Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: MindsEye on June 15, 2012, 09:02:32 AM

Title: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: MindsEye on June 15, 2012, 09:02:32 AM
The "Breaking things" thread reminded me of an incident with an ex-friend from years ago... 

She had picked up one of my vases (I collect Depression Glass) to look at it more closely, and when she put it down again, she put it right on the edge of the shelf so that it fell off and broke.  Let me say again that this was an antique vase.  An expensive antique vase.

She offered to replace it... and then when I gave her the specifics on the maker, the pattern, the glass color, etc.... she got mad.  First that I actually expected her to make good on her promise, and then because it was clear that I wasn't going to accept a Walmart vase as a replacement for an expensive antique.

Needless to say, she never followed up on her offer to replace it.  (This is one of the many reasons she is an ex-friend)

So my questions to all of you are:

When you offer to replace a broken item, how sincere are you?  (I recall threads where the offer to replace something is treated as a "courtesy" offer, with the expectation that the owner of the broken item declines the offer.  Especially when the item in question is an expensive one.)

If someone made it clear to you that you would be expected to provide a replacement or compensation for a broken/damaged item, would you be offended? 

Do you expect to provide an exact replacement (when possible) for the broken object?  Or would you consider that something "similar" would be "good enough"?  (i.e. was I being a SS to expect an exact replacement for my expensive antique vase?  Or should I have been satisfied with "a" vase, even if it came nowhere near to matching what was broken?)
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: Zilla on June 15, 2012, 09:07:51 AM
An exact replacement or funds to compensate for the value.  If I couldn't afford it, I would ask for a repayment plan.  And this would be if I broke it or my kids broke it.  I hate it when people say, "Oh but accidents happen."  Yeah an accident did happen and while not on purpose it's still your responsibility.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: siamesecat2965 on June 15, 2012, 09:27:55 AM
If someone broke something of mine, I would certainly expect them to offer to replace it, but it would depend on what it was vs. what I'd expect.  I don't think the OP was out of line expecting a similar item to replace the pricy, antique vase.  I would as well if someone broke something of mine that was either pricy or valuable.  I'd want either the exact replacement, or something as close to it as they could find, in the case of an antique or something that was no longer available.

with some friends, I'd have to be specific too, since they don't get that some cheaper versions are not as good as the pricer ones.  For example, I am a kitchen snob, and my pots and pans are All Clad.  All have been bought at a discount, or as seconds, but if someone ruined one, and it needed to be replaced, I'd expect the same brand, not a cheap one from Walmart (not that there's anything wrong with less expensive pans but that's not what I had). 

Its kind of like my renter's insurance, which I need to re-evaluate.  I have full replacement coverage, so it matters not that my tv is 20+ years old, my coverage is based on what it would cost to buy a new one now, if i needed to, not what its actaully worth, which is basically nothin!.

If it was something basic, using the vase example, a basic glass vase, I'd either tell them don't worry about it, or just to get something similar. 

And if I broke something of someone's, I'd find out what it was, what it cost, and go from there. If it was something relaly pricy, and I couldn't afford to do it all at once, I'd certainly do a payment plan until it was paid off.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: Outdoor Girl on June 15, 2012, 09:36:48 AM
In the case of an inexpensive item, I'd tell them to forget about it.

In the case of a moderately priced but easily replaced item, I'd like the person who broke it to replace it.

In the case of a one-of-a-kind or hard-to-find item, I'd like the person who broke it to monetarily compensate me so that I can replace it, if I so choose.  I wouldn't expect someone to be able to find the exact item.  If I'm going to have to give very specific instructions on where to purchase the replacement, I'd just as soon do it myself to ensure I get the correct item.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: purplemuse on June 15, 2012, 09:52:46 AM
To answer your questions:

1. Barring extenuating circumstances, I may sometimes hope that the owner will refuse my offer of replacement, but that doesn't mean I'm any less sincere in making it.

2. If it were my fault or a genuine accident that I caused, I would not be offended. However, if (for example) the reason I dropped the item was because the owner's rambunctious dog or child jumped on/ran into me, and the owner still insists that I need to pay to replace it, then yes, I would be a little offended.

