Acquaintance of mine demands $210 from me immediatey...what to do?)
December 8, 2008 9:32 PM   Subscribe

An acquaintance of mine insists I owe him $210 for a bong of his I broke. And to come up with the money NOW. Help!

A short while ago, I was smoking out of a bong that belong to a friend of the person I was smoking with. I set it down to look up something on the internet, then when I got up my foot accidentally hit the stem and broke it. I told the owner (who was not present in said room at the time) that I broke his stem. He wasn't happy, but he thanked me for telling him. Shortly thereafter I left and went back to my place. The next day I get an email saying I owe the bong owner $210 for breaking his bong, since I apparently chipped the thing the thing that holds the downstem and it's beyond repair. Needless to say, as a poor college student who was just given a $382 ticket for M.I.P, I can't come up with that money; especially not in a few days.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (58 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't know why you have "arguments" as a tag. This isn't an argument. You broke his bong, you owe him money to replace it and that's that. Now it's up to you to figure out how to come up with the money.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:41 PM on December 8, 2008 [7 favorites]


I get an email saying I owe the bong owner $210 for breaking his bong,

This is unclear. Is the email from the bong owner, or someone else? If it's from someone else, sounds like they are just trying to scam you. If its from the owner, why was he ok with it at the time, but changed his mind the next day?

Either way, I think you are perfectly within your rights to ignore the email. You made an honest mistake and tried to be upfront about it. It's been a while (never, actually) since I bought a bong, but $210 seems ridiculous. If you really feel bad about this, offer $50. But based on the shady way its been handled, I wouldn't bother. What are they going to do, call the cops?
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:41 PM on December 8, 2008


One of my friends owns a head shop and I know for a fact that $210 isn't ridiculous for a bong. From the post he said it was "chipped" meaning it was probably made from glass and hand blown glass bongs are fucking expensive. Breaking something that doesn't belong to you yields consequences. If you were at a store and dropped and broke something, just because you fessed up and made an "honest mistake" doesn't exclude you from paying for it.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:45 PM on December 8, 2008


Proper protocol in my experience is to offer to replace the piece. That is, not to give them money for it, but to accompany them to a head shop and help them pick one out. Maybe if you do it that way they can find something they like that doesn't cost 200+ bones. There's a shitton of glass out there that's tight-looking and smokes well under $100.

Explain your monetary situation, and make the offer to go shopping. If this person is in any way cool, you should be able to work something out. If they're not, and you can't come to an agreement, this might be a burned bridge.

Related to this question, glass comes and goes. If you find yourself irrationally attached to a particular piece, you absolutely must come to terms with the fact that it will break someday. Do not mourn overmuch; let it go.
posted by carsonb at 9:47 PM on December 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


One of my friends owns a head shop and I know for a fact that $210 isn't ridiculous for a bong

Well then it's a ridiculously pricey bong to leave lying around in a room full of stoned strangers and then pretend you're cool with it being broken and then later have some proxy(?) email the guy for you and demand money with not a single goddamn bit of proof that its worth that much or indeed broken that severely at all.

Why do you only have a "few days?" Are they threatening you. If so, call the police.

If not, and if you really really want to be a good guy, say you'll go with them to the head shop, where they can verify it's really broken and will cost that much to fix/replace.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:50 PM on December 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


@MaryDellamorte, On the flipside, if I lend something to you, and you break it then part of the responsibility is mine, no? Lending your stuff to other people involves an element of risk, accidents happen, etc. If you don't want your bong broken - don't let other folks use it.

Saying that, I'd offer what you I could afford in good faith.

Also, just throwing this out there - home owners insurance… No? Oh ok.
posted by schwa at 9:52 PM on December 8, 2008


Well, you already are addicted to illegal drugs, and getting in trouble with the law because of it. Why not just go for the trifecta and steal $210 to give to the bong owner?

