Author Topic: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics  (Read 13381 times)

Jags4186

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Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« on: July 28, 2016, 05:02:37 PM »
So my in-laws will be celebrating their 35th anniversary.  I really like my in-laws.  I also really hate giving grown ass adults gifts.

So my wife comes and says her sister (my sister in law) wants to get her parents gift X which costs $400 and we'd split it.  Oh and since my sister-in-law and her husband have made some awful decisions regarding career and what they choose to spend their limited funds on, they have no money.  So we would need to front the $400 until they could pay us back.

I said, why don't we just take your parents out to dinner and then your sister can get whatever she wants.  And I hear back "then they couldn't afford to get them anything."

I feel like I'm friggin Mugatu taking crazy pills over here with all this ass backwards logic.  I just threw up my hands and said "its your sister, your parents, do whatever you want" but it seems utterly ridiculous to me.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2016, 05:13:27 PM »
I feel like I'm friggin Mugatu taking crazy pills over here with all this ass backwards logic.  I just threw up my hands and said "its your sister, your parents, do whatever you want" but it seems utterly ridiculous to me.

You're right, it is ridiculous.  But worst case is that you and your wife are out $200, and your in-laws get to feel like the special people that they are to all of you.  I think you made the right move by giving in to your wife wishes here.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2016, 06:01:23 PM »
So my in-laws will be celebrating their 35th anniversary.  I really like my in-laws.  I also really hate giving grown ass adults gifts.

So my wife comes and says her sister (my sister in law) wants to get her parents gift X which costs $400 and we'd split it.  Oh and since my sister-in-law and her husband have made some awful decisions regarding career and what they choose to spend their limited funds on, they have no money.  So we would need to front the $400 until they could pay us back.

I said, why don't we just take your parents out to dinner and then your sister can get whatever she wants.  And I hear back "then they couldn't afford to get them anything."

I feel like I'm friggin Mugatu taking crazy pills over here with all this ass backwards logic.  I just threw up my hands and said "its your sister, your parents, do whatever you want" but it seems utterly ridiculous to me.

Your wife wishes to protect her sister from the consequences of the sister's bad money management.

On planet Earth, not having money to treat somebody you want to treat (and having everyone notice) is a predictable result of bad money management. Also, on Earth, people who make bad decisions learn from those decisions chiefly after experiencing the outcome. To interfere with this process is called "enabling". An enabler who makes a $200 loan to buy a $400 product in order to make an irresponsible sibling look good simply guarantees that there will be more irresponsibility, and more loans made to cover up the consequences, in the future.

Travis

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2016, 07:50:03 PM »
I feel like I'm friggin Mugatu taking crazy pills over here with all this ass backwards logic.  I just threw up my hands and said "its your sister, your parents, do whatever you want" but it seems utterly ridiculous to me.

You're right, it is ridiculous.  But worst case is that you and your wife are out $200, and your in-laws get to feel like the special people that they are to all of you.  I think you made the right move by giving in to your wife wishes here.

From the sounds of things the worst case is he's out $400 because the sister may not pay it back and they could have found numerous ways to make the in-laws feel special that didn't cost that much.

KodeBlue

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2016, 08:02:36 PM »
So my wife comes and says her sister (my sister in law) wants to get her parents gift X which costs $400 and we'd split it pay for get me to foot the bill.
Fixed it for you.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2016, 08:44:33 PM »
I feel like I'm friggin Mugatu taking crazy pills over here with all this ass backwards logic.  I just threw up my hands and said "its your sister, your parents, do whatever you want" but it seems utterly ridiculous to me.

You're right, it is ridiculous.  But worst case is that you and your wife are out $200, and your in-laws get to feel like the special people that they are to all of you.  I think you made the right move by giving in to your wife wishes here.

From the sounds of things the worst case is he's out $400 because the sister may not pay it back and they could have found numerous ways to make the in-laws feel special that didn't cost that much.

As I understood the OP, $400 was the total cost of the proposed gift, so his and his wife's half would be $200.  OP didn't seem to object to him and his wife spending $200 on their own behalf.  They wouldn't expect to get their own $200 back, just the $200 from the SIL and her husband.  I honestly don't think $200 is a big loss to learn the lesson of whether the SIL is reliable or not.  I guess that's based on my own savings, so OP's threshold might be lower than mine.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 08:48:41 PM by LeRainDrop »

GreenEggs

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2016, 10:16:19 PM »
Maybe you should just give them the whole $400 gift, and let the poor SIL give them an IOU instead of giving it to you. 

;)

clarkevii

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2016, 10:26:53 PM »
Just say no

MrDelane

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2016, 11:00:18 PM »
So my wife comes and says her sister (my sister in law) wants to get her parents gift X which costs $400 and we'd split it pay for get me us to foot the bill.
Fixed it for you.

And I fixed it for you.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2016, 12:47:53 AM »
Maybe you should just give them the whole $400 gift, and let the poor SIL give them an IOU instead of giving it to you. 

