Author Topic: Should I take the $$?  (Read 2378 times)

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geekmommy2

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Should I take the $$?
« on: April 04, 2007, 08:46:43 PM »
Hi:

I could use some help in settling an argument between me and my mom.  My MIL was visiting over Christmas.  We served dinner on our dining room table using a linen tablecloth she had given me.  During dinner, she (MIL) spilled her Dr. Pepper on the tablecloth and various side dishes.  It wasn't a big deal; we mopped it up and continued with dinner. 

I wrapped up the tablecloth to take to the cleaners the next day.  My MIL offered my husband a twenty to pay for the dry-cleaning.  He dropped of the tablecloth that day and she left to fly back home.  I didn't know she had paid until I went to pick up the tablecloth and my husband gave me the $$. 

I told my mom about the spill and the $$ and she said that I should give the money back, spills are part of being a hostess and it is offensive to make your guests pay for accidents.  While I don't feel like my MIL owed me the $$, I feel it was a thoughtful gesture to make, even though I would have been dry-cleaning the tablecloth anyway. 

My mom brings this up weekly that I should return the $$ with apologies.  What do you all think?

Geekmommy2

HorseFreak

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Re: Should I take the $$?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2007, 08:52:03 PM »
I'd return it or take her out for lunch next time you see her.

I invited some friends to stay in my family's vacation home for a weekend. One girl started her monthly cycle unexpectedly and insisted on replacing the sheet she "ruined." I told her we'd try washing it first but her boyfriend went out and bought a new one. I made him return it after the sheet come out spotless in the wash. I didn't really care if it didn't come out perfectly since the sheets are as old as I am and only used by my immediate family (renters bring their own).

People always feel horrible about these things but it's usually not a big deal.

Gwywnnydd

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Re: Should I take the $$?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2007, 08:55:52 PM »
My mom brings this up weekly that I should return the $$ with apologies.  What do you all think?

Which route would offend your MIL least: returning the money, or letting her pay for a mistake?

If it were me, I'd feel bad enough about making a mess that I'd feel obligated to pay to put it right.




Hawkwatcher

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Re: Should I take the $$?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2007, 08:58:22 PM »
No, I do not think that you need to return the money or apologize.  Indeed, you might embarrass your MIL if she feels that you are making too big of a deal out of this.  If you are really worried about paying her back, take your MIL out to eat the next time you see her as another poster suggested.

As for your mother, you should refuse to discuss the matter with her.  She should not be talking to you about this on a weekly basis.

Jaywalker

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Re: Should I take the $$?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2007, 09:13:17 PM »
your DH should have refused the money then and there -- but to give it back now is nutsy -- it draws WAY too much attention to a long ago incident -- and it was generous of her to pay for the cleaning and in a way that you didn't have to accept the money (she gave it to her son -- so any inappropriateness in accepting it is on him and how HE was raised, ahem)  to send it back now makes a big deal out of it

and cool your mother's jets -- she shouldn't be nagging you about this -- one comment, perhaps -- but then she needs to shut up and let you lead your own life -- once you have heard her and continued in your own course, that should be the end of it

EvilAlice

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Re: Should I take the $$?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2007, 09:16:02 PM »
Quote
Indeed, you might embarrass your MIL if she feels that you are making too big of a deal out of this.

I agree.  Your MIL was embarrassed, wanted to do what she could to make it right, and I'm sure thinks the incident is over.  You didn't know about her paying or get an opportunity to graciously insist she not pay, so you have to graciously let it be over. 

It's silly to get into a whole repayment thing for $20.  The real repayment is, she acted decently and you have the grace to let it not be a big deal.  She respected you, you are respecting her- this is worth millions.  Who cares about $20 in a case like this.

ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Should I take the $$?
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2007, 10:26:59 PM »
I think Jaywalker and EvilAlice have really good perspectives on this one. 
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

sammycat

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Re: Should I take the $$?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2007, 03:29:33 AM »
Your MIL sounds like a really nice lady to take the action she did :).

I second taking her out for lunch/dinner next time you see her, or if that is going to be a long time from now, maybe send a bunch of flowers "just because".

Evil Duckie

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Re: Should I take the $$?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2007, 10:07:48 AM »
Your MIL sounds like she was trying to do the right thing.

I would instead of returning the money since it has been a while I would send her some flowers and then take her out to lunch telling her it is because she is a wonderful and classy lady.

As to your Mom. Tell the matter is settled and then don't discuss it.