Addicted to illegal drugs because he got fined for underage drinking? And therefore the next step is clearly outright theft? That seems a bit hyperbolic.

Anyway, seconding drjimmy. If I were you, I wouldn't offer to pay for anything until someone verified that the item in question was worth that much.
posted by arianell at 10:07 PM on December 8, 2008


On the flipside, if I lend something to you, and you break it then part of the responsibility is mine, no?

Hell no, I loan you something, you treat it BETTER than if you owned it.

If the owner is demanding cash immediately, try to reason out some deal with him (buying something new with him is a good idea, maybe doing a payment in installments or something). It sucks, but you broke something of his. Wouldn't you be pissed if you sunk a bunch into a bong and someone else broke it?

Plus yeah, dude, googling your handle here brings a lot of personal info up for you. anonymous for these kinds of questions next time. Also, you know, including an actual question. This isn't yahoo answers.
posted by piratebowling at 10:08 PM on December 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, you already are addicted to illegal drugs, and getting in trouble with the law because of it.

Well, I can't argue with you that underage drinking and smoking pot are illegal, but I'm not quite sure how you come to a diagnosis of addiction here. Seriously?

Man up, quit whining, and scrounge up the money. Whether it's a lamp or a bong, you break it, you buy it.
posted by chrisamiller at 10:09 PM on December 8, 2008


Whether it's a lamp or a bong, you break it, you buy it.

Exactly. It's the Pottery Bong theory.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:12 PM on December 8, 2008 [20 favorites]


On the flipside, if I lend something to you, and you break it then part of the responsibility is mine, no? Lending your stuff to other people involves an element of risk, accidents happen, etc. If you don't want your bong broken - don't let other folks use it.

Everything has an element of risk so that's not a valid argument. Driving a car has an element of risk but if someone hit my car and was at fault, I'm not going to dismiss it and say "well, accidents happen, if I didn't want my car hit, I wouldn't drive it."
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:14 PM on December 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hell no, I loan you something, you treat it BETTER than if you owned it.

You loan something to someone, there's always the risk that they WON'T treat it better than their own stuff. Accidents happen, things get lost, earthquakes, typhoons, burglaries, meteors, etc. When you lend something out, you no longer have direct control over that item. And sometimes shit happens.

Same thing applies to money: don't lend more than you can afford to lose.

And frankly it doesn't sound like the bong owner cared very much about his bong if it was lent to someone who then lent it to the guy who actually broke it.
posted by schwa at 10:18 PM on December 8, 2008


And frankly it doesn't sound like the bong owner cared very much about his bong if it was lent to someone who then lent it to the guy who actually broke it.

From the post I gathered that the owner was in the house, but not at the room at the time it happened. Passing a bong around a room is different than letting someone borrow it and take it out of your house.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:20 PM on December 8, 2008


You loan something to someone, there's always the risk that they WON'T treat it better than their own stuff. Accidents happen, things get lost, earthquakes, typhoons, burglaries, meteors, etc. When you lend something out, you no longer have direct control over that item. And sometimes shit happens.

What the hell, if someone has the grace to lend something to you, and you break it out of your own clumsiness, then yeah, you better fucking pay for it. And if you didn't have the sense to keep track of it, then you better fucking pay for it. This isn't an earthquake or typhoon or act of God, the dude broke the other dude's bong, it's his fault and he should pay for it. I don't know what alternate universe you come from, but I hope nobody lends stuff to you.
posted by schroedinger at 10:24 PM on December 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


You loan something to someone, there's always the risk that they WON'T treat it better than their own stuff. Accidents happen, things get lost, earthquakes, typhoons, burglaries, meteors, etc. When you lend something out, you no longer have direct control over that item. And sometimes shit happens.

