Double The DVD Players

by admin on February 13, 2013

For Christmas, a few weeks ago, a girlfriend of mine (let us call her D) bought me a new DVD player, as mine, itself once a hand-me-down from another friend, had recently died. Now, D works a fast food job, and so the DVD player she was able to afford was only the very cheapest type, but it was still a considerable outlay for her, and a tremendously kind gesture. I was extremely grateful for both the thoughtfulness of the gift, and her generosity.

Now, another friend of mine – let us call him E – expressed dismay when he heard of this, and admitted he had intended to buy me a replacement DVD player, of far higher quality. I thanked him very much for his kind intention, assured him I was pleased with the one I had, and thought no more of it.

Now, because the DVD player D gave me is a bottom-range one, it skips when it becomes too hot, so badly that it effectively becomes unusable and any visual media I was consuming via it must be abandoned until the player cools down sufficiently to become functional, again. The weather here has been very hot recently, and so this has been something of a problem, but it has begun to move towards a cool change in the last couple of weeks, and so the issue has more or less resolved itself. I mentioned this casually among friends only once it was no longer an issue, not as a complaint but simply, “Oh, the new player is brilliant. It skipped a little when it got too hot, but thankfully that’s not a problem anymore. It’s great to be able to watch movies at home, again!”

However, I saw E last night, for a social call, and he turned up with a brand new, high-quality combined DVD/BluRay player as a gift for me, saying he had decided to get it for me anyway, so that I could have a nicer one than the one D bought me. I was a little taken aback, and did the only thing I could think of to do, as I know of no polite way to decline a present; I thanked him for what was a very generous gesture, and accepted the gift as graciously as my complete bewilderment would allow.

But now I have the problem that E’s generosity and good intentions but etiquette clumsiness (I must stress, power plays are not in him; he has such a good heart, he just misses some social subtleties, sometimes) have put me in an awkward predicament; what on Earth do I do? I now have two DVD players, both well-meant gifts from very kind friends, and only one television – D gave me her gift first, and only weeks ago, at significantly higher proportionate expense (if calculated at income:item cost ratio), but I know if I do not use the much more expensive player that E, in his misguided effusiveness, bought for me, he will be confused and hurt. Both friends are over my house often enough that whichever player I choose to use, moving forward, the other’s absence will not go unnoticed for long.

Help me, E-Hell. You’re my only hope. 0131-13

I think I would invest in an entertainment/TV cabinet with doors and hide both DVD players from eyesight from both E and D.  If they happen to go snooping, they will see two DVD players side by side and will therefore have to presume which one is actually being used.  I think I would also leave recently watched DVDs in each machine thus leaving it ambiguous as to which one is being used.

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

David February 13, 2013 at 4:44 am

What wonderful caring friends you have, OP.

I’m with the Admin on this one – either buy an entertainment unit to house both DVD players or invest in a small tv for your bedroom.

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Marie February 13, 2013 at 5:49 am

Ouch, this is a difficult situation!

I would agree with the Admin: try and make it look like you’re using both. What you can even do is buy a (cheap) tv for another room (bedroom, maybe) and hook the cheaper dvd player up to it. You can then smile and tell everyone you’re happy you can now watch your favorite movies in bed as well on lazy days. If you are ill and bedridden it might even turn out to be a good addition to your bedroom.

However, I can understand if you do not wish to clutter another room with electronics you do not intent to use.

What you can always do, is talk to your second friend, explaining the dilemma. Mention that he is indeed right on the higher quality, but that your other friend make an enormous effort and you would insult her by accepting his gift and put it directly into use. You can agree to keep the dvd player, but wait some time before installing it. After talking it over with your friend and your reasons for doing so, he should understand. When it will be summer again and your current dvd player starts getting overheated again, you can replace it and tell your first friend that sadly, it was malfunctioning, and it needed to be replaced. You are not lying when you do this: as you mentioned the dvd player is not functioning as it is supposed to. Thank her again for her gracious gift and mention how much pleasure you had from it in the past year. She will probably be sad her gift wasn’t as durable as expected, but she will not have the feeling you traded her gift for a more expensive gift.

