Everyone wants to give the money to the other person - what is fair?
December 25, 2008 6:32 AM   Subscribe

14 years ago I was given a baby grand piano for Christmas, where it lived at my mother's house until now. She recently remodeled and sold it (with my full agreement) since I have no room for it and interstate moving would cost as much as a new piano. She wants to give me the proceeds since it was my present, but I think we should at least split it since it was a really expensive gift and it has remained at her house. What do you think?

Both parties could make good use of the money but neither one really needs it more than the other. Everyone is amicable here and we'd like to here what other people think, so please favorite any answers you like.
posted by true to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd say that since your mother wants you to have the proceeds from the sale, then that's her prerogative and you can accept them with a clear conscience.

It sounds like you have a really great mother and that she has a very considerate child as well.
posted by imjustsaying at 6:37 AM on December 25, 2008

Your mother might want you to have the money so that you can get a new baby grand piano where you are at now (knowing that you still play might be your gift to her). Just a thought.

I'd split it with mom like you suggest though.
posted by dabitch at 6:38 AM on December 25, 2008

Your mother wants to give you something, don't argue with her. If you feel that she deserves something for housing your piano and doing the legwork of selling it, maybe once you receive the proceeds from the sale you'll feel like sending her a check for a reasonable amount. Say, half?
posted by majick at 7:04 AM on December 25, 2008

It's really your piano. If Mom wants you to have the money, I think it's OK to accept it. If you're not comfortable with that, perhaps agree to accept it and invest all or part of it in a mutual fund (this is a great time to buy).

Or - accept and then give your Mom a great gift or take her out to a nice dinner somewhere!
posted by kdern at 7:16 AM on December 25, 2008 [2 favorites]

Well, it was your piano, so I see your mom's point about giving you all the money. But I see your generous point as well.

My suggestion is to take the money and use some of it to do something special with her, treat her to a night out. Maybe dinner and a concert or a Broadway type of show. You know, something musically related.

Or you could donate a portion of the money in her name to a school music program - with NCLB, lots of music and art programs are suffering and could sure use some support.
posted by NoraCharles at 7:27 AM on December 25, 2008

Your mom's giving you a gift, accept it.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:56 AM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

You're both being really generous. Which is wonderful!

I say you graciously accept the money and use some of the proceeds to get your mother something she'd really love, something she wouldn't buy for herself.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:27 AM on December 25, 2008 [2 favorites]

Let your mom give you a present. She perhaps feels like the whole sum of money represents the whole of the gift she gave you years ago, and it would be strange to kee some of it. If you're not planing on buying a new piano, suss out how she feels about that.

Then take some of the money from the piano sale and splurge on her for being a great mom.
posted by desuetude at 9:02 AM on December 25, 2008

I think you should accept the money, since she seems to sincerely want you to have it. But then spend some of the money to do something special together. This gift from long ago can turn into time spent together now, which will be a whole new gift for both of you.
posted by aka burlap at 9:11 AM on December 25, 2008

if mom is refusing to take the money, I agree with the sentiment: take it & get her an awesome gift with some of it. maybe some art that would complement her new decor?
posted by supermedusa at 11:00 AM on December 25, 2008

Seconding donating whatever portion you think she deserves if she won't take it. I'm guessing it was given to you as a child and you were forced into had the privilege of taking music lessons. If that's the case, it seems fitting that the proceeds from the piano go to music education for other children if both of you are too stubborn to take it and put it to good personal use.

Alternatively, got any children, nieces, nephews, etc? If there aren't too many of them, you could talk to their parents and buy them each a musical instrument, or some visual art supplies, or dance clothes, or the like.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 4:07 PM on December 25, 2008

Let's say you sold the piano for $1000, and split that with her. Then, your mom gave you an unrelated $500 gift because she felt generous. That would be OK with you, right? So pretend that's what's happening here!

In my experience, parents don't like to be paid by their kids for things unless it's the only logical option (buying a parent's house or car, for example). Since "winning" this battle means you're out half the price of the piano and your mother is less happy, you don't want to win here. I think the ideas above about taking some of the money and doing something nice for her (and not saying anything like "this is to make up for the piano") would be exactly the right way to handle this.
posted by SuperNova at 10:59 PM on December 25, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. As an update we decided to do what most of you suggested - we gracefully took the money and plan to spend some of it on something nice for mom and a good portion of the rest of it to fly our family out to see mom this year (something we would have done anyway, but accounting for it that way is her idea and works for her). And as a special note to NoraCharles, we agree entirely about NCLB and intend to donate to our local public school for just that reason.
posted by true at 7:01 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

« Older I think I might like to live in a Warehouse.   |   How does one know that they've found the right... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.