;)

Effective, but not as effective as just saying no, giving the kind of gift the couple is comfortable making (I believe Jags proposed a dinner of some kind?) and letting the SIL muddle through as best she can.

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Kaminoge

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2016, 01:09:38 AM »
You're right, it is ridiculous.  But worst case is that you and your wife are out $200, and your in-laws get to feel like the special people that they are to all of you.  I think you made the right move by giving in to your wife wishes here.

I agree. And while it may be enabling of the sister it may also be worth it to your wife to have her parents believe that both their children got them a gift.

Typed as a person who regularly calls her brother to tell him to call our parents on birthdays etc... it's never a financial issue with us (simply because we don't give gifts) but while I'm often tempted to not bother and just let my parents know he can't be bothered at the end of the day I know they love it when he calls and I want them to be happy (and lets be honest, at least half the time they know it's because I called him).

Tjat

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2016, 06:38:59 AM »
So my in-laws will be celebrating their 35th anniversary.  I really like my in-laws.  I also really hate giving grown ass adults gifts.

So my wife comes and says her sister (my sister in law) wants to get her parents gift X which costs $400 and we'd split it.  Oh and since my sister-in-law and her husband have made some awful decisions regarding career and what they choose to spend their limited funds on, they have no money.  So we would need to front the $400 until they could pay us back.

I said, why don't we just take your parents out to dinner and then your sister can get whatever she wants.  And I hear back "then they couldn't afford to get them anything."

I feel like I'm friggin Mugatu taking crazy pills over here with all this ass backwards logic.  I just threw up my hands and said "its your sister, your parents, do whatever you want" but it seems utterly ridiculous to me.

Your wife wishes to protect her sister from the consequences of the sister's bad money management.

On planet Earth, not having money to treat somebody you want to treat (and having everyone notice) is a predictable result of bad money management. Also, on Earth, people who make bad decisions learn from those decisions chiefly after experiencing the outcome. To interfere with this process is called "enabling". An enabler who makes a $200 loan to buy a $400 product in order to make an irresponsible sibling look good simply guarantees that there will be more irresponsibility, and more loans made to cover up the consequences, in the future.

As usual to the a comment from Grim....seconded. Don't be a sucker.

plog

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2016, 06:52:26 AM »
Quote
From the sounds of things the worst case is he's out $400 because the sister may not pay it back and they could have found numerous ways to make the in-laws feel special that didn't cost that much.

No, no no.  That's the best case.  He should pray that occurs.   

If (more likely when) that happens it cost him merely  $400 to never have to listen to his sister-in-law again, nor give her any money.  Before you do it, just let your wife know how important it is you get paid back.  Then when it doesn't happen you always have that in your back pocket.  Win-win-win.

Making Cookies

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2016, 07:05:39 AM »
Buy the gift, front the SiL's half and next time when the family says "she'll pay you back" you can point out this and remind that no, she won't.

Meanwhile you get kudos for being an upstanding guy, the family harmony is preserved and frankly anybody who has their shit in order won't miss $200 once.

On the other hand, maybe you have enough ammo to point that out now and you can stand your ground.

I know where the OP is coming from and agree but how many of us live in a social vacuum where being perceived as a grump doesn't have repercussions?

SweetTPi

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2016, 08:53:43 AM »
Typed as a person who regularly calls her brother to tell him to call our parents on birthdays etc... it's never a financial issue with us (simply because we don't give gifts) but while I'm often tempted to not bother and just let my parents know he can't be bothered at the end of the day I know they love it when he calls and I want them to be happy (and lets be honest, at least half the time they know it's because I called him).

I'd like to (potentially) defend your brother (as you know him better, obviously, the judgement is up to you).  I often forget things like birthdays and anniversaries, and am thus often the recipient of the "Call X!" phone call.  It's not that I can't be bothered.  It's just that things like birthdays are not that important to me.  I don't celebrate my own, and while acknowledgement is nice I guess, I'm pretty ambivalent about it.  I know that they're important to others, and I try to get a card and call, but it's not exactly a priority in my mind.  There are times where the day before I think about how I need to call the next day, and two days later I realize that I forgot to call.  Then of course I call, which has become almost laughingly predictable.  (It didn't help that for 4 years my Mom's bday was smack in the middle of finals week.  Ack!)

MgoSam

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2016, 09:38:24 AM »
Typed as a person who regularly calls her brother to tell him to call our parents on birthdays etc... it's never a financial issue with us (simply because we don't give gifts) but while I'm often tempted to not bother and just let my parents know he can't be bothered at the end of the day I know they love it when he calls and I want them to be happy (and lets be honest, at least half the time they know it's because I called him).

