General Question

flo's avatar

Is it more wrong to ask for the gift back, or refusing to give it back? See detail.

Asked by flo (12480points) 3 weeks ago

The gifter finds out the gift is more valuable than he/she thought and asks for it back. The giftee refuses to give it back saying it’s greedy of the gifter to ask for it back. Who is wrong or more wrong?

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29 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

Neither. Both are correct which is why it is possession which matters.

kritiper's avatar

If you screwed up by giving an overly expensive gift, well, suck it up to experience. To ask for it back is SO not cool!
Refusal to return it is bad, too, and makes the whole deal wrong as far as both parties are concerned.

flo's avatar

@kritiper Great answer.

flo's avatar

..But which is more wrong?

kritiper's avatar

The first one (asking for it back) starts if off, the second just makes it worse. It’s like stepping in shit with one foot and then sticking the other in, too. It’s better to not step in the shit in the first place, so that makes it the worst.

flo's avatar

So, the giftee is more wrong, I guess.

flo's avatar

I guess it really doesn’t matter that much who is more wrong.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s another if your infamous unanswerable questions. Is it tacky to ask for a gift back? Usually. But if I give away a piece of my deceased mother’s costume jewelry, and my sister informs me that she thinks the piece of priceless sentimental value to her, I would feel fully justified in requesting its return, and tacky shifts to the misanthrope choosing to deny the request.

filmfann's avatar

I can’t imagine asking for a gift back.
If I gave, say, a DVD to someone, and then found out it’s super rare, and very valuable, I would let the recipient know, but I wouldn’t ask for it back. If the giftee then offered to return it to me, that would be on them.

Zaku's avatar

The most wrong people are the ones who think there is only one way to measure wrongness.

That a person chooses to take an action tends to show that they feel they are right from their own perspective.

The only way to objectively judge is to establish a set of values, and the judgement you get from that is always based on that set of values (and what circumstances you choose to include).

Since almost no real person in a real situation has the exact same sets of values for everything, and since they have different perspectives and different knowledge, there tend to be many disagreements about what’s right or wrong.

But it is a higher level of error to not acknowledge that people have different sets of values and different perspectives, and to think there’s one answer to who’s right, who’s wrong, or who’s more wrong, in any absolute sense.

flo's avatar

@filmfann By ”...that would be on them”, you mean you’ll leave it upto the person to return it or not. OK. Great answer.

Yellowdog's avatar

The only time I ever wanted to ask for a gift back, was when I gave a silver vase to a girl who immediately semi-humorously declared it a re-gift (it was a $250 dollar item I got for about $76 from a dealer who was going out of business)—and never displayed it in her home.

She never actually gave it back. But after years of never seeing it, I did ask. She probably re-gifted it herself.

It is not appropriate to ask for a gift back, and never obligatory to comply. But there are individual circumstances where asking for a gift back might be acceptable. I wouldn’t include finding new information on its value being one of them. Finding out the story behind the jewelry in the lives of your great grandparents that led to them some major happening in their lives, might be.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I cant imagine any circumstance I would ask for a gift back, let alone for money.
That is incredibly rude.

Can you imagine someone asking for a book back thats worth a grand? I’d throw it at your head as you left my house for the last time lol.

Its essentially choosing money over a friendship. Who does that?

kritiper's avatar

The person who gave the gift and asked for it back is more wrong because they started the whole lousy business off by buying the overly expensive gift and then asking for it back in the first place.
What I meant by getting shit on your shoes is that if you get shit on one shoe, it’s bad. But since you have to clean shit off of one shoe, it isn’t much harder to clean shit off both of your shoes, since you have to clean the one shoe anyway.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@kritiper Just leave your boots on the porch, relax, use the hose later. Haha!

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
raum's avatar

I think my answer to almost everything is that context matters.

If the ability to discern the value was easy, then it is on the gifter to figure that out beforehand. (Example: something you could easily google)

If the ability to discern the value was unlikely, then a reasonable giftee should offer to give it back. (Example: spouse stored cash in vase unbeknownst to gifter)

The amount also matters. If the difference affects the gifter’s security, shelter or sustenance…it should probably be given back.

Another factor to consider is if the value is strictly monetary versus sentimental.

Too many factors to say one way or another.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

What if the receiver doesn’t appreciate the value of what you gave them? What if they looked at it with a sneer when they saw it?

nightwolf5's avatar

Once you gave it, you gave it, It’s a gift, which makes it now theirs. Sorry to say you have to think about what you are giving before you give.

YARNLADY's avatar

It is always wrong to ask for the return of a gift. Maybe say “If I had known it’s value, I probably wouldn’t have given it away”. The new owner can then offer it back, if so inclined.

gorillapaws's avatar

The person who gave the gift is more wrong. They’re putting someone else in a ridiculous (Curb Your Enthusiasm—esque) situation. Because they’re the origin of the problem, they deserve the most scorn.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Giving then taking back is wrong regardless of circumstances.
Better to lose money than the valued friend?
Choose money, then you lose that friend for life.
Choose your friend and explain perhaps keep the friend.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Don’t gift that which you are not ready to part with.

jca2's avatar

The only circumstances I can imagine where I might ask for a gift back would be if I inadvertently gave away some family jewelry that I didn’t realize at the time. That is not likely to happen because I don’t give used items as gifts. The only other circumstance would be if I gave a book that had cash in the pages, which, again, is not likely to happen because I don’t give used items as gifts, so no used book that’s been sitting around my house will ever be given away.

If I give something to someone as a “here, I don’t want this, do you want it?” item, I can’t imagine changing my mind and wanting it back.

In the example given by @Dutchess of giving someone a gift and they sneer at it, I still wouldn’t ask for it back. I also can’t imagine giving someone a gift and having them sneer at it. Usually people put on a big act when you give them a gift, and they exclaim about how much they love it. If someone really doesn’t like a gift, they’d usually act like they like it and then give it away to someone else LOL.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

It was off putting for sure @jca2. It was a wedding gift. I didn’t have money at the time to buy something, so I gave her an antique serving dish I’d had for 20 years (it was much older than that) that I loved….she sneered like “WTF is this??”
It hurt.
About 10 years later I tentatively asked her about it with an eye to getting it back.
She just laughed and said “Oh, the kids broke that a long time ago! LOL!”

YARNLADY's avatar

I have given gifts to people I am close to and said “If you don’t like it, feel free to give it back and I’ll give you a gift card.” I usually give what I would like myself.

jca2's avatar

That’s different than saying “Can I have my gift back?” @YARNLADY

YARNLADY's avatar

@jca2 Yes, I agree.

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