Ask Shawn: Sick of a seller in our veterinary practice


One of our co-workers started a side business selling merchandise. She invited the whole team to her party, and we attended as a friendly gesture. But we felt pressured to buy from her so a few of us placed small orders. Now she's pressuring us to buy more, sending us emails about new products and bringing us catalogs. How do we politely say "No thanks" without making her angry and ruining our work relationship?--Sold out

Dear Sold out:

While we all want to get along with our co-workers and support their endeavors outside of work, it is this scenario that makes it difficult. My suggestion is that you create a no-solicitation policy in your hospital.

In many states, this type of interaction with other employees falls under the category of hassling or a hostile work environment because co-workers feel pressure to conform or contribute. I would sit the team down and explain that you would like to be accommodating, but there are more pitfalls than positives to supporting individual campaigns. So to make it fair you're instituting a no-solicitation policy.

Good luck!


Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, is a member of the Firstline and Veterinary Economics editorial advisory boards and is CEO of McVey Management Solutions in Phoenix. For videos and articles containing more of McVey's tips and tricks on issues relating to veterinary personnel management, conflict, and communication, visit

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