I'd like to (potentially) defend your brother (as you know him better, obviously, the judgement is up to you).  I often forget things like birthdays and anniversaries, and am thus often the recipient of the "Call X!" phone call.  It's not that I can't be bothered.  It's just that things like birthdays are not that important to me.  I don't celebrate my own

I agree. I don't really care about my birthday. Generally I go out to eat with friends because I think it's a good opportunity to hang out with them, but besides that I don't think it's really a big deal. Next month is my golden birthday, and I don't think I'll act any differently. My favorite birthday was two years ago, when we went to a non-profit that I enjoy volunteering at and packed food together and then went out for dinner.

For other people, I try to send them a text or call or message on FB because it may mean something to them.

SeaEhm

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2016, 09:48:16 AM »
Is it any consolation that it's not $6000?

https://www.reddit.com/r/relationships/comments/4uwf28/my_mother_73_is_planning_to_buy_an_extremely/

Hopefully the guy writing that post has the same name or initials so he can get it when his dad passes...


@OP - I wonder how long it will take while watching the spending of that other couple to calculate waste in the amount that they cannot afford to pitch in.

Making Cookies

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2016, 10:52:49 AM »
That guy should have never discussed incomes with the extended family.

Nederstash

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2016, 11:16:51 AM »
This is ridiculous. There's a thousand gifts well under 400 that are equally as thoughtful and useful as whatever the hell the other gift was.

Kaminoge

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2016, 12:21:42 PM »
I'd like to (potentially) defend your brother (as you know him better, obviously, the judgement is up to you).  I often forget things like birthdays and anniversaries, and am thus often the recipient of the "Call X!" phone call.  It's not that I can't be bothered.  It's just that things like birthdays are not that important to me.

Sadly with him it's just that he can't be bothered. If he was a wonderful son in other ways it would be different but we're talking about someone who never bothers to call unless he wants something, never bothers to send photos of his kids, never bothers to put himself out in anyway to make other people happy. When I last spoke with my parents they said they'd been trying to get in contact with him for about a week (because it's about to be one of his kid's birthday). They've left messages, emailed etc. There won't be anything wrong or any big reason that he hasn't returned the calls - just that he can't be bothered right now. I really don't understand why he's like he is - there's no bad blood and he's not an awful person, he's just completely and utterly selfish. And weirdly he married someone very similar - she has lovely parents and so does he, and they all get on fine, it's just that they never put themselves out to maintain contact etc.

Oh well, they could be a lot worse but it does bug me.

bebegirl

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2016, 04:24:37 PM »
This IS ridiculous. So relatives without money decided what to buy as a present? Wait a minute? People WITH money should decide what to buy and not the other way around. Even though this is your wife's sister, it does not hurt to say "no" and politely refuse such an expenditure pointing out that you personally planned so and so.

Some relatives can be not really shy. Amazing.

GreenEggs

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2016, 07:58:48 AM »
This IS ridiculous. So relatives without money decided what to buy as a present? Wait a minute? People WITH money should decide what to buy and not the other way around. Even though this is your wife's sister, it does not hurt to say "no" and politely refuse such an expenditure pointing out that you personally planned so and so.

Some relatives can be not really shy. Amazing.


"People without money" are just naturally better at spending.  ;)

MrMoogle

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2016, 09:50:59 AM »
I am horrible at gift giving.  My sister is great at it.  She also chose a low paying career, while I'm an engineer.  She's not bad with money, she just doesn't get much to start with.  So for gifts for our parents, she mostly picks it out, and I usually pay for it, but it's also only around $100.  It works well for us. 

radram

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2016, 10:22:42 AM »
I think the real issue is not with the SIL, but rather with the wife.  It sounds like the wife wants to do the gift, but because the cost is too much, she is trying to use the loan to avoid the focus on the high priced gift. 

You think $200 is too much for a gift, your wife disagrees.  Only you and your wife can settle this part.  We here at MMM can only say what we would do, but your situation is unique to you.  If you settle this matter first, the loan becomes simpler to consider.  My in-laws have done so much for us I would not think twice about spending that on a useful gift for them. Like you I also frown on gifts just for gifts sake, so we all agreed to stop exchanging gifts between the siblings about 5 years ago, and that has worked well.

Here is how I look at the loan part:  If you loan a friend $50 and you never see the $50 or the friend, you got a GREAT DEAL, saving possibly thousands on a friend that turned out to be not so great of friend to begin with.

This happened to me 2 times in my life, once for $50 and once for $20.  Never heard from the $20 again, but the $50 called me years later asking for a job from my father.  I said sure, I would recommend him right after he gave me the $50 back.  THEN I never heard from him again.


I know it is different with family, but at some point after non-repayment you could still chime in and say something like "we know you do not have the money, so we consider that a gift to you, and NEVER ask for money again".



