My SIL and I were driving through town last night and she said she was disgusted her MIL was threatening not to buy my youngest nephew a birthday gift next year as he hadn't thanked her for this year's. She thought that was "very harsh".
[BG: My nephews are two of the most spoiled and ungrateful kids on the planet and in their lifetimes (one is nearly 16, the other is 14) I don't believe we've ever had more than a couple of 'thank yous' for either Christmas and birthday combined. My SIL and BIL are equally bad at acknowledging gifts. If it wasn't for DH's insistence that they're family, none of them would have had nothing from us for years. My SIL and BIL live in Hong Kong, the boys are at school in the UK and we see them maybe twice a year.]
She asked my opinion and I said I could kind of see where she was coming from as it was one of my pet peeves when people didn't acknowledge gifts. She rolled her eyes and said: "Oh, I guess he hasn't thanked you either then."
Me: "SIL, he never does. Neither of them do."
SIL: "What do you mean? I tell them to."
Me: "I'm sure you do, but they don't. I can't remember the last time either of them thanked us for a gift."
Cue a great big strop on her part about how people don't appreciate how busy her boys are while they're away at school and it was unreasonable to expect them to put this kind of thing at the top of their priority list, they're only teenage boys after all...
At which point I decided it was never going to be a reasonable discussion and she wouldn't admit they were wrong, so I said: "Oh look, there's Exclusive Dress Shop You Love - didn't you want to pop in while you were up here visiting? We could go tomorrow if you like."
It worked - but I felt maybe I'd committed my own faux pas as I was the one who started that particular train of conversation in the first place. Maybe I shouldn't have then cut if off when it wasn't going the way I'd hoped?