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Something Borrowed was Lost - Appropriate Resolution

amber3902's picture

My two daughters and I have been living with my SO for three years now and things have been going fine. Recently something occurred that I'd like to get advice from the ladies on here.

My SO goes backpacking a lot. He loves backpacking and it's something he does at least a few times a year with his buddies or even by himself. Recently, my D17, her boyfriend, and two other friends of theirs decided they wanted to go camping. My SO let D17 borrow his tent and a sleeping pad.

So, the day arrives and D17's friends pull up in a SUV. D17 and her boyfriend put their stuff in the back of the SUV and off they go.

The next day they return, but D17 does not have the bag that the sleeping pad was in or SO's tent. Apparently, between the four of these teenagers, they just threw all their stuff in the back of the SUV and then when it came time to give people their stuff back, they couldn't find things.

SO was NOT happy. Like I said before, backpacking is something he really enjoys doing. He's a computer programmer, which forces him to be inside and he can't stand it. Being out in nature is like medicine for his soul and backpacking gives him that opportunity.

I told D17 she better go over to her friend's house and look through his SUV for SO's things. She did. She did find the bag for the sleeping pad, but still could not find the tent.

Now, technically, it's not D17 fault because she shared a tent with her boyfriend and let the two other boys use SO's tent. And it sounds like the boys packed up all the gear into the car. But between the four of them HOW they could have lost something as big as a tent is beyond me. :?

Now I'm trying to figure out what an appropriate resolution to this would be. SO paid $125 for the tent, but it was on sale. To find a similar tent would cost him $175.

D17 has a job so she has money. At first SO was very upset that D17's friends had lost his tent, but since then he's calmed down and said it's not a problem. He said he's not going backpacking any time soon and he'll just order another tent. I'm wondering if I should make D17 pay for at least part of the expense of the new tent? Technically D17 didn't lose the tent, her friend did, but she was still responsible for the tent and was the one that had borrowed it from SO.

What do you think?

amber3902's picture

Thanks, he IS lovely.

I guess was leaning towards not making D17 do anything because SO said she didn't have to pay for a new tent. But I have a feeling he's just being nice when he says that and I need to insist on doing what I know is right.

amber3902's picture

No worries about being a grandma, she's on the pill and they use condoms. They had been together for over a year before they became sexually active and they were each other's first.

I was leaning towards she needs to pay for the tent, I agree with you that it will teach her to be
more responsible with things she borrows.

amber3902's picture

Yes, he was VERY upset when he first found out. I think the only reason he's changed his tune now is because he doesn't want to be the mean ole stepparent.

I've tried telling him that he shouldn't feel guilty when he's firm with my girls. But it's like he's afraid to come across as the mean stepfather.

If anything, my SO is the "Disney stepdad", if there is such a thing. I get after my girls, but he's always hesitant to say anything to them. I always back him up, and I always insist that my girls show him respect. But he has a hard time getting after them about anything.

amber3902's picture

Thanks Jaspercat. Yep, I think it's exactly as you say. SO is trying to be nice, saying it's no big deal, and I'm trying to rationalize it by saying it wasn't D17's fault, but in the back of my head I know not making her pay isn't the right thing to do.

I guess that's why I felt the need to post on here. To get an outside perspective.

notasm3's picture

This is a no brainer. When you borrow something you return it - in good condition. It seems pretty obvious to me that one of the participants liked this tent and decided to keep it. That's theft in my book.

One does not "lose" something as large as a tent - even a small backpacking tent.

ybarra357's picture

I too think she should pay for the entire tent. I am also an avid backpacker, my gear is SACRED to me. NOBODY touches it and I do NOT lend it out to ANYONE...but that's just me. LOL

Gimlet's picture

We are too, and I am very choosy about loaning our gear (so far only DD22 has asked and she is just as uptight about taking care of things as I am). Good gear is sacred.

We are starting to get more into backpacking (have done lots of day hiking and camping). Would you mind if I PMed you some questions in the future?

amber3902's picture

Yeah, I don't get it either how they could have lost a tent.

Regarding letting her go camping with her boyfriend. Yes, I let her because she's responsible. She does her chores at home and I never have to get on her to do her homework. Now that she has a job, she pays for her own car insurance, gas and buys all her own clothes and shoes. Sometimes she even gets something for her sister or a toy for the dog.

