To make up for having selfishly left your desk unmanned for a week, it's the usual custom in office jobs to bring back a holiday 'treat' for your beleaguered colleagues.
Usually bought at the airport (well you weren't going to spend your holiday scouring the local markets for just the right gift), chosen in haste from a limited and overpriced selection of garish sweets in novelty boxes, the results can be hit and miss - as the almost untouched box of Turkish delight to my right sadly attests.
Lily kindly brought these back from Turkey, but the contents proved not to be the advertised apple flavour, but mint, resulting in something akin to jellied toothpaste. A few weeks previously, Caroline had also opted for Turkish delight as her gift from Cyprus - very nice it was too, if you like that sort of thing, though never quite what you fancied with your morning cuppa.
Before that, I'd returned from Paris with some almond biscuits, carefully chosen to be as inoffensive as possible. Unfortunately by the time I got them to work they were crushed to smithereens and I had to offer them with an apology.
Our fellow office dwellers are harder to please than most, since they're surrounded every day by delicious creations emerging from the Test Kitchen; the sight of your bashed, oddly flavoured biscuits doesn't rouse much excitement. Sometimes people seek out unusual gifts to prove their foodie credentials, like the 'tamarindos' a former colleague brought back from Mexico. A bit fishy tasting, if you ask me. What was wrong with a box of chocolates?
But then chocolates can be divisive too. Andrea brought a selection of chocs all the way from Oz; the Tim Tams provoked cries of nostalgia from some, while there were mutterings about poor quality Australian chocolate from others. I made the mistake of saying I wasn't very keen on the strawberry flavoured ones. Turns out they were Cherry Ripes, and my comments had caused mortal offence. No more chocolates for me then.
Do you bring back treats for your office? What length of holiday demands a gift? If you're holidaying in the UK, is there any point bringing in a brand of biscuits you can buy at the local Tescos, or fudge that no one really likes? Or is it the thought that counts?