You're mixing up two things here, accidents that no one has control over (earthquakes, typhoons, burglaries, meteors, etc.) and accidents that happen due to clumsiness (dude's foot hitting a bong stem). You can see how one of these has at least a hint of responsibility, no? I mean, yeah it sucks, my hand/foot/whatever slipped and dropped/knocked over that priceless antique/bong, but at that point when you fess up to it, you know there is a decent chance the owner will want you to replace it.
posted by piratebowling at 10:27 PM on December 8, 2008


Wow. People are getting very dickish about bongs.

And if you didn't have the sense to keep track of it, then you better fucking pay for it.

And that, seems to me, is exactly what happened here. From the OP:

I was smoking out of a bong that belong to a friend of the person I was smoking with.

There were too levels of bong-loaning going on here. The person the bong owner had lent the bong to had lent it out to someone else. Does that sound like he was keeping good track of it?

My point is that, expecting immediate full reimbursement of the (assumed) full retail price for a bong that was loaned out to someone who then loaned it to someone else is pretty churlish (and rather naive). The lender should have made sure that it was lent out to someone who he trusts with his bong and/or was more than capable of taking responsibility for bong or reimbursement. Sounds like that was bong was passed around willy nilly.
posted by schwa at 10:31 PM on December 8, 2008


You can see how one of these has at least a hint of responsibility, no?

Sure, I do. Which is why I said the guy who broke it should make a best effort to pay it back or make amends.
posted by schwa at 10:32 PM on December 8, 2008


There were too levels of bong-loaning going on here. The person the bong owner had lent the bong to had lent it out to someone else. Does that sound like he was keeping good track of it?

From the post, it sounds like the owner was in the house but not present in the room at the time the accident happened, so yes, he was keeping track of it. I wouldn't say he "lent" it to anyone. Some people were over smoking some weed, the owner was in another room doing something while his friends used his bong.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:35 PM on December 8, 2008


I'm suspicious that he wants money and wants it NOW!
Your responsibility is to replace what you broke ASAP, not to give him an easy way to pawn his used shit at 100%+ retail with no wait period.

I suggest (a) going shopping for a replacement, NOT giving cash, and (b) find out if there is a store that will take the broken one as a trade-in for parts/salvage, thus giving you store credit to reduce the price of the replacement. (and (c) if they make them there, whether they agree that it's ruined beyond repair)

OTOH, since he's a stranger, and he can't go to the police over this, he has no grounds to disagree with your terms. Your only concern would be whether he's prepared to go to illegal lengths to get the money from you on his terms.
If you fear this might escalate, then get yourself and your place cleaned up, in case you end up needing to call the police.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:40 PM on December 8, 2008


You can't be expected to come up with $210 that quickly. But, since you broke it, you should pay for it. It does sound like you were clumsy ... if you showed reasonable care, how would your foot get anywhere near the bong? The detail about your "getting up to look something up on the internet" somehow makes the episode seem even more imbecilic.

Seriously, man, with the M.I.P. charge and now the broken bong, has it occurred to you to cut out the substance abuse and just, you know, focus on schoolwork?
posted by jayder at 10:40 PM on December 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


Looks like the posting has been made anon. now. I guess we'll never know the true story behind the case of the borrowed bong.
posted by schwa at 10:42 PM on December 8, 2008


Maybe you could tell the judge there will be a delay paying the MIP ticket because you owe another guy money for breaking his bong, and ask for a time extension on the ticket.

Seriously, I don't think you'll be getting a lot of sympathy here. Most people have broken stuff, and at least offered to pay for what's broken without needing to get asked for payment first.

Don't sweat the "few days" thing. If you haven't got the money, you haven't got the money. Negotiate a payment plan, and pay it off as quickly as you can.
posted by flabdablet at 10:48 PM on December 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


find some one to fix it with clear good quality epoxy
posted by hortense at 10:58 PM on December 8, 2008


second to schwa: there are 2 levels of bong-borrowing, and if someone wants to get all righteous on your ass then they best look to the person they loaned it to to begin with. if it were me, i would follow all the above-mentioned great advice about offering to replace said item. i would perhaps even find out what a replacement might cost and offer partial payment for that. bongs break. gnarly bong owners need to chill; and yes, the awesome thing to do is offer up something (but if you don't have the money then you just don't have the money).
posted by tamarack at 11:14 PM on December 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have a short speech I use to try to clear up confusion just in case this situation happens. "This cost me $160. I'm happy to let you use it. If you break it, you are either giving me $160, or I'm kicking your ass."