3. I think the "default setting" is that you offer to provide an exact replacement, and the item's owner tells you how far you can deviate from the default. But I also think that the owner needs to accept the value of the item in cash (or check, whatever) as a valid form of replacement-- you can't expect the breaker to drive from New York to Ohio because that's the only place you can get an exact replacement.

And even aside from the monetary value, I think it takes a lot of gall to replace part of a collection with something that doesn't fit the criteria. I have a collection of lucky cats, and while none of them is very expensive, I'd be annoyed if someone thought they could replace one with a Precious Moments kitten figurine.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: It's good to be Queen on June 15, 2012, 11:33:41 AM
I collect depression glass (Mostly Open Lace and Miss America, but lots of misc pieces sprinkled in).  If someone broke a piece and wanted to replace it, I would expect another piece of depression glass but perhaps not exactly what was broken.  It may not be possible for someone to find a 9 inch Miss America pattern pink vase, but if they found a 12 or 7 inch one, I would be OK with that. 

When someone has broken something in the past, I have not asked for replacement if it was truly an accident.  Things get broken and collectors need to accept that.  I do expect reasonable care to be taken with my items.  A friend handed my lidded candy jar (a hard piece to find!) to her 3 year old and I almost had a heart attack.  You do not give breakables to a toddler!
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: jaxsue on June 15, 2012, 11:46:35 AM
OP, I have a large collection of Depression Glass, too, and I cringed at the thought of it breaking. IMHO, there are accidents and there is carelessness. Your friend put it back close to the edge of the shelf, and as a result of her carelessness it broke. She obviously doesn't know about values of Depression Glass (which run the gamut from very affordable to very expensive). Frankly, I'd steer someone to http://replacements.com/.

Her offer to replace it was obviously "limited," to say the least.  :P
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on June 15, 2012, 11:50:01 AM
I don't think I'd expect someone to hunt down an identical piece, but I'd let them know the true value and expect them to repay that. Unless as someone said one of my kids were involved in the accident to any extent.

You were not out of line at all.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: Lynnv on June 15, 2012, 11:59:46 AM
When you offer to replace a broken item, how sincere are you?  (I recall threads where the offer to replace something is treated as a "courtesy" offer, with the expectation that the owner of the broken item declines the offer.  Especially when the item in question is an expensive one.)
I am 100% sincere.  In the case of a collectible or a difficult to find item, then they may have to take money for it and find it themselves as they are more plugged into that particular market than I am.  But I absolutely expect to replace things I break if it is my fault. 

If someone made it clear to you that you would be expected to provide a replacement or compensation for a broken/damaged item, would you be offended? 
Since I have (in theory) already made a clear and sincere offer to replace it, and I fully meant it, I can't imagine being offended when the owner takes me up on it.

Do you expect to provide an exact replacement (when possible) for the broken object?  Or would you consider that something "similar" would be "good enough"?  (i.e. was I being a SS to expect an exact replacement for my expensive antique vase?  Or should I have been satisfied with "a" vase, even if it came nowhere near to matching what was broken?)
I think that depends on the availability of the item.  So, if it is something common but expensive, then you should get your item replaced.  But if it is a hard to find item, then I think you should have a couple of choices.  I can pay you the amount the item would sell for today and you can look until you find a replacement.  You are taking the chance that the cost of the item will go up in the meanwhile and that the amount I paid you will not be adequate to replace it.  Or you can find an item that you would like to have that sells for the same price as the item that cannot be replaced right now and I will pay for that instead.  But the decision about which way to go should be up to the person who has lost the item.

All of this presumes that the accident was my fault. 
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: bloo on June 15, 2012, 12:47:21 PM
I'd go preventative because I'm a klutz! Seriously, I ask for plastic glasses at friends' houses when they offer something to drink, so I generally do not touch other person's valuable stuff (whether financially or sentimentally valuable).

