Post # 1
I know that sounds odd, but…
I have two cousins who are single mothers and unemployed. One has been unployed since 11/09 and the other since 08/10. Neither one is in a position to gift us money as they could obviously use it to feed & clothe their kids, pay the utilities and the mortgage, etc. One has told me that she is in the beginning stages of foredlosure and she needs to find an apartment soon for herself and her teenage daughter.
When we got back from the honeymoon & opened cards & gifts, I put their checks aside because it just didn’t seem alright to deposit them. well I forgot about them and Hubby brought them to my attention last week. I wrote them thank you cards and in them thanked them sincerely for their generous gifts and for their kindness and explained that Hubby & I would much rather have them put the money toward their regular expenses or a splurge for themselves and their kids. I also included the checks in their respective cards & mailed them on Thursday.
Today, another cousin told me that one of the ladies told her that she received the thank you card & was insulted that I returned the check and that her finances are none of Hubby’s & my business and that returning the check was like saying that she doesn’t know how to handle money.
The other cousin hasn’t said anything as far as I know.
Was this a terrible faux pas? If so, would you apologize and explain or just let it ride?
Post # 3
I do agree that it isn’t your place to comment on their finances. If they believe they can send you a gift, then you shouldn’t tell them they can’t. I might have just forgotten to cash them and see if they asked me about it later.
Post # 4
I voted for the second choice. If she thought that she couldnt handle it, she probably wouldnt have written the check. I prob would have at least called or returned it for a gift card and sent it as a birthday or hoilday gift.
Just my two cents.
Post # 5
I would apologize. That will likely relieve the awkwardness and THEN let it go. It could be in a letter. I would ackowledge that you should not have presumed to be involved/ judge their situation.
Post # 5
I think it was a faux pas to return the checks. The wrote those checks inspite of their financial situations, the best thing to have done was not to cash it at all and wait and see what would happen but to actually send them their check back is a bit unheard of for me.
Post # 6
@MrsSaltWaterTaffy: We didn’t feel that we were telling them they couldn’t give us a gift. We just felt awkward accepting money from them given their circumstances.
@blondilocks: & @cbee: We know that neither one can really “afford” to gift us the money (especially the amounts they gave—$400 & $200)… We got married just after Christmas and we had to purchase the Christmas tree & gifts for her 2 boys for one of them because she just didn’t have any money. We’re already paying for her son’s music lessons so he doesn’t have to give them up and we buy a litle extra at Costco & share it with her to make sure they have enough food. Both of these cousins have borrowed more than $10,000 from my mother in the past year and one is in foreclosure and needs to find a new place to live. We didn’t want to buy them something they don’t need or gift them a gift card they can’t use toward the bills if necessary, so we thought returning the money was the best option.
@bells: Yeah, in hindsight I guess we could’ve just torn up the checks; but we didn’t want them waiting & wondering when the money would be deducted from their accounts.
Post # 7
I think I would call and apologize. Explain your reasoning and be prepared to hear her out. She may understand more if you explain why you did that.
Post # 8
If i was the cousins I would probably be offended too. I understand that you were just trying to make a nice gesture but I would probably see it as a slap in the face. I would apologize and try to explain your honest intentions. I would probably say something to the other cousin as well because just because nothing has been said doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking it.
Post # 9
If I were one of the cousins, I would be embarassed and hurt. Hurt that I put aside some money for my wonderful cousin because she deserves it, but she won’t even take it. Embarassed because she called such attention to the fact that I was broke. I would apologize. It really is none of your business if they can afford a gift for you or not.
Post # 10
I would have just “forgotten” to cash the cheques. They probably worked hard to save up and be able to give you that money. If I was them I would be hurt and embarrassed. Why send the actual cheque back?
Post # 11
@Everdeen: I agree. I would have just not cashed the checks and saved their embarrassment
Post # 12
I don’t know if I would call it rude, I would say you were being considerate. (?) There’s a good way of looking at it and the bad way. I would see more people taking it the bad way then the good way.
Now, personally, I wouldn’t do what you did with mailing the check back. I can see why they were offended. If I felt bad and didn’t want their money, I probably wouldn’t have cashed it.
I might be offended if someone mailed me back my check. I would rather get a thank you note thanking me for the gift then feeling like someone refused my gift.
Post # 13
As others, I understand your intentions were kind but the act of returning the checks was unwise.
In the past, when I have had tight finances, I have budgeted in important ocassions/gifts that I would need to cover just like food and rent. For instance, as a broke grad student I still spent a decent amount of money on my grandparents 50th anniversary. I sacrificed money in other areas to make it happen and I would have been insulted and heartbroken if my gift had been returned.
Post # 14
Although you were obviously being extremely thoughful, I think the gesture probably came off as pretty rude. If they really didn’t think they couldn’t afford to give you a gift, they wouldn’t have (trust me, plenty of people at our wedding didn’t give gifts). I’m not sure whether I would apologize or not, just because it’s so awkward, and you might not want to keep stringing this out…But I think your cousins might feel that your action was a bit condescending, as if you pittied them or were too good for their money…
Post # 15
My FI’s mom is in her 80’s and still works cleaning houses to support herself. She has very little, but she insists on being independent in every way possible, especially financially. She insisted to gift my Fiance and I money for our wedding during the wedding phase. We tried to say no, that we didn’t need anything. But she insisted and sent up chashier’s checks for $1000. We really felt bad “taking” from an old lady who has so little. But we had to come to terms with the idea that we weren’t “taking”… we were being given a gift that meant a lot to her for us to have and she had planned her days and weeks around earning enough to give us this. It is a form of love.
I think to get a casheir’s check, the money is arleady spent, so not cashing it would be silly. So we used the money for photography just as my Future Mother-In-Law wished. We are going to beat her to the next few purchases, though… we are going to cover her plane and hotel. She might resist, but we will cross that road at that time.
Perhaps the checks they sent are “thank yous” for all you do in addition to wedding gifts. Perhaps they are a form of love? Perhaps you can share what you were thinking and acknowledge the thank you/congratulations/love of their gifts and apologize for turning that away.