Slides are usually not repairable since they are inside the chamber and not a removable part.

$210 seems pretty high. If this decorative flower vase was made of acrylic, or had a lizard/wizard on it, you are totally getting scammed. If it was something like a Roor or Ph(X) or crazy cactus-configuration triple filtration diffuser ice catcher ash catcher 7mm glass science experiment, then I buy it. Can you price out similar items in your local head shops, and offer some of the cash towards one?
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:27 PM on December 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


If you have no money now (which I get, because I had NO money first time round as a student) how about making him a temporary replacement out of an orange juice bottle with a length of garden hose and promising him cash or shopping trip at a specified date when you expect to have the money. An approach of, "I'm sorry man, it was an accident, I would be pissed too, here's a temporary replacement and I will have the money by Jan 5 'cause my nan always puts a few hundred in a Xmas card for me" might work.
posted by b33j at 12:03 AM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


The bottom line is, don't give him 210$. I'd like to see some jerk try to 'kick my ass' if I ignored the threat of paying some arbitrary amount. To be honest, he's the one who's screwed, what can he do, sue you? It's kind of you to pay for the thing, but your friend needs to chip in, and the acquaintance needs to prove the bong is broken beyond repair, that he paid 210 for it, and to let you do the buying. Don't just hand him the money. He can smoke from a modified cola can for a few weeks.
posted by dawson at 12:15 AM on December 9, 2008


There are a few lessons to take from this, first off.

Don't set bongs down on the floor near your feet, especially nice glass bongs. They're extremely fragile. The area that holds the stem is usually what breaks, exactly as you describe. (Although, depending on the severity of the break, with a little ingenuity the piece can often be salvaged).

Understand that you're beginning to experience consequences from your substance use. Substance use may be fine for some people some of the time in some situations, but it is always, always a luxury--unless you have terminal cancer, severe chronic pain, or something like that. In your case, at least, it's a luxury. In my estimation it would be wise to lay off everything until you've paid off the MIP and are holding down at least a 3.3 GPA.

In my opinion, while you are responsible for paying the owner something, you are not responsible for 100%. From your description, you did not break it by an act of unreasonable stupidity or negligence. It was an accident. Countless bongs have been broken in this way by well meaning people over the years, and if the owner of the piece authorized its communal use, this is a risk he accepted. Similarly, if your friend (not the owner, the other one) who let you use the bong was ok with letting you use the owner's property, he accepts some of the risk, as well. Lastly, it wasn't brand new. 100% of the initial cost of the piece, is, therefore, unreasonable. You also get points for being upfront about it right away. Assuming the owner keeps the broken bong (which can still probably be used, like I said, with some ingenuity), I'd say you're on the hook for about 40% to 60% of the cost. As others have mentioned, I think going with the owner to buy a replacement for around $100 would be the best way. If the owner absolutely wants cash, though, I think that's fine--but not more than $100.

The owner is unreasonable if he doesn't appreciate that this is not a debt that you can repay immediately. However, it is reasonable for him to expect that you pay it off as soon as you can--which means you're eating top ramen, rice, and beans for awhile. If you're buying eighths, going to concerts, and eating at restaurants every day, well, he has a right to be pissed. If you can't afford to pay him back in a month just by cutting back your discretionary expenses, I'd start thinking about a temporary part-time job.
posted by kprincehouse at 12:26 AM on December 9, 2008 [5 favorites]


I'd like to see some jerk try to 'kick my ass' if I ignored the threat of paying some arbitrary amount.