A side note. I always assume when I use my good white linen table cloth that it will get stains that have to be treated so I would think nothing about something being spilled on it. This might be because I have a house of males with most teenagers.



edited due to a typo.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2007, 11:54:47 AM by mom of boys »

Sibby

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Re: Should I take the $$?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2007, 12:40:10 PM »
Taking her out to lunch is an idea, but what I would do, if you host her somewhat regularly is, buy something nice for your table with the $20, perhaps a vase, centerpiece or serving platter, or if she has a special dish she always contributes a dish to serve that in (like a nice gravy boat if she makes awesome gravy or a salad serving set if that's her favorite).  Next time she comes to dinner, use the cloth and hte new item, personalized to her (her favorite flowers in the vase, her favorite dish on the platter), smile and say, "oh I just wanted to thank you for offering to pay for the stain, as you can see it came out.  I felt terrible you paid tho, so I hope you don't mind I used the funds to buy this in your honor."

I always grew up with certain items being named after family members (my China hutch is named John Willy, I have a serving bowl named "benjamin's bowl", etc).  It adds a personal touch, and a level of intimacy that trumps formality everytime.  Plus it's a fun conversation piece for people new to the table - when they ask where something is and I absentmindly say "it's on John Willy..." before catching myself.

Esther_bunny

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Re: Should I take the $$?
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2007, 08:16:54 PM »
Your MIL "offered" to pay for the drycleaning, you didn't make her do anything.
I don't really see how it's any of your mom's business and if she feels that passionately about it maybe you can sweetly suggest that *she*  give your MIL $20.

ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Should I take the $$?
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2007, 12:45:08 PM »
Taking her out to lunch is an idea, but what I would do, if you host her somewhat regularly is, buy something nice for your table with the $20, perhaps a vase, centerpiece or serving platter, or if she has a special dish she always contributes a dish to serve that in (like a nice gravy boat if she makes awesome gravy or a salad serving set if that's her favorite).  Next time she comes to dinner, use the cloth and hte new item, personalized to her (her favorite flowers in the vase, her favorite dish on the platter), smile and say, "oh I just wanted to thank you for offering to pay for the stain, as you can see it came out.  I felt terrible you paid tho, so I hope you don't mind I used the funds to buy this in your honor."

I always grew up with certain items being named after family members (my China hutch is named John Willy, I have a serving bowl named "benjamin's bowl", etc).  It adds a personal touch, and a level of intimacy that trumps formality everytime.  Plus it's a fun conversation piece for people new to the table - when they ask where something is and I absentmindly say "it's on John Willy..." before catching myself.

What a great idea, sibby!

And what a cool concept for your personal items.  :DI am going to have to consider doing that, if you dont mind...
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

Sibby

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Re: Should I take the $$?
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2007, 02:21:02 PM »
Taking her out to lunch is an idea, but what I would do, if you host her somewhat regularly is, buy something nice for your table with the $20, perhaps a vase, centerpiece or serving platter, or if she has a special dish she always contributes a dish to serve that in (like a nice gravy boat if she makes awesome gravy or a salad serving set if that's her favorite).  Next time she comes to dinner, use the cloth and hte new item, personalized to her (her favorite flowers in the vase, her favorite dish on the platter), smile and say, "oh I just wanted to thank you for offering to pay for the stain, as you can see it came out.  I felt terrible you paid tho, so I hope you don't mind I used the funds to buy this in your honor."

I always grew up with certain items being named after family members (my China hutch is named John Willy, I have a serving bowl named "benjamin's bowl", etc).  It adds a personal touch, and a level of intimacy that trumps formality everytime.  Plus it's a fun conversation piece for people new to the table - when they ask where something is and I absentmindly say "it's on John Willy..." before catching myself.

What a great idea, sibby!

And what a cool concept for your personal items.  :DI am going to have to consider doing that, if you dont mind...

Silly, of course I don't mind, that's why I suggested it!
 ;D

Lisbeth

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Re: Should I take the $$?
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2007, 02:29:28 PM »
In your specific situation, I think it's none of your mother's business whether or not you accept compensation for damages from a guest.

But, if I were hosting, and a guest did something that caused serious damage to my property that entailed a significant effort in time or money to repair or replace, I would expect them to offer a genuine apology and compensation for the damage and/or repairs, and I would accept it. 

But I'm not sure that I'd outright demand compensation from a guest unless they were seriously negligent or outright destructive.  If it's just normal wear and tear, and this sounds like it, I'd probably say, "Don't worry about it."

Since it meant a lot to your MIL to pay for the cleaning (which was really nice of her), I'd accept the pay, but then try to do something nice for her afterwards.
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Ane

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Re: Should I take the $$?
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2007, 04:16:44 PM »
Next time she comes to dinner, use the cloth and hte new item, personalized to her (her favorite flowers in the vase, her favorite dish on the platter), smile and say, "oh I just wanted to thank you for offering to pay for the stain, as you can see it came out.  I felt terrible you paid tho, so I hope you don't mind I used the funds to buy this in your honor."

I just wanted to say what a wonderful and gracious idea I think that is  :)