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I just started a new job and asked my boss to order me a USB hub about a week ago (they will order stuff you need for work). A couple days later I discovered that the monitors have built in USB plugs. I started using those and then felt like I no longer needed a USB hub.

The USB hub came in the mail today, and I told my boss I realized I didn't need it. He said, "Ok, just make sure you need it before having me buy something". I apologized but I feel really bad now. I was thinking of making it up to him by buying him a small gift.

I don't know if that would be an overreaction or not. But I know how bad it feels sometimes when I feel like I get taken advantage of (maybe what he is feeling) and it might be good to make up for it.

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    Just to clarify, did the money come out of the boss's own pocket, and just how fancy an USB hub are we talking about? – Haem Mar 29 '19 at 10:40
  • @JoeStrazzere It was a cheap $9 one on Amazon. I think it would be more of a hassle then its worth for them. They will just give it to the next person who needs it. – SlowMation Mar 30 '19 at 1:42
  • @Haem It did not come out of the boss's own pocket. Company money. But it is a small startup company (approximately 15 people). – SlowMation Mar 30 '19 at 1:44
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    Its a 9 dollar hub. Its not a big deal. Just think before buying next time (Amusingly enough, I probably expensed the same model today) – Gabe Sechan Mar 30 '19 at 9:34
  • Also, USB ports on monitors don't always work. For example, I bought my hub this week because the ports on my monitor didn't worth with android phone debugging. – Gabe Sechan Mar 30 '19 at 9:38
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He said, "Ok, just make sure you need it before having me buy something". I apologized but I feel really bad now. I was thinking of making it up to him by buying him a small gift.

I say that giving your boss a gift is unnecessary. The mistake was already done, and giving your boss a gift will not change what happened.

Your boss already "forgave you" for this small mistake, and kindly asked you to be more careful next time.

The best way you can thank your boss is to heed their words and double-check next time you ask for something that you actually need it, so this does not happen again.

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    +1 though for some reason I can't quite put a finger on, I'm under the impression that OP's boss actually gave OP a very diplomatic version of: It's ok this time because it was chump change, but please don't have me waste my budget again in the future. So really make sure it doesn't happen again, or at least not the next few times. – Denis de Bernardy Mar 29 '19 at 0:02
  • Maybe here's why: "I started using those and then felt like I no longer needed a USB hub." [...] "The USB hub came in the mail today, and I told my boss I realized I didn't need it." OP should have raised this on the spot. – Denis de Bernardy Mar 29 '19 at 0:09
  • @DenisdeBernardy I did tell him that I realized the monitors have USB ports. – SlowMation Mar 29 '19 at 0:27
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    @SlowMation: Oh, ok. Nevermind, then. The question made it sound like you said that only when the hub arrived. – Denis de Bernardy Mar 29 '19 at 6:00
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    Buying the gift may actually cause problems- he bought something with the company's money, then bought his manager something in return? Nothing shady here, but could definitely look like that if it was a big dollar item. Given that its only 9 dollars, an "oops sorry" is sufficient. – Gabe Sechan Mar 30 '19 at 9:37
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It was an honest mistake. Why would he feel like you were taking advantage of him?

Buying your manager a gift in this situation would be abnormal, odd, and unnecessary.

Chalk this up as a mistake, which is what it was, and move on.

Additionally, why doesn't your manager just return it?

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Things to consider:

  1. If you need one USB port today, you will need two tomorrow and three next week. Keep the hub.

  2. Given the choice of plugging my USB device into a $30 hub designed for this, or a $200 monitor where it is just an afterthought, I'll plug it into the hub.

  3. Most important, the small cost of the hub didn't come out of your manager's pocket. It came out of some budget. And the money isn't lost, there's still a hub there. Worst case, someone needs a hub in a month, and gets yours.

  4. My manager would be totally confused and worry about my mental health if I bought him a small gift.

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As others have said, it was a small mistake, and the best thing you can do is to ensure it does not happen again.

As you're new to the job I understand wanting to make a good impression and ensure you and your manager get along. It doesn't seem like he was hurt by the honest mistake, especially enough to give him a gift.

Instead, why not bring him coffee to work one morning, or if it is sold on site then offer to buy him one/grab one there. It's something done within my company if anyone has helped you out/gone above what was needed etc.

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  • Here we but chocolate for the team as punishment and as courtesy. Everyone likes it, the financial value is low, it's team building, creates an identity. – Spidey Mar 31 '19 at 13:37
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Yes - chalk it up as a (small) mistake as per the other answers, BUT consider the following:

That if you have to plug and remove many usb items, then the monitor ports may get damaged (especially if needed for upgrades etc) and using your hub can be the cheapest solution.

Also, access to the hub can be easier than trying to get to the monitor ports...

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