We have some friends that are quite upper income and the wife collects a particular expensive porcelain ranging from $600-$4000 each. She had 30 at one point strewn throughout her home. We were pretty good about chasing our little ones around (12-14 years ago) to keep them and the friend's breakable safe. But ONE time our guard was let down when I walked down a hallway looking for toddler son and found him HOLDING one of her statues (a $2800 piece)! I just calmly smiled and walked up to him and cooed at him so that I wouldn't startle him and then took the statue away. The collector's hubby turned pale when he walked in on us and promised to hide the statues within grabbing distance. We let them know, after that, that while we so much appreciated their wonderful hospitality, we'd have to scale back visits awhile as we were too poor to replace one of her porcelains and we were so anxious while there that we didn't really enjoy ourselves. Their response was to quickly promise to move everything breakable when friends with little one came over! I didn't expect that but was sure pleased.  ;D

So I'm super careful about that and DH is sooo anxious he doesn't even like to BORROW things because 'what if they break while I'm using it?'
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: jane7166 on June 15, 2012, 02:06:10 PM
Really, there are two things that owners of art glass should be doing:

1.  INSURE YOUR COLLECTION!  We've had two breakages, one that DH did and one that the dog did.  The pieces were really irreplaceable and losing one really broke my heart but it was on the TV console (this is a while ago.)  Anyone could have knocked it over!  Insurance paid full value. 

2.  Anything that valuable should probably be in a display case.  You can get an antique thingy with doors on it and glass panes for much less than some of these collectible items would cost.  With a child around, lock it!

Collections are usually made up of items that really can't be easily replaced.  While it is polite to try to replace something, I think the owner should protect their items.  In the OP's case, I find it appalling that the guest was actually handled the item.  I wouldn't let that happen to my treasures. 
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: miranova on June 15, 2012, 03:24:05 PM
Really, there are two things that owners of art glass should be doing:

1.  INSURE YOUR COLLECTION!  We've had two breakages, one that DH did and one that the dog did.  The pieces were really irreplaceable and losing one really broke my heart but it was on the TV console (this is a while ago.)  Anyone could have knocked it over!  Insurance paid full value. 

2.  Anything that valuable should probably be in a display case.  You can get an antique thingy with doors on it and glass panes for much less than some of these collectible items would cost.  With a child around, lock it!

Collections are usually made up of items that really can't be easily replaced.  While it is polite to try to replace something, I think the owner should protect their items.  In the OP's case, I find it appalling that the guest was actually handled the item.  I wouldn't let that happen to my treasures.

I really have to agree with this.  For normal household items, yes, you can and should get exact replacement or the amount of cash that would require.  For extremely irreplaceable or extremely expensive items, I can not believe that someone would expect full replacement if they have not bothered to insure their items and yet invited people over where accidents can happen.  It sounds like some of these items are every bit as expensive as a used car, so why should they not be insured? 

Certain things need to be insured simply because most people can't afford immediate replacement, and extremely expensive vases fall into that category.  It's not even that expensive to make sure the items are added to or covered by your homeowner's or renter's insurance.  I believe it is the responsibility of the homeowner to insure these type of items.  Let's say your friend was totally careless (and I agree that putting the vase on the edge was totally careless).  It's still an accident, and it's one that should be covered by homeowner's.  You invited her over, you do assume SOME responsibility.  Unless she picked it up and threw it at you, I would not think she should have to pay several thousand dollars to replace something that could have been covered with a small deductible.  (She should pay the deductible).

I have seen too much Judge Judy maybe, but for true accidents she would say "that's what insurance is for".  File a claim.  If you don't have insurance, get it for next time!

Having said that, I am sincere in offers to replace things.  I haven't broken that many things, but the times I have were because I dropped glass cookware while I was washing it after dinner and it broke in the sink  (things like that).  Yes I offered to replace it and yes I was sincere.  (My offers were refused, probably because I was helping wash dishes and it was a clear accident!)  I don't know what I would initially say if I broke an item that was several thousand dollars.  I'm not sure etiquette requires me to replace things that should have been insured in the first place.  I would ask about it, I would want to "make it right", but I can't say I'd feel responsible to replace it at full cost.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: Judah on June 15, 2012, 03:46:28 PM
When I make an offer to replace something I broke I am completely sincere and fully expect to make full restitution.  When someone breaks something of mine, I expect them to offer to replace the item but, I've never taken anyone up on their offer.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: magicdomino on June 15, 2012, 04:20:35 PM
If I make an offer to replace a broken item, I'm serious.  I may be secretly hoping they don't take me up on it, but I wouldn't be offended or surprised if they did.  As a previous poster pointed out, expensive collectibles should be insured, although I'd still offer to pay the deductable.  And may I point out that a lot of home insurance policies have $1,000 deductibles these days.

