Author Topic: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things  (Read 6376 times)

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MindsEye

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S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
« on: June 15, 2012, 10:02:32 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?)

Zilla

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Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2012, 10:07:51 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.

siamesecat2965

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Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2012, 10:27:55 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.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 10:30:30 AM by siamesecat2965 »

Outdoor Girl

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Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2012, 10:36:48 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.
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purplemuse

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Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 10:52:46 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.

It's good to be Queen

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Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 12:33:41 PM »
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!

jaxsue

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Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 12:46:35 PM »
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

SuperMartianRobotGirl

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Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2012, 12:50:01 PM »
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.

Lynnv

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Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2012, 12:59:46 PM »
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. 
Lynn

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bloo

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Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2012, 01:47:21 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?'

jane7166

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Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2012, 03:06:10 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. 

miranova

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Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2012, 04:24:05 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.

Judah

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Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2012, 04:46:28 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.
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magicdomino

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Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2012, 05:20:35 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.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 10:23:27 AM by magicdomino »

SuperMartianRobotGirl

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Re: S/O Breaking things... Replacing broken things
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2012, 05:56:17 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.