When Lent Items Are Returned Broken

I\’m terribly annoyed when a borrower returns my stuff broken. They could have been more careful. Even worse, I have encountered some borrowers who didn\’t tell me they have broken my stuff while on their possession — and still claim they didn\’t break it even if they were the last person who used it. What a shame. I admit that I have broken some things I borrowed from my friends and my relatives in the past; however, before I returned the broken items, I tell them the truth no matter what the consequences were. It\’s my fault after all. Some people however, prefer keeping their dirty little secrets and claim that they returned the borrowed item in perfect working condition. When the hapless owner is about to use the borrowed item already, he or she will be utterly surprised that it was broken. It\’s a pity, really.

Here are the things that I suggest you do when someone want to borrow your belongings, whether at school, office or neighborhood:

  1. Lend your belongings to trusted person only. When you have doubts, get a collateral (just like what most lending companies do)
  2. When the person borrowing has no collateral and you don\’t trust the shit out of him, but you still want to act like a good Samaritan — pray hard that he will even bother caring for your stuff. Don\’t expect he will even care. Actually, you shouldn\’t be expecting anything in return since you\’re a good Samaritan.
  3. Be selective. Don\’t lend anyone who has a reputation for being irresponsible. It\’s harsh but you rather be selfish so you don\’t have to worry about your things being broken.
  4. Whenever you decide to lend your belongings, always test the item before lending it to the borrower. Then, after the borrower return your stuff, test it again in front of him to check that your stuff is still in good condition. This acts as a proof that the item works fine when you lend it and when you received it back.
  5. Finally, when you discover that the borrowed item was broken, tell the last borrower right away. It\’s better when you work on #4 so you can act sooner. You certainly don\’t want that person to get away so easily. As much as possible, make a bold statement that you lent the item in good condition and pressure him to act responsibly to the problem. In the end, you don\’t want to compromise your belonging just because it was returned broken. When you let that happen, you\’re being too kind or just dumb.

There are a handful of good Samaritans out there willing to lend you their stuffs whenever possible. However, not all of us are meant to be good Samaritans. I tried being a good Samaritan before. It initially feels good. When people begin abusing your goodwill you start to realize that lending whatever-you-have is not always a good idea. You have to set boundaries.

You have to be practical. Otherwise, leechers will simply suck the very last marrow out of your bone until you have nothing.

By Marck V.

Filipino IT consultant on enterprise software. On his spare time he do web project management, photography and blogging. Web 2.0 enthusiast.