If someone broke something of mine, the item and the circumstances determine whether I would accept an offer to pay.  Break one of my wineglasses: I don't care (they aren't expensive ones).  Slice open my leather chaise lounge because you were playing with a knife:  oh yeah, you better pay for repairs.  Break the Waterford Vase because your bad knee went out and you fell:  ouch, but it was a true accident, and I'm more concerned about broken bones than broken glass.


ETA:  Just for fun, I looked up the US retail price of my Waterford vase, and it is past "ouch" if still below the deductible.  After the crisis was over, I'd be in the bedroom quietly whining, but still wouldn't charge a guest for a true accident.  Now, if it got broken because some idiot threw a pillow, I would inform said idiot that it was from the John Rocha collection, and be sure you get the black and crystal, not the plain crystal.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on June 15, 2012, 04:56:17 PM
OK well this was about depression glass, which is not crazy expensive, so my statement that people should pay the cost of replacement was based on that. If it was really expensive, then yes it should be insured. I don't know what the division is between those two categories though.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: miranova on June 15, 2012, 07:12:01 PM
OK well this was about depression glass, which is not crazy expensive, so my statement that people should pay the cost of replacement was based on that. If it was really expensive, then yes it should be insured. I don't know what the division is between those two categories though.

Personally I have never heard of depression glass   :-[ , so I just assumed it was just as expensive as some of the other things listed in this thread and that's what I based my comments on.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: Allyson on June 15, 2012, 07:51:20 PM
If I had something that was worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, and a friend broke it in a total accident, I would never expect them to beggar themself to pay it back--that could mean them going without food/rent if it were that kind of money involved. I don't know what the solution *would* be, though. But the idea of someone who owns expensive items getting someone with way less funds to pay it back seems unkind. I don't mean it should all be based on relative wealth, but if the breaker truly *cannot* afford it, and it will cause severe consequences in their own life due to an accident, I just can't see thinking that's OK.

If it was an item of lesser/affordable to breaker value, I think it should always bereplaced, or equivalent amounts offered at least.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: LadyClaire on June 15, 2012, 10:24:29 PM
OK well this was about depression glass, which is not crazy expensive, so my statement that people should pay the cost of replacement was based on that. If it was really expensive, then yes it should be insured. I don't know what the division is between those two categories though.

Personally I have never heard of depression glass   :-[ , so I just assumed it was just as expensive as some of the other things listed in this thread and that's what I based my comments on.

I don't think the value of it goes much higher than a few hundred dollars. I've never seen anything over $300 or so (but then again, I haven't looked especially hard..I've browsed ebay and other sites before because I also like depression glass)..and it can range anywhere from a few dollars up to that few hundred.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: LizC on June 16, 2012, 12:59:34 AM
We have insurance; if someone broke an item that was above our insurance deductible (which is a reasonable one), I'd expect them to cover the deductible and I'd file a claim for the rest. I'd be willing to do the same if I was the one breaking things.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: jaxsue on June 16, 2012, 10:14:06 AM
OK well this was about depression glass, which is not crazy expensive, so my statement that people should pay the cost of replacement was based on that. If it was really expensive, then yes it should be insured. I don't know what the division is between those two categories though.

Some Depression Glass is expensive. It depends on the pattern. I have a DG child's tea set that's worth several hundred dollars. Conversely, I have DG that can be found at a flea market for only a few dollars.

General comment: insuring items. Yes, insuring very valuable items is smart. However, to make a claim based on an item that costs a few hundred dollars makes your insurance rates go up. Having a low deductible has the same affect.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: jaxsue on June 16, 2012, 10:15:04 AM
OK well this was about depression glass, which is not crazy expensive, so my statement that people should pay the cost of replacement was based on that. If it was really expensive, then yes it should be insured. I don't know what the division is between those two categories though.

Personally I have never heard of depression glass   :-[ , so I just assumed it was just as expensive as some of the other things listed in this thread and that's what I based my comments on.

