Beg or Borrow but Don't Steal, Footnote Frivolity***, Going Green

Beg, borrow, but don’t steal

A while ago, I wrote about borrowing Charlaine Harris’ Dead Reckoning from the library. Friend and fellow blogger Melbourne on My Mind wrote back, informing me that I could have borrowed it from her. Therefore, the trick is to always ask around before you buy (or in my case, wait for a month to get a reserved copy from the library). You might be able to beg or borrow (but not steal) whatever it is that you’re desperate for from a family member, a co-worker, or a friend.

But how do you beg/borrow successfully?

Firstly, put the word out. Let it be known over Facebook, Twitter, or dinner table conversation that you have just bought a home and are in need of something. It’s likely that a relative has a spare couch, washing machine, or TV sitting in their garage but they will not think to give it to you unless you ask for it.

Secondly, make the transfer of goods as easy as possible. Don’t expect your uncle to drop off that couch on your front porch and don’t ask him to either. Arrange a time that suits the lender or donor and collect the item yourself.

While you’re at their house, wading through the junk pile(s) in the garage, don’t poke around like a beady eyed magpie. It might be unused/unwanted goods, but it still belongs to your lender/donor, and they might not take too kindly to your scavenging. There’s nothing more offputting for a lender or donor than the sour whiff of opportunism.

Thirdly, be generous. Do unto others what you would do unto yourself. Share your hoard of treasure, be it books, DVDs, or a vacuum cleaner. Let others know that you want to offload your bed base or some kitchen crockery. Offer some muscle to the guy who’s moving house and just gave you his old TV. People will be more willing to help you out if they know that you’re happy to help them out in return.

If you’re hoping to borrow something, the following should keep you from going astray:

The Borrower’s Ten Commandments*

  1. Thou shalt not steal.
  2. Thou shalt not covet that which the owner has not even had a chance to use yet.
  3. Thou shalt not lend out that which is not thine.
  4. Honour thine agreement. Return the borrowed item in a timely manner.
  5. Should the owner have need of the item, return it, regardless of whether thou be done with it.
  6. Return the item to the owner in the same condition (or better).
  7. Should any harm befall the item, thou shalt inform the owner.
  8. Thou shalt offer to replace any harmed item.
  9. Thou shalt aid the owner in the upkeep of any regularly borrowed item (i.e. lawn mower).
  10. Thou shalt thank the owner for their benevolence.

21 years and 11 months to go,


*Adapted from Etiquette Hell’s ‘Etiquette of Borrowing’ forum.

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