Etiquette aside: why aren’t you contacting the manufacturer of the dvd player? If it is overheating it’s a faulty product, and you are entitled to get a replacement, or to have it fixed. Overheating can cause fire hazards due to the wires getting extremely hot and melting. I had to point out that admins advise is not taking this into account: putting the dvd player in a confined or closed space will create a more dangerous situation. Please keep it out in the open where at least fresh air can cool it down. If it starts skipping due to overheating: turn it off.
Between disappointing your friend and having a fire in your living room, you can guess what the better option is.

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Lex February 13, 2013 at 6:25 am

As one is a DVD player and the other is a DVD/Blu-ray combined, I can see no reason not to put them together and invest in a couple of Blu-ray discs to ‘justify’ having 2 players in use. If you choose not to use the one D bought you when you are on your own, well that is your affair. Ostensibly using one as a DVD player and the other as a Blu-ray player will smooth over any issues here and if you happen to gradually increase your blu ray collection, well no harm no foul as you’ll still have plenty of DVDs to watch. The one D bought you will likely fail sooner than the one E bought you (especially with the overheating issue) so it probably won’t be a problem for long.

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Amanda February 13, 2013 at 7:24 am

If the OP previously had a hand-me-down dvd player that broke, and which only got replaced with a gift, it seems like buying a large piece of furniture might not be the most financially feasible advice. I like the second tv idea, as those are pretty easy to come by on craigslist.

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Ally February 13, 2013 at 7:40 am

If I was the girlfriend and my boyfriend told me someone had given him a new DVD/Blu-ray my response wouldn’t be ‘But I bought you one.’ It’d be “Awesome! Now we can watch Finding Nemo on Blu-Ray!” I can’t imagine her getting offended.

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L February 13, 2013 at 7:40 am

You have a few options. My order of preference:
1) Talk to E. Perhaps also talk to D so that if she does find out, she won’t think you were deceiving her. You don’t have to mention the faulty DVD player. Just frame it as “After I received your gift, E told me that he had been planning to buy me a similar gift. I thought he had abandoned the idea and was surprised when he delivered the gift recently.” You may also add that you’re currently still using D’s player while you “figure out what to do with the extra one.” That still leaves the door open for you to use E’s if you choose.

Option 2) Plug them both in. If you do this, also plug them both into a power source so that one doesn’t have it’s lights off while the other has them on. Your TV may also have multiple sets of jacks so that you can also plug both into the TV.

Option 3) If you have the funds and the interest, buy a second TV.

Each of these options assumes that you need to keep both DVD players. Do you know someone else who needs a DVD player? Do D or E know someone else who needs one?

Lastly, definitely check on the overheating issue. As a previous commenter mentioned, that could be very dangerous.

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Steph February 13, 2013 at 7:52 am

I don’t mean to trivialise the OP’s etiquette dilemma but this has to be one of the nicest etiquette quandaries one could wish to be in. The OP sounds like she must be a very thoughtful, caring person and she has equally thoughtful, caring friends. I hope the OP finds a working solution that keeps everyone happy.

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Saucy February 13, 2013 at 8:00 am

I was assuming that because D and E bought the OP a new DVD player, that they did this because the OP could not afford one his/herself. If this is the case then an entertainment unit would be out of the question. I like the blu-ray idea if possible (a couple of blu-ray discs is cheaper than buying an entertainment unit just to save a friend’s feelings!). Otherwise if possible stack the DVDs on top of each other if this can be done so it looks like either is linked up

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Saucy February 13, 2013 at 8:02 am

Or, if D asks you can frame it this way: “E desperately wanted to watch his blu-ray collection when he came around to mine, so he kindly gave me a blu-ray player. I use yours for DVD though and I was thinking about getting another TV, so it’s great!”

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Amanda February 13, 2013 at 8:43 am

What a wonderful conundrum to have–trying to protect the feelings of two wonderful friends who have done something wonderful for you!