As I said in a PP, Depression Glass runs the gamut from very affordable to very expensive. It's awesome stuff! Google it - there's lots of info online.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on June 16, 2012, 10:21:15 AM
Several hundred dollars is within the bounds of "not crazy expensive" to me. Thousands of dollars, and certainly tens of thousands of dollars, is something that people should insure in case of accident. But if it is the cost of a cell phone or iPad, I wouldn't expect it to be insured, and I'd expect to replace it if I broke it just as I would if I broke someone's cell phone or ipad.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: Klein Bottle on June 16, 2012, 05:04:06 PM
OK well this was about depression glass, which is not crazy expensive, so my statement that people should pay the cost of replacement was based on that. If it was really expensive, then yes it should be insured. I don't know what the division is between those two categories though.

Some Depression Glass is expensive. It depends on the pattern. I have a DG child's tea set that's worth several hundred dollars. Conversely, I have DG that can be found at a flea market for only a few dollars.

General comment: insuring items. Yes, insuring very valuable items is smart. However, to make a claim based on an item that costs a few hundred dollars makes your insurance rates go up. Having a low deductible has the same affect.

This.  And, in some cases, it's not just the price of the item, it is its availability.  Some DG pieces are all but nigh impossible to find; I have been delighted to have found several hard-to-get pieces randomly at flea markets and such, but they are few and far between for various items in certain patterns.  (Mine s Amber Madrid, one of the more "common patterns/colors, but still with some very rare pieces.)  Not only that, but at least in my case, there is a huge sentimental value attached, as it was handed down to my grandmother from her mother, and then on to me.  So, I take very good care of it & would be crushed if a piece were to be broken.

As far as replacing broken items, when I have done so, the offer has always been genuine.  (In truth, I can't recall breaking anything, but a couple things I have borrowed over the years have gotten lost and I have always replaced them.  Broken, lost, same difference.)

For the reverse situation, a lot would depend on the item, the person who broke it, and the circumstances.  If it is somebody goofing around & being careless, and it's a valuable item, I would want it to be replaced.  However, for most things, I tell the breaker not to give it another thought.  My mom comes to visit us between TG & Christmas every year, and every year, she drops something on my tile floor and breaks it; it has become a family meme and we all await anxiously to see what Grandma will break this year.    :P  However, she has been so kind and wonderful and generous throughout the years that I would never ask her to replace anything.  And, she knows me well enough to know that I don't place great stock in "things".  It was kind of funny, though, when one year she broke the lid of a sugar bowl of a set of SB/creamer/salt shaker/pepper shaker that had been rather expensive and that I really liked as far as my decor.  She ran to the Dollar Store and got me a plain glass sugar bowl that is fully functional, and I was perfectly happy with it, just cause that's how I tend to roll. 

In the OP, the breaker should have offered the replacement cost of the DG vase. 

Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: jaxsue on June 16, 2012, 06:36:19 PM
Several hundred dollars is within the bounds of "not crazy expensive" to me. Thousands of dollars, and certainly tens of thousands of dollars, is something that people should insure in case of accident. But if it is the cost of a cell phone or iPad, I wouldn't expect it to be insured, and I'd expect to replace it if I broke it just as I would if I broke someone's cell phone or ipad.

As would I.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: jaxsue on June 16, 2012, 06:38:18 PM
OK well this was about depression glass, which is not crazy expensive, so my statement that people should pay the cost of replacement was based on that. If it was really expensive, then yes it should be insured. I don't know what the division is between those two categories though.

Some Depression Glass is expensive. It depends on the pattern. I have a DG child's tea set that's worth several hundred dollars. Conversely, I have DG that can be found at a flea market for only a few dollars.

General comment: insuring items. Yes, insuring very valuable items is smart. However, to make a claim based on an item that costs a few hundred dollars makes your insurance rates go up. Having a low deductible has the same affect.

This.  And, in some cases, it's not just the price of the item, it is its availability.  Some DG pieces are all but nigh impossible to find; I have been delighted to have found several hard-to-get pieces randomly at flea markets and such, but they are few and far between for various items in certain patterns.  (Mine s Amber Madrid, one of the more "common patterns/colors, but still with some very rare pieces.)  Not only that, but at least in my case, there is a huge sentimental value attached, as it was handed down to my grandmother from her mother, and then on to me.  So, I take very good care of it & would be crushed if a piece were to be broken.

As far as replacing broken items, when I have done so, the offer has always been genuine.  (In truth, I can't recall breaking anything, but a couple things I have borrowed over the years have gotten lost and I have always replaced them.  Broken, lost, same difference.)

