There once was a time when a holiday bonus was a cause for celebration and merriment. The year-end incentive was meant as a reward for an employee’s hard work and almost always meant one thing: more money. Not a potato. But, it appears times are changing, and workers aren’t thrilled.
In a recent viral TikTok that comically concludes with “this is my Charlie Brown villain origin story,” a frustrated hospital employee reveals, “a potato bar is our Christmas bonus,” and to add insult to injury: the hospital potato is taxed. “They said it has a fifteen-dollar value.” And it’s coming out of their next paycheck.
With the tune of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” as the soundtrack, TraceyH (@tracey415) humorously shares the worker’s frustrating plight, which was originally posted to X by AmandaJ (@amandajpanda) and has racked up nearly 1 million views since it was shared to TikTok. The post inspired a raucous response among commenters who rallied against dwindling holiday bonuses, diminished employee compensation, and corporate greed.
One responder notes the tragic irony in a gift she received as condolence from her employer following a family member’s passing, “My grandmother died, my former employer sent a lovely flower arrangement. I was taxed for the flowers.”
Another commenter pointed out that while bonuses are diminishing, executive compensation packages have not, writing, “meanwhile, the CEO’s bonus just bought them yet another vacation home. This really is a dystopian nightmare.”
While a third commenter, an employer, reflected on their own office’s holiday bonuses, saying, “and I paid my employees a bonus equal to a weeks pay…no one told me we could pay in potato,” the playful tête-à-tête ended with TraceyH responding, “Forget you saw this post.”
@traceyh415 #greenscreen #corporate #capitalism #christmas #truestory ♬ Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
Tracey’s video draws attention to the massive gulf between employee and executive compensation packages, with a recent article concluding it would take the typical employee two lifetimes to make their employer’s annual pay.
The New York Times writes that one of the earliest mentions of the holiday cash bonus in corporate America dates back to Woolworths handing over $5 cash to its workers, and an extra $5 for every year that they worked for the company with a maximum of $25 for workers. The outlet stated that the bonuses were predominantly a way for the business to offer competitive wages for its workers, but also as a way for Woolworths to hopefully curb any attempts at workers striking. Plus, as the Times writes, it “was probably also a cheaper way to pay overtime.”
Cash bonuses were once the tradition, one that appears to be falling out of style. However, there are some meaningful alternatives. Instead of cash, there are other effective ways a workplace can show their employees appreciation this holiday season (that don’t involve potatoes).
One commenter, determined to make the best of the situation, regardless, smartly stated, “Id bring tupperware to insure I received $15 in potatoes and toppings.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Amanda B. via X (Twitter) reply for further comment.