This situation doesn’t directly involve me, but I’m still curious as to the etiquette.
My boyfriend is a welder and he has recently begun to create and sell customized metal plates with designs welded on. He is marketing them through Instagram. He has gotten orders for all sorts of designs, from Celtic crosses to business logos to butterflies. However, a recent order has me a bit boggled.
A lot of the welders on Instagram all like to talk with each other and know about each other’s lives, even though they are in totally different states or even countries. A welder who has ordered from Boyfriend before placed an order for a custom plate that will serve as a memorial to a baby who tragically passed away a month ago. The strange part is that the man who placed the order is not related to the baby. He is ordering it as a “surprise gift” for the Grieving Dad, who is also a welder and part of the Instagram welding community. He didn’t have a specific design in mind, and pretty much just told Boyfriend the situation and the name of the baby.
So now it is up to Boyfriend to create an appropriate image to memorialize this baby, whom he never met, at the request of someone else who never met the baby either (to my knowledge).
I think that this is a rather inappropriate situation. Grieving Dad is likely to want to memorialize his baby in his own way. There may be certain motifs, symbols, or details that would ideally be placed on a memorial plaque to remind the parents of their baby but will now be left out, because Boyfriend doesn’t know anything else about the baby besides her name. Not to mention that it sounds like Grieving Dad shared the information about his baby to a few close Instagram welder friends, and spreading it around the community seems a bit uncouth to me.
Boyfriend has already committed to making the plate, but I would just like to know what etiquette rules have to say about ordering personalized memorial gifts for people without them asking or giving indication that they want one. Am I overthinking it? 0916-16
Yes, you are overthinking it. This is a business transaction between your boyfriend and a buyer. While the buyer may be wrong in his choice of gift, it isn’t within the seller’s sphere of responsibility to examine the motivations and relationships of the people buying his products. Hopefully Grieving Dad will recognize the thought behind the gift. Your boyfriend needs to create the plate as requested, receive payment, send it to the buyer and think more of it since the plate is not his gift to give.