Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Holidays => Topic started by: Samgirl2 on November 20, 2012, 05:53:00 AM

Title: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: Samgirl2 on November 20, 2012, 05:53:00 AM
I'm not sure if this was just my BIL not thinking, or actually a bit rude?

My sister got married this summer and my BIL called me last night saying he wanted to discuss an idea for a Christmas present for her. He wanted to get her a concert ticket for a band she likes but didn't want to go with her because they are not his taste.

He said he had spoken to my parents and suggested they buy me a ticket as well, as their Christmas present to me, so that my sister and I could go together, but they told him they had already bought a present for me. He then asked if I would by my own ticket and his present to me would be to contribute something towards it (note, not pay the whole price so it would cost me money).

Now, the cheapest tickets are 65, going up to 120, and I am not a particular fan of this band either. I think they are ok, but I wouldn't choose to pay to see them.  I asked him when it was and he gave me a date next summer when I am actually away anyway so I explained I wouldn't be able to do that.

Then he asked if any of my sister's friends liked the band and I mentioned one who lives close by them. It was then he told me the concert was in a city 3 hours away, meaning paying for an overnight stay. I told him the friend in question wouldn't be able to do that as she's a single mum and doesn't have a lot of money, and would have to find a sitter. I suggested a friend who actually lives in that city, that way my sister could stay with her and it could keep costs down, but perhaps he should buy two tickets and offer to pay for my sister and her friend if he didn't want to go himself? He said he would think about it but would give first refusal to the friend who's a single Mum, despite my explanation of why this was a bad idea.

Is this just him trying to do something nice and not thinking, or is it a bit rude? Essentially he's buying his wife a ticket to a concert in a city that requires an overnight stay (hich he's not paying for) and he's asking someone else to part pay for their ticket to go with her...Well, actually first he was going to lump me with a ticket as a present from my parents, thank god they refused because I wouldn't have been impressed!

I think what he should be doing is buying two tickets and a hotel and telling my sister to choose someone to take. If he can't afford that, then he should find a different gift?

Edited to add that his wife (my sis) doesn't know anything about it and so will kind of be forced to spend money on travel and hotels.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: QueenofAllThings on November 20, 2012, 05:58:51 AM
Sounds like he's trying to do something nice for his wife, and is jumping through hoops so as not to have to do it with her.

He should either a) go with her, and make it a fun weekend or b) give up on the concert idea and buy her the double album.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: MariaE on November 20, 2012, 06:02:27 AM
I'd go with "trying to do something nice but didn't think it through". Partly because my DH did the same a few years back, but in my case it worked perfectly :)

Anecdote which can be skipped at will :)

I used to be a huge fan of NKOTB and was actually set to go to a concert with them back when I was 12. Unfortunately I ended up in the hospital instead, and missed out :(

Fast forward 20 years. I'd just discovered that NKTOB had gotten back together and were touring Europe! Not Denmark though, but they were coming to London. DH knew I wouldn't use that kind of money on myself if he didn't tell me to, so he said he'd give me a ticket for Christmas.

Yes, a ticket, because I would have gone alone if it had come to that.

What ended up happening was that I called my youngest sister (who absolutely adores London), and asked her if she'd like a ticket to the concert for her Christmas present, even though it meant she'd have to pay for travelling costs to London. She jumped at the chance, and we ended up having an amazing weekend together.

So yes, my DH gave me a Christmas present that caused me to spend more money, and we in turn gave my sister a Christmas present that caused her to spend more money.

What puts my DH's actions (and mine, for that matter) in the 'not rude' category is that we talked everything through in advance. We didn't just give my sister what would essentially have been a worthless present, if she hadn't had the money for travelling - we called her up first to make sure she'd be okay with it.

If BIL's doing the same - and not just springing this on people, including his wife - then I think he's in the clear.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: O'Dell on November 20, 2012, 10:00:05 AM
I think he's not thinking *and* being rude.

I kinda' wish your parents had told him that it was inappropriate for him to ask them that. And he should be getting a lot of brush off remarks from you: "That won't be possible" and "I can't help you" etc. I think you shouldn't even get involved to the point of offering suggestions or pointing out why his solutions won't work. That's just encouraging him to involved you. I suspect you'll be better off emphasizing how you are not involved and won't be involved in this sort of thing to head off this sort of thing in the future.

