Author Topic: The ethics of using other people's stuff  (Read 3566 times)

Cowardly Toaster

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The ethics of using other people's stuff
« on: July 24, 2017, 11:58:49 AM »
So we all have those friends who always have really nice stuff. Tools, toys, whatever. Stuff you'd never buy but sure is nice to borrow once in awhile.

Is it ok to borrow your un-mustachian friends' stuff, ie thus being more mustachian yourself? I'm not sure how to feel about it. I think it goes without saying anything you borrow should be returned better than you found it, but the fact still remains that you're the one coming out ahead in this situation.

mre

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2017, 12:06:53 PM »
I think it depends greatly on the situation.

Are you borrowing a specialized tool for a repair you are not likely to make a second time, or are you borrowing a camper for the 5th time this summer?

I think it also makes a difference if the item borrowed will have its life shortened by the borrower's use.  Borrowing a screwdriver will, if used properly, not degrade the screwdriver.  A borrowed can of spray paint will be returned with less paint remaining, thereby costing the owner something.

ketchup

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2017, 12:24:25 PM »
It's healthiest when it's both a give and take.  I help you move a couch strapped to the top of my big car this week, you drop me off at the airport next week.  I'm not saying you have to keep score, but if it's heavily one-sided it can build resentment.

Cowardly Toaster

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2017, 12:38:39 PM »
Thanks for the replies, but I guess I'm not quite articulating my point quite well enough.

What I think I'm getting at is that you might have a friend who you borrow a fancy power tool from. Now, even if you invite him over for a steak dinner, you're coming out ahead because you didn't have to buy the fancy powertool.

From the perspective of the unmustachian friend he got a steak and is happy. But you know that he would be better off saving his money and not spending so much on toys and tools.

In other words, there's really no way to repay an unmustachian friend who is causing himself damage by having so much nice stuff.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2017, 12:50:50 PM »
In other words, there's really no way to repay an unmustachian friend who is causing himself damage by having so much nice stuff.

The premise is wrong.  You're assuming that because someone's values are different than yours, they're causing themselves damage.  They get value out of what they bought, even if it's not value you care about.  They might think you're the one losing, because you have to keep going out of your way to borrow his stuff instead of having your own on hand, then on top of if you're making dinner to pay for it.  Your life would be so much simpler if you just bought more stuff!

nobody123

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2017, 12:52:13 PM »
So you're saying that you feel somehow obligated to add some premium to the agreed-upon payback (steak dinner for use of fancy tool) to compensate for the fact that the friend, in your opinion, should have done something else with the money used to purchase said tool?  That makes no sense -- your friend spent money how they see fit.  You're projecting your values on your friend.

marielle

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2017, 12:56:05 PM »
Thanks for the replies, but I guess I'm not quite articulating my point quite well enough.

What I think I'm getting at is that you might have a friend who you borrow a fancy power tool from. Now, even if you invite him over for a steak dinner, you're coming out ahead because you didn't have to buy the fancy powertool.

From the perspective of the unmustachian friend he got a steak and is happy. But you know that he would be better off saving his money and not spending so much on toys and tools.

In other words, there's really no way to repay an unmustachian friend who is causing himself damage by having so much nice stuff.

I doubt any friend would see it like this if your borrowing isn't excessive (like someone mentioned borrowing an RV five times). Surely you have some nice things that others have benefited from? I may even argue that sharing those things makes the person happier. People love to give and share, and it assigns their material possessions more purpose. For example, I have a waffle maker which is about the furthest thing from mustachian, but I've shared it with others happily. I didn't buy it for others but mainly for myself, yet I didn't mind at all sharing in those couple of times I did.

I guess the only thing that could be negative is someone may keep certain tools and things around because someone occasionally borrows them. Which could cause more clutter, stress with moving, etc... But most people don't care and would have those things around anyway.

mre

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2017, 12:56:42 PM »
From the perspective of the unmustachian friend he got a steak and is happy. But you know that he would be better off saving his money and not spending so much on toys and tools.

In other words, there's really no way to repay an unmustachian friend who is causing himself damage by having so much nice stuff.

If they had already purchased said toys and tools, and there is no added cost to someone borrowing them, then this argument seems moot. They are in the same situation whether or not you borrow the item.

