'Tis the season for gift baskets from vendors. They're everywhere and they are designed to make us plump little IT people. This does NOT mean they're not appreciated!
It seems to me that while these gestures of appreciation flow graciously in the direction of customers, potential customers, employees, and management, they are often used as a manner of sucking up. In fact, it seems they are almost exclusively that, though the intent is truly a gesture of kindness, a reminder that the sender is thinking fondly of the receiver.
The employees are the only one's potentially honoured without the idea of sucking up, though the demands on them may seem enhanced post-gift. This is truly an honour.
The one thing I've witnessed this year is the shameless and unprofessional act of calling up a vendor and asking where their basket was. It was a truly horrid to see this, though the benefits of this morning's basket were highly favourable. No, I did NOT make the call.
Begging, for anything, is unprofessional. Whether it's your job at the point of termination, your Christmas basket, your seasonal bonus, or an hour off when it's required.