MgoSam

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2016, 10:31:57 AM »
I guess I"m glad that my family doesn't do gifts. It's been a number of years since my parents or siblings gave me anything for Christmas or my birthday and I'm quite glad for it because I feel like they gave me gifts when I was a child. Them not giving me gifts demonstrate to me that they think of me as a responsible adult.

bebegirl

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #26 on: August 01, 2016, 12:23:14 PM »

"People without money" are just naturally better at spending.  ;)

lol, exactly! ))

Jags4186

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #27 on: August 01, 2016, 01:13:08 PM »
I think the real issue is not with the SIL, but rather with the wife.  It sounds like the wife wants to do the gift, but because the cost is too much, she is trying to use the loan to avoid the focus on the high priced gift. 

You think $200 is too much for a gift, your wife disagrees.  Only you and your wife can settle this part.  We here at MMM can only say what we would do, but your situation is unique to you.  If you settle this matter first, the loan becomes simpler to consider.  My in-laws have done so much for us I would not think twice about spending that on a useful gift for them. Like you I also frown on gifts just for gifts sake, so we all agreed to stop exchanging gifts between the siblings about 5 years ago, and that has worked well.

Correct, I do not want to spend $200 on a gift, but I'm not going to get into an argument with my wife over $200 for a gift for her parents.

I love my sister-in-law.  I've known her since I was a little boy [she's friends with my older sister] and she is like a *real* big sister to me. I don't want to loan her the money because I don't want her to spend $200 on a gift.  We are financial stable and I think it's ridiculous.  They are not--I don't want to take part in their frivolous spending.  I also don't want to spend $400, put everyones name on it, and set a precedence.  These are my issues.

Apples

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #28 on: August 06, 2016, 07:52:09 AM »
Oh man, I so feel your pain.

For us, it was a $500 snowblower for my in-laws who no longer could afford their winter snow blowing service in a state next to a Great Lake, where it snows all the time.  SIL's idea, we fronted it (and I admit it was a great idea), she "would pay us back".  Going on 8 months now...  This is after the anniversary present of $150 we were supposed to split.  DH and I have now talked and agreed to no longer front the cost of presents, and additionally to not give her cash/check to cover our half until after the present has been given to the recipient.  Because we don't trust her to "forget" to get the present or have "something terrible come up" and she uses our money for that instead of the gift.

Do whatever you can to get past this (no matter what route you take), and then afterwards have a clear discussion to set rules for the future.  No splitting gifts, no gifts over a certain dollar amount, etc.

kite

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2016, 01:03:22 AM »
Your inlaws don't want this gift, whatever it is.  That's the bottom line, and the reason to just reject the whole idea. 
The only people who want their children to go into debt on their behalf are addicts who are so far into their disease that celebrating a 35th anniversary is impossible. 
Your SIL means we'll, but she is misguided.  If anything, her parents will feel awkward accepting an expensive gift from her that she cannot afford. 

Dezrah

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #30 on: August 09, 2016, 03:16:58 PM »
I wholeheartedly believe that the best gifts simply don't cost that much money.  Iíve given out two perfect gifts in recent memory.

First was to my cousin on her thirtieth birthday.  I got her a 70s vintage set of amber drinking glasses off Etsy.  I was actually staying with them when her husband broke the last of a similar set.  They had been sentimentally valuable to her and she was sad to see them go.  It was such a shame that two out of the six glasses shattered in shipping and one was chipped.  I asked for a partial refund but the seller gave me back the full amount.  At less than $50 including S&H though, it was hardly breaking the bank.

The other was for my husbandís cousinís step-daughter.  She was about 11 years old, very bright, a little shy, with a penchant for drawing.  This was her first Christmas with our side of the family since the wedding.  I wanted to get her something so she felt welcome but nothing too flashy because step-first-cousin-once-removed-in-law is a strange relationship.  I found a creativity journal, the kind that has prompts and half-finished sketches, for $5 at Half Priced Books.  Honestly it was so cool I almost got one for myself.

bridget

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #31 on: August 09, 2016, 05:34:23 PM »
I think the real issue is not with the SIL, but rather with the wife.  It sounds like the wife wants to do the gift, but because the cost is too much, she is trying to use the loan to avoid the focus on the high priced gift. 

You think $200 is too much for a gift, your wife disagrees.  Only you and your wife can settle this part.  We here at MMM can only say what we would do, but your situation is unique to you.  If you settle this matter first, the loan becomes simpler to consider.  My in-laws have done so much for us I would not think twice about spending that on a useful gift for them. Like you I also frown on gifts just for gifts sake, so we all agreed to stop exchanging gifts between the siblings about 5 years ago, and that has worked well.


Correct, I do not want to spend $200 on a gift, but I'm not going to get into an argument with my wife over $200 for a gift for her parents.

I love my sister-in-law.  I've known her since I was a little boy [she's friends with my older sister] and she is like a *real* big sister to me. I don't want to loan her the money because I don't want her to spend $200 on a gift.  We are financial stable and I think it's ridiculous.  They are not--I don't want to take part in their frivolous spending.  I also don't want to spend $400, put everyones name on it, and set a precedence.  These are my issues.

