McColleague and I are playing a game.
It is called "Avoid the Collection".
This is where we try to avoid, for as long as humanly possible, having to contribute to the leaving present fund for a colleague.
(I should mention that our contribution will in no way effect what gift is selected. One of our team has a jewellery shop, which tends to be where all staff presents come from. The silver snuff box/frame/letter-opener will already be in the bag.)
We upped the stakes a bit by having both already signed the leaving card, thereby committing ourselves to being asked for cash for the present. (This is one of those universal workplace laws.) As the week wore on we put a lot of effort into hanging on to our cash, to see how long we could get away with it. This is how new sports are invented.
McColleague's technique was to combine the laying low, Flying Under the Radar approach with timely deployment of the Body Swerve, when certain members of staff headed her way.
I, on the other hand, went for the tactical brilliance of the Sodding Off to Norfolk for the Rest of the Week approach.
Neither of us reckoned with receiving identical texts this morning, informing us that if we want to give anything for the leaving present we're to leave it with the Estate Secretary. Call me Mrs Sensitive, but I see that as a thinly veiled "Give us the money. Now."
Damn. Game over.