Mtngrl

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2017, 12:57:12 PM »
My husband has a lot of specialized tools because of the job he had before he retired. He still uses a number of these doing repairs for friends and neighbors (sometimes for pay). If the guy down the street wants to borrow a meter or gauge or something like that, my husband has no problem lending the tool -- it's something he already owns and there's no need for the neighbor to go buy one to use maybe one time. Same thing when he borrows a puller from the neighbor whose hobby is fixing up old cars. The neighbor has the puller because it's something he uses fairly regularly -- he didn't 'waste' his money buying it. Because my husband only needed the puller once, buying the tool when he could borrow it would be un-mustachian.
As long as both parties to the agreement are happy, there's no 'winner' or 'loser.'

ketchup

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2017, 12:57:27 PM »
Thanks for the replies, but I guess I'm not quite articulating my point quite well enough.

What I think I'm getting at is that you might have a friend who you borrow a fancy power tool from. Now, even if you invite him over for a steak dinner, you're coming out ahead because you didn't have to buy the fancy powertool.

From the perspective of the unmustachian friend he got a steak and is happy. But you know that he would be better off saving his money and not spending so much on toys and tools.

In other words, there's really no way to repay an unmustachian friend who is causing himself damage by having so much nice stuff.
Let me know if you want to borrow any of my power tools.  I'd love a steak dinner in exchange for temporary responsible use of something I already have.

You didn't make him buy the tools.  He might even like it because this way they're seeing more use (if they were indeed frivolously purchased, he's probably not using them very much).  Maybe you could offer to help out the next time he needs to use Fancy Tool X for a project.  Or help him with something unrelated, like changing his brake pads, or something that's demonstrably of value.  Or hell, just buy him a case of his favorite beer and be done with it.

Plugging Along

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2017, 12:58:33 PM »
Thanks for the replies, but I guess I'm not quite articulating my point quite well enough.

What I think I'm getting at is that you might have a friend who you borrow a fancy power tool from. Now, even if you invite him over for a steak dinner, you're coming out ahead because you didn't have to buy the fancy powertool.

From the perspective of the unmustachian friend he got a steak and is happy. But you know that he would be better off saving his money and not spending so much on toys and tools.

In other words, there's really no way to repay an unmustachian friend who is causing himself damage by having so much nice stuff.

My thoughts are if there is a mutual benefit to the relationship and one party is not taking advantage of it, then its fine.   Part of a friendship is not repayment, but how can you help each other.   We borrow some tools from out friend because we hardly ever use tools ourselves.  On the flip side, we help them with their computer issues all the time.  I think in a friendship it's okay t borrow things and help each other out, as long as it's not one sided. 

However, I would NOT ever judge my friend for buying something that I don't value or think is silly.  I find that hypocritical to judge someone on their purchase and then ask to use it. 

WSUCoug1994

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2017, 01:39:40 PM »
I tend to buy high end tools (new and used) because of my interests in landscaping, serious home improvement and doing all of my own maintenance on my vehicles.  I have no problem with my friends/neighbors borrowing my tools as long as they bring them back within a reasonable amount of time and they bring them back clean (preferably full of fuel where applicable). For example, if you use my chainsaw - you should buy me a new chain and make sure it is full of gas - you using my tools should not cost me anything IMO.

I will call you when I need to move something heavy so be prepared.....lol


Noodle

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2017, 02:41:21 PM »
Thanks for the replies, but I guess I'm not quite articulating my point quite well enough.

What I think I'm getting at is that you might have a friend who you borrow a fancy power tool from. Now, even if you invite him over for a steak dinner, you're coming out ahead because you didn't have to buy the fancy powertool.

From the perspective of the unmustachian friend he got a steak and is happy. But you know that he would be better off saving his money and not spending so much on toys and tools.

In other words, there's really no way to repay an unmustachian friend who is causing himself damage by having so much nice stuff.

The unmustachian friend isn't just getting a steak dinner out of it. He's building social capital with you. Someday you'll have something in your Mustachian resources he needs...maybe someone with a healthy body to help him move a heavy item or spare time to watch his kids while he runs an errand. Since you have a sharing relationship, he will be able to approach you. Unless you're persuading your friend to buy expensive things so you can use them, the money spent is a sunk cost. He might as well get some social capital out of sharing the item around as have it sit in the garage. (This is not license to be an abusive borrower :))

Cowardly Toaster

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2017, 02:48:11 PM »
Thanks for the replies, but I guess I'm not quite articulating my point quite well enough.