I disagree with Maria on one point, however: I would not, under any circumstances, discuss this with your second friend. Just as you casually mentioned the overheating DVD, so could your friend. I could not imagine a more mortifying situation than to have all of my friends know of a situation in whicch I am directly involved, but no one had the decency to actually speak with me. This is how friendships are damaged. I do agree with Maria about contacting the manufacturer; even something that is inexpensive should not be made in a way that causes it to malfunction.

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Shoegal February 13, 2013 at 8:44 am

I actually have a blu ray player and a seperate DVD Player. My husband bought me a blu ray player and I already had my own DVD player – so I just use both. I know the Blu Ray can play the DVDs but personally I prefer the DVD player – it is less fussy – and user friendly. I find the blu ray a little tempermental – and it isn’t always crystal clear to me how to manipulate it.

I think you ought to buy a couple blu ray discs and make it out like you’d prefer to use both.

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Jana February 13, 2013 at 9:22 am

Long time reader, first comment…

By keeping both, and making both D and E think you are using both, you are lying to both of them. I personally would choose the DVD/Blu-ray combo as my player, and find a friend/charity who may be in need of a DVD player to give the other one to…as someone had given you your old one. If D asks, let her know that it frequently overheated and wouldn’t allow you to watch movies in full…it’s a manufacturing problem, not her fault! When the weather gets hot again, you will just start having the same problem! I don’t care if I spent $20 or $100 on a gift, I don’t want a friend using it out of obligation.

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Heather February 13, 2013 at 9:30 am

Oh… I’m sorry if I’m going to sound harsh… I get that it is so tempting to use the better quality DVD/Blu-ray… but claiming that you were being polite by accepting the second friend’s gift seems (to me) to be a search for justification in using it… and I think your friend was wrong to get it, knowing how it could look. That being said… what’s done is done and I agree with most of Marie’s comment… I would get a little TV for my bedroom that you could use the cheaper DVD with… and everyone’s happy!

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WildIrishRose February 13, 2013 at 9:47 am

Admin’s idea isn’t a bad one, but I think getting a small TV for your bedroom would solve the problem nicely.

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Mae February 13, 2013 at 10:09 am

Admin’s suggestion is a great one but, I am also agreeing with @Marie, comment #2. The DVD player D bought you is fire hazard. I understand that you do not want to hurt your friend’s feelings but I would not risk burning down my home, or at lease major fire damage, to spare D’s feelings.

Also, @ Lex, comment #3, is a good suggestion. Blu-rays are quickly becoming the dominant medium, so D should not be upset that you put both players in use.

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gramma dishes February 13, 2013 at 10:29 am

I totally agree with Lex and what was said in that post would have been exactly what I would have suggested. Get at least one Blu-ray disc to justify the newer/better one and use both players.

However, Marie also makes a very valid point. No DVD player should overheat to the extent that it causes issues such as those you describe. I’d also recommend contacting the manufacturer about that.

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Mrs C February 13, 2013 at 11:01 am

Even if the OP keeps both DVD players, they don’t have to use the overheating one. Therefore, putting in a unit of some kind would be ok, as it wouldn’t overheat.

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Simplicity February 13, 2013 at 11:23 am

They are simply gifts and I see no reason why you can’t do with them as you please.

If the first friend is insulted that you switched the dvd player she gave you (one that malfunctions occasionally) with the second dvd player, well that just speaks more about her personality than yours. The second friend shouldn’t be insulted if you choose to continue using the first dvd player because it still does function most of the time.

My suggestion, though, is to store the second dvd player in a closet. Use the first dvd player until it no longer functions. Then switch ‘em up. If your friends ask, tell them. Simple and practical.

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Kovi February 13, 2013 at 11:40 am

Sounds like you have a nifty back-up DVD player for when the first one over-heats :) I’d agree with what some of the others have said – if you’re able to afford it, consider buying a tv for another room, such as a den or bedroom. I assume that since your friend bought you a combination Blu-Ray/DVD player, that your main TV is Blu-Ray capable (that or they are truly extravagant, lol). Maybe buy a small, cheaper set for your bedroom, and justify having both players that way.