These are legitimate issues, but they are your wife's to balance and resolve. If she thinks $400 is worth it to keep everybody feeling loved (your parents) and saving face* (the SIL and her spendthrift ways), then I wouldn't spend another moment thinking about it. I'd probably come to the same decision if I was her.

*Some call this "enabling," but I don't believe it's ever going to be my job to get another adult to recognize and fix their poor decisions. I might at some point decide that the subsidy is too large to be worth keeping the peace, but people get to live their lives and make the decisions they would like without any input from me. Here, I don't think it's worth confronting and humiliating your SIL over $200. And it sounds like neither does your wife, who should make the ultimate call here because it's her family.

Josiecat

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #32 on: August 09, 2016, 05:46:04 PM »
I think I would do it and say to your wife that it is the LAST time if you don't get repaid. 

If your wife wants to do this again, you can remind her they didn't pay you last time.

Hunny156

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #33 on: August 16, 2016, 03:40:53 PM »
Sorry you are being put in an awkward situation.  I can relate.  My mother in law is a lovely person, but finances is a foreign concept to her.  Asking people to support her is not, apparently.

For her 60th birthday, she decided to throw herself a big fancy party, and financed it to boot!  Neither of hew sons live nearby, and they did not attend.  She took this as an opportunity to tell both sons to provide her with cash in lieu of gifts, so she could use it to help pay for the party!  I'm not sure if my brother in law broke down and sent her a check or not, but both sons were not pleased.  I told my husband that I had already purchased a gift (which was true), so he shut her down with that info.  She's never asked for money again, and hopefully never will.

gaja

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #34 on: August 16, 2016, 04:38:01 PM »
I'd like to (potentially) defend your brother (as you know him better, obviously, the judgement is up to you).  I often forget things like birthdays and anniversaries, and am thus often the recipient of the "Call X!" phone call.  It's not that I can't be bothered.  It's just that things like birthdays are not that important to me.

Sadly with him it's just that he can't be bothered. If he was a wonderful son in other ways it would be different but we're talking about someone who never bothers to call unless he wants something, never bothers to send photos of his kids, never bothers to put himself out in anyway to make other people happy. When I last spoke with my parents they said they'd been trying to get in contact with him for about a week (because it's about to be one of his kid's birthday). They've left messages, emailed etc. There won't be anything wrong or any big reason that he hasn't returned the calls - just that he can't be bothered right now. I really don't understand why he's like he is - there's no bad blood and he's not an awful person, he's just completely and utterly selfish. And weirdly he married someone very similar - she has lovely parents and so does he, and they all get on fine, it's just that they never put themselves out to maintain contact etc.

Oh well, they could be a lot worse but it does bug me.

I have cut off contact with my parents several times in my life, and need to be in control of when and how I talk to them. This is for reasons they know, but choose to not remember or understand. We all keep the facade very well, and no good will come of explaining this to other people, including my siblings. I will hem and haw when my sister calls me to say the parents called them to complain that they couldn't get hold of me, but it stresses me out and pisses me off every time. As time has gone by, the other siblings have also started to distance themselves. So now I frequently get the complaints from the parents about my siblings being out of reach, and less frequently phones from the siblings about the matter. 

I know nothing about the family relationship you have with parents or siblings, but has your brother ever expressed gratutitude for these reminders you give him? Has he ever asked you to do him the service of reminding him to call his parents? If he wanted to remember, he would have made a note of it on his calendar or an alarm on the phone. That he doesn't, probably means something, and it isn't necessarily that he is a selfish bastard.

Captain Awkward has a lot of interesting posts about family relationships, and how stuff can be perceived very differently by different siblings: https://captainawkward.com/

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #35 on: August 16, 2016, 04:49:01 PM »
There's a better way...

My sister's family likely makes 2x what we do.  She will find an expensive gift that she wants to give our parents for very special occasions, and will say -- I found X and want to give it as a gift from both of us.   

"Would you like to contribute whatever you can or were thinking of spending and we will put both our names on it?"
I am sure there have been some $400++ gifts that I only gave $100 for, but that is ok...


If your wife likes the gift idea chosen a lot, just ask SIL to "pay what she can".. OR, she can find a "lesser" version of it.. Have family debt is not a good way to live.

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #36 on: August 21, 2016, 08:39:17 AM »
I'm currently dealing with the issue of having the first grandchild in the family. Everyone and their friends are buying random unsolicited crap with the mindset that the more plastic, more sound effects, more space needed the better. I'm very conflicted in that I know it's rude to appear ungrateful, but it's really stressing me out. My wife thinks I'm nuts and even disagrees. "But she uses it!"....of course she does, it's on the floor in front of her...the kid would be just as happy with a cardboard box and a kitchen utensil

kayvent

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #37 on: August 21, 2016, 10:50:08 AM »
I'm currently dealing with the issue of having the first grandchild in the family. Everyone and their friends are buying random unsolicited crap with the mindset that the more plastic, more sound effects, more space needed the better. I'm very conflicted in that I know it's rude to appear ungrateful, but it's really stressing me out. My wife thinks I'm nuts and even disagrees. "But she uses it!"....of course she does, it's on the floor in front of her...the kid would be just as happy with a cardboard box and a kitchen utensil

I had a similar experience. I silently dealt with it for a few years. Then would mutter some words before large occasions that people would buy too much for (ex. Christmas and the child's birthday). Then one day I was home and almost had a meltdown.

