Post # 1
My husband just started a new faculty job and we had the department chair and his wife over for dinner on Friday. We then moved to the living room with our glasses and when she went to sit, she stumbled slightly and sloshed red wine all over the seat of a white armchair chair. She was panicked and apologetic at first, but I immediately told her it was no problem, accidents happen, and I pulled the chair aside, offered her a new seat. The rest of the evening went well and no one mentioned it except to apologize again when they left – I reiterated that she had nothing to worry about. I tried working on the stain after they left but the damage was done – it’s now retired to our home office and draped with a strategic throw blanket.
The mail just came and I have a thank you note from the couple, along with a check for $500. I appreciate the gesture but I don’t know the proper etiquette about cashing the check. All our living room furniture is new (we just moved) and she and I chatted about that, so she knows she stained a new piece of furniture. But it was a $160 knockoff from Wayfair so the check is far too much. I am unsure because the dynamics are tricky… he’s not really my husband’s boss but he’s a mentor and they’re quite a bit older than us (30ish vs. 60ish – that also explains why she was a bit uneasy on her feet). I know I need to call and acknowledge that I received the check but should I accept it graciously and thank her or should I explain that it’s too much and I won’t be cashing it? The money is a non-issue, I just want to be sure I do the right thing as we’re new to this community and university. Thoughts, please!
Post # 2
I would call her to thank her and accept it graciously.
Post # 3
I don’t think I’d accept the money. I would probably go see her in person (if it’s not super awkward) and return the check. Thank her for the gesture but be firm that the money is not necessary.
Post # 4
I would not cash the check. I’d thank her for the gesture and say you appreciate it but that it is unnecessary. It’s the risk you take when entertaining.
She did the right thing by not only offering to pay, but by being so generous and proactive. You already told her not to worry. I would continue to express that sentiment.
Post # 5
I think you should call to say thank you and accept. They probably decided the amount to give based on what they spend on their own furniture and on what they were comfortable offering. If anything when you call she might even ask if it was enough, and then you can say absolutely and thank her again 🙂 Alternatively you could call to thank her and say it was a kind gesture but you won’t be cashing it. Either way, I don’t think calling and saying the amount is too much is a good option.
Post # 6
I would return the check. If she insists, accept an amount equal to the cost of the chair.
Next time someone spills red wine, immediately poor a ton of windex over the stain. Grab a bunch of crappy towels and stomp or press your hands hard onto the stain to soak up all the liquid. Keep stomping. Repeat with more windexif necessary. But the stain should come out.
Post # 7
zl27 : I would return the check. If she insists, accept an amount equal to the cost of the chair.
I agree. No way could I accept a check that is 4x the price of the chair! Thank her profusely but try to return it.
Post # 8
I would not accept the check especially because it far exceeds the value of the chair and it wouldn’t feel right to take that kind of money. It doesn’t need to be awkward. I would just call her up, laugh and tell her that they were far too generous given the value of the chair.
And as an aside that is neither here nor there, I’m not sure why being 60ish would make one uneasy on one’s feet? Lol.
Post # 9
Check your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance (hopefully you have coverage). If you’re covered, thank her and return to her the difference between the cleaning costs and the check.
Everybodycomes out right!
Post # 10
I would call her and thank her for the thank you card but I would absolutely refuse to cash that check. It was very generous of her but I would feel like a complete piece of shit for accepting a check for four times what I even paid for the chair to begin with.
Post # 11
mimivac : I just meant that she didn’t stumble because she was tipsy or anything, not that it would have mattered. I mostly brought up age because there is a bit of a tricky dynamic because we are not peers. She is frail, seems to have some health issues.
zl27 : Good advice, thanks. I didn’t want to make a production about cleaning it in front of her. No regrets about losing this particular chair.
Interesting replies – thank you. I bought an inexpensive chair because we wanted white but I wanted something we could live with and not worry about. When I call, I’ll tell her I appreciate the gesture but that I won’t be cashing it, we look forward to hosting them again etc.
Post # 12
Just want to say that I’m sure they were so grateful for how nice you were about it. I spilled water on an old red sofa at my boyfriend’s parents’ house last year and they made me feel awful and awkward, so I am also relieved to hear stories that prove that most people aren’t like that when accidents happen!
Post # 13
I’d return it and thank her. It’s way too much!
I have had luck completely removing a red wine stain from a cream carpet with Oxyclean – now I always make sure some is around. Might be worth a try!
Post # 14
I would call and thank her and graciously accept the check and move on. I think if you don’t then whenever you see them in the future it’ll be slightly awkward. Obviously they can afford it or they wouldn’t have given it
Post # 15
If I were the clumsy one (and I am no damage yet) I would personally feel awkward if you didn’t accept any of it.