We should all be able to agree that giving a gift should be an unconditional act, and once that gift has been given to the recipient, they should be able to do whatever they wish with it, no questions asked.
But what if what they want involves you helping them return the gift, pondered the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Though she was not especially close to her cousin, Redditor ThrowawayPBaJ put special thought into the birthday gift she got for her.
When her cousin later asked her for her help in returning the gift, the Original Poster (OP) felt reluctant to assist her.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not helping my cousin return my present?”
The OP put effort into getting her cousin a gift.
“I (19 Female) recently attended my cousin Judy’s (18 Female) birthday party.”
“I bought her a purse from one of her favorite brands and she was pleased when she opened it at the party (the family tradition is to open the presents toward the end of the party so the giver could see how happy they made the birthday person).”
But the OP later didn’t feel so appreciated for her efforts.
“A couple of days ago, I ran into Judy at the supermarket.”
“Judy asked me if I still have the receipt of the purse. I said no. She then asked me if I could find the time to go with her to the mall.”
“I asked what was going on, and she said the birthday gift from her cousin from the other side who lived in another city just arrived, and it was exactly the same purse I bought her.”
“She thought she could exchange my purse for something else since she doesn’t need two of the same thing. So she either needs the receipt or my credit card to return the purse.”
The OP felt conflicted.
“I admitted that I was a little upset. I wasn’t particularly close to Judy because her parents moved around a lot until a few years ago, but I put time and effort into getting her this purse.”
“I told Judy that I’m busy and don’t plan on going to the mall anytime soon. I then walked away.”
“Judy followed me and asked why was I being petty and mean when she was just being practical, but I paid for my things and left the supermarket.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some pointed out that the OP was NTA because of giving her a gift first.
“You are NTA. If your cousin sent the second purse back to her cousin with a note, ‘Thanks, it is nice but I already have this one,’ every one of these people voting YTA would think she is the AH.”
“But she’s asking you because you live close. She could use both of these purses so they last longer or gift one to someone outside of the family. It is not like your birthday gifts have to be all useful or you can demand something else. SMH (shaking my head).” – DanubeKitty
“NTA. She should have gone to the cousin and said, ‘Thank you but I just got this last week at the party! Could we exchange?’ I’m sure they could email a gift receipt or proof or something.”
“Honestly, if I buy someone a gift and they later got another one and they want me to be the one to switch things up I’m going to say sorry. That’s on you.”
“I gave kindly and if they want to pick a later gift over the same one I gave them, then that’s on them.”
“Why in the world would the friend who got a gift to them ON TIME at the party be on the line for returning the duplicate gift? The late gifted who sent the duplicate is the reasonable person to contact in this situation.”
“NTA. It’s not hard to fix this.”
“The second gift was the duplicate a week later from the cousin. The duplicate gifts sender should be the one being contacted.”
“OP purchased the gift, provided it in time for an amazing party, and it was opened publicly in a room of others who saw the gift come in. OP didn’t save the recipes because OP said they enjoyed and loves the gift. The situation was done.”
“If OP’s cousin got a duplicate, it should be addressed with the person who sent the second duplicate purse.”
“The friend shouldn’t be dragged into it after the fact.” – EvilBunniiss
“NTA. Timing is important. She opened your gift, thanked you for it, and days later when she gets a duplicate of your gift, she is being rude to you because she can’t be arsed to put a bit of effort and ask the person who sent the duplicate gift for a receipt.”
“All the people who are complaining about how tacky it is and that’s why you have gift receipts… well, that applies to the person who sends a personal gift via mail. Never mind it also came LATE.” – ConsequenceNovel101
“NTA. What context makes badgering someone about an unwanted gift OK? Sometimes you get a duplicate or something you downright don’t like. You say thanks and regift/sell/donate/stick it in a closet.”
“Maybe if these two were super close, and cousin knew with certainty it wouldn’t cause offense, its ok to ask for a receipt. But if you get any pushback you drop it immediately. Following OP around and berating her is awful.” – starchy2ber
“It was rude of her for trying to return/exchange a gift and ask you to do it. She could have regifted the second purse, that would have been more gracious and justified.”
“In my opinion, it’s tacky to ask someone who has gotten you a gift to do so, unless they’ve offered it beforehand. If you’re not even close and she did this, that’s worse.”
“I would have never done what your cousin did, but that’s a personal choice.” – DitzyDoughnut
“Gifts are not an obligation. If you gift me something, I’m grateful that you did. But it’s not your moral obligation to ‘fix’ the gift until I am satisfied with it. It is my problem to find a way to use or discard what I’ve been gifted.”
“I know you said you invested time and effort into buying this particular purse, but had you even regifted it to her, it should not matter as long as she liked it. A bit presumptuous of her to expect you to have bought the gift (and not have regifted) and then to have receipts (and not have bought it through credit card rewards or similar ways that do not allow returns).”
“An added perspective: What if this was a handmade object, like a painting or pottery, and what if she received two paintings or two pieces of pottery. Would she still want to return one?” – ShubiDoobie
But others agreed with the cousin that the OP was being petty about this.
“YTA. She loves your gift, she just doesn’t need two. She can even return the actual one gifted by the other person to the store you bought yours from if it makes you feel less offended.”
“But, come on. You know she doesn’t need two. And instead, you want her to pay to ship the other one back to the other relative because you’re being petty? Really??” – Illustrious-Shirt569
“YTA. I mean, technically, she could return the other purse she received by mail, but probably found it easier to return the one you bought.”
“It’s not like she is returning both, just one cause she doesn’t need two of the same one.” – Pale_Economist_973
“Light YTA. Gifts aren’t supposed to be a burden. If she wants to return it for any reason, you shouldn’t take offense. Maybe she needs the money, maybe it’s her least favorite color, maybe she really got a second one and now she’s stuck with two.”
“Your ego got bruised, so you got defensive. Granted, it likely wasn’t a comfortable conversation, but it could have been handled with a lot more grace on your side.”
“This is why it’s polite to include gift receipts.” – opalandolive
“YTA. It’s pretty unreasonable to be angry that someone bought her the same gift you did. Her request is pretty reasonable, and tells me that she really appreciated your gift; she wants to exchange it, and if you’re there when she does it, you’re still connected to that gift.”
“Also, you ran into her unexpectedly, it was on her mind, so she brought it up; it’s not like she’s been blowing up your phone.”
“Yes, it’s inconvenient for you, but it seems to me that she’s asking if there’s a way you can help her with this that would minimize the inconvenience. You didn’t need to be a jerk about it; you could have let her know you’d look at your schedule and get back to her and figured it out from there.” – travelynns
“If it makes you feel better think of it as she’s returning the other purse, but just using your receipt since you’re both local, it would be easier.”
“You should call her apologize, tell her you just had a lot going on the other day and that you can meet her at the mall today/tomorrow if she likes.” – Ok-Nefariousness4477
This was one of those situations that left the subReddit pretty evenly divided.
Everyone could understand not wanting two of the same purse, but some felt that the cousin should have gone back to the person who gave her the second purse, rather than the OP, despite the geographic differences.
However, there were others that agreed the OP was being petty, and while the cousin would not be keeping the purse she got her, she’d still have an item that could remind her of the OP and another family member.