For the reverse situation, a lot would depend on the item, the person who broke it, and the circumstances.  If it is somebody goofing around & being careless, and it's a valuable item, I would want it to be replaced.  However, for most things, I tell the breaker not to give it another thought.  My mom comes to visit us between TG & Christmas every year, and every year, she drops something on my tile floor and breaks it; it has become a family meme and we all await anxiously to see what Grandma will break this year.    :P  However, she has been so kind and wonderful and generous throughout the years that I would never ask her to replace anything.  And, she knows me well enough to know that I don't place great stock in "things".  It was kind of funny, though, when one year she broke the lid of a sugar bowl of a set of SB/creamer/salt shaker/pepper shaker that had been rather expensive and that I really liked as far as my decor.  She ran to the Dollar Store and got me a plain glass sugar bowl that is fully functional, and I was perfectly happy with it, just cause that's how I tend to roll. 

In the OP, the breaker should have offered the replacement cost of the DG vase.

Per the bolded: I have a large collection of amber Madrid, too!  :) Most of mine have sentimental value, as well.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: BarensMom on June 16, 2012, 09:13:42 PM
If I was the breaker, I would offer the replacement value or offer to scour the antique shops/internet with the breakee, with lunch/dinner included until we found an adequate replacement.

If I was the breakee, I would expect friend's offer to be in good faith as to equal value.  Whether I would accept would depend on accident or carelessness, how good a friend he/she is, and how valuable the piece.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: --- on June 17, 2012, 05:33:21 AM
It all depends on the item in question and how well I know the people. If it was really expensive and a hard to find piece, I would make an offer of a check of the current value of the item or at least a payment plan.  If it was something less expensive and more common, I would offer to get the item in question myself.

If it happened to me, it also depends on the item. My roommate and I each have our own things, ranging from small, inexpensive items to computers, laptops, and other such things that costs hundreds of dollars. We don't have any insurance on the more expensive items, we do however have set rules on who can come into the house because of the more expensive items that really can't be put into a cabinet or in storage.

We also fully expect to have our more expensive items replaced or at least given the monetary value of them so we can replace them ourselves.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: MarieP on October 13, 2012, 10:55:04 PM
I'm new to this forum so excuse me if I'm putting this question in the wrong spot but I have one for you all: If someone comes to your house for dinner and breaks a serving dish by being careless, and then makes no offer to replace it, is it rude for you to ask them to replace it?  And if they DO offer, is it rude of you to accept their offer?
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: Deetee on October 13, 2012, 11:31:48 PM
I'm new to this forum so excuse me if I'm putting this question in the wrong spot but I have one for you all: If someone comes to your house for dinner and breaks a serving dish by being careless, and then makes no offer to replace it, is it rude for you to ask them to replace it?  And if they DO offer, is it rude of you to accept their offer?

If they were juggling with it or something that is actively careless, they should offer to pay. If they were distracted in conversation or were carrying too much or they put it too close to the edge and it slipped  then they should just apologize. Basically if it is being used as a serving dish and gets broken in the process of serving it's a write up.

I would only ask someone to pay for something if they had broken it on purpose (or close to) and I felt the friendship was close to over anyhow.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: cheyne on October 14, 2012, 10:57:45 AM
I learned something as a safety officer at a huge multinational company.  There really are very few "accidents" in life.  In every case cited by PP's about breakage/near breakage of valuable items, they were preventable.

If you own rare, expensive (relative to your values) or hard to replace items, put them away in a locked glass cabinet or just don't let people touch them.  In the OP's case, why was her friend handling the expensive glass vase?  My mother used to say, "Look with your eyes, not your hands" and I think this applies to this thread.

If for some reason I broke a friends possession, I would offer and be sincere about replacing/paying for it.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: Tea Drinker on October 14, 2012, 07:14:24 PM
If you own rare, expensive (relative to your values) or hard to replace items, put them away in a locked glass cabinet or just don't let people touch them.  In the OP's case, why was her friend handling the expensive glass vase?  My mother used to say, "Look with your eyes, not your hands" and I think this applies to this thread.

