This past Saturday I spent the morning helping my father out with his move a bit. He already had a garage full of boxes, and needed help moving most of them to the basement. He has already had one knee replacement surgery, and the exertion of descending and climbing steps (with additional weight) for that period of time would not have been good on his knees.
(Side note: Dad, if you read this, it’s time for a garage sale, buddy.)
I’m not sure how long it took, but we eventually had everything that was in the garage sorted and taken to where it needed to be. He then asked me if I wanted to grab a bite to eat, and I eagerly agreed as I had eaten nothing but a granola bar up to that point in the day. We waited for my step-mom to arrive, then left.
While we were eating, my dad mentioned that a hoodie he had gotten my youngest brother for Christmas was too small and that he had to return it. I had gotten the same hoodie for Christmas and it was small on me, too. Perhaps that particular company just makes their sizes small. Who knows? I hadn’t said anything to my dad about it because I’m not one to rock the boat, but when he brought it up I mentioned that mine was small, too.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” they both inquired simultaneously.
“Because I would have felt bad.” I felt stupid admitting that.
“Why? It’s not your fault. It’s not our fault,” my stepmother replied.
I had no answer for that. I couldn’t explain why I felt bad about telling them their Christmas gift didn’t fit.
We finished eating and went our separate ways, but I didn’t stop thinking about our conversation. Like a bug crawling across my skin, it irritated me until I finally identified the feeling which kept me silent after I first tried on the hoodie.
I felt ungrateful. How dare I go back to them after they spent their time looking for a gift I would like and tell them it didn’t fit? How dare I go back to them after they spent their hard-earned money on a gift they thought I would like and tell them I couldn’t wear it? So I didn’t. I didn’t want to seem ungrateful. I didn’t want to be that person.
I must have sounded like an idiot to them. “We want you to have something you’ll actually use,” my stepmother said. And then I thought about it from their point of view. Had I bought one of them a shirt that didn’t fit, I’d like to know so that I could exchange it for something that does fit. But I was afraid of hurting their feelings by telling them their gift didn’t fit me.
Sometimes, I don’t understand me.
It’s all sorted out now. They are going to return the hoodie and told me to pick something else out that I like. Of course, I should have known from the beginning that it would have been no big deal, but I guess my mind isn’t functioning properly if I’m not making things more complicated for myself.
Do you have trouble returning gifts? Do you feel ungrateful if you receive a gift that doesn’t fit or that you won’t use? Are you afraid to say so?