Author Topic: The generous gift we haven't received - update #33  (Read 9802 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Coley

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1157
The generous gift we haven't received - update #33
« on: September 27, 2013, 04:56:27 PM »
I'm trying to figure out how to handle an odd scenario. One of my dad's distant relatives offered to give DS an expensive musical instrument that she owns and no longer uses. This relative lives in another state. We aren't close; I've seen her only twice, but she was very fond of my dad (he's deceased). She learned that DS plays this instrument via Facebook. I posted a photo of him with the school band last spring, and she commented that she would like for him to have her instrument.

She offered the instrument in early May. She offered it enthusiastically, and I accepted her offer gratefully. Since then, we have PM'd several times about it. The dialogue usually is the same: She hasn't done anything with the instrument yet. She apologizes about the delay. She says she'll get to it soon. I always reply right away to let her know that it isn't a problem and we're very grateful that she's willing to share her instrument with DS.

School started in mid-August. I posted a first-day-of-school photo of DS. My relative saw the photo and commented in a panic that she hasn't sent the instrument yet. She asked me to PM her with our address. I PM'd her right away. Then she sent a follow-up PM saying that she took the instrument to a repair shop, but it would be a few weeks until it's ready. I haven't heard from her about it since then.

We have reached a point at which DS truly needs a new instrument. The one he's been using is quite old and in rough shape. The distant relative's offer of her instrument is still hanging there; however, we could buy DS a new instrument.  I haven't pressured her at all about sending her instrument because it's hers and the offer is so generous. It's ultimately her decision. I don't feel right pushing her about it. On the other hand, DS needs a new instrument sooner rather than later. I think she'd feel terrible if we bought one on our own after she offered DS hers.

Is there a polite way to address this with our relative? Would it be rude to ask her about the status of the instrument or to tell her that DS is in need of a new one? I don't want to say anything that would make her feel bad or guilty or anything like that. I guess I'm hoping to prompt her politely. Thoughts?
« Last Edit: October 07, 2013, 03:44:19 PM by Coley »

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30506
Re: The generous gift we haven't received.
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2013, 04:59:37 PM »
It would not be rude at all to follow up and inform her of the current situation.

I think you say, "DS is really going to need a new instrument within the next week. Will you be able to send that one you offered, or should I got get a new one?"

She could always send it later (if she reiterates her offer, or laments that now she can't give hers to him, you can say, "He can always use a spare to keep at home, and I think he'd enjoy knowing that he was playing on the same instrument you used").

Arila

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 711
Re: The generous gift we haven't received.
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2013, 05:03:06 PM »
When I was in the school band, we rented my instrument, and they weren't expected to be the bestest evar. You've left it a bit vague, but if his current one still functions, why is it so important that he have a new one? Based on the current information, I think you should stick it out with waiting for the relative's instrument.

Is there any opportunity for you all to visit the relative and just make the shipping go easier by taking it with you again when you go home? ;)

Especially since she's going to the expense of having it repaired to be in good working order, I think its important to wait. (Can his be repaired to get along a little longer?)

AlansGirl

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 40
Re: The generous gift we haven't received.
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2013, 05:04:25 PM »
Would it be possible to rent an instrument for him to use until hers arrives? If this is a marching band instrument, I remember a lot of our parents doing that until they knew whether or not we'd stick with it.

EllenS

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1368
Re: The generous gift we haven't received.
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2013, 05:05:08 PM »
I don't think it is rude, but I might phrase it as "checking on the repair shop's ETA". That way you are putting the onus on the shop, not her.  And then mention that DS's instrument is on its last legs and if it will be longer than X, you'll need to go ahead and get him one. 

This is not a guilt, trip, this is looking for information. She already said she would send it and gave you lots of specifics.  If you don't get a clear/satisfactory answer, I would drop it and assume it is never coming.  If the relative's instrument is wonderful enough to be useable after all these years, then DS can always use it when the second one wears out.

shhh its me

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6927
Re: The generous gift we haven't received.
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2013, 05:11:55 PM »
If she hadn't mentioned the repair shop I would say "let it go some people are made of good intentions."  but I assume she is telling the truth and she will be paying for the repair.  I think you can ask once directly if she goes back to (after the repair time frame)"hmm I still need to get that to you." I would just give up.

Coley

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1157
Re: The generous gift we haven't received.
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2013, 05:16:05 PM »
When I was in the school band, we rented my instrument, and they weren't expected to be the bestest evar. You've left it a bit vague, but if his current one still functions, why is it so important that he have a new one? Based on the current information, I think you should stick it out with waiting for the relative's instrument.

Is there any opportunity for you all to visit the relative and just make the shipping go easier by taking it with you again when you go home? ;)

Especially since she's going to the expense of having it repaired to be in good working order, I think its important to wait. (Can his be repaired to get along a little longer?)

DS's current instrument isn't a rental. It was given to him last year for free by a person we know who found it somewhere (I don't know where he found it). He didn't need the instrument. At the time we acquired it, I was skeptical that it was even playable, but we figured it wouldn't hurt to find out. The instrument didn't come with a case if that tells you anything. I mean, the guy who gave it to DS found it somewhere -- could have been somebody's basement or a dumpster for all I know. We took it to a shop, and it turned out that it could be repaired to playable condition. It is very rough in appearance (badly dented and scratched), and now DS is having some difficulty playing it. DS's band director is making some noises that DS might have a better experience with a better horn. When DS practices, we can hear he's struggling with it. We bought a used case for it from the repair shop, and even that is falling apart. It's really a mess. On top of that, if we take it in for repairs, then DS won't have an instrument to play, which could affect his grade.

