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The Disappearing Gift Kitty

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My DD asked me what she ought to do about an awkward situation at her daughter's pre-school group.  DD is the social secretary of the parents committee and as the teacher was leaving, the parents were asked to contribute to a gift for her.  DD arranged a collection among parents and raised $150 (this covers three classes).  As DD was going on holiday another committee member volunteered to get the present and give it at a small ceremony the following week.  When DD returned from holiday several parents approached her complaining about the gift given, some even quite annoyed.   After some invesigation (including contacting the ex-teacher) it turns out that the gift would have amounted to approximately $30.    DD hasn't approached the committee member concerned yet, but has asked her to meet her to discuss a few matters about the Committee.  She will have to address the matter of the missing money but is worrying about how to handle it.

If I was in her position and I was absolutely sure that only $30 out of the $150 was used on the gift, I would probably bring it up by saying, "What did you use the remaining $120 for? Has another gift been ordered for teacher?". That way, there's an apparent presumption of innocence on the part of the buyer.

That's the first thing that comes to my mind, but I'll be interested to see what other have to say.


I would start by the assumption that there is some kind of mistake or misunderstanding. like - maybe there was a gift card in there that got overlooked? maybe she bought something that was expensive but looks cheap? maybe she got mixed up and thought there was only 30 $?

so I would start by asking Committee Member if she has the receipt ("we need it for our records"). If she doesn't (which i imagine is the case), then i would flat out ask her how much she spent on the gift and was there any money leftover. politely of course, but make it like a "we need to get to the botom of this".

if this is a mistake or some kind of misunderstanding, that's one thing . but if someone stole my and other parents' money, i wouldm't be too happy. I would say "so you got her the purple cat mink stole, right? I think those run for about 30$, right? and did you get her anything else?"

Just to clarify, DD asked one of her friends exactly what was bought and checked out the prices, the range would be $20 to $35 max.  She rang the teacher herself, being careful not to let on about the problem, and asked what was given and if she liked it, just to check that it was the only present.  She did mention wanting the receipt for the accounts records to the member concerned, and the reply was "oh, I'll have to try and find it somewhere".   I myself suggested to DD that she say she had visited the teacher, seen the present herself, in which case money was owing back, that DD was sure the member was only trying to save the parents from overspending.

Let DD be honest. 

There were complaints from those that had contributed toward the gift.  From what DD has learned, those complaints are justified and she is following up on this. 


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