One other thing you can try in situations like this, when you think that someone has their heart in the right place but just hasn't thought it through, is to ask questions about the things that you see as rude. "So let me get this right: you asked my parents to make their gift to me something to save you money?" "You are asking me to spend money on buying a ticket and go out of town to save you money?" "Why not just borrow money from me and pay me back?" Basically restate his ideas from your point of view. Sometimes that jars people into realizing what they are really asking for, and they retract their request. Sometimes they don't get it or still find their request reasonable, in which case you can just go with the "not possible" "can't help you out" statements above.


Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: WillyNilly on November 20, 2012, 10:15:47 AM
Here's the only way I think its ok.  I think your BIL should buy your sister/his wife 2 tickets to the concert.  He should give them to her.  Whoo-hoo she jumps and squeals and gets excited.  At some point he should then say "now honestly this band is not my thing.  I'm happy to go with you but if you have a friend who you would have more fun attending with, I think it'd be a great idea for you to invite them."  At which point your sister can have a chat with any of her friends (surely she knows her friends best) and can offer one of them the ticket - for free - but be honest with them about the location and the costs of splitting a room and transportation.  If no friends can or want to go, your BIL should go with her, the two of them paying for the room, and they should compromise by going somewhere else he wants to go but your sister isn't nuts about sometime.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on November 20, 2012, 10:20:45 AM
Here's the only way I think its ok.  I think your BIL should buy your sister/his wife 2 tickets to the concert.  He should give them to her.  Whoo-hoo she jumps and squeals and gets excited.  At some point he should then say "now honestly this band is not my thing.  I'm happy to go with you but if you have a friend who you would have more fun attending with, I think it'd be a great idea for you to invite them."  At which point your sister can have a chat with any of her friends (surely she knows her friends best) and can offer one of them the ticket - for free - but be honest with them about the location and the costs of splitting a room and transportation.  If no friends can or want to go, your BIL should go with her, the two of them paying for the room, and they should compromise by going somewhere else he wants to go but your sister isn't nuts about sometime.

Yup.  I'm doing something similar for my nephews for Christmas.  I checked with them first to make sure it was something they'd be interested in.  They are each getting a pair of ski passes for a hill near me.  Since they are a family of three drivers and one vehicle, they can't drive themselves down.  So they invite a friend to join them but the friend has to drive - they'll split the gas costs.  They won't have accommodation costs because they can stay with me.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: LazyDaisy on November 20, 2012, 10:37:54 AM
I think this is just him trying to do something nice and not thinking. I'm of the opinion that tickets to events are a special kind of gift that requires the knowledge and consent of the recipient. For all BIL knows, his own wife may not be able/want to attend the concert herself. I have eclectic taste in music, and many bands that I love their music I would never go to one of their live concerts -- Korn comes to mind. I've gifted tickets to my parents, who are now at the point that they don't need any more stuff but love experience gifts. I always ask if the event is something they would enjoy and if the dates will work for them.

If Evil Daisy ever received a "gift" like the OP describes of a second ticket to the concert only to be company for the sister -- I'd have to tie her up, throw her in a box and encase it in cement to keep her from selling the ticket and using the cash to buy a real gift. But in all fairness she'd give BIL first dibs to buy it.  >:D
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: lowspark on November 20, 2012, 10:58:36 AM
I agree with this:
I think what he should be doing is buying two tickets and a hotel and telling my sister to choose someone to take. If he can't afford that, then he should find a different gift?

And this:
He should either a) go with her, and make it a fun weekend or b) give up on the concert idea and buy her the double album.


In other words, buy the whole package (two tickets + hotel) and then tell her to invite someone to go with as her guest but that if she can't find someone to go with, he will go.

If he can't do that, then he should pick a different gift.

