Broken Loaner - what would you do?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by danfogel, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. danfogel

    danfogel Member

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    So I lent my SRT Super (which was in user condition, but did have the 1.5 battery conversion) with 50/1.7 lens to a family so their daughter could use it for frosh year photography in high school. They returned it over the weekend and it now has the following issues it did not have when I lent it:

    Lens wobbles in the mount

    Strap lug on one side broken off and gone

    Dent on front of camera

    Dent on back of camera

    ASA/ISO dial no longer turns, so stuck on 400

    Replaced battery cover, they lost it and got a new one. It doesn't quite fit

    My plan was to have my daughter use it for her photography class this semester, but it isn't really usable now.

    They didn't say anything when they gave it to me, but bought my wife and I dinner as a "thank you" they said.

    What would you do?
     
  2. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Neither a borrower nor a lender be. There's not much you can do. I believe I'd give it back to them to keep, so at least they can have mud on their face. People like that are just plain missing something in their character. Tell them you'd have brought it to them sooner, but had been sick with food poisoning from the dinner they took you to.
     
  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Sounds like the camera suffered some impact, likely dropped to some hard surface. Sounds like those damages should be readily apparent when someone handled it.

    If the daughter (the person used the camera) returned it to you and her parents never touched it - thus not know she damaged the camera, then this could be a teaching moment. I would have a gentle conversation with the parent. IF the parents handled the camera to return to you, then all is lost. There's nothing you can do.
     
  4. omaha

    omaha Member

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    This is rather saddening.

    Assuming for the moment that the parents didn't know about the damage (probably a safe assumption???), this seems like a reflection of the disposable culture the young girl has experienced her entire life. What 14 yo today is accustomed to treasuring a precision object with the expectation that her kids/grandkids will also use/treasure it? Even the most valuable item in her life (iPhone?) is understood to be disposable.

    Nothing lasts.

    Why should she care?

    Sad.

    Anyway, what to do? Its a $100 camera. They bought you dinner. Hard to say if that was a "Thanks for letting Suzy-Q borrow the camera" or a "Sorry Suzy-Q busted up your camera" dinner. In any case, I guess I'd talk to one of the parents about it and make sure they understand what happened. I know if it were one of my daughters, I'd want to know.
     
  5. cabbiinc

    cabbiinc Member

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    Is their friendship worth more than the camera?

    My father had a policy of never lending someone something. Either give it to them, which if they felt inclined they could give it back, or don't lend at all. This went for money as well as objects. He felt the friendship or family connection was far more important than some things, other things he just didn't lend out.

    I wouldn't push the issue too much, there's not much that can be done if they don't feel remorse for what happened.
     
  6. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    I would be curious as to what happened and ask about it. Not in a "you broke it you pay for it" way but more out of curiosity. From your description it sounds as if it has been bouncing down the stairs. It is hard to miss a thing like this. Who knew but didn't tell?
    It would be stupid if you felt angry with the parents if they know nothing of the incident and it might be a good thing to let the daughter know that it is not ok to break something and just walk away from it.
     
  7. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Write it off as a learning experience. Never "lend" anything you can't replace yourself. No friendship is worth material goods.
     
  8. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    ditto. (Been there, done that... with camreas and other stuff too!)
     
  9. danfogel

    danfogel Member

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    Just reading these replies makes me feel better. I have had most of the thoughts I have read here.

    The parents are really good friends of ours. I don't want to mess that up for my spare SLR.

    They had to know. How could they not know?

    I would love to know what happened, but rolling down the stairs would be consistent with the bruising.

    I hadn't thought about the disposable nature of things for kids that age, but that makes sense. I routinely shoot cameras from the 50's, 60's and 70's that I baby. I would think an item of such heft and substance would inspire a teen. I am living in a dream world.
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Moved to "Ethics and Philosophy." The "Feedback and Suggestions" forum is for feedback about how APUG works.
     
  11. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    There's nothing to be gained in bringing the matter up with the parents or the daughter. Consider it a gift and drop it off at goodwill. While you''re there, you may likely find something similar for $20.
     
  12. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Hi, again. I would not automatically assume this.... young teens are very clever at hiding their mistakes. Also, unless taught otherwise, many of them will try their best to protect their interest before anyone else's. (ie. not get yelled at and lose their own money) Taking responsibility is a trait that must to be taught, not born with. That's why I said it could be a teaching moment.

    I live in front of a wonderful family. One of them (a kid) busted my window by mistake. That night, both parents brought him over to me to apologize, not just "sorry" but really apologize for his mistake. AND, parents made sure the kid paid for it out of his allowance. I'm quite impressed with this family. The child is now a fine young adult.

    Having said that, it's a $100 loss. The choice is entirely yours.
     
  13. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Sort of like lending money to a family member; you gotta be mentally prepared that it's return is uncertain; the world is not perfect.
     
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  15. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    I'll be the voice of discontent, since most advice here, thus far, is to forget it and move on. :smile:

    If a friend of mine had loaned my daughter a camera and she broke it and then returned it without a word, I'd like to know. As a parent. Something is wrong here. It could be simple ignorance (the damage occurred but wasn't noticed) but it could also be that the child didn't know that it's expected to be returned in the same condition it was loaned in. She may assume this is normal wear and tear. It's sad, but true, how little regard some people, kids or adult, have for material things.

    This is an important moment in the child's life. Doing nothing may save your friendship with the family, but someone is getting away with something.

    I've said my peace. As a parent, I'd want to know. I would literally be brought to tears if my daughter acted like this.
     