Yeah, this is up there with "dumb advice I've seen on ask.mefi."

I would not recommend challenging someone to "kick my arse" unless you're quite sure that they, and their friends, can't. Because it would suck to find the bong owner knows people, you know?
posted by rodgerd at 12:44 AM on December 9, 2008


When I was a youngin' this sort of thing was resolved by buying the other fella' an eighth--maybe a quarter for a fancy bong.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:48 AM on December 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'd definitely phone the person whose bong it was and have a chat about it. Email is no good for this kind of thing. Sometimes it's very easy to sound unnecessarily terse when it's just words on a screen. Talk with them and work something out. Don't email him/her back.
posted by h00py at 12:55 AM on December 9, 2008


First of all, if your friend hasn't been using his 'water-filled tobacco pipe' for tobacco or 'legal smoking herbs', no head shop in their right mind will take it back for part salvage or trade-in. It's been used, is coated in resin, and is now evidence of illegal activity. Because of this, it's lost a lot of value.

I would also be suspicious of this needing $210 now deal. It sounds like your friend had an expense come up and thinks he can get some cash out of you. (an ounce of weed? A speeding ticket? who knows.)
That said, refusing outright to help replace it is bad form. Offer to take your friend out shopping as soon as you've paid your fines, but don't give him cash. If he doesn't like this, then you need to consider whether he's a friend worth keeping, or if you want to burn this bridge.

And please, try to keep your head down in the future. It's completely possible to make it four years in college without getting busted- if you're getting written up, it means you're doing it wrong.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:38 AM on December 9, 2008


This whole question is a bit..... overdone, as if there's some kind of special rule or caveat that might/should apply because it's a bong. Seems quite absurd to me.

The bong part is irrelevant, you accidentally broke *something*. It's sh!t that it happened, and while most people wouldn't request the money for it, this person has, and now you have no choice but to pay. It is like having to pay car insurance excess if a stone from the road was to smash your windscreen. It's not your fault really, but out of sheer bad luck, you have to pay anyway.

And as for the money, if you have enough disposable income to be smoking pot, you have enough to pay for the bong you broke. Simple.
posted by ryanbryan at 2:53 AM on December 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Must resist snark urge... just a bong... not federal case... gnaaah... be strong...

Any thought that perhaps your buddy didn't get the feeling you took it seriously, had a conversation with a roommate/girlfriend/other friend and thought they had to send you a really over the top email to show you how freaking serious they were about this? Maybe he's smoking really edgy weed? Who knows?

From what I know of stoner logic, my bet is this:

After you left, your stoner friend started looking at websites or at magazines to see what's out there to replace his broken bong. He saw something he liked and ordered it. He needs the money NOW because the new bong is hella expensive. He was able to justify buying the thing because he "knew" you have to replace his old bong, since you broke it. He hadn't had that conversation with you about how much the old bong actually cost, since you were kinda hoping things would go the "no harm, no foul" route.

Take a look on websites on your own and see how much the old bong cost and offer to give him that. You owe him a replacement bong, but not the StoneMaster9000UltraTrippyBong he bought. Unless that's what you broke, and then, dude, give him the money.
posted by Grrlscout at 3:21 AM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


find some one to fix it with clear good quality epoxy

I'd advise against that. Aside from the volatile solvents that are left behind, some epoxy components are biologically active and can cause cancer. On the other hand, smoking epoxy fumes might make you higher, so it might be even stevens.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:23 AM on December 9, 2008


When a dry cleaner ruins your dress, they don't pay replacement cost, they pay the value of it after use. Offer to pay the guy some number between $0 and $210 and to pay it over time.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:47 AM on December 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


I find it interesting that the price is 210. Not 200. Not 225. 2-TEN. That leads me to wonder if he already picked out a specific new bong in his mind and expects you to foot the bill now. Perhaps you should ask to see the bong before you pony up the money? And I agree that you should go in and buy it with him; don't just hand over the monies.