The amount of stuff. So much of it rarely or never got used. Some times would only be touched every fews months, and even then, just to move them out of the way or clean up. It was maddening. The amount of money people already in debt have wasted on things my daughter didn't need or want anymore. I had a panic attack at that great misuse of money, time, and space that I had let occur.

Afterwards I slowly articulated these feelings to individuals around me. "I literally don't have space in my house for that." "She doesn't need another stuffed animal or toy or doll. She has piles and shelves full." "Her closet is overflowing with cloths, you don't need to buy more." And so forth. Eventually people got a clue and, I believe because I was speaking from the heart, they understood.

Tjat

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #38 on: August 22, 2016, 09:18:37 AM »
I'm currently dealing with the issue of having the first grandchild in the family. Everyone and their friends are buying random unsolicited crap with the mindset that the more plastic, more sound effects, more space needed the better. I'm very conflicted in that I know it's rude to appear ungrateful, but it's really stressing me out. My wife thinks I'm nuts and even disagrees. "But she uses it!"....of course she does, it's on the floor in front of her...the kid would be just as happy with a cardboard box and a kitchen utensil

I had a similar experience. I silently dealt with it for a few years. Then would mutter some words before large occasions that people would buy too much for (ex. Christmas and the child's birthday). Then one day I was home and almost had a meltdown.

The amount of stuff. So much of it rarely or never got used. Some times would only be touched every fews months, and even then, just to move them out of the way or clean up. It was maddening. The amount of money people already in debt have wasted on things my daughter didn't need or want anymore. I had a panic attack at that great misuse of money, time, and space that I had let occur.

Afterwards I slowly articulated these feelings to individuals around me. "I literally don't have space in my house for that." "She doesn't need another stuffed animal or toy or doll. She has piles and shelves full." "Her closet is overflowing with cloths, you don't need to buy more." And so forth. Eventually people got a clue and, I believe because I was speaking from the heart, they understood.

I feel we should start a support group. I'm hoping I don't risk a breakdown at any point... I think the main challenge is getting my wife on board somewhat, and then slowly getting our parents to stop buying stuff. When you visit once a week, you don't need to bring a stuffed animal each time... I'm thinking I should leave the "donate bag" in plain sight next time they show up :)

charis

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #39 on: August 22, 2016, 11:51:09 AM »
I'm currently dealing with the issue of having the first grandchild in the family. Everyone and their friends are buying random unsolicited crap with the mindset that the more plastic, more sound effects, more space needed the better. I'm very conflicted in that I know it's rude to appear ungrateful, but it's really stressing me out. My wife thinks I'm nuts and even disagrees. "But she uses it!"....of course she does, it's on the floor in front of her...the kid would be just as happy with a cardboard box and a kitchen utensil

I had a similar experience. I silently dealt with it for a few years. Then would mutter some words before large occasions that people would buy too much for (ex. Christmas and the child's birthday). Then one day I was home and almost had a meltdown.

The amount of stuff. So much of it rarely or never got used. Some times would only be touched every fews months, and even then, just to move them out of the way or clean up. It was maddening. The amount of money people already in debt have wasted on things my daughter didn't need or want anymore. I had a panic attack at that great misuse of money, time, and space that I had let occur.

Afterwards I slowly articulated these feelings to individuals around me. "I literally don't have space in my house for that." "She doesn't need another stuffed animal or toy or doll. She has piles and shelves full." "Her closet is overflowing with cloths, you don't need to buy more." And so forth. Eventually people got a clue and, I believe because I was speaking from the heart, they understood.

I feel we should start a support group. I'm hoping I don't risk a breakdown at any point... I think the main challenge is getting my wife on board somewhat, and then slowly getting our parents to stop buying stuff. When you visit once a week, you don't need to bring a stuffed animal each time... I'm thinking I should leave the "donate bag" in plain sight next time they show up :)

I get that it is frustrating to collect undesired objects, but you have a great opportunity to be generous (and possibility get a tax deduction) by donating the stuff that isn't used.  Gather up everything you want to get rid of - grandparents will only notice if a few major items go missing right away.  There are a lot of kids out there who will appreciate what you do not.

