About two months ago, my husband’s sister, who lives in another state, sent out a request for clothes that she was going to drive down to a shelter. As I donate my old clothes to a local organization, I didn’t send anything. However, for my nephew’s birthday I went on-line and purchased some clothes for him and three new shirts for me. Somehow the shipping got combined and my nephew received both orders (I only learned this after calling the store). I assume, since my sister-in-law said nothing, that she thinks the shirts are for the shelter. I was too embarrassed to tell her that those new shirts were really for me, so I said nothing. My husband says I just should have told her what happened. What do you think?
I couldn’t help but think of the story line in the Emperor’s New Clothes. You know, the Emperor thinks he is sporting some new duds, but really he is naked and no one wants to tell him the truth. Your lack of directness has also left you exposed and vulnerable.
First of all, if you chose to be direct when you received the original request for clothes from your sister-in-law, things might have turned out differently. Forgive me for being practical, but I don’t see the value of paying shipping to send old clothes to another part of the country when you can find plenty of wonderful homes for them on your own turf. I would have simply contacted my sister-in-law from the beginning and said, “How wonderful that you are making such an effort to help others. Since I also send our clothes to a local charity, I have nothing to ship your direction.”
Having said that, when you found out that the shirts got shipped to the wrong location, I would have immediately picked up the phone and said, “I just got off the phone with Store X. They told me that instead of shipping the shirts I ordered to me, they were accidentally sent to you. Did you receive them?” (answer: Yes). “Oh, I’m so glad you have them and they’re not missing in action. Let me send you a check to cover forwarding them to me.” See how easy that is? Clear, direct and you have your shirts. Let go of the guilt (anger turned inward because you can’t do what you really want) of not sending clothes to her in the first place. If we always were doing what other people asked of us, we’d never have time or energy to do what we desire. Now, go get those shirts!