Just to remove risk of the hinky happening.
posted by Windigo at 5:03 AM on December 9, 2008


Go around there with something reasonable, glass, simple yet similar? He probably sat down and discovered the full extent of the damage. Understandably he was upset, yeah? You did break it - this is your fault - so you owe him something. It can be his 'guest bong' or whatever? (I am sure he will not overlook the value of such a thing?) Survey the damage while you're there, negotiate the terms (At worst $210-gesture of good faith.)

Don't be an asshole. Unless he is a dick (something I haven't been accounting for) he'll probably appreciate it and not be so mad. People that aren't mad at you are inclined to be a lot more reasonable. Also people equipped to smoke in a satisfactory matter are more relaxed and tend not to tell everyone that happens to ask "Where's your bong - what's with this new one?" - what a fucking asshole you are. (This is why you should take care picking one out. Simple but perfectly functional. If it's grudgingly acceptable you'll be sweet.)

At the very least he deserves something decent and airtight to smoke out of. You weren't too poor to be smoking weed, so whatever. I really don't think he'll just let it slide on that one... :)
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 6:03 AM on December 9, 2008


Because it would suck to find the bong owner knows people, you know?

If the bong owner doesn't mind going to prison for a non-drug-related crime, sure, that's a risk. Otherwise, not really.
posted by oaf at 6:18 AM on December 9, 2008


From what I know of stoner logic, my bet is this:

After you left, your stoner friend started looking at websites or at magazines to see what's out there to replace his broken bong. He saw something he liked and ordered it. He needs the money NOW because the new bong is hella expensive. He was able to justify buying the thing because he "knew" you have to replace his old bong, since you broke it. He hadn't had that conversation with you about how much the old bong actually cost, since you were kinda hoping things would go the "no harm, no foul" route.

Take a look on websites on your own and see how much the old bong cost and offer to give him that. You owe him a replacement bong, but not the StoneMaster9000UltraTrippyBong he bought. Unless that's what you broke, and then, dude, give him the money.
posted by Grrlscout at 3:21 AM on December 9 [+] [!]


You can't be expected to come up with $210 that quickly. But, since you broke it, you should pay for it. It does sound like you were clumsy ... if you showed reasonable care, how would your foot get anywhere near the bong? The detail about your "getting up to look something up on the internet" somehow makes the episode seem even more imbecilic.

Seriously, man, with the M.I.P. charge and now the broken bong, has it occurred to you to cut out the substance abuse and just, you know, focus on schoolwork?
posted by jayder at 10:40 PM on December 8 [4 favorites +] [!]


My ability to favorite has been broken since yesterday (yes, seriously). But both of these comments pretty much bear repeating anyway.
posted by KAS at 6:40 AM on December 9, 2008


This is ridiculous- it's a simple case of a stupid roommate not keeping valuable things in his room. As far as I'm concerned, you owe him nothing- this is coming from someone who's had their glassware broken, too.
posted by sunshinesky at 6:50 AM on December 9, 2008


Just remember, if the bong owner assaults you, you don't own him shit anymore.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:00 AM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're harshing my mellow, man. You broke it, you bought it. Give him the cash and get the bong from him and see if you can salvage something from it.
posted by saucysault at 7:22 AM on December 9, 2008


I've seen enough things at head shops selling for $4.20 or $42.00 that it wouldn't surprise me at all if he ordered himself some really high-end $420 bong as a replacement and decided to pass off half the bill to you.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:37 AM on December 9, 2008


kprincehouse has the ultimate answer. His comment does a better job explaining what I was trying to say last night - that there are risks to lending and responsibilities to borrowing.
posted by schwa at 7:59 AM on December 9, 2008


If you invite enough people over to your house often enough, eventually one of them will break something, just as you will if you hang around your own house long enough.