What I think I'm getting at is that you might have a friend who you borrow a fancy power tool from. Now, even if you invite him over for a steak dinner, you're coming out ahead because you didn't have to buy the fancy powertool.

From the perspective of the unmustachian friend he got a steak and is happy. But you know that he would be better off saving his money and not spending so much on toys and tools.

In other words, there's really no way to repay an unmustachian friend who is causing himself damage by having so much nice stuff.
Let me know if you want to borrow any of my power tools.  I'd love a steak dinner in exchange for temporary responsible use of something I already have.

You didn't make him buy the tools.  He might even like it because this way they're seeing more use (if they were indeed frivolously purchased, he's probably not using them very much).  Maybe you could offer to help out the next time he needs to use Fancy Tool X for a project.  Or help him with something unrelated, like changing his brake pads, or something that's demonstrably of value.  Or hell, just buy him a case of his favorite beer and be done with it.

I'm being generous with steak dinners at the moment because I just got a great deal on steak. While supplies last!

Maenad

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2017, 09:53:02 AM »
I would say it's very mustachian for friends and neighbors to be able to share tools and resources rather than everyone needing to have their own - I think it's usually called the "sharing economy". I borrow my brother's tools all the time and in turn help him with his business invoices. We loan other types of tools to some friends and in exchange get to use their truck to pick up supplies from the yard supply stores.

PoutineLover

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2017, 10:10:49 AM »
I would have no problem lending my stuff or borrowing from my friends. As long as it is returned in a reasonable amount of time, I don't have to chase after it and it's in the same or better condition, it's fine. Usually there's some back and forth between friends and in the end it is close to even, and beneficial to everyone involved.

Loren Ver

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2017, 12:27:37 PM »
I think we would all be better off if you learned to share and borrow responsibly. 

In my younger days we use to do this almost all the time (help moving = pizza, bike pumps for tires etc).  Now that we are all established, it happens all less frequently, which is kinda sad since we all now need to own or rent each item.

Now that I have a new group of friends at work, I am trying to establish a new version of this.  I just borrowed some movies from a friend.  Sure I could have gotten them from the library, but this saved me a few trips and waiting for a popular movie (since she already bought them for her kids to watch over and over).  I have shared financial advice (exchanged for a lunch) and some of my needle threaders.  A friend taught me to cross stitch and drive a stick, and I gave rides to work when their car was in for repairs.  Two or three of us are going to take a free tiling class.  If we need any special equipment, we will probably split who is buying what and then share it.  Why should each of us get a set unless we are doing a lot of tiling. 

I agree it takes some give and take, as to not be a mooch.  I think sharing what you have and borrowing what you need is a very mustacian way of doing things.  If the tool is useful, then it was probably a good use of money.  Unless they got the gold crusted one that is less effective but more "perdy."

LV


totoro

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2017, 12:49:57 PM »
I have zero problem lending out stuff to friends that treat it well and know how to operate it if it is mechanized.  Most common things are our boat and utility trailer.   

Our friends always refill the gas tank and periodically add some lures in to tackle box, plus they welded fenders onto the boat trailer.  Seems like a win:win to me as the wear and tear on the engine is something I'm willing to absorb. I like when the utility trailer gets used.  Otherwise it is just sitting around looking lonely.

As far as borrowing stuff goes, I'm less interested in that due to the fact that I worry about breaking stuff, but I am very interested in trading skills and we do this a lot.

Poundwise

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2017, 01:10:53 PM »
I think what you're doing is fine as long as what you are giving back is really what your friend enjoys/would like. For instance, while you might appreciate a steak dinner yourself, your friend might just want to spend the evening at home and find it a burden to have to go out, KWIM?

In other words, try to be sensitive that what your friend really would like, intersects with what you can do for him. 

Plus some folks just enjoy having quality stuff that lasts and feels good to use.  And they enjoy sharing.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2017, 01:16:52 PM by Poundwise »

honeybbq

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Re: The ethics of using other people's stuff
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2017, 10:54:33 AM »
Unless you're pressuring your friend to buy such an item strictly because you want to borrow it, consider yourself absolved.

By them a beer, return the favor, whatever. They made their decisions.