Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Family Riffs Start As Tiffs So Mend Them Quick!

Dear Tazi:

I am having an argument with my sister and we would like you to settle it for us. I am the type to buy expensive, quality goods that are meant to last. I see spending a little more on my purchases as an investment because they last longer so, in the long run, I spend less. My sister “Mary-Ann” prefers to buy the cheapest, least expensive brand of something so when it breaks – as it always does – she isn’t out a lot of money and she gets to go shopping again. My style works for me and Mary-Ann’s style works for her; but our personal styles do not work for each other.

Last week, I loaned my sister a pair of Donna Karen sunglasses because we were going out for a family field day at the park and she had forgotten her cheap throwaways. I expected Mary-Ann to respect my property and treat it with care; but she treated my sunglasses with as much care as she treats her own – that being none at all. Before the day was half over, Mary-Ann had broken the earpiece of my sunglasses clean off while playing volleyball; leaving them beyond repair. Although she apologized for wrecking my sunglasses, she did not offer to pay for a replacement pair. Rather, she offered to “replace them” for me.

I took Mary Ann’s offer of a replacement pair of sunglasses to mean a new pair of Donna Karen’s, so you can imagine my surprise and disgust when she presented me with a pair of plastic throwaways she purchased at the local drugstore. When I expressed my displeasure, Mary-Ann told me that Donna Karen sunglasses are a “waste of money” and that the sunglasses she purchased me were perfectly fine.

I believe that since Mary-Ann broke my sunglasses she should be responsible for purchasing me a replacement pair of equal value. Mary-Ann believes that since I loaned her the sunglasses in the first place I accepted the fact that they may have been damaged, and that she was being nice in replacing them at all. Is this the thanks I get for watching out for my sister’s vision? Or am I wrong in thinking I deserve more?


Dear Ginger:

Mary-Ann and Ginger were always two women of different tastes. Mary-Ann with her gingham tops, cut-off jeans, and coconut cream pies was the down-to-earth balance the glamorous Ginger needed. Who wears an evening gown on a three-hour-cruise? Seriously, I am asking because you seem the type who could answer this question for me!

As a fan of designer sunglasses (we felines look fabu in them!) I can understand how upset you are with your sister. However, did you really think that pair of Donna Karen sunglasses was appropriate to wear to a family field day? It’s a castaway in an evening gown all over again! As the lender of this fine eyewear, you should have assessed the risk of damage to them before loaning them to anyone; although as the borrower of these sunglasses, your sister has an obligation to make good on the damage done while she was wearing them.

Doesn't this kitty look fabu?

Unless the sunglasses were brand new, there was probably some amount of wear and tear done to them – regardless of how good the care you gave them – therefore I do not think it fair of you to demand the full retail value of the sunglasses, or the full replacement cost of an equally valued pair. All things depreciate in value and construction, including sunglasses. I do not believe that Mary-Ann did the appropriate thing by purchasing you a pair of throw-away sunglasses from the local drugstore, either. Knowing your tastes, I believe it would have been appropriate for her to offer you a fair amount towards the purchase of a replacement pair of sunglasses. An easy way to resolve this issue is to look for the sunglasses on an online auction site like eBay. The average cost of a pair of Donna Karen sunglasses similar to the ones damaged should be the amount your sister owes you towards a replacement pair. If you would like, Mary-Ann can purchase you a pair of sunglasses used from eBay or she can simply offer you the cash towards a new pair.

Regardless of how you resolve this issue, the lesson to keep in mind is “never a borrower or a lender be” – especially to family. Do you really want an argument over sunglasses to be the breach that cannot be resolved between you and your sister?


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

No comments:

Post a Comment