Also, I never quite understood paying the full replacement cost of a heavily used item.

I guess this person will continue to seek payment. I suggest you avoid situations in which you might break his things in the future (ie: going over to his house), as he has proven himself not to be a very reasonable person.
posted by jon_kill at 8:06 AM on December 9, 2008


Here's what you're gonna do.

Man up to the fact that you owe the owner a proper replacement (don't expect other people to share the burden of your clumsiness or you'll end up with no friends). Tell him you can only give him a small portion of the money now and an I.O.U. to repay him the balance in the new year. If he's not happy with this arrangement, then he's dicking you around...

You can do the folowing only if he insists on dicking you around.

Demand proof of the value of the broken bong. Ask him where to find his proposed ($210.00) replacement bong and give you the chance to find it at a cheaper price. Do a quick google image on the chance that you see the exact model. Tell him you'll be wanting the broken bong before you can hand over the cash.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:32 AM on December 9, 2008


saucysault said what I was going to say...

If you do end up paying the whole cost, you should be essentially purchasing the broken bong from him. Definitely get it from him, because it could be repairable or have salvageable parts that are worth money. If it was an ultra fancy ash catching ass wiping magic bong, it may be possible to strip it of the extraneous machinery and use it as a standard piece.
posted by utsutsu at 8:37 AM on December 9, 2008


I happen to think there is a distinction between "I broke something you loaned me to use in your absence" and "I knocked over the bong we were smoking pot out together of BECAUSE I WAS SMOKING THE POT OUT OF IT."

And the distinction makes a total dick of this guy, unless there are some mitigating circumstances where actually you are also a dick.

Yeah, you need to fix or replace it. He can't ask more of you than that. I know, it was a one-of a kind blah blah special jerome whoever. Don't be a stupid stoner, fella, that shit is glass and I keep my ($80ish) Maleficent in a pillowy closet nest for this very reason. I saw her sister break her neck in person and it was too much to bear. Spending that much on a bong and getting pissed not IF BUT WHEN someone falls on it/drops it/knocks it over/uses it as a weapon on a person or gaming system is just weak.

I would say look into if there is a glassblower who might could plop in a new downstem in your town, or take him to buy a new piece.

I hope the hit was worth it. Stupid $210 glass bongs. What a joke. Stoner torture.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:55 AM on December 9, 2008


Okay, there are several things going on here. First, your friend is being a dick. Everyone knows that fragile glass items that get passed around people with varying degrees of sobriety get broken. You have an expensive Chihuly blown glass bong? You keep it in a velvet bag and use your $40 Pyrex when people come over. If you do, on occasion, feel the urge to share your Chihuly bong, you bring it and make sure everyone knows that this is an irreplaceable bong and to please be careful, then the polite thing to do is pass if you don't feel comfortable handling this museum piece. This is proper etiquette and how you know if you have cool friends or dick friends. Bongs break, this is common knowledge.

Now if your friend was doing the right thing, this is how it would have played, he would have told you to not worry about it, that he'd get it replaced and that shit happens. You, doing the right thing, offer to replace it, he declines, you insist and you end up splitting the cost (and you buy him a 6-pack). Your friend has entered into that unfortunate testosterone male phase where they think they're Tony Soprano and going to be waiving their proverbial dick around. Call this alpha male or whatever, I call it being an asshole. Note: In the future this will be the guy that Corvette that always looks brand new and wants you to ride in it and gets all neurotic when you touch the paint reminding you that he paid a lot of money for it but knows a guy so it is actually a lot nicer car than what he paid for and if anyone touches it, man he'd fuck you up.

