Help my wife and I solve this minor ethical dilemma: What to do about a chair loaned by a neighbor and no longer wanted by either household?
My wife and I were beanplating this over dinner tonight, it's not an argument or a relationship issue (no DTMFA please!). we've just been turning it over and would love some outside advice, both in the abstract and for this specific instance.
Back when we were pregnant last year, our neighbors who are casual friends and also have a baby about a year older than baby crab
, insisted on loaning us a rocking chair. I didn't want to take it because we're in the process of moving and I didn't want more stuff, but they were very insistent (it wasn't just kindness, they have a tiny place and don't want more kids) and my wife thought it would be useful, so we took it as a loan.
My wife was totally right and it was invaluable for the first few weeks, but now baby crab is pretty settled and we don't use it. We're also moving in less than a month, our place is full of boxes and it is bulky. We thanked the neighbors and asked if we could bring it back over, they told us to "store it or get rid of it". But we're not leaving anything when we move, storing it is not a thing we can do. We need it gone asap and we don't even know anyone who's pregnant (it is definitely a baby thing, not just a chair). So my wife listed it (along with other stuff we need to get rid of) for $25 on Craigslist, and we've had a couple of emails from folks.
I started wondering if we should give our neighbors the money we get. I would be kind of pissed off if I gave a neighbor something and they turned around and made money from it, but I might also be sort of pissed if they gave it away to a stranger, or undervalued it (like, listed it on freecycle). I'm worried about our neighbors asking us what happened to the chair. I come from a culture where money and friendship don't mix, and being generous (with the expectation of being politely declined) is good manners, so I feel weird not offering, but would also feel weird if the neighbors took the money! My wife says it's no big deal, that the neighbors won't ask, they just want it gone, and we did them a favor by taking it months ago and not taking it back to them now. She says that if they wanted money for it they could have sold it themselves, and points out that it takes up our scarce time and effort to photograph this thing and deal with the inevitable appointments and flakes. She thinks if we offer them the money we're opening ourselves up to discussion of the whole thing, and to whether we should have gotten more etc.
So what say you? In the abstract, if a hand-me-down gift results in minor financial gain (but also unwanted legwork and hassle) for the recipient, need the gain be passed back to the giver? In the concrete, what's the most ethical and least potentially awkward way to get rid of this thing fast?