded over detailed descriptions of how they’d like to torture, maim, and/or murder Cermac. Most agreed it was a “Pretty good holiday party” and “HR should be stricter on the rules for the White Elephant next year and enforce a death penalty for those who betray said rules.”

“Oh, I got that corkscrew thing as a gift last year. Yeah, my parents got it for me for some reason, but I don’t really ‘get’ wine, so I thought I’d do a little ‘re-gifting,’” admitted Cermac, the little fucking shit. This Chicago Genius Herald reporter slapped him right across the face, and full disclosure, I could have done more, but I was restrained by security.

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