a car for a pie - sounds fair, right?
December 26, 2012 12:27 PM   Subscribe

Non-monetary thank you gift in exchange for a free used car?

My coworker recently bought a replacement for her '91 Subaru wagon with transmission problems. When I came in bedraggled from my rainy bike ride for the umpteenth time this month, she offered to give me the Subaru because she'd rather see it go to someone she knows than have to "deal with weirdos on Craigslist." I've never been good at the "oh, are you sure? oh, I must give you something" social dance, so I simply said "heck yeah!"

Now I'm thinking I should give her something, though I'm not in any position to give her close to $500 (what the mechanic said it was worth) and she knows that. She has a dog and lives nearby, so I thought I might offer to walk her dog once a week / a few times, or buy her some treats. And she likes my baking, so I'm definitely going to make her a pie. What else would be a fitting gift for such a generous offer?
posted by wintersonata9 to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
next time she goes on vacation for a week, if that seems likely for her, can you dog sit?
posted by saraindc at 12:32 PM on December 26, 2012

A really nice, long, hand-written letter will go a long way. You got the car because you can't repay what it would cost, so trying to make up for it in physical gifts would be a losing battle. But something hand-written and heartfelt is generally well-received.

And when you can afford to do so, be as generous to someone else down the road.
posted by xingcat at 12:34 PM on December 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

A pie and a very nice thank you letter now, and another pie again in a few months "because you had all these blueberries you wanted to use and just thought she'd enjoy a pie just because."
posted by phunniemee at 12:35 PM on December 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

Maybe bake some nice dog treats too. There are lots of recipes online.
posted by wwax at 12:44 PM on December 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

In my book (which is a jealous book if that's a manual tranny, regardless of age and problems), you're indebted to her for a good long while. You should not expect a pie to cover your gratitude in perpetuity, although by all means bake the sucker for her. And again and again. You now need to be looking out for all the ways you can help her, even the more annoying and mundane: moving stuff into or out of apartments, gratis dog sitting, errands etc. If all it costs you is effort and time, just let her know that all she needs to do is ask and you're her willing aide. In telling her this you should be a little specific, of what you are able or askable to do, and that this will be available to her whenever.
This may be pollyannaish of me, as usual, but because she gave it to you unasked for, the dollar amount the gift is worth doesn't really need to be equalled, it's about how awesome everyone feels about the situation and how, in the end, it was the right thing to do. If the car helps you do something you wouldn't have done otherwise, let her know right away. If she loved that car (which at that vintage, I'd hazard she did), she wants to know that the car is being loved and cared for into its dotage by someone who appreciates it for what it is. Eventually it will be a heap of scrap, but for now, it is a working car for you.
RIP, 1993 Subaru Legacy Wagon, a kind gift from my uncle who always like to hear of its adventures and the roar of its engine tearing out of the driveway in 2nd.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 4:53 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Thanks, friends. I'll keep all of these in mind - especially Cold Lurkey's!
posted by wintersonata9 at 6:44 PM on December 26, 2012

You now need to be looking out for all the ways you can help her, even the more annoying and mundane: moving stuff into or out of apartments, gratis dog sitting, errands etc

As someone who just gave my beloved car away to someone that I thought could use it, please do NOT feel like you now owe the giver something equivalent in time or physical exertion or calories. I would much prefer a handwritten expression of thanks to a gift card or a dog walk or a pie or cookies or [some other thing that is meant to approximate my gesture]. That would just make me feel awkward. It was a gift. Accept it in that spirit, gratefully.
posted by AgentRocket at 7:02 AM on December 27, 2012

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