I think he's got his heart in the right place but the way he's going about this is leaning toward rude, especially the part about making this a gift to you from your parents or a partial gift from him. It might be a case of not thinking it through but more likely a case of him being clueless.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: Kiara on November 20, 2012, 12:02:44 PM
Can I ask a stupid question?  Why does he need a second ticket in the first place?  If she loves the band, I doubt going alone would be too much of a hardship.  So really all he'd need to add is a hotel.  I admit this is coming from a single person's perspective...I've gone to concerts alone for 15 years, so I admit there may be something I'm missing!
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: Samgirl2 on November 20, 2012, 12:07:38 PM
OP here. My sister would definitely not be impressed if he bought her one ticket to go alone. She's just not that kind of person to go to stuff like that by herself.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: Kaypeep on November 20, 2012, 12:29:56 PM
I think he's being rude and clueless.  Buying tix to a concert 3 hours away is a burden.  Either he pays for the hotel as well, or scraps the idea altogether.

When I had a monumental age birthday, my friends gave me "a trip" to a European city.  Basically, one friend had a zillion frequent flier miles and said to just tell him when I wanted to go, and he'd buy the round trip ticket.  The catch was, no one else could go with me, and I had no money for hotels and incidentals.  So I never 'redeemed' my gift.  I appreciate the thought, but it ended up being a non-gift in the long run.  Your BIL's gift reminds me of this.  If she can't go to the other city, the whole plan will be for naught.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: CakeBeret on November 20, 2012, 12:47:06 PM
I think he's trying to do something nice and his heart's in the right place, but his execution is off. I wouldn't call him rude unless he was acting in a demanding or otherwise rude manner.

I can see this happening in my family. I can see my BIL wanting to buy my sister a ticket to something, and wanting me to go along with her.

Unfortunately, him trying to dictate your parents' gift to you is not cool at all, and I'm glad your parents didn't go for it. I think if your BIL wants her to go, he should ideally get her two tickets and let her choose a guest. Given the high cost of the tickets, I can see why he is reluctant to do that. If he absolutely can't afford two tickets, he can get her just one and let her ask around to see if a friend will go with her. I can see this backfiring badly, though. So I really think his best bet is to suck it up and buy two tickets, or think of a different gift.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: snowdragon on November 20, 2012, 12:51:19 PM
I vote rude. The idea that someone's gift needs to be something that they won't like but his wife will benefit from ? Is mercenary. I and would tell him even now not to pull this again.
  If he managed to get me a ticket I'd either sell it or give it away, not be forced into a show I have no interest in.  And then be frostily polite to BIL til he apologized
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: Shabooty on November 20, 2012, 01:30:05 PM
I too think his heart is in the right place and I don't think he's being rude.  However, I do think he's being cheap.  Having said that, I realize the cost of two tickets might be prohibitive, but if that's the case I think he should come up with a different gift idea.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: WillyNilly on November 20, 2012, 01:44:47 PM
I too think his heart is in the right place and I don't think he's being rude.  However, I do think he's being cheap.  Having said that, I realize the cost of two tickets might be prohibitive, but if that's the case I think he should come up with a different gift idea.

I think his heart is in the right place in regard to his wife.  But overall I don't think his heart is in the right place at all if he thinks the OP should totally forgo receiving a gift for herself - the extreme of paying for the privilege of not getting a gift - all so his wife can get a better gift.  After all OP getting a ticket to the concert isn't a gift to OP at all - OP doesn't like the band.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: wx4caster on November 20, 2012, 01:56:34 PM
BIL need to put on his big boy panties and buy 2 tickets, one for his wife and one for himself.  Somebody else could use the his ticket instead, but it's not cool to try and get an experience gift to your new wife subsidized by a third party.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: hobish on November 20, 2012, 02:30:48 PM
Here's the only way I think its ok.  I think your BIL should buy your sister/his wife 2 tickets to the concert.  He should give them to her.  Whoo-hoo she jumps and squeals and gets excited.  At some point he should then say "now honestly this band is not my thing.  I'm happy to go with you but if you have a friend who you would have more fun attending with, I think it'd be a great idea for you to invite them."  At which point your sister can have a chat with any of her friends (surely she knows her friends best) and can offer one of them the ticket - for free - but be honest with them about the location and the costs of splitting a room and transportation.  If no friends can or want to go, your BIL should go with her, the two of them paying for the room, and they should compromise by going somewhere else he wants to go but your sister isn't nuts about sometime.

