Friday, July 5, 2013

Light Fingered Sister-In-Law Keeps Borrowing Trouble

Dear Readers:

In honor of my 10th birthday this week (6/26) I am taking a week-long vacation! For your entertainment, I am re-posting some classic columns that you may have missed the first time!


Dear Tazi-Kat:

My sister-in-law has a very bad habit of never returning the things she borrows - specifically, my designer clothes. What is worse, since I stopped loaning items to her (after her failure to return too many of my things) she has taken it upon herself to "borrow without permission" that which she likes. I recently caught her wearing my Hugo Boss leather jacket that I have been searching for since last season! When I confronted her about it, she admitted to taking it since it "went perfectly with the outfit she was wearing" the last time she stopped by to visit her brother (my husband) and she had forgotten to bring a jacket of her own. When I demanded it back, she refused, saying it was chilly out and she did not want to be cold!

Short of filing a police report against her (which I would have no problem doing at this point), is there any way I can get my stuff back? My husband refuses to get involved, saying that the issue is between me and his sister. Our marriage is already strained, and his refusal to act is not helping matters any.

Losing Patience Along With My Stuff!

Dear Losing Patience:

Since your marriage is in a rocky state, you really should reconsider filing a police report against your husband's sister. You also might want to remind your husband that your leather jacket went missing on his watch, which puts him directly in the center of the problem; and that unless he is willing to buy you a new designer leather jacket out of his personal spending money it should be up to him to retrieve it from his sister...and you should add that Hugo Boss leather jackets start at upwards of $800, just so he understands that his sister's habit is no petty issue. In fact, many states would consider it to be grand larceny; a crime that could carry a hefty prison sentence. This is one reason why you should hesitate to take police action. Another reason is that it sounds like your sister-in-law needs some professional help to deal with her bad habit of "borrowing without permission".

If, after explaining the entire situation to him, your husband still refuses to assist you in the return of your jacket and other items, you might be able to enlist the assistance of other family members who have lost stuff to your sister-in-law. If however, they too refuse to assist you, you must work up the nerve to confront your sister-in-law on her home turf.

I suggest that you show up at her house at a time that you know she will be home and tell her you want your stuff back - all of it. Come prepared with a detailed list of what is yours, listing the item and a description of it (size, color, etc.) in order to expedite what I am pretty sure will not be a pleasant visit. If she still refuses to return your clothes, you have two choices: you can accept your losses and put locks on your bedroom and closet doors in order to keep your sister-in-law out of them the next time she visits; or you can threaten to get the police involved.

I seriously recommend the less confrontational path of door locks; but in the end the choice is yours - my position is to advise, not to judge. Just remember that if your sister-in-law calls your bluff, whether or not to follow through will be up to you; so you might want to ask yourself if your clothes are worth the destruction of your relationship with your sister-in-law and her family, and quite possibly your "already strained" marriage.

-- Tazi-Kat

P.S. For the sake of all involved, I sincerely hope your husband intervenes!

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