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Marie February 13, 2013 at 11:47 am

If I can make an addition to my previous comment (wow, so many people agree with me! I’m feeling a bit shy now):

Check who is responsible when a product turns out to be faulty. In the Netherlands, this is always the store where you bought it, instead of the manufacturer. The store has to provide you with a solution (refund, repairs or new product), and they have to take it up with the manufacturer.

I also have to agree with Amanda (#10), she makes a good point. If your friend finds out her gift is overheating to the point where it is malfunctioning, it’s best if she hears it from you, and not the other friend that gave the more expensive gift to replace hers. That will probably hurt her feelings more than when you break the news to her. If that friend lacks some social awareness as you mentioned, it might not occur to him that he should not mention it. Though, if you decide to go back to the store/manufacturer, you’ll have to tell her anyway, because I am assuming she still has the receipt.

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LadyPhoenix February 13, 2013 at 11:53 am

I say you’re not in as bad of a situation as you think.

Keep both of them and use them both as you wish. If the first DVD overheats, then switch o the other one. If D complains, then simply explain that the low range DVD is too hot to play and that you’ll use the other one until it cools down (or that you want to watch a blue ray instead).

It’s not cool to try and hide it or make up some crazy BS about your gifts.

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secretrebel February 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm

One unit appears to be faulty, so dispose of it. Then buy D a specially nice present for her birthday to show your appreciation of her. Or if her birthday’s not for month take her out for lunch or a spa day.

A present shouldn’t be a white elephant hanging around your neck.

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Molly February 13, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I agree with the last post. If you were happy with the first DVD player, keep using it till it doesn’t work and then switch it. D will be glad you used it and understanding when you don’t, and the second player would have fulfilled E’s intentions in replacing the first one when it doesn’t work. You can be honest with both of them by telling D that E had planned on buying you one too, and telling E that you didn’t think it was right to dismiss D’s gift until it was incapacitated. They were both kind, and you are equally grateful. I don’t think either their kindness or your gratitude need to get burdened by the awkwardness of secrets and sneakiness.

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Amanda H. February 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm

I like Simplicity’s solution (#18), and was about to suggest the same myself. Hang onto the combo until until the less-expensive one finally fails, or until warm weather when the less-expensive one skips a lot. If your friends (especially E) ask, you can explain that the first unit still works fine, so you thought you’d hang onto the second until it’s needed.

I also agree with the comments that you should contact the manufacturer of the less-expensive unit because those sound like some serious flaws. I’ve owned bottom-of-the-line DVD players before and lived in buildings that can get quite warm, and have never had a problem of that nature.

As for getting a TV cabinet, if the overheating is a worry, I’d go for an open shelf unit instead of one with doors, and as someone else suggested, use a power strip to hook up both players at the same time so they both look like they’re in use (if that’s the course of action you end up taking). Shelving units of that sort can be found inexpensively sometimes from big box stores, or via Craigslist and the like. Thrift stores might even have them.

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The Elf February 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I think it’s reasonable to assume that OP doesn’t have the money for a second TV or entertainment center furniture, given that both friends went out of their way to replace the DVD player. They are both generous and good friends!

As both are gifts, you are free to do with it as you please. I know you want to spare your friend’s feelings, but it isn’t necessary to do some sort of chicanery to do so. Just use whichever DVD player you like best and don’t go out of your way to point it out. Save the second DVD player for if you get a second TV, or if the first one breaks. Or pass it on to someone else and share the love. Why complicate things?

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Allie February 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Ah, first-world problems. First, please thank whatever deity you believe in you were not born in Burkina Faso and do not have to concern yourself with clean water, food, clothing, shelter and basic medical care. I would use the first DVD player until it conks out and then switch to the second, more expensive one. If E has the nerve to ask about his DVD player, tell him this is what you are doing. Incidentally, a few years ago I had a bad run with DVD players. Mine conked out as did two mid-priced replacements and a very expensive one. Fed up, I decided to buy the cheapest one I could find. It’s still working. When it goes to sleep after being paused for too long, it does not save your place and you have to fast-forward to your spot, which is not altogether convenient. However, when this happens, I do not get upset but instead reflect on all my many blessings, not having been born in Burkina Faso.

