Books are a special kind of magic.
The words transport us away from our lives and show us everything from a quiet love story to an epic space battle and every instance in between.
Whether the book is physical or digital, visual or audio, the outcome is still the same. We manage to trek boldly into new worlds and experiences as we read.
Falling in love with how words function can be a gateway to a whole universe of beautiful experiences.
So, when your daughter shows an eagerness for books, do you encourage the experience or balk at the price?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) forresster7 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for not reimbursing my nanny for books she bought for my daughter?”
OP began with some background.
“My daughter, Ruby, is 12.”
“Recently, she has gotten into the original Star Trek show, as well as the Next Generation.”
“Ruby is also a big reader and has started to collect a few of the old Star Trek books that she finds in used bookstores and thrift stores.”
“These books usually cost anywhere from 50 cents to a couple of dollars.”
“My nanny, Tessa (f22), hangs out with Ruby most days after she gets out of school.”
“Tessa has been our nanny for over a year now, and she and Ruby get along great.”
“Tessa is big into thrifting and will often keep an eye out for the books Ruby wants.”
“This is not typically a problem, and Ruby always pays Tessa back for the books using her allowance.”
Everything was fine until…
“The problem occurred when Tessa went on a family vacation out west. Apparently, she went thrifting during this trip and found some books for Ruby.”
“She texted Ruby asking her if she wanted the books, and Ruby said yes.”
“Well, Tessa returned yesterday with a stack of about 35 books and told Ruby they cost $50.”
“Ruby doesn’t have this much money and told Tessa.”
“Tessa then asked me if I would cover the cost. I said no, as Tessa had never asked me about buying Ruby the books, nor was I aware of the conversation between the two of them.”
“Tessa got upset, and I asked Ruby to show me the text, which made no mention of price or even the amount of books she was buying.”
“Tessa only said that she found “some” books for Ruby.”
“Ruby is on the autism spectrum and does not read between the lines. You have to be very literal with her.”
“Previously, Tessa has never bought Ruby more than one or two books at a time, so I told her that she should have clarified with Ruby regarding the amount or double-checked with me before purchasing and that I would not be paying the $50.”
“Tessa said she could not return the books because they came from the thrift store. I stood firm in my decision and reiterated that she should have asked me first.”
“Tessa left, and Ruby is very upset.”
OP was left to wonder,
“I know Tessa is a student and does not have a ton of money, so am I the a**hole for not paying Tessa for the books?”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
It is often better to be kind rather than right.
“Sometimes it’s better to salvage an important relationship than to be right.”
“Pay for the books. Let Tessa know that you can’t do so in the future, though, without talking about it. Tell her how much you appreciate her thoughtfulness, now and always.”
“EDIT: wow, this really blew up! Love how many kind, decent people are on Reddit😘” ~ Mollywisk
“This is the right answer.”
“And then get your daughter a library card.” ~ DoYouHaveAnyIdea16
“I hope the library offers those old looks!”
“I personally would give the nanny the money, put the books somewhere safe and enjoy the knowledge that I’m well provided with presents for my daughter for this year’s birthday and Christmas.”
“It’s 1,50 per book. That’s wonderful!”
“OP, I totally get where you are coming from, I hate it if somebody springs onto me with an unexpected demand for money, but on the other hand, your nanny really seems to care for your daughter, and she probably knew that your daughter would pay much more for the books elsewhere.”
“The nanny is young and probably lacks experience on how to handle those things. Just tell her communication is key and always speak clearly beforehand if it is about money.”
“But you appreciate her help in providing your daughter with books.”
“I really hope you two can sort this out!” ~ thanktink
Others came to Tessa’s defense.
“NAH here IMO.”
“Tessa shouldn’t have bought so many without checking with YOU as the parent, but she was trying to do a good thing.”
“Pay for the books this time but then tell Tessa that all future things like this must be approved by you and not Ruby – or set up a limitation.” ~ wanderingstorm
“Yeah, as a Trekkie and someone who tears through books, I definitely feel for the nanny, and what a nice thing she did…”
“As someone who only has $10 at the moment, I would definitely need a heads up if I was about to spend an extra $50.”
