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Guy Unknowingly Sells His Dad’s Vintage Guitar To Coworker For Fraction Of Its Value

Photo by Rafa Elias/Getty Images

It’s always a gray area when it comes to pointing out other people’s mistakes.

For example, some find it a moral obligation to point out if a server leaves an item or two off your bill.

Others, however, might be of the mindset that it was their mistake, and they’re doing nothing wrong if they pay the amount given to them.

Redditor fhdksTHROWAWAY fell in the latter camp, and didn’t bat an eye when a colleague of his wife’s sold them a fairly valuable item for far less than it’s value.

Something he was furious to eventually discover, even demanding that the original poster (OP) sell it back to him, and causing trouble for the OP’s wife at work.

But the OP stood firm that they bought the item fair and square.

Wondering if he was in the wrong for believing so, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for buying a $50,000 guitar for $4,000 and refusing to sell it back when the buyer found out the real value?”

The OP shared how he managed to add an incredibly valuable item to their collection at a remarkable discount, albeit in an ethically questionable manner.

“This happened a while back.”

“My wife and I still talk about it every once in a while.”

She’s on my side and most of our friends and family are.”

“However when it happened it was like WW3 between us and her co-workers and others.”

“Here we go.”

“I’ve been playing the guitar for 22 years.”

‘I know guitar values and whatnot very well.”

“I’m very into the guitar market.”

“At my wife’s old company she was hanging out with co-workers one day after work and she mentioned that I play guitar.”

“A co-worker who I guess is very popular at work said that his dad passed away and he was selling his dads things.”

“His dad had a guitar and asked my wife if I’d be interested in it.”

“My wife texted me and I said to have him send me the info on the guitar and the price.”

“The next day he texted me the pics and price.”

‘It was a 1952 Telecaster in mint condition.”

“He had the original receipts which was crazy!”

‘That’s how I knew the date.”

‘I asked what he wanted for it and he said he ‘looked up Telecasters online and he thinks $4,000 is fair’.”

“I texted back, ‘I’ll take it for $4,000’ and went to pick it up.”

“The guitar had no sentimental value to him at all.”

‘Here’s the issue at hand.”

‘The guitar was/is worth approximately $50,000 depending on the buyer and I knew it.”

“When I got the guitar I told my wife the price and what it was worth.”

“She was floored.”

“Fast forward two weeks her co-worker tells my wife he just found out what the guitar was actually worth from a family friend and wanted it back.”

“She said, ‘well he really likes the guitar and he knew it was worth $50,000 which is why he was floored you offered it to him for $4,000’.”

“He really likes it and I doubt he will sell it back, but you can ask’.”

“Probably not the smartest thing for her to say, but she was caught off guard and it’s not her fault or problem.”

“He contacted me and asked to buy it back.”

“I said that it’s not for sale.”

“He then said I scammed him and he was going to ‘sue me and take my wife to HR for being a part of the scam’.”

“Which was nuts, but he actually did contact HR.”

“They were cool about it and said it’s not their problem.”

“It’s between him and me.”

‘Over the next few months he made things very uncomfortable for my wife at work.”

“He would bug her constantly about it.’

“She eventually had to go to HR for harassment and they actually let him go.”

“She complained twice and he was warned and didn’t stop.”

“He’s contacted me several times about it so I got a restraining order for harassment too.”

“I blocked him too.”

“I haven’t heard from him in about a year.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

While the Reddit community was somewhat divided on whether or not the OP did anything wrong by knowingly buying the guitar for much less than its actual value, they generally agreed he was the a**hole for doing so.

Many felt that even if the OP didn’t technically do anything wrong, it would have been the right thing to inform his wife’s colleague of how much it was actually worth, particularly as it was an heirloom of his late father’s.

“This is one that could fuel an ethics class discussion.”

“What you did was opportunistic.”

“For some, opportunism has no inherent value: good or bad.”

“So, for those, you simply engaged in a sale paying the sticker price.”

“End of story.”

“Others believe that opportunism is a trait to be valued.”

“For those, you did nothing to mislead, and therefore taking advantage of an opportunity to advance your own objectives is a marker of a successful individual.”

“For these people, each person is responsible first to himself, so you had the obligation to get yourself a good deal, and the seller had the obligation to get himself a good deal.”

“The results here being that you succeeded and he failed.”

“These same people would side with the seller if he had asked you for $50K for the guitar, and you happily paid that, and later learned it was only worth $4K.”

“Given that circumstances were the same, and he didn’t lie, just that you failed to research.”

“And then there are others that believe that opportunism is a negative trait that requires preying on others.”

“For those, the overall impact to society that concealing information in order to profit, a lie of omission, creates is largely negative.”

“These people would feel you had a larger ethical duty to the truth, and that you took advantage of someone else for personal gain.”

“These would be people who tend to support Kant’s idea of a moral imperative.”

“His idea, oversimplified version, states: ‘Does my action respect the goals of human beings rather than merely using them for my own purposes?'”

“If the answer is no, then we must not perform the action’.”

“I can see both sides, and would have a hard time as a juror having to choose.”

“Those making the argument that the seller did no due diligence are hard to ignore.”

“There was a great deal of his own negligence that led to his predicament, but ultimately, we aren’t here to judge him, we’re here to judge you.”

“Because you asked for it.”

“In the end, I am with Kant, and YTA.”

“And I wonder if maybe you aren’t also a bit of a Kantian.”