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Catherine February 13, 2013 at 1:34 pm

A similar thing happened to me a few years ago. I use a pocket knife every day at work, and my mom got me a really nice, expensive one for Christmas. A few days after Christmas I met up with a coworker for a holiday dinner and we exchanged gifts. Sure enough, she gave me a pocket knife – but one that was much cheaper, less sturdy, and more bulky than the one I’d already received. It was a really thoughtful gift because she had known I needed one. I thanked her sincerely, but then didn’t know what to do, as now she would be expecting to see me to carrying around her knife at work, when really I wanted to be using the one from my mom. I made sure to always have her knife in my work bag, and tried not to use the one from my mom while she was around. I got away with it for several months, and when she eventually noticed me using the other knife, I think enough time had passed so that it didn’t matter anymore. These situations are tough – I’m not sure there is one correct way to handle them. I just tried not to hurt her feelings.

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June First February 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Lots of helpful comments on this post!
I think it’s ok to save the second one as a backup when the first inevitably dies. Or, use it for the blu-ray player.

If you want to conceal them, but don’t have the cash to get a new entertainment stand, you can always put some fabric up as a little curtain. Depending on your level of craftiness, you could sew one yourself or just tack it up.

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JGM1764 February 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm

My goodness, these are the problems you want to have, having such kind and generous friends! OP sure is lucky. Admin’s idea is a good one, but I too agree that a small 2nd TV in bedroom would solve the issue perfectly-unless OP lives in a studio apartment where the living room is the bedroom, then Admin’s idea is better. I see fully functional secondhand TVs at thrift stores and garage sales super cheap all the time, so that would probably be a good solution.
Also, methinks there’s a pretty good possibility that E is interested in the OP as more than a friend…

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Lauren February 13, 2013 at 4:03 pm

There IS no problem here, OP.
What you do with gifts once you receive them is your business and yours alone.
Do you want to keep the DVD\Blu-Ray player? Then donate the other.
Want to keep the original? See if you can return the combo player for somethign you want.
None of the above?
That’s OK too.
These gifts re now your possessions and you can treat them in any manner you see fit.

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Ellen February 13, 2013 at 5:45 pm

I agree with Lauren. This is an appliance, not an engagement ring. Should I never accept or wear another sweater, or scarf, because someone else gave me one before? What if you got 2 copies of a video, or a book – should you bend yourself in knots over using or disposing of one of them?

You are under no obligation to keep gifts that you cannot use, nor was it in any way “disloyal”, immoral or rude to accept a second gift. You protested that you did not want or need one, your friend bought it anyway. Using the first till it conks out makes practical sense on one level, but a case can equally be made to “spread the wealth” and let someone else use a fairly-decent player while it still has life in it.

Now, it IS rude to make it obvious to your friend that her gift has been replaced or regifted. Technically it is none of her business, but if she is over at your home often it could seem like “rubbing her nose in it”, which you would not want to do. There are several good ideas above for making the change less obvious and concealing the equipment.

Ultimately, if friend 1 does snoop or accidentally find out that her gift is gone, and questions you (which she should not do)…do NOT explain anything about where the second machine came from or who gave it to you, or why you chose the second. Any explanation is going to be offensive. You can simply say, “I happened to receive another machine, and I didnt’ have room for 2.” Then beandip, beandip about how special she is, what is going on in her life, etc.

If you treat your friends like they are important to you all the time, and reciprocate their kindness and generosity with your own, they likely won’t be bothered to take offense over imaginary slights. If your friends are in the habit of taking offense when you have done nothing wrong, then you might need new friends.

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ggg February 13, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Call the manufacturer and get a replacement for the dangerous fire hazard DVD player. That shouldn’t happen.

There is nothing wrong with having two DVD players. I have two. No one has ever really noticed. (One is set up for American DVDs and one for British ones.)

If anyone does ask, tell them the truth, they were gifts. You don’t have to apologize for having received duplicate gifts. Certainly you don’t have to buy furniture to hide them.