This.
I cannot imagine my BIL calling my parents and asking them to forego whatever gift plans they had for me so that he could get out of going to a concert with his wife, and send me as an escort instead. An escort who pays for incidentals like a hotel room, even. Maybe his heart is in the right place, but that is kind of rude, thoughtless at the very least. I like the O'Dell's idea of putting the questions back on him.

Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: Margo on November 20, 2012, 03:01:59 PM
I think BIL is very rude. He's trying to do something nice for his wife, but not nice enough to put himself out by either attending a gig for a band he's not very interested in, or paying for 2 tickets so his wife can go with a friend. (also - what would his wife prefer?She might feel she'd rather go with him than with  a different friend, even if it's less fun for him. After all, it's his gift to her, not something he's buying for himself.

I think that unless he knew for sure that you were also a huge fan of the band, his suggestion to your parents was very rude indeed, and I hope that your parents would have said no even if they hadn't already bought you anything.

I think WillyNilly's posts are spot on, and that he should either do the thing properly or not at all.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: miranova on November 20, 2012, 03:14:51 PM
but it's not cool to try and get an experience gift to your new wife subsidized by a third party.

This, exactly.  It would be one thing if OP liked the band and had mentioned wanting to go or something.  But this gift is solely for his wife and he has now asked 2 family members to essentially help pay for it.  That's really uncool.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: JenJay on November 20, 2012, 03:28:06 PM
Here's the only way I think its ok.  I think your BIL should buy your sister/his wife 2 tickets to the concert.  He should give them to her.  Whoo-hoo she jumps and squeals and gets excited.  At some point he should then say "now honestly this band is not my thing.  I'm happy to go with you but if you have a friend who you would have more fun attending with, I think it'd be a great idea for you to invite them."  At which point your sister can have a chat with any of her friends (surely she knows her friends best) and can offer one of them the ticket - for free - but be honest with them about the location and the costs of splitting a room and transportation.  If no friends can or want to go, your BIL should go with her, the two of them paying for the room, and they should compromise by going somewhere else he wants to go but your sister isn't nuts about sometime.

I agree 100%
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: Deetee on November 20, 2012, 05:13:09 PM
I agree with everyone. This can be a good gift, but you don't ask other people to pay for these type of gifts unless they enthusiasticly want to.

If the OP really wanted to see the band AND the parents hadn't picked out a gift AND it was in the right price range AND the overnight was not a issue, then it may have been a cool thing for the parents to pay for hers. But in this case, it failed on all four points so the BIL should drop it.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: TootsNYC on November 20, 2012, 07:28:01 PM
Here's the only way I think its ok.  I think your BIL should buy your sister/his wife 2 tickets to the concert.  He should give them to her.  Whoo-hoo she jumps and squeals and gets excited.  At some point he should then say "now honestly this band is not my thing.  I'm happy to go with you but if you have a friend who you would have more fun attending with, I think it'd be a great idea for you to invite them."  At which point your sister can have a chat with any of her friends (surely she knows her friends best) and can offer one of them the ticket - for free - but be honest with them about the location and the costs of splitting a room and transportation.  If no friends can or want to go, your BIL should go with her, the two of them paying for the room, and they should compromise by going somewhere else he wants to go but your sister isn't nuts about sometime.

And I don't think that you would be out of line to explain this to him.

He has involved you, and so you are completely free to give advice, give "life coaching," give etiquette lessons, etc.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: doodlemor on November 20, 2012, 08:11:11 PM
Here's the only way I think its ok.  I think your BIL should buy your sister/his wife 2 tickets to the concert.  He should give them to her.  Whoo-hoo she jumps and squeals and gets excited.  At some point he should then say "now honestly this band is not my thing.  I'm happy to go with you but if you have a friend who you would have more fun attending with, I think it'd be a great idea for you to invite them."  At which point your sister can have a chat with any of her friends (surely she knows her friends best) and can offer one of them the ticket - for free - but be honest with them about the location and the costs of splitting a room and transportation.  If no friends can or want to go, your BIL should go with her, the two of them paying for the room, and they should compromise by going somewhere else he wants to go but your sister isn't nuts about sometime.

I think that BIL needs to put his big boy panties on and go the the concert if that is his wife's wish.