  16. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    As a carpenter, many co-workers would ask to borrow my tools, always saying "i'll treat it as if it were my own". My reply was always, NO you will treat it like it's mine, and take care of it. I stopped loaning tools, they are too costly to keep replacing. I have a loaner 35mm camera, it's a POS but works just fine. After a short tutorial, the borrower skips on their merry way knowing how to use and care for it. If it were to be damaged, I wouldn't care, I have zero money invested in it, I found it while cleaning out a house I purchased. As for my kids borrowing my stuff, I buy them their own tools and cameras so they leave mine alone(except my youngest, she takes great care with my gear).
     
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I don't think you are doing anyone a favour by not bringing it up.

    If I understand it correctly, your friends' daughter is about 15 years old. At that age, kids don't necessarily know how to handle the situation when something goes wrong. Talking about it will help them learn.

    There is a decent chance that the damage was caused by someone else.

    Tell everybody you don't want anything from them, but you would like to talk about it.
     
  18. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Did you set up any conditions to the loan before they accepted it, such as "I will loan this to you if you promise to return it in similar condition or pay X$ if its lost or busted". If you did not, then you should not set conditions now, its to late. If you find fault now, your second guessing, and its really your fault for not being up front with what you expected from them.

    It hurts, accept this as a learning experience, and move on. Good Luck. JMHO
     
  19. clayne

    clayne Member

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    I'd bring it up. Is the lens alright though?

    Their kid has zero respect for what was lent to her, most likely because she did no hard work to get it. But then again this is completely typical these days.
     
  20. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    It's just plain too late. The time was the moment it was put back in your hands. Bitter pill. Don't let it reflect too much on the parents though. A lot of parents teach manners and consideration and the schools un-teach it.
     
  21. dorff

    dorff Member

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    Sorry for your bad experience. I know the feeling, and it sucks. I lent a D70 with UV-pass and IR-cut filters, 100/2.8 Series E lens and a few other (expensive) accessories to a girl doing post-grad pollination biology studies, and who wanted to do UV photography of flowers. Without me knowing, she broke the camera, then her mom had it fixed but ended up spending much more to get it completely revamped to almost new condition. Then she did not want to give it back, and insisted that I sell it to her. I wanted the camera as a backup for my main UV/IR body, so I was reluctant to sell, but I had to concede or ruin a friendship. She did receive a slight admonishing, though!

    Since then, I never lend something unless making the following very clear: Replacement value NEW is XX. If you break, dent, scratch or lose it, I expect you to pay that amount or buy a new one for me. You are responsible for your own insurance. I expect a replacement immediately (in the practical sense of the word, i.e. as soon as insurance pays out, the item can be ordered etc). I don't lend out items I can't live without until the replacement arrives.

    I don't lend out anything with sentimental value.

    Sometimes it makes sense to lend or to borrow. But one has to know to or from whom, and what the terms are. There are habitual bad borrowers, that don't bring your stuff back or repay loans until you nag, or repair your stuff they broke etc. Some of my best friends I won't lend anything to. Some people can be my friends, and at the same time have a problem with borrowing ethic. But they have their problem with their other friends, not me. I take good care of my own equipment, and better care of others'. I don't borrow something for a prolonged time, only for something specific or if I want to try out something I intend buying for myself. I don't borrow something that I cannot afford to replace immediately.

    All the above said, sometimes one has too much stuff and giving away can be gratifying if the item goes to a good owner that will use it well. It is better to donate than lend such low value stuff. If one is blessed with means beyond need, then not being able to give away is a kind of pathology. I am not talking about equipment that represents a substantial investment, but the type of thing that is more hassle to sell than to just keep lying in a box on a shelf. Those of us who've been around long enough all have such things hidden somewhere. Problem is finding the right beneficiary.

    EDIT: Wanted to add. If you cherish a friendship which the other party doesn't, it hardly meets the defining criteria of friendship. One doesn't have to put up with people who do not respect either yourself or your possessions as an extension of yourself.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2013
  22. clayne

    clayne Member

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    The only things I lend are to my photographer friends. I have zero fear they will respect my stuff because they are not children and respect the same ethos I do. I've even given cameras away to photographer friends but not once can I remember anything being trashed.
     
  23. danfogel

    danfogel Member

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    Chris - the filter threads are dented pretty good and they had wedged the lens cap on. It was quite difficult to remove it. I don't hear any loose elements in it, but need to explore that further.

    I agree to some extent with posters who have said I missed my chance to talk about it, but we were in a noisy, crowded restaurant at the time. It would have been ghastly for me to bring it up then.

    I've located a nice looking SRT102 for a reasonable price and picked that up. I need to give my daughter a decent tool for her class. Of course, that one could meet the same fate.
     
  24. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    You seem reluctant to bring the issue up to anyone except to us. Then that's the decision. My suggestion, at this point, is to move on, and see what transpires.
     
  25. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

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    I'd ask the daughter to show me some of the images she took with it. Just to gently let her know my displeasure. No I'd never be so crass as to mention it or act poorly. Just showing interest may bring about an explanation............or not. But I am sure she'd be aware that you valued that camera w/o a word spoken on the subject.
     
  26. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Agree with all sentiments expressed ^

    My son recently kicked a ball into the neighbor's yard and it broke one of the picket fence beams.

    We went over and told "Ms. Smith" about it and all was great....

    We all felt better about the situation....

    I also asked that my daughter come along to see how Ms Smith reacted and overall moral support of her brother...."all for one, one for all".....figured she will one day damage a neighbor's property and thought she shd see "the process"