She goes to school, has a part time job and currently has a 3.6 GPA. I don't know what her boyfriend's GPA is but I know he's in honors classes. They both are getting ready to go to college, have even gone on a couple of college tours together. They don't smoke, do drugs or drink. I let her stay out as late she she wants because she always texts me when she's on her way home and the only thing she does is go to the movies with her boyfriend or hang out at his house with his family.

The two of them had been together for over a year before they became sexually active and they were each other's first. When they started having sex I took D17 to the doctor put her on the pill. They also use condoms.

Gimlet's picture

Now, technically, it's not D17 fault because she shared a tent with her boyfriend and let the two other boys use SO's tent

It doesn't matter who used the tent, D17 borrowed it. She should replace the tent fully out of her own money.

FDH and I are outdoors people too, and any equipment loaned out comes with the stipulation that it is returned in the condition it was when it left and if it is not, you are on the hook for a full replacement.

Your DH is being very mature about it the whole thing, but you and D17 need to make it right.

amber3902's picture

I agree - SO let D17 borrow the tent, not the other teens.

Point taken and I will tell her she has to buy SO a new tent. One that he picks out.

WTF...REALLY's picture

This is exactly what you should do. It's a good lesson for your daughter to learn and your partner will respect you and her more for doing the right thing.

notasm3's picture

Does you daughter feel any sense of remorse or is she just taking the "not my fault" stance? That would bother me the most.

She need to learn that one DOES NOT loan out other people's possessions.

amber3902's picture

She does feel bad. She's not acting like it's not her fault and she did apologize to SO.

And she did put in effort to try and find it. She went over the friend's house and looked through his SUV, and then she went over to her boyfriend's house to look through his things in case it got mixed up with his things.

This will have to be another lesson learned the hard way.

Rags's picture

"Technically it is not DD17's fault" Yes it is DD-17's fault. She borrowed the tent. Yes, your SO shold order any tent he wants and DD-17 pays for it. I wold upgrade on the kid's dime if I was your SO. Just to make a point.

Accountability.... instead of "its not her fault" is exactly what she needs to feel. If she had been responsible, she would not have to feel the pinch of consequences for not caring for a borrowed item adequately.

SO should never loan her anything again. Period.

IMHO of course.

Cover1W's picture

I've been through this in so many iterations with my SDs; damaging or losing either my things or DP's things (both cheaper and more expensive) drove me to the point I'm at now. I never, ever loan the SDs anything of mine any longer. I usually never see the stuff again. And DP never follows up with them about it.

So by the time they are teenagers I fully believe, at least SD12, will be fully disrespectful of other people's belongings and things like tents, electronics, cars (?) will not be taken care of if borrowed.

Absolutely she needs to replace that tent.
If I borrowed and "lost" a tent (how does that happen? Something fishy is going on) that belonged to someone else, my friend/family member would expect it replaced.
Why is it different if it's your SO's tent? Because he's step-dad? I think he really was/is upset and is just backing down because he doesn't want to make waves.

ISTJ's picture

I agree with the other posters: whatever is borrowed should be returned or replaced in the same condition or better. This is a life lesson.
So: your DD needs to replace both the tent and the sleeping pad.
Now, after she replaces the items, she can always talk to her boyfriend and the other friends to see if they are willing to chip in some money since they also had use of the now-missing items.

neskajy's picture

I think she should pay. Next time she will keep a better eye on things that she borrows and that are not her own

Amcc13's picture

technically not responsible my butt. She borrowed she lost she pays. Simple as. I don't care if it takes her 175 easy weekly instalments. Repaid in full to never borrow anything again until it is repaid.

LuckyGirl's picture

She should pay. It's on her if she gets some money back from the other kids who may or may not also have some responsibility. But she should replace the item.

Rags's picture

"Technically"... I hate the use of that word in a pathetic attempt to justify stupidity and avoid accountability. Yes... it is DD-17's fault. Entirely her fault. She borrowed the tent and it was her responsibility... PERIOD!! She had no right to loan it to anyone else and that she did is a major failure in judgement on her part and she should own it completely.

And... regardless of the cost of what DH chooses to order to replace the tent SHE lost DD-17 should pay for it... IN FULL!

I apologize if my visceral aversion to the word "technically" as a deflection for taking or assigning responsibility was a bit strong. My POS SIL uses this word regularly in attempts to down play her stupid decisions, to make excuses and put the blame on anyone or anything other than herself. It pisses me off.

Sure, I understand that sh!t happens and mistakes are made but your DD owns this one lock, stock and barrel and needs to be held fully accountable for it. If I was your DH I would be shopping for one hell of a replacement tent and price would be no object since his SD-17 would be footing the bill. }:)