“After all, it’s still niggling at your conscience years later.”-melonlollicholypop

“This is tough, but I’m going to go with YTA.”

“I’m a lifelong guitarist also, 25 years here.”

“I’m also obsessed with the guitar market.”

“Personally, you found yourself in a dream situation.”

“But a moral conundrum as well.”

“Something similar happened recently with an extremely valuable Lebron James rookie card.”

“A couple found it at a thrift store and wanted like $500 for it.”

“Its actual value was like $100k.”

“A super serious collector told them the actual value and they repaid his kindness by settling for something like $30k iirc.”

“So that’s kind of what I think should have happened here.”

“This guitar is a family heirloom as well as an extremely valuable piece of musical history.”

“I imagine a lot of people here will disagree with me and NTA will be the general sentiment, but I personally believe you have an obligation to be up front and honest with the seller in this situation, especially if what’s being sold is a huge and valuable part of an industry you love.”

“I think your greed got the best of you and in the process you made a scummy move that you will likely inevitably regret.”- Isk4ral_Pust

“I’m a bit conflicted because it seems there may be more to the story but I’m gonna say YTA.”

“You knew what it was worth and blatantly ripped the guy off.”

“He just lost his dad and was probably having a hard time and just wanting to unload stuff but you could have leveled with the guy and told him the truth.”

“Sure you may not have ended up with the guitar but now you seem like a greedy prick.”- IATAAllDay


“This guy obviously isn’t as experienced with guitars as you are so it may have been difficult to find the correct valuation of it.”

“His dad had just died, he probably had a lot on his mind.”

“You decided to take advantage of his ignorance in his time of grief even though you know you could have given him a fairer price for it.”

“You saw someone who was less knowledgeable on the value of something they were selling and you took advantage of them for your personal gain instead of doing the right thing and letting him know what its actual value was.”

“I guarantee that the pain you’ve caused him is far greater than any pleasure you’ve gotten from owning his father’s guitar.”

“You’re a big time a**hole here.”

“The fact that you can’t see that shows a serious lack of empathy.”- superswellcewlguy

Others felt that the OP did, indeed cheat his wife’s colleague, but the colleague’s behavior after the fact was still wholly uncalled for.


“Harassing you and your wife is not okay whatsoever regardless of circumstance.”

“But let’s be real, you did prey on his ignorance and took advantage of it, which makes you suck, too.”

“Harsh lesson for the guy, double whammy in losing something of value AND going crazy and being fired in the process.”

“He’s an idiot because he should have done his research.”

“You on the other hand, will justify in your head why you think you’re in the right and won’t lose any sleep over it.”

“But consider this.”

“Insider trading is wrong because of information asymmetry.”

“IE, someone profits because of others’ ignorance.”

“The balance of knowledge of information is not the same.”

“Similarly, there was major information asymmetry between you and this guy.”

“You knew way more about the value of the guitar because it is one of your passions.”

“You profited from this asymmetry.”

“Granted, not illegal, as insider trading is, but if it were me, I would feel really guilty about taking this kind of advantage over someone.”

“This is $46K we’re talking about.”- downbythesea113

Upon reading everyone’s responses, the OP returned with an update to clear up some missing pieces of information, while also questioning anyone who claimed they would have told his wife’s colleague the real value of the guitar.

“Just to clear up some things.”

“I left somethings out because I didn’t want it to influence opinions and really wanted it to be about me buying a guitar at significantly lower market value vs the people in the story.”

“I did include the fact that the guy was harassing my wife at work not to make the guy sound bad, but because I thought it was relevant to the story.”

“Here’s some specific details I chose not to include:”

“The guy and his dad were not close at all.”

“So those people saying he was grieving and I took advantage of him, that is 100% not the case.”

“When I went to get the guitar he was telling me he hadn’t talked to his dad in six years and was actually annoyed he had to deal with a funeral.”

“The dad bought the guitar new and never played it.”

“Luckily it was stored in a closet and not in a basement or attic.”

“There’s no issue with the wood or electronics.”

“It plays like a dream and I couldn’t be happier.”

“I am not selling the guitar to the son or anyone.”

“It will be with me for a long time.”

“I’m in my 30’s so maybe in 30 years it will find a new home.”

“I would have MAYBE considered giving the guy more money or giving him one of my guitars to sell on his own, but I decided not to do that after he left a terrible voicemail on my phone the day he found out the real value.”

“He demanded it back like he was entitled to an object he sold fair and square, called me a POS, called my wife a POS and said he would ‘do bad things’ if I didn’t sell him the guitar back.”

“And to those people who say they would have told the guy the real value.”

“That’s a load of horse sh*t.”

“If you went to a garage sale/estate sale and saw an item worth $5000 priced at $50 there’s not a snowballs chance in hell you would walk up to the homeowner and tell them they mis-priced it.”

“You’d buy the item and then tell all your friends and family what a great score you got!”

“Don’t even kid yourself like you wouldn’t do that.”

“I don’t feel bad about buying an awesome guitar at a steal of a price.”

“I was curios what others would think and it looks like I’m not the a**hole so thank you reddit.”

“I can play the guitar with zero guilt now.”

“Not like I felt guilty before, but now my feelings are justified.”

It does seem fairly wrong that the OP knowingly deprived his wife’s colleague of tens of thousands of dollars.

Though, he’s not wrong to question how many others would have done exactly the same thing.

A truly complicated issue, to which there might not be one right answer.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.