Mother-In-Law Mayhem


It’s the day after Christmas and Joanna is in a bit of a pickle…  Months ago, she and her mother-in-law Liz had a conversation about what Joanna and her husband Jake might need or want for their new home.  Somewhere in the conversation, Joanna must of mentioned that the couple was planning on getting a new flat screen tv for the family room.  And when her in-laws arrived for Christmas brunch, they also delivered the extremely generous gift of a new TV – plus professional installation for the 29th of December!

Overwhelmed by the generosity and thoughtfulness of the gift, Joanna and Jake were genuinely appreciative, but… the TV was not what they had planned to get at all.  They had had their eye a specific brand, style and size –  that likely costs double of what Jake’s parents spent on the Christmas flat screen.

Knowing how excited his mother gets about giving gifts, Jake feels like a jerk, and doesn’t want to hurt his mother’s feelings by telling her that it wasn’t exactly what they wanted.  He told Joanna that they should just accept the gift and have it installed on the 29th.  It may not be what they planned, but it was still way better than the crappy old TV that they had been using.

Joanna disagrees.  She wants to tell Liz the truth and return the flat screen.  She feels, after the initial sting, Liz will totally understand and will much rather put the money towards the TV they really want – and Joanna and Jake can pay the difference.  Jake thinks it’s rude, and he knows his mother will want to pay the difference – which he does not want to put his parents in the position to do.  Joanna thinks Jake is acting like an overprotective mama’s boy.

Is it really that rude to let Liz know the truth, or should Joanna push Jake to let her speak up?  Is Joanna being ungrateful, or is Jake treating his mother too sensitively?

Tell us what you think?!

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5 Responses to “Mother-In-Law Mayhem”

  1. Molly says:

    I think Joanna should let it go and enjoy the generous gift. What a thoughful Mother in Law to listen to what they want, and not only get it for them, but pay for the installation as well.

    With a new home, they have lots of expenses, so she should be thrilled that her MIL did this.
    In a couple of years they can always tell the MIL it no longer works properly and get the TV of their dreams,(or put it in another room) and in the meantime have saved some money now.

  2. Sue says:

    I can see both sides of this. I think it was very sweet of the ILs to have listened to what they were planning to buy for themselves for their new home and to have spent a prety good chunk of change for one and the installation but it would be kind of like someone going out and buying a bedroom suite for you, what one person thinks would be perfect is not dependent on your tastes etc. It would have made more sense for the in-laws to have either given them a check (saying what it was for) or at least talked to the kids and let them know that they wanted to help them get this major purchase as their Xmas present. What would be the next thing. Yes a TV is not that “personal” but what would be the next thing.

  3. louie says:

    Oh my God. Catch 22 here for sure. Relationships are always more important than “things”. Accept what you’re given as a gift. You can always later on put the gift in your bedroom and get the one you want for the family room, but for now, be humble, thankful and enjoy.

  4. Molly says:

    I agree with Lou.

    Sue, I’m sure we’d all agree that the best thing the in-laws could have done was to ask if they wanted a specific model. But they didn’t. They went ahead and bought one for Jaime and Jake.

    And so the question here is what should Jaime and Jake do, not what should have the in-laws done?

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Oh my! I think this really is not a big deal because most people have televisions in various rooms. Say thank you and move on. It isn’t like she gave them a very large portrait of herself (LOL).

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