NESailor

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #40 on: August 22, 2016, 12:42:05 PM »
I'm currently dealing with the issue of having the first grandchild in the family. Everyone and their friends are buying random unsolicited crap with the mindset that the more plastic, more sound effects, more space needed the better. I'm very conflicted in that I know it's rude to appear ungrateful, but it's really stressing me out. My wife thinks I'm nuts and even disagrees. "But she uses it!"....of course she does, it's on the floor in front of her...the kid would be just as happy with a cardboard box and a kitchen utensil

I had a similar experience. I silently dealt with it for a few years. Then would mutter some words before large occasions that people would buy too much for (ex. Christmas and the child's birthday). Then one day I was home and almost had a meltdown.

The amount of stuff. So much of it rarely or never got used. Some times would only be touched every fews months, and even then, just to move them out of the way or clean up. It was maddening. The amount of money people already in debt have wasted on things my daughter didn't need or want anymore. I had a panic attack at that great misuse of money, time, and space that I had let occur.

Afterwards I slowly articulated these feelings to individuals around me. "I literally don't have space in my house for that." "She doesn't need another stuffed animal or toy or doll. She has piles and shelves full." "Her closet is overflowing with cloths, you don't need to buy more." And so forth. Eventually people got a clue and, I believe because I was speaking from the heart, they understood.

I feel we should start a support group. I'm hoping I don't risk a breakdown at any point... I think the main challenge is getting my wife on board somewhat, and then slowly getting our parents to stop buying stuff. When you visit once a week, you don't need to bring a stuffed animal each time... I'm thinking I should leave the "donate bag" in plain sight next time they show up :)

I get that it is frustrating to collect undesired objects, but you have a great opportunity to be generous (and possibility get a tax deduction) by donating the stuff that isn't used.  Gather up everything you want to get rid of - grandparents will only notice if a few major items go missing right away.  There are a lot of kids out there who will appreciate what you do not.

Same here...we just had kid #2 but we already have a spectacular cache of toys that we're...get ready...STORING in our barn (we're lucky to have one) because we simply have too many.  Regarding the tax deduction - only possible if you itemize.  Despite having a large property with a barn, our expenses aren't high enough to do so. 

I grumble about this before every holiday and birthday.  My wife thinks I'm rude when I tell people not to get me/us crap.  Given my feelings about the whole thing, using the word "crap" is extremely kind in my opinion.  If child #2 leads to a doubling of unnecessary toys and gifts I'm going to blow up on the entire family in public.  I have no issues with being perceived as a Scrooge/a$$hole/whatever by the rest of the family.  My wife may not be too happy but I think she'll get over it eventually.  She doesn't like clutter either but is way too nice of a person to ever say something rude...even if it's true.

charis

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #41 on: August 22, 2016, 12:58:15 PM »
I'm currently dealing with the issue of having the first grandchild in the family. Everyone and their friends are buying random unsolicited crap with the mindset that the more plastic, more sound effects, more space needed the better. I'm very conflicted in that I know it's rude to appear ungrateful, but it's really stressing me out. My wife thinks I'm nuts and even disagrees. "But she uses it!"....of course she does, it's on the floor in front of her...the kid would be just as happy with a cardboard box and a kitchen utensil

I had a similar experience. I silently dealt with it for a few years. Then would mutter some words before large occasions that people would buy too much for (ex. Christmas and the child's birthday). Then one day I was home and almost had a meltdown.

The amount of stuff. So much of it rarely or never got used. Some times would only be touched every fews months, and even then, just to move them out of the way or clean up. It was maddening. The amount of money people already in debt have wasted on things my daughter didn't need or want anymore. I had a panic attack at that great misuse of money, time, and space that I had let occur.

Afterwards I slowly articulated these feelings to individuals around me. "I literally don't have space in my house for that." "She doesn't need another stuffed animal or toy or doll. She has piles and shelves full." "Her closet is overflowing with cloths, you don't need to buy more." And so forth. Eventually people got a clue and, I believe because I was speaking from the heart, they understood.

I feel we should start a support group. I'm hoping I don't risk a breakdown at any point... I think the main challenge is getting my wife on board somewhat, and then slowly getting our parents to stop buying stuff. When you visit once a week, you don't need to bring a stuffed animal each time... I'm thinking I should leave the "donate bag" in plain sight next time they show up :)

I get that it is frustrating to collect undesired objects, but you have a great opportunity to be generous (and possibility get a tax deduction) by donating the stuff that isn't used.  Gather up everything you want to get rid of - grandparents will only notice if a few major items go missing right away.  There are a lot of kids out there who will appreciate what you do not.

Same here...we just had kid #2 but we already have a spectacular cache of toys that we're...get ready...STORING in our barn (we're lucky to have one) because we simply have too many.  Regarding the tax deduction - only possible if you itemize.  Despite having a large property with a barn, our expenses aren't high enough to do so. 

