Etiquette School is in session! > "What an interesting assumption."

"I Bought You A Gift... Now Send Me a Check"

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Many years ago, a young artist from my hometown did a painting and created prints from it portraying the best known scene in the city.  It touched mann and was a huge success, launching her career.  She has done many more paintings since.  At the time, I was struggling also, mostly to keep the rent paid.  That first print was selling for $100 and as much as I liked it, I couldn't even think of spending that kind of money on it then.  Times change.  I've since met and become friends with that artist and her family, and that first print, when available on the secondary market, sells now for about $3,000. (I still want one but...)

She has done two others of the same street corner, although the settings are in different time periods.  I bought #3 about 5 years ago for $400. A few weeks ago I saw #2 on Craigslist, back in my hometown, selling for $575, claiming to be in mint condition.  I spoke to the seller, called the artist and verified that she knows him and will vouch for him.  Seems ok so far.

Since it's about 400 miles to 'home' from where I live, I asked my mom if she would go and check out the print, verify that it's in good condition, pick it up and hold it for me.  She agreed so I sent a check to her for the $575.  She examined the piece, paid the man, and took it home.  She called that night to confirm and said that he also had other prints from the same artist, one of which she knew I would love to have, so she bought it for me.  I expressed my appreciation and said I'll probably be up the spring and will being everything back then.

Tonight she called and in the course of talking, mentioned that she had received the credit card bill for the print.  I reminded her that I had sent her the check for $575 for the first print and she replied "Oh yeah, I remember depositing that."  She then said that the second print was $160.  "Uh, ok."  <Add pregnant pause>  I said "And..."  She goes on to say "Well, next time you're writing checks you can send me one."  "For what?"  "$160.00.  I knew you'd love to have that print."  "Uhm, yeah, but... I didn't ask you to buy it and when you did I understood you did it of your own volition..."  "Just send me a check, ok?"

So what's the consensus here?  I can afford to send the check, so that's not an issue. I won't miss a meal over it but feel a little backed into a corner on this.  :-\

Not sure how correct this is, but I'd tell her that she said she bought it for me, and that if she didn't mean that to indicate it was a gift then she could keep the print.  You're not obligated to spend your money on something you had no intention of buying.  It doesn't matter who did the actual purchasing, either it was a gift OR she spent your money without your permission or request. 

I think she should put it back on Craig's List. That's a fair amount of money to spend without asking someone, and it sounds like you were thinking she was buying it for you, and she was thinking that she was purchasing it since you couldn't be there. I can understand the confusion. Start with that talk and see what happens. You mention that the $160 wouldn't break you, would it break her?

Um, not OK. you didn't ask her to do this. She's extorting money from you.

"On second thought, Mom, why don't you just keep it."


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