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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Question of the Day...

When someone gives you a gift do they still have right to ask or judge how you use it?

The back story: This weekend my kinfolks were in town to celebrate my cousin’s debut entrance into society via a cotillion. Mom came bearing gifts for me, some where requested, some where things only a mom would pick out for their child and of course my personal favorite…a monetary gift! So cut to Sunday the family has gone to a brunch buffet and my uncle has paid for us all to gorge ourselves on crab legs, waffles, shrimp, omelets, etc. At the end of our feast it’s tipping time, everyone is throwing is money on the table, I throw in a $10 bill… End scene.

So I am talking with Mom yesterday about the weekend and other things and during a lull in the conversation my mom says “It really disappointed me that you threw in a $10 bill for a tip yesterday.” Saaaaaaaay what? Are you seriously coming at me like that? I mean I didn’t know which way to go in response to her statement because, despite us both being grown women living in separate houses...she is my mom. I couldn’t give her the snarky response I would have lobed at a peer...like "Well if you are going to be all up in my business then you should have known that I didn’t leave a $10 because I got change from the money in the center." *Sucks Teeth*

But even if I had lost my mind and felt like leaving a $10 tip for a buffet in these lean economic times what business is it of hers? Is it because I tipped using some of the money that she had given me? Was she entitled to form an oversight committee to watch how I used it? Do gift givers have the right, especially when the recipient didn't solicit the gift, to expect it to be used in a specific way?

The whole exchange got me to thinking about a homeless person holds a sign that states that they’ll work for food, should I be mad if they choose to use the money I bestowed to them on liquor? When a church has a food pantry, can the lady with no money and four hungry children really state that she and her kids don’t like eating generic foods? That they eat Honey Nut Cheerios not A&P’s Sweetened Oats? My first instint is to state "how dare they?!" But just because a person is in need, does that mean that they have to accept everything people want to give them? Does that mean they have to do everything their benefactors tell them to do?

What are reasonable expectations when giving and receiving gifts? Does the giver have the right to comment on how the gift is being used? Did I have the right to be offended by my mom’s disappointment?

Please care and share your two cents…

See You In Seven


Bellini said...

oh Amaretto - i have to shoo to class so I have to be quick... giver does not have right to comment and yes you should feel offended (but keep it to 'yo self)... maybe there's some underlying issue Mom has yet to resolve - idk... so a few years ago I was off to a play and i stopped at a gas station... and a quasi-homeless woman said she wanted $. I honestly replied I don't carry cash. She retorts, "i just wanna eat." ok, so I offered to buy her sandwich - she informed me she doesn't eat pork so i made sure the hoagie was turkey. long story short, the cashier informed me homeless woman was going to try to dupe him and ask for the cash for the sandwich. i replied don't be a sucka 'cuz you know i didn't pay cash and i informed him that i already told homegirl that i don't have cash... alright got that ordeal straightened and pumped gas... do folks know hussy had the nerve to be irritated that i succeeded in buying her hoagie, she put the sandwich down and moved on to the next... i could have pimped slapped the bit$h... beggars never have a right to be choosy

Rum Punch said...

This was interesting because when she used the word 'disappointed' I thought she was uspet that you only threw in $10. Lol. I mean even if you left the whole or a part of the $10, you took the burden off the tip your uncle would have to leave for all y'all. And you got brunch for $10 in the DC Metro urreaa!

Ideally if you give a gift monetary or otherwise whether it be to a homeless person or someone you know, you should give it from the heart (or at least a good place), you can't try to control or be concerned with what's done with it, and you can't have any expecations of what this will mean for you. You give it and leave it there - like good things are coming my way cause I gave the homeless person $5. Umm ok... But of course that's easier said than done - especially when dealing with family, and above that - mamas. They got their own ideas and plans for your life. Lol.

I agree w/ Bellini though that there are some unresolved/underlying issues happening in this scenario.

Amaretto said...

Well part of the underlying issue is that mom is a victim of the economy and is currently under-employed. So it was pretty significant that she was able to offer me a monetary gift-and that isn’t lost on me. And I am sure she was pleased that I accepted it after some coaxing, because my mom is a definitely a giver. Maybe in her mind she wanted me to use it for xyz and therein lay her rub that I am throwing $10 on the table for a buffet waitress, making it rain with her hard earned cash. It bothered me that she didn’t observe the entire act of when I got change, and it offended me that she commented on the tipping process in the first place. Like hello, I just ate for free. I don’t know. And I wondered if things would have been different if I had asked for the money. Although, generally I was of the thinking that once you give something to someone else-whether they asked for it or not you can’t really say boo about what they choose to do with it.

@Bellini-You are too funny! Only because in my mind’s eye I see the face you gave the quasi-homeless lady as she put your sandwich down on the ground.

@Rum Punch-Yes girl! While my uncle paid hundreds of dollars for us to partake in our seafood brunch buffet, Amaretto only paid $5!

Bellini said...

amaretto you were on to something about yesterday's question, so my Mom reminds me that my lil' cousin is gettin' baptized on Easter... and so I ask what's a good amonut to give (considering my cousin's b-day is around the corner and a ton of family will be coming, Bellini thinks $20 is a decent gift/contribution for the child)... Mama Bellini upped the ante with $50 - ummm... that's not my child, and of course Mama Bellini gonna say well I'm giving him $100. Okkkkk... Ma Dukes - it's good to know you're in a charitable mood, just don't forget your firstborn!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I've forgotten what a gift is but I think a giver doesn't have any control or expectation of use once the gift has been given. Certainly, when you are choosing what to give, you have some idea of how you think the recipient will use or receive it, but things don't always work out the way they play out in your head. Since it is a gift, your only hope is that it works well.

That being said, people on the receiving end of gifts don't really have much say in what it is they get. After all, you can always turn down a gift so if you accept it, that implicitly invokes the do not complain rule. The trojans learned that lesson the hard way.