Last time we met a woman who was very uncomfortable with being treated to meals an accommodations on vacation with a friend and the friend’s parents. Today we have someone with the opposite problem: she’s asking Amy why she didn’t receive the presents she expected.
Dear Amy: My husband and I finally bought a new home after 20 years of marriage. All of the items I’d received from my bridal shower 20 years ago were either worn out or broken.
We put most of our money into purchasing the house and can’t afford new things, so we hosted a housewarming party for ourselves.
[Generally a no-no to host your own “shower….” And more to the point…just because the gifts you recieved years ago have worn out doesn’t mean you’re somehow owed new ones.]
When people called to R.S.V.P. and asked me what I needed, I politely told them that gifts were not expected. [But…she just said that they had the party SPECIFICALLY to get the new things they couldn’t afford for themselves?] If pressured, I said that most of our possessions were worn out [Really? Most of their possessions? I mean, yes, 20 years is a long time, but I find it hard to believe there’s nary a functional appliance or stain-free towel in the house. And bowls and vases and such don’t just disintegrate. They didn’t replace things as they broke over the years, but waited for a chance to be given new ones?].
We invited 20 couples to the party. In return, we received 18 bottles of booze, a clock and a set of towels. [In return? In RETURN?]
My husband didn’t mind receiving the booze, but the clock and towels were the only things I could use! Now we don’t have much to show for the money we spent. [sputter….sputter…sputter. She makes it sound like they bet on a horse and it didn’t pay off…]
I don’t want to complain, but I don’t think liquor is an appropriate housewarming gift. [sputter…sputter…sputter…] I think it’s a husband-warming gift, and the wife is left out in the cold! [Um, offensive to both men and women! Men have no use for towels, only “booze”? And women um, aren’t? 18 bottles of liquor clearly wasn’t what they were expecting, but it’s also nothing to sneeze at simply because she’s a woman. Drink up!]
What do you think is appropriate? — Worn and Torn
Dear Worn: You threw a party for yourselves that was intended as an opportunity to furnish your new home, but then you refused to give people a clear directive concerning your expectations.
If you wanted to receive specific items, you should have told your prospective guests when they inquired, “We have registered at ‘Smith Hardware’ store and would love to receive any of the items on our list — or anything else for the kitchen or bathrooms.” When you denied that you expected gifts, you weren’t being polite, you were being obscure.
This woman was basically being really presumptuous, then trying to hide the fact that she was being presumptuous, then mad when her friends took her at her word.