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Parent Demands Babysitter Pay For Expensive Guitar Their Child Destroyed On Her Watch

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As most parents know, asking someone to watch our children is full of what-ifs.

We can always hope that everything will go well while we’re gone, but there’s always a chance they won’t.

A parent just found this out after their babysitter left their toddler unattended. They shared their conundrum on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor RoughJury ultimately wanted the babysitter to do something about what happened while they were away.

But after receiving pushback from the sitter, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they were asking for too much.

They asked the sub:

“AITA for asking for compensation for something my kid destroyed?”

The OP and their wife hired a babysitter amidst an emergency. 

“We hired a babysitter we’ve had a few times at a good rate of $20/[hour], since it was only for 3 hours in our home.”

“The babysitter is a 19-year-old woman if it matters, I think maybe the age will affect something.”

“My wife had to rush to work in an emergency and I was already at work.”

“The babysitter is already familiar with some of our rules, like our 3 [year-old] is only allowed in the living room, playroom, and dining room (when eating).”

But something happened during the visit. 

“The babysitter, I guess, had an emergency herself and had to be on the phone for 20 minutes.”

“For some reason, she decided to take the call outside, her rationale was it was private and didn’t want our child to listen in.”

“In those 20 minutes, our daughter was able to move the couch to the living room gate, scale the gate, head into the basement, and pull one of my guitars off the wall.”

“The neck is all warped and my luthier said the neck needs to be replaced.”

The parent is seeking compensation for the damages.

“I’m asking the babysitter to front the bill on a new guitar, not a repair or neck replacement, as the alternatives diminish the value of the guitar (mismatching neck-to-body severely impacts value, and a neck repair does too). It’s $2,200.”

There are differences of opinion. 

“Am I the a**hole here? Or is she?”

“Her parents are telling us we’re responsible, [and] she’s offering only to have babysat for free.”

“Our friends are saying we’re too harsh, but it was her responsibility, right?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some suggested the OP was trying to profit off of the babysitter.

“YTA. Your valuables should be insured and locked up.”

“Your baby gate should be secured. You are responsible for buying a couch that a literal baby can move (what kind of a couch is that??).”

“You are responsible for interviewing, hiring, and training your employee. You are responsible for your minor child’s actions.”

“The babysitter is partially to blame, sure, but you also share a large portion of the blame. The babysitter would be responsible for a portion of the repair—not a brand new guitar.”

“Your demand for a new guitar means you are trying to profit off of this, and that’s why YTA.”Quirky_Bumblebee_461

“So OP ruined his own guitar and is trying to fleece the babysitter for the cost? Yikes.”Carrie_Toronto

“Well, as an attorney, I can tell you that you want to go after whoever has the biggest pockets, and we all know how babysitters are cash cows.”

“Jet setting around the world, hanging out with models, drinking grey goose in the VIP section of the club. It’s probably just pocket change for her.”thegirlleastlikelyto

Others pointed out that “warping” couldn’t happen in 20 minutes…

“Music shop manager here. I’d also like to point out that if the guitar’s neck was warped and not broken there’s almost no way it could have been done by the babysitter/child.”

“Necks only warp for a few different reasons.”

“Being stored in improper environments with unregulated humidity (funny he mentioned he stores it in a basement, which can be the kiss of death if it’s unfinished or without a humidity regulator).”

“Truss rod adjustments”

“String over-tension”

“Having weight against the neck (say keeping it leaning at an angle against a wall for extended periods).”

“Unless the child somehow made a truss rod adjustment (obviously not) it would have taken a very long time for that neck to warp (months to years).”

“There’s no way it could have been done in 20 minutes. OP likely has his instrument stored improperly and as a result caused his own neck to warp”Animalime

“Hi, I’m a young instrument collector (not professional by any means), but this guy is absolutely right. I collect, rent, and sometimes sell violins and violas and the only way to ‘warp’ the neck of an instrument in my experience is by two methods:”

“improper long-term storage (like in an extremely humid or dry area or an area where humidity regularly changes, strings that were tightened to the breaking point and not loosened, not storing said instrument in its case, etc…)”

“godd**n near-superhuman strength (even then, it usually breaks, not warps)”

“I doubt the 19 y/o babysitter or the child have the latter, so I feel like this warp is absolutely this person’s fault.”

“He’s just trying to blame the babysitter so he doesn’t need to pay $2000+ to keep up his badly stored collection.”Unlucky_Amoeba_2473

“Don’t forget that basements tend to be damp and high humidity, and also that humidity changes are not the friend of musical instruments. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least that his other guitars are starting to show damage as well.”NomadicusRex

“That’d be funny if the daughter’s destruction wound up alerting OP to the problem and ultimately saving him more money than it cost him.”

“It’s strange how OP has very little concern for what caused his babysitter to leave. (‘I guess… an emergency’? Really?)”

“Also remarkably little concern for the well-being of his daughter relative to his guitar.”mbbaer

Though it’s totally frustrating when a child breaks something near and dear to you, blaming someone else won’t fix the problem.

And as the subReddit pointed out, asking a babysitter to replace an expensive guitar probably isn’t the most realistic request.

Especially when proving the damage described happened on her watch will be an extremely hard sell.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.