Borrowing etiquette??

When we had gone camping, Greg's grandma had offered to send along some muffins with us. They came in her old rubbermaid container and we enjoyed them, had washed the container and I had set it on the stove to dry. I was out that evening, and Greg had turned on the stove...you know what happens, the lid of the borrowed rubbermaid gets melted. Big hole in the middle of it.
I knew we couldn't just return her container with a giant hole in it. I also knew that I'd never be able to exactly replace this 20 year old piece of plastic either. I did my best to find one in the store of a similar shape. Along with a hand-made thank you card, I returned her melted container along with the new one. She wasn't home at the time, so I left it on her doorstep. She called me later to assure me she could patch the hole that was made and certainly didn't need a new rubbermaid. I was thinking in my head that she probably didn't need one either, but STILL...you don't give someone back something that you had broken.
But how far do you take this rule....
For example...one time we had borrowed a portable dvd player for a roadtrip. It decided to fritz on us while we were on the road though we definitely hadn't done anything to harm it. I returned it to my friend who assured me that she probably could return it as it was fairly new. It ended up being a big hassle for her and the store took ages and tried replacing it with one that was missing parts and I don't even know how that story ended. I feel bad about it. But do I think I owed her a whole new dvd player when it didn't work right from the moment we borrowed it? Not really. But??
We borrowed a tent last summer from my sister, and it had some snags from the zipper which got worse as we used it. I ended up sewing up the snags (and some that were already there) as best I could and told her what had happened. I thought that was fair...wasn't it?
My husband is VERY reluctant to borrow things. I do see his point in a lot of ways, because if you DO end up completely destroying something, you end up having to buy a whole new one that you don't get to keep! Even if the one that you had borrowed was old and ugly (like the rubbermaid!) But sometimes you just need something right away, or only once and it seems a shame to spend your money when someone has one you can use. Do you think that there are some expectations on you as the "lender"? For instance, if you are willing to lend something out, you should be willing that there will be some wear and tear on your thing? You can always say no, right? For example, because I have three boys, I am usually quite reluctant to lend out my favorites of their clothes because I know I want them to be returned and in good shape for my next son. I will lend out the clothes or toys that I am not as attached to. If I lent out a snowsuit and it came back to me with a patch in the knee, I shouldn't be completely upset, as things DO wear and tear.
Anyway, I'd like to hear your thoughts on this and if you have any "borrowing-horror-stories".

Comments

Bloggy Mama said…
Tough one. I've borrowed maternity clothes and wrecked them. So terrible, and I think the relationship might have been damaged because I never could repair the skirt...
Greg said…
My militant "if you wreck it, you replace it" stance with borrowed stuff brought a big smile to Riley's face when I busted his skateboard earlier this summer. He was sad for like 2 seconds and then pipes up: "Well Dad, now you're gonna have to get me a new one!"
Bri said…
Oh GG. That's precious. Fix the hole.
Yes, if you break it you replace it, regardless. If you borrow it "it" goes back in the same or better condition.
But it does point out the bigger issue, which is if you don't want to run the risk of something being damaged or broken, do not lend it out. It is far too often that people feel like they 'should' lend things out and if something goes wrong it can effect a relationship.
For me the biggest responsibility is for the lender, not the lendee.
(Gets off soap box that she borrowed from Sarah).
Great questions! ! Your Dad tends to feel the same way as Greg - it's just easier NOT to borrow it in the first place - especially electrical things. . . though in his "previous life" (as a pastor) he was known to "lend" things to several people that he really didn't expect to see or hear from again. Lending with an attitude that you're ready to "give" it away is probably the best plan - then if it comes back - it's a bonus! It's tricky when people ask to borrow something from you that you're attached to or know how to work in just the right way to keep it together. Sugar, butter . . . ? well that's totally different! ! BUT please Don't "borrow" my kleenex!
Anna said…
I agree with Bri in that there's responsibility on the lender as well. If I was so concerned about my tents wear and tear then I wouldn't have lent it out (though I DO appreciate you fixing the zipper rips). On small things, like tupperware, I would say that you should replace it. Electrical things are tough cause ya, you never know.
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