Author Topic: Returing gift: technically rude, but is it hurtful?  (Read 7804 times)

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Elizabeth

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Returing gift: technically rude, but is it hurtful?
« on: November 28, 2012, 03:42:14 PM »
My MIL gave me a gift several years ago. Let's say it was a pie plate - but not just any pie plate. She traveled extensively in her younger days, and this was a high-quality, handmade, colorfully painted pie plate that she got during her travels. She bought it to give to someone as a gift (though she didn't have a particular person in mind at the time) and held onto it for a long time, and finally decided to give it to me. Let's also say that it is virtually indestructible, so claiming that it broke wouldn't fly.

Here's the thing. I am not at all into making pie. I cook when I need to, but spending time in the kitchen is not something that I do for fun. MIL has never seen me make a pie, and I've never given her any indication that I would want to spend my time that way.

When I was given the pie plate, I oohed and aahed, saying how pretty it was and thanking her. (The colors and pattern aren't to my taste, but I kept that to myself, of course.) Normally, I'd just quietly give the unwanted gift  to goodwill and be done with it, but she explicitly said when she gave it, "Now, this is very special to me since I picked it up in [country]. I don't want it to just sit in a drawer! I want you to use it." I wasn't sure what to say so I just smiled and nodded.

I've held on to this thing for years - and it has been sitting in a drawer. I have yet to make a single pie. I am running low on space and clearing things out, and I really want to get rid of this thing. My MIL does bake pies, and she does a lovely job, and I really think she'd rather have the plate herself than have it given to goodwill.

I know that returning a gift to the giver is rude, but she *is* family and I think things can be more flexible there. What I worry about is hurting her feelings. Do you think this is a gentle way of putting things?

"MIL, I was reorganizing the kitchen the other day and came across this pie plate. I feel terrible because it's such a great plate, but I've never made a pie, so it's just going to waste. Is there someone that you know of that would be able to take advantage of the plate? Perhaps you might want to use it yourself? It would make me really happy to see someone using it."

If you think I should just give the pie plate to goodwill and not say anything (even though MIL would be REALLY hurt and upset if she ever found out), let me know.

Sharnita

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Re: Returing gift: technically rude, but is it hurtful?
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2012, 03:50:32 PM »
hmmm, I was thinking that if you belong to a church the ladies sometimes cooks and bake for various special dinners - maybe oyu could donate it for use for something like that?  Or if you don't belong to a church some other school or community group?  I think giving/offering it back could be hurtful so I wouldn't do that but something so nice and special I'd want to kind of who was putting it to use.

Mikayla

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Re: Returing gift: technically rude, but is it hurtful?
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2012, 03:51:19 PM »
I think this is a know your audience thing.  My MIL returned something to me once, and I understood and appreciated the gesture.  If my brother tried this with his MIL, they'd both make the scrolling headlines.


MindsEye

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Re: Returing gift: technically rude, but is it hurtful?
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2012, 04:18:38 PM »
Well, just because it is a pie plate doesn't mean that you have to use it only for making pies.    ;)

Do you need someplace to drop your wallet/keys/change when you come in the door?  Pie plate!
Do you need someplace to pile pens and sticky note pads?  Pie plate!
Do you need something to put under a potted plant?  Pie plate!
Do you need someplace to drop your earrings/necklace/watch at night?  Pie plate!
Do you need a tray for your pill bottles in the bathroom?  Pie plate!

Sophia

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Re: Returing gift: technically rude, but is it hurtful?
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2012, 04:24:06 PM »
Serve pasta,
heat rolls
...

MindsEye

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Re: Returing gift: technically rude, but is it hurtful?
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2012, 04:26:54 PM »
Um, actually, is this item really a pie plate or is "pie plate" a stand-in for something else?

Because if it is something else then some of my suggestions might not fly... but still, whatever it is, I would try to be creative and look for alternate uses for the object before you ponder returning or donating it.

gramma dishes

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Re: Returing gift: technically rude, but is it hurtful?
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2012, 04:34:11 PM »
I would be afraid to give it away because I'd be afraid that someday she might say something to the effect of "You know, Elizabeth, I've never seen you use that pie plate from Exotic Country that I gave you. 