I grumble about this before every holiday and birthday.  My wife thinks I'm rude when I tell people not to get me/us crap.  Given my feelings about the whole thing, using the word "crap" is extremely kind in my opinion.  If child #2 leads to a doubling of unnecessary toys and gifts I'm going to blow up on the entire family in public.  I have no issues with being perceived as a Scrooge/a$$hole/whatever by the rest of the family.  My wife may not be too happy but I think she'll get over it eventually.  She doesn't like clutter either but is way too nice of a person to ever say something rude...even if it's true.

I don't understand why you would be rude just to be rude ("blow up on the entire family in public").  Doing so will not change their minds and it will knowingly hurt your wife.  That's extremely immature.  If you can't be bothered to donate items to children who would love to have the crap sitting in your barn, well, I guess there's not much left to say.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #42 on: August 22, 2016, 02:45:01 PM »
My friend has a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old.  She struggles with the MIL over-giving things all the time.  Last Christmas, her MIL bought many random toys that I can't remember, a few of which were large, and the big kahuna was a ridiculous slide that the kid's supposed to go down on a cart wearing a helmet.  My friend just freaked the F out, like where the hell was she supposed to put this!?!?  It looked like this:  https://www.amazon.com/Step2-7744KR-Extreme-Coaster/dp/B000QFCUQG  I think MIL would probably notice if that monstrosity went missing.  My friend was trying to encourage that it get stored at grandma's house, but MIL *insisted* it stay where the little tyke could use it "every day."

LiveLean

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #43 on: August 22, 2016, 03:01:54 PM »
We have been in our home 17 years. Our sons are 13 and 11. We have spent each of the last two weekends removing everything from their rooms, ripping out 20-year-old carpeting and tack strips (very gross) and painting in preparation for tile floors in the coming weeks.

It is maddening to see the volume of never-used crap that's been given by relatives, the vats of Legos (now outgrown) and the tons of clothes that just didn't get worn since they had too many. In fairness, it's not all crap, but just way too much. Kids, like adults, have only so much bandwidth.

When will relatives, especially grandparents, realize it's about time spent with the little ones, not money spent on crap?

Lunasol

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #44 on: August 22, 2016, 03:12:06 PM »
If SIL doesn't have money, why doesn't she do something cheap like inviting her mother over for dinner, cooking a new recipe from pinterest, or making a cake? printing a picture, a DIY anything...

woopwoop

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #45 on: August 22, 2016, 03:14:50 PM »
It is maddening to see the volume of never-used crap that's been given by relatives, the vats of Legos (now outgrown)
I will take all your Legos, please! You can never have too many :)

Reynold

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #46 on: August 22, 2016, 03:19:05 PM »
It is maddening to see the volume of never-used crap that's been given by relatives, the vats of Legos (now outgrown) and the tons of clothes that just didn't get worn since they had too many. In fairness, it's not all crap, but just way too much. Kids, like adults, have only so much bandwidth.

Advice we gave some friends with a baby who were destined to be on the receiving end of a lot of well intentioned gifts was to set up a college funding account for the kid, and people could contribute to that.  They still got SOME gifts, a 5 year old doesn't really understand that aunt and uncle contributed to an account for him, but people tend to feel good about contributing to a college fund so it was much more manageable.  That may also require a bit of communication with relatives to set boundaries, "You can buy one cute outfit, but anything more than that should go to the fund, it won't get worn before he would outgrow it." 

Making Cookies

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #47 on: August 22, 2016, 04:01:53 PM »
When will relatives, especially grandparents, realize it's about time spent with the little ones, not money spent on crap?

That toy is ridiculous. Us kids back in the stoneage did the same with a hilly spot in the yard using our wagons or bikes.

$430???
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 04:03:58 PM by Joe Lucky »

Tjat

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #48 on: August 22, 2016, 04:52:33 PM »

I get that it is frustrating to collect undesired objects, but you have a great opportunity to be generous (and possibility get a tax deduction) by donating the stuff that isn't used.  Gather up everything you want to get rid of - grandparents will only notice if a few major items go missing right away.  There are a lot of kids out there who will appreciate what you do not.

Believe me, I'm all for donating. We have multiple stages of gifts. 1) Those that are immediately exchanged or donated. 2) Those that are opened and used and will eventually be donated. My problem is that there is not enough 1) and too much 2).

I've suggested the college fund idea, but have been told "that's not a real present." I don't think the gift-givers have the same philosophy of saving as I do.

kayvent

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #49 on: August 22, 2016, 04:56:59 PM »
My friend just freaked the F out, like where the hell was she supposed to put this!?!?  It looked like this:  https://www.amazon.com/Step2-7744KR-Extreme-Coaster/dp/B000QFCUQG

I sometimes look at the toys kids have nowadays and am jealous. Then I see stuff like that and I pity kids nowadays. Less than three feet high, nine feet long. Roll the thing up, climb up, get in it, and roll. Sounds exciting the first few times. I think my children would have rather me roll them on the pavement than use that monotonous monstrosity. Hundreds of dollars for about half an hour of fun? Cocaine habits are cheaper.