Well here's the deal and how you need to play it. Respond and apologize profusely, let him know it is your fault and that you are sorry. Then say that you would do your best to make him whole and repair the bong. Use those words! "Make him whole," you're not buying him a new bong, just making things as they were, he doesn't get a prize out of this. Call up your local glass blower head shop and tell them what happened and if they would mind giving you an estimate. Do this with two or three shops if you can, to try to get a few estimates. Tell him you'll need to bring it in to get a proper estimate (you probably will), get the estimates and get back to him. If after this he protests still or at any point keeps demanding the money at this point in time, you let all your friends know, you're asking them for their advice see, and let them know you went to repair place and got an estimate and he's still wanting the money. I would do what I can to get him the money, but make sure everyone knows what went down. You're out $210, sure, but everyone knows he's an asshole know and you come off looking a lot better than any $210 could by, because if someone I knew went so out of the way to try to repair a bong, he would be definitely on my A list.
posted by geoff. at 9:11 AM on December 9, 2008 [7 favorites]


where they can verify it's really broken and will cost that much to fix/replace.

find out if there is a store that will take the broken one as a trade-in for parts/salvage, thus giving you store credit to reduce the price of the replacement

Please do not bring marijuana paraphernalia into a head shop, they will have to ask you to leave. The reason they can sell pipes is because they're considered tobacco paraphernalia, however when you use one to smoke an illegal substance it becomes drug paraphernalia, and the shop could get in some serious shit for having something like that on the premises.

Ask to inspect the bong in question. I definitely think offering to go bong hunting with them is reasonable, as is asking for a reasonable consideration of your financial circumstances. Hopefully you can work out an arrangement.
posted by baphomet at 9:25 AM on December 9, 2008


You could offer to repay him via service instead of cash. Perhaps butlering or cleaning.
posted by drezdn at 9:28 AM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Call up your local glass blower head shop and tell them what happened and if they would mind giving you an estimate. Do this with two or three shops if you can, to try to get a few estimates. Tell him you'll need to bring it in to get a proper estimate (you probably will), get the estimates and get back to him.

Again: "Please fix my illegal drug paraphernalia."

Absolutely not going to happen. No glassblower would give you a quote on that because they don't fix used pieces.
posted by baphomet at 9:38 AM on December 9, 2008


"Slides are usually not repairable since they are inside the chamber and not a removable part."

Beg to differ. In fact, on a well-made glass piece, the slides are replaceable exactly for this reason (though they're often a total pain in the ass to get out). But as someone who has had elaborate glass before (both gifts! I spent my money on weed, not pipes!), the slides are EXACTLY the part that breaks (Dude, when you force the ice down there, it comes shooting out of your hand like a baseball!) and my local head shops and glass blowers were more than willing to replace that fairly standard part (which I measured, rather than show them) for my tobacco water pipe.
posted by klangklangston at 11:12 AM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Tell him to sue you.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:14 PM on December 9, 2008


I'm pro legalization but seriously, no one needs a friend who spends $210 on a bong. Offer to buy him a new one and then never speak to him again.
posted by chairface at 4:15 PM on December 9, 2008


Etiquettely speaking, when you break something in someone's house, you're supposed to offer to pay for it on the grounds that you broke it, and they're supposed to decline on the grounds that there's a cost to offering hospitality and the wear and tear on your possessions is one of them. If you borrow and item and break it, you're supposed to replace it, since they did you a favor and you broke their stuff.

Unfortunately for etiquette, none of that is happening here. And you did break it. So if he really wants you to pay for it, you should do so. You're then free to spend the rest of your life think he's a boorish asshole, an opinion that's only reinforced by his obnoxious insistence that you come up with the money right away. If you don't have the money for it now, he's going to have to suck it up and wait. If he's got a $210 bong, he's also got something cheaper he can use in the interim.

What do you suppose the odds are that it wasn't his in the first place? And he's being hassled to replace it for the person he borrowed it from?
posted by jacquilynne at 9:40 AM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, when you call up the headshop, remember that you're looking to get an estimate on a 'water-filled tobacco pipe'.

Otherwise they might very well not serve you.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:01 PM on December 10, 2008


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