Coley

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1157
Re: The generous gift we haven't received.
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2013, 05:18:10 PM »
Would it be possible to rent an instrument for him to use until hers arrives? If this is a marching band instrument, I remember a lot of our parents doing that until they knew whether or not we'd stick with it.

I've been wondering if we could rent one for a while. I'd have to check into the rental agreements to see if there are options as far as the length of the rental agreement.

Coley

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1157
Re: The generous gift we haven't received.
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2013, 05:19:38 PM »
I don't think it is rude, but I might phrase it as "checking on the repair shop's ETA". That way you are putting the onus on the shop, not her.  And then mention that DS's instrument is on its last legs and if it will be longer than X, you'll need to go ahead and get him one. 

This is not a guilt, trip, this is looking for information. She already said she would send it and gave you lots of specifics.  If you don't get a clear/satisfactory answer, I would drop it and assume it is never coming.  If the relative's instrument is wonderful enough to be useable after all these years, then DS can always use it when the second one wears out.

I like the idea of putting the onus on the repair shop. That might soften the message.

Coley

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1157
Re: The generous gift we haven't received.
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2013, 05:22:52 PM »
If she hadn't mentioned the repair shop I would say "let it go some people are made of good intentions."  but I assume she is telling the truth and she will be paying for the repair.  I think you can ask once directly if she goes back to (after the repair time frame)"hmm I still need to get that to you." I would just give up.

You're thinking the way I've been thinking about this. Is it a matter of good intentions? I don't know. She has initiated every exchange about this instrument, so I've been operating under the assumption that she really wants to do it. Of course, talking about it and doing it are two very different things. She may have some underlying hesitancy about giving up her instrument, which is fine of course. It's hers. She has to feel comfortable with giving it away. The instrument is very expensive, and I could understand if she changed her mind about it.

shhh its me

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6927
Re: The generous gift we haven't received.
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2013, 05:38:13 PM »
If she hadn't mentioned the repair shop I would say "let it go some people are made of good intentions."  but I assume she is telling the truth and she will be paying for the repair.  I think you can ask once directly if she goes back to (after the repair time frame)"hmm I still need to get that to you." I would just give up.

You're thinking the way I've been thinking about this. Is it a matter of good intentions? I don't know. She has initiated every exchange about this instrument, so I've been operating under the assumption that she really wants to do it. Of course, talking about it and doing it are two very different things. She may have some underlying hesitancy about giving up her instrument, which is fine of course. It's hers. She has to feel comfortable with giving it away. The instrument is very expensive, and I could understand if she changed her mind about it.

I don't think it can only be she changed her mind some people are just terrible at following up/finishing things.  It took 4  months to conclude it needed to be repaired , its not clear she took it to the shop yet. She could still eagerly intend to give it to your son and take 4 months to take it to the shop and 4 more to get a box and packing materials and 4 more to put it in the box then the last 4 months to take it to the post office. OR, she could get it to you in 3 weeks.

You could look into a rent to own instrument shop , from what I gathered the price doesn't work out to be way more then buying it outright on those terms( something like 25-30% more rather then rent to own furniture at 300% more the retail value) I also think you can buy the instruments at any time for the remaining balance. So maybe it will cost you an extra $20-50 to buy the instrument at the end of 90 days.

Lynn2000

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5067
Re: The generous gift we haven't received.
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2013, 05:56:29 PM »
I think I would look into renting/borrowing an instrument for DS first, and if that's not an option, I think I would just buy him another one. As you said, not being able to practice/play could affect his grade, and certainly trying to play on a poor-quality instrument will affect his enjoyment of it. If you can afford a new/new-to-him instrument, I would just do that, personally. Then if Relative never follows through, or doesn't do so very quickly, you don't have to stress about it anymore.

If/when Relative finally sends the instrument, it might be possible to sell the one you just bought, or if they keep well, keep both for the next time one needs to be repaired. I personally would just want to get this problem off my shoulders and get DS a working instrument, and anything extra that comes in the mail someday would just be gravy.

If she says anything about you getting him a new instrument, just be cheerful and breezy and say, "Oh yeah, the old one was in such bad repair, the thingie fell off and he just wasn't enjoying playing it. Now it's so great that we have two, he uses one at home and one at school, and he'll always have one to keep practicing with if the other has to be repaired." I mean, she can't reasonably be mad/hurt that you bought him another instrument, when she's taken this long to get you hers. This is a thing he needs for his studies, not a totally optional extra.
~Lynn2000

Amara

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2538
Re: The generous gift we haven't received.
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2013, 06:28:42 PM »
It could be that she intends to send it but is having difficulty with packaging and shipping. Depending on the size--French horn or tuba?--it could be a hassle and if it is that could be putting her off because of the hassle. Could you offer to pre-pay the shipping fee?

Zilla

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6506
    • Cooking
Re: The generous gift we haven't received.
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2013, 06:42:00 PM »
You don't know what condition of the one being sent to you. (if it get sent) If I was in your shoes, I go ahead and buy one for ds.  And if she sends it, then you can decide which to use and which to keep as backup.  Instruments always needs tuning/repair etc so it's handy to have a backup.  It's what we did.


I would not email/PM her again.  It seems you already had several conversations about it and I would just leave it alone till she brings it up again.

bopper

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12283
Re: The generous gift we haven't received.
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2013, 06:47:44 PM »
She may also not know how to ship the instrument.  Maybe you could look into that.
"Aunt Marge, not sure if you have looked into shipping options but I think the best option is UPS.  We will reimburse you the shipping as soon as we receive the instrument."