That, or accept that even rare and expensive items may break sometimes. A couple of friends of mine got a pair of delicate, multicolored liqueur glasses as wedding gifts. They refer to them as "the broken glasses" because they realized that the only way to actually enjoy that gift was to accept that the glasses would break, probably sooner than later, and drink out of them anyway. (So far, so good: they've been married 11 years, and still had both glasses when I last visited them, in June.)
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: cheyne on October 14, 2012, 08:01:13 PM
~Snip~

That, or accept that even rare and expensive items may break sometimes. A couple of friends of mine got a pair of delicate, multicolored liqueur glasses as wedding gifts. They refer to them as "the broken glasses" because they realized that the only way to actually enjoy that gift was to accept that the glasses would break, probably sooner than later, and drink out of them anyway. (So far, so good: they've been married 11 years, and still had both glasses when I last visited them, in June.)

~OT~ I read a story years ago (can't remember if it was true or fiction) about a young bride that bought a beautiful outfit but never felt that the occasion was right to wear it.  It hung in a garment bag in her closet for a couple of years, never worn.  She died an untimely death and her husband had her buried in the outfit. 

Your friends are doing the right thing IMO.  Use and enjoy what you have, you never know when it will be taken away from you.

Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: rashea on October 15, 2012, 08:49:34 AM
I think an offer to replace something should be genuine. But, the owner should expect to do the legwork of finding the exact piece themselves if it is rare. It's just not feasible for me to spend time hunting down a particular piece. And some of the depression glass isn't expensive, but it is hard to find. A collector would know where to hunt. An amateur wouldn't. If the owner can send me to a website where I can order it, great, but expecting me to spend my time hunting antique shops would strain the friendship. If it's sentimental and you must have that particular piece, I think it's a good idea to protect it in a cabinet or something.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: Just Lori on October 15, 2012, 09:31:52 AM
Miss Manners addresses a similar question here:

http://jaylipp.fatcow.com/Fun/MissManners/manners_entertaining.html

The gist, as I read it, is that when it's a valuable piece, of course the guest offers to pay and of course the host says it's not necessary.  (She does a much better job of describing how the conversation goes.)  But it comes down to how it was used.  If the piece was being misused - i.e. the guest decides to throw the vase in the air and catch it - then the guest should expect to replace it at full value.  If it was a genuine oops, then the host should consider that "wear, tear and an occasional whoops are a normal part of running a household."

In the OP, I do believe it was a genuine oops and the host should graciously let the guest off the hook.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: LadyClaire on October 15, 2012, 09:47:06 AM
~Snip~

That, or accept that even rare and expensive items may break sometimes. A couple of friends of mine got a pair of delicate, multicolored liqueur glasses as wedding gifts. They refer to them as "the broken glasses" because they realized that the only way to actually enjoy that gift was to accept that the glasses would break, probably sooner than later, and drink out of them anyway. (So far, so good: they've been married 11 years, and still had both glasses when I last visited them, in June.)

~OT~ I read a story years ago (can't remember if it was true or fiction) about a young bride that bought a beautiful outfit but never felt that the occasion was right to wear it.  It hung in a garment bag in her closet for a couple of years, never worn.  She died an untimely death and her husband had her buried in the outfit. 

Your friends are doing the right thing IMO.  Use and enjoy what you have, you never know when it will be taken away from you.

My great-uncle got a new shirt for christmas, one year. It was a really nice shirt, nicer than what he usually bought for himself, and considerably more expensive than what he would have spent himself. He was so worried about ruining the shirt that he never wore it, always saying he was afraid of getting it stained or ripped, and that he was saving it for a truly special occasion.

He died of a massive heart attack while jogging on the beach. He was buried in the shirt.

My Mom has always told us after that to use things. Wear those "special occasion" outfits and eat off the good china, because life itself should be occasion enough.
Title: Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
Post by: Thipu1 on October 15, 2012, 10:14:28 AM
Most of the nice things we have, we use.  Some, we don't.

I have a small collection of Van Briggle pottery.  That stays on a nicely secure high shelf. 

You don't want your house to look like the velvet ropes should be up but, certain precautions should be taken.  Really valuable things should be safely out of the reach of children or known klutzes. 

However, if something of value breaks, I would offer compensation to the owner and mean it. 

That's unlikely to happen because, in the presence of rare things, we automatically assume the 'Museum position'... Hands in pockets or behind the back.