It has occurred to me that maybe that wasn't the best gift I could have chosen for you, but I do love that plate and I guess I was hoping you would too.  I don't want to be a 'taker backer' but would you consider letting me borrow it back for awhile?  Or maybe I could get you something you actually would like better to replace that plate."

(I do realize that we're probably not actually talking about a pie plate here, but the idea would be the same.)
« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 04:35:50 PM by gramma dishes »

TurtleDove

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Re: Returing gift: technically rude, but is it hurtful?
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2012, 04:35:39 PM »
It's a know your audience thing, as PPs pointed out.  I am with MindsEye about other uses for the pie plate.  As an aside, if it is not actually a pie plate I think you should let the board know what it really is because I think it makes a difference in the advice you will get.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Returing gift: technically rude, but is it hurtful?
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2012, 04:39:40 PM »
I get that you are not really talking about a pie plate.  But as other suggested, is it something that can be used for something else? 

I honestly think this is one of those things that my MIL would always feel a little hurt that I didn't want to keep it as a keepsake of her, no matter if I didn't want to use it.  People are odd about things like that, even people you don't consider overly sentimental.   


WillyNilly

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Re: Returing gift: technically rude, but is it hurtful?
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2012, 04:46:55 PM »
"MIL, I was reorganizing the kitchen the other day and came across this pie plate. I feel terrible because it's such a great plate, but I've never made a pie, so it's just going to waste. Is there someone that you know of that would be able to take advantage of the plate? Perhaps you might want to use it yourself? It would make me really happy to see someone using it."

In my family this would be totally fine.  So if you think it'd be ok, I say go for it. 

I also do tend to use things in ways other then their "stated" purposes (I think I blew my friend's mind when I suggested she could use the small, shallow built in "hamper" in her bathroom to hold extra toilet paper - she'd been living in her house for 25+ years and it never occurred to her that it could be for storage and not used as a hamper!) so if you can get creative, do so.

O'Dell

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Re: Returing gift: technically rude, but is it hurtful?
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2012, 04:54:48 PM »
I think it's a know-your-audience thing. Honestly I could offer something back to most people I know, friends and relatives, but none of them would give me a gift with the kind of emotional strings on it that you MIL has. I think you should keep it or destroy it. I know you said it's virtually indestructible but I think you should put that to the test.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

doodlemor

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Re: Returing gift: technically rude, but is it hurtful?
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2012, 04:55:29 PM »
 I agree with those who think that her feelings will be hurt. 

Think of this with the perspective of time.  Some day you might decide to make a pie, or someone else in your family will want this to remember MIL. 

Here is a link to Grandma Miller's Swedish Apple Pie, which isn't really a pie.  It has no crust, and is quite tasty.  I make a half recipe all the time in a pie plate - it's very easy to do.

http://www.food.com/recipe/grammie-millers-swedish-apple-pie-84441

GreenBird

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Re: Returing gift: technically rude, but is it hurtful?
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2012, 05:07:57 PM »
I'd really hesitate to give it back to her, or even to donate it locally on the tiny chance that she'd come across the item in a Goodwill store or something.  Have you moved during the years that you've had the 'pie plate', or might you move anytime soon?  It may be virtually unbreakable, but pretty much anything can be "lost during the move"!

Eden

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Re: Returing gift: technically rude, but is it hurtful?
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2012, 05:08:58 PM »
What about next time she serves pie say something like, "Oh you do such a good job with these. You know, I realized that, beautiful as it is, I really haven't been using the pie plate you gave me. I appreciate that you entrusted it to me, but maybe it should go to someone who will make better use of it. Would you like it back?"

SPuck

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Re: Returing gift: technically rude, but is it hurtful?
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2012, 05:12:18 PM »
There is nothing wrong with saying what the object is.

On a gift that has sentential significance, can you give it someone else in the family you know makes pies?