Products and Merchandising

I’m Gonna Need that Back

Minutes after donating a TV/VCR combo to my local thrift shop, I realized it wasn’t mine to give. I hadn’t stolen the machine, and I wasn’t looking for a quick tax write-off. Instead, this was another case of having borrowed an item, and the owner never asking for it back. Let me explain:

Years ago, I found myself in a “down-and-out” situation that many of us have had the unfortunate luck of experiencing at least once in our lives. I was not homeless and was not hungry, so perhaps “down-and-out” is a bit dramatic for this scenario. No, I had an apartment and a part-time job, but money was tighter than a drum, so I had what I had and needed to be happy with it. And I was.

tv-vcrBut when a family friend found out I had no entertainment options at my home, she (for some reason) felt this was not okay, and lent me her TV/VCR with the caveat that I was to return it as soon as I was able to buy my own machine.

So, time went on and I eventually purchased a TV of my own. I then got a promotion, moved into a new place and bought another set. In fact, I’ve moved a few more times since our initial conversation, all the while dragging her machine with me. But when it came time for Spring cleaning recently, I decided it was finally time for this device to find a new home.

While I do feel a bit of remorse for not having made good on my original promise, truth be told, I don’t even know where this woman is anymore, and wouldn’t have the first clue how to find her to return the TV.

Even if I did manage to track her down, it’s likely she’s forgotten all about the machine, and the story behind it. I certainly hope she’s not sitting in the dark somewhere, silently stewing about how much time has passed without seeing her beloved electronic.

Now I’m wondering how many items of mine other people have sitting in their junk drawers, or tucked away in some attic or basement? As the Barenaked Ladies sang, those “things used to be mine; I want them back!” 😉

In the end, unless you explicitly give someone a set time period to return something, you probably won’t see it again. It’s not because they don’t care, or have some sort of vendetta against you. They probably just forgot.

by Gordon T. Elliott | Residential Life Magazine


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