My husband is not fond of the opera, but he will politely go with me.  I go with him and look at antique cars and gardens.  Compromise is important in marriage or in any close relation*ship.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: SamiHami on November 20, 2012, 08:28:56 PM
I never say this, but I actually think the OP should print out this thread and show it to BIL. Seeing how many different people unanimously agree that he is off base with this idea might bring him back to reality.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: katycoo on November 20, 2012, 08:38:05 PM
Here's the rule:  When you buy tickets for someone, you give them 2,  unless it is preplanned that you are going with them. 

If you're not going, they get to choose a friend to go with.  Its all part of the gift IMO.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: TootsNYC on November 21, 2012, 07:03:20 AM
Here's the rule:  When you buy tickets for someone, you give them 2,  unless it is preplanned that you are going with them. 

If you're not going, they get to choose a friend to go with.  Its all part of the gift IMO.

I think the BIL's problem is that the second ticket is out of his budget.

Which means that, although this is a great idea, he can't afford it.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: cicero on November 21, 2012, 07:33:47 AM
while i think he may have *started out* being clueless /romantic, I think he ended up being rude. for starters - I am not a fan of the "great gift that will cost you $$$$ to use". (My ex was the King of these and never understand why it might be awkward). Obviously, there are often costs related to going out, and it's not *always* rude to buy someone a concert ticket or restaurant meal, but if the recipient is going to have add gas money, hotel, meals, etc for a concert that they wouldn't have gone to otherwise, it becomes an unwelcome gift.

Going to your parents and trying to dictate this gift was rude. the only way it would have been ok is if this was something that he knew that you wanted, something you talked about, something they might have thought of buying you anyway and he is giving them a head's up that he is buying your sister a ticket... but not in the way that he did this.

I agree with those who say he should either *person*-up, buy two tickets, go with the wife, even if it's not his cuppa tea and stop bothering the whole world about this. OR buy her something else.
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: Bijou on November 23, 2012, 12:43:37 PM
The whole idea of this is just self serving.  He's living in a vacuum if he thinks that everyone else's world revolves around his wife to the exclusion of anyone else.   He tried to make your parents' gift to you actually be a gift for your sister, as though they would agree with him that this would be a good idea. 

If he wants to impress her with this gift which she would apparently love, he should be willing to make the "sacrifice" of taking her to the concert, himself, unless there is some reason he cannot go.  (And I don't mean having to work). 
.  . 
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: Samgirl2 on November 23, 2012, 05:19:53 PM
OP here.

So, it turns out BIL needs to clue up fast I think, and my sister might be unwittingly helping show him the correct way.

She phoned for a catch up last night and during the conversation I said I was stuck with what to get our Mum for Christmas. Get this, my sister had just finished booking 2 tickets for my Mum and my Dad to a play that is coming to their town in January. My Mum had been wanting to see it for ages so my sister phoned my Dad in secret to check which nights they would be free and to ask if it was ok to go ahead and get two tickets, one for Mum and one for Dad to go with her.

My Dad told my sister that it was fine if the ticket for him was his Christmas present but my sister insisted no, he had never even heard of this play before, didn't have a clue whether he would enjoy it and his ticket was just so that Mum would enjoy it having someone to go with. If he didn't want to go she could take her friend instead. My sister told him she would be getting him his own present, not to be silly.

I really really hope she tell BIL about this so he knows what she expects in this kind of situation!

Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: Bijou on November 23, 2012, 08:44:30 PM
Your sister sounds like quite a smart gal.  Maybe it'll rub off on her devoted husband.  Maybe someday he'll look back (hopefully, soon) on this gift fiasco and wonder at how clueless he was.   :o
Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: cicero on November 26, 2012, 05:40:40 AM
your sista is one classy gal! I wonder if she is telling you this whole story because she caught wind of her husband's brilliant idea?

Title: Re: Dictating someone else's present?
Post by: LifeOnPluto on November 26, 2012, 06:12:04 AM
Your BIL has really dropped the ball. If he couldn't afford to buy two tickets, he should have scrapped the idea and got her another preset instead. Only getting one ticket means a big imposition on someone else.

Also, while some people are ok with going to concerts by themselves, I'd estimate that the majority of people would prefer to go with a friend.

And if money is a bit tight for your sister and BIL, it was foolish to buy her a gift that would result in her having to fork out more for travel and accommodation, etc.