“I’d definitely salvage the relationship, though. I don’t have kids, but I’m sure a good nanny is hard to come by.” ~ jj328328
‘”I’m sure a good nanny is hard to come by.”‘
“For a neurodivergent kid?”
“You have no idea how hard a good Nanny is to come by. This is the stupidest hill to die on that OP could possibly find.”
“I am probably familiar with the books that are in question, and these are not (usually) found in libraries as they are so outdated.”
“They ROCK, but they are well passed their sell-by date, so libraries often do not keep them. The Nanny did the kiddo a HUGE favor by thrifting them.”
“And 35 books for $50?”
“That’s a steal!”
“I would be thrilled that my Nanny did such an awesome thing for my kid.”
“I always told my kid that I would not buy her cheap, plastic sh*t for toys or yet another stuffed animal, but anytime she wanted a book, she would get it.” ~ Goodbye11035Karma
While some thought no one was at fault, others thought everyone was.
“Tessa, for not double-checking that you’d cover the $50 for your own daughter to read, and you, for not covering a lousy $50 for your own daughter’s reading passion!”
“If I were you, I’d suck it up and pay the $50 stat, or someone is going to scoop up your really thoughtful nanny very soon.”
“I’m thinking of hiring her, and I don’t even have kids at home; I just want someone to thrift books for me.” ~ FortuneTellingBoobs
“I’m leaning this way too.”
“Like, yes, cover the $50, and have a discussion about this, but like, while $50 for 35 books is an excellent deal, no one ever would assume ‘some books’ means almost three dozen.”
“I don’t mean, ‘oh, kiddo is 12. How would she have known’. But like.”
“Even if Nanny had texted Mom and said, ‘hey, I found some books for kid, cool for me to pick up?’ Mom might have known to ask ‘how much’, but would never think it was 35 books without being told.”
“But also, in what world is $50 not ‘ask the parent’ money? I don’t care what the kid’s allowance looks like.” ~ nerdprincess73
OP did return with clarifications.
“Because some people are asking- I am a single parent to Ruby, and while $50 dollars will not make or break the bank, it is definitely an unexpected expense.”
“I provide Tessa with an extra amount of money each month to spend on whatever she wants to do with Ruby (movies, the mall, etc.).”
“If she wanted to spend this fund on books for Ruby, that would have been totally fine- but she had already used it up.”
“I definitely didn’t expect this post to blow up overnight, so I’m going to add a bit more context.”
“For those of you who are asking how I can afford a nanny for Ruby and still have $50 be a large unexpected expense–I do not pay for Tessa’s services.”
“Because Ruby is on the spectrum, she is entitled to benefits from our state, including care. The agency I work with pays Tessa. I am not involved in that process at all.”
Then, OP provided a happy ending to the story.
“I appreciate everyone’s valuable insights into the situation.”
“I have seen a few comments hinting to me about the fact that I don’t support my daughter’s reading habit. Please know this is DEFINITELY not the case.”
“We are both big readers and frequent patrons of our local library. I am always supportive of Ruby getting new books.”
“I talked to Tessa and told her that I appreciate her for thinking of Ruby, apologized for the misunderstanding, and have paid her for the books.”
“We had a chat about expectations in the future, and I don’t think this will happen again.”
“I have also talked to Ruby, and we agreed that I would hold onto the books, and she would pay me for them as she wishes.”
“It’s important to me that Ruby learns how to handle her finances appropriately, and we have decided that she will get two new books every week (she reads very quickly).”
“After reading through your perspectives on the matter, I agree that it is better, in the long run, to lose the money and salvage the relationship between the three of us, and had not considered all the implications of doing otherwise.”
Our world is shaped by words.
Nurturing a love of words – whether as stories or as tools – can alter someone’s life.
Of course, money is still money, but maybe not every investment is in stocks.
We hope this young girl’s love of reading does indeed live long and prosper.