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Anonymous February 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm

I like the idea of using the DVD player from D until it stops working (either permanently, or it just skips a lot in the heat), and then phasing in the combination DVD/Blu-Ray player from E. It’s perfectly polite and honest, and it doesn’t require any outlay of cash or special effort on the part of the OP. I agree that some people really can’t afford to just buy a second TV or an entertainment centre/TV cabinet just because they want one, and I also agree that a machine that overheats shouldn’t be shut in a cabinet anyway, because it could be a fire hazard.

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Nomy February 13, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Honestly? Be honest. Tell the friend that gave you the cheap player that although you love how thoughtful her gift was it is a POTENTIAL FIRE HAZARD. You’re not getting rid of it to be mean. You’re changing players because you don’t want your house to catch fire.

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Spuck February 14, 2013 at 7:22 am

I have to agree with Nomy and disagree with the Admin. Getting a piece of furniture that fits both DVD players reeks of shenanigans and playing games, and as mentioned by many posters earlier the DVD player is a fire hazard.

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NicoleK February 14, 2013 at 7:42 am

Wow, you have generous friends. In my social circle we get each other gifts like boxes of chocolates. A DVD, maybe, but a DVD player? I have to say I’d be uncomfortable if my friends dropped so much money on a Christmas gift for me, as I’d feel I’d have to reciprocate.

I think it’s pretty important you get them gifts of comparable value.

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Kiara February 14, 2013 at 8:23 am

Allie, was that really necessary? Ye, anyone can have worse problems than we do. It does not negate the problems we have.

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sv February 14, 2013 at 9:02 am

Keep both side by side and tell your friends you are thrilled because you are planning on getting a TV for your bedroom at some point. Whether you actually do this in a timely manner isn’t really the point – your friends know you appreciate both gifts and have use for both gifts. Then change the subject :)

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Elizabeth February 14, 2013 at 9:43 am

Hiding them away and pretending to use both isn’t a solution. I think honesty is deserved and E needs to be told that while the gift is generous and appreciated, it is un-necessary as you already have one. Alternatively, store away E’s DVD player and explain to E that since you currently have one in working order, you’ll save the other for later when it may/will become needed. Surely E’s heart was in the right place but E lacks empathy to not forsee how you would feel about this (and how D would feel about the gesture) – and yes, this is a bit passive aggressive. (Reminds me of a coat my MIL bought for DH … not the coat I would have purchased but DH loved and appreciated it and I didn’t say a word except to compliment her choice and say how nice it looked on him)

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Magicdomino February 14, 2013 at 10:59 am

I’d tell D about the overheating DVD player in case she has the same model, or is thinking about getting one for someone else. It will be uncomfortable; it never a good thing to tell someone that their gift has a big problem. The OP will have to be suitably apologetic. But safety must trump etiquette. Even a cheap appliance should not be overheating so badly that it malfunctions. As Nomy and several other posters have stated, the DVD player is a potential fire hazard. If D offers to replace the faulty DVD player, then the OP can mention that he/she had been given another player.

If the DVD player functioned well enough, the used second TV and the entertainment center would be good ideas. With LCD TVs becoming more affordable, the massive entertainment centers are going out of style. You can get them cheap, sometime even free, on Craigslist.

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Xtina February 14, 2013 at 11:43 am

I hate the idea of telling your friend that she bought you a fire hazardous DVD player. She put a lot of thought into it and there is no need to tell her it hasn’t been functionning well – she WILL feel bad about it even though it’s not her fault.

As for E, he’s well aware that you already received this as a gift and knows that by giving you a nicer, more expensive Blu Ray-DVD combo, your other friend’s DVD player will probably be replaced. I’m assuming both friends are also in the same circle. You had ALREADY told E you were pleased by his idea but were fine with your friend’s DVD player (regardless if it was working well or not) so I have a feeling E is stirring trouble here. I would just tell him you’ll use his player when you buy Blu-Rays and will use your friend’s DVD player otherwise.

Regardless of if it overheats and you’re actually using E’s player, hook them both up and just stick to the principle of the matter. E knew what he was doing and there’s no point letting him win in this matter. I don’t even see his gesture as a generous or nice. He can very obviously afford the gift and could’ve bought you something else instead.

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OP February 14, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Hi, everyone!

Firstly, thanks for the advice. For a little more context, I live in a sharehouse, and only have the room for a little TV in my bedroom, which sits on top of my bureau. The only space for a player is on top of the TV (it’s an old, CRT one, so that’s not as precarious a position as it sounds, but neither is there safe space for two).
Those who observed I don’t sound like someone with an awful lot of financial solvency are correct; I did not have the money for a new player, when my old one died, and unfortunately, this means I also lacks the means for a cabinet, even if I had the space.
I appreciate those who say to pass on D’s gift, but given that it was only bought a few weeks ago, and specifically -for- me, and how much it cost her, I do not feel that this would be the kind of loving thing to do. I believe it would come across to her as me not valuing her generous present.
However, the situation has now resolved itself! Unfortunately, there -was- a confrontation, but it wound up being a very painless and conflict-free one; E came over unexpectedly, found his gift still in its store-wrapper, and asked why – unwilling to lie to his face, I very diplomatically explained that I wasn’t sure how to go about replacing D’s gift without causing her hurt. His response to this was to smack himself on the forehead with the palm of his hand, say, “Of course!”, give me a sunny smile and a big hug, pick up the player and say, “I hadn’t even thought of that. I’m sorry! Here, I’ll take it back, and get you something else just as nice.” There was zero social or emotional fallout, and things between us have been their usual sweet self since. :-D
I guess sometimes, it really as simple as just admitting there’s a problem, and letting one’s friend correct it, with warm feelings preserved all around. Not always, of course – but in this case, it was.
I am very fortunate in my loving, and laidback friends. :-)

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OP February 14, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Oh! And just as an addendum; I had settled on a plan of keeping E’s in the cupboard for when D’s eventually died, and politely explaining that, if he asked. Then he dropped by, spotted it on my bed because I had temporarily taken it out while I was getting some things down from in there, and then the above conversation occurred.
The behaviour of D’s player is unlikely to be a dangerous fault, just an annoying one; I live in Australia, in a City that gets extremely hot, dry Summers (even by Australian standards!), and skipping is quite common and accepted behaviour for particular cheap DVD players, under Summer conditions. Many friends have similar issues with theirs.
And E is a longtime, very dear friend who is quite financially comfortable, and enjoys sharing the wealth with any friend that is less so, whenever he judges they need it – it’s not just me. ;-) I am engaged, and he and my fiancé are good friends; I assure you, there is no ulterior motive there. He’s just that kind.
Thank you again to everyone for their comments!

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Allie February 14, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Kiara, perhaps I failed to convey the lighthearted tone in which my post was meant to be read. And if anyone out there happens to be from Burkina Faso, I meant no disrespect to you either. My choice of that country as an example is actually a reference to an excellent movie called Jesus of Montreal.

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Twik February 15, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Simplest solution I can see is tell the friend who gave the first DVD player that you use it for DVDs, and the new one for Bluerays. Even if she twigs that you could do both on the expensive one, you could tell her this allows you to switch without getting up, or something.

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Amanda H. February 15, 2013 at 5:05 pm

OP, I’m glad to hear things worked out. I *thought* E sounded more clueless than conniving. I’ve had friends before that wouldn’t think twice about giving a friend something pricey to replace a malfunctioning item, without considering the fact that the malfunctioning item was a recent gift from yet another friend. They wouldn’t do it out of malicious desire to stir up drama. They’d do it because they thought they were helping and hadn’t considered any other ramifications. Basically, they’re too nice to have ulterior motives.

@Allie, I think the biggest problem with your initial post was that it wasn’t entirely clear that you were being tongue-in-cheek, and there have been enough past examples of people saying someone should be glad their “first-world problem” was the biggest problem in their life, in all seriousness. I’m glad to hear you were attempting light-heartedness, because my initial reaction was the same as Kiara’s.

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