Do you challenge people who borrow things and don't return them?

@boiboing (12527)
Northampton, England
January 31, 2016 11:45am CST
Just over a year ago I (foolishly) loaned a book to someone I don't much like and - perhaps predictably - she has hung onto it. It's not the first time it has happened to me that I've loaned things to people and not had them back but every time I lend in good faith and don't get back, it feels like a little part of me dies of disappointment. The woman concerned is not a nice person. She spent about 6 months trying to steal my cat, removing his collars and luring him into her home for days at a time. The only time I saw her was when he got a hair ball and she marched him round to our house in a cat box to tell me he needed the vet. Clearly her desire to steal him didn't extend to vets bills. I should have trusted my instinct but she turned up to see me because our (at that time) mutual cleaner had told me that the woman was to have a thyroidectomy and might have cancer. Since I'd been in her shoes 4 years earlier, I'd said she was welcome to come round and talk about it. She didn't suddenly become any nicer, but I felt sorry for her and I knew her situation. SO......dummy that I am....I loaned her my copy of an excellent American book on the topic. And to this day, I don't have it back. I've sent a couple of reminders but she's still got the book. I really resent that she has no intention of returning it so why am I feeling embarrassed to demand it back? Yes, I could just cough up another £20 and buy another copy. I've recently been asked to help out on a cancer charity website and I need my reference book back. But why should I have to explain to this woman that a loan is not a gift and that I want my book back? I should not be worried about upsetting her or embarrassing her since I'm not sure she's capable of such human emotions. So something has to change. One last email and one last chance for her to do the right thing and if she doesn't, I have to put this behind me. She's really not worth it and for the money involved, I'm not going to let her shabby behaviour linger in my mind any more. Does anybody have any good tips for getting things back from borrowers who are reluctant to be returners?
11 people like this
11 responses
@Hatley (155125)
• Garden Grove, California
31 Jan 16
Threaten her wih small claims court
2 people like this
@boiboing (12527)
• Northampton, England
31 Jan 16
That's a bit extreme over a £20 book.
1 person likes this
@Hatley (155125)
• Garden Grove, California
31 Jan 16
@boiboing oh Imeant just make her think you wo uld I knod is only 20 dollars
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Jan 16
Never a lender nor a borrower be....and I'm not.
2 people like this
@boiboing (12527)
• Northampton, England
31 Jan 16
I lend a lot but I very rarely borrow.
2 people like this
@irishidid (8115)
• United States
31 Jan 16
I've lost a few books that way myself. Consider it a lesson learned and go on. Sounds like someone who makes a habit of taking advantage of others and not worth the bother.
2 people like this
@boiboing (12527)
• Northampton, England
31 Jan 16
Yep, she doesn't have a lot of friends and I can see why.
1 person likes this
@amadeo (44014)
• United States
31 Jan 16
yes,do not loan them out
2 people like this
@boiboing (12527)
• Northampton, England
31 Jan 16
True but once the loan is made, how would you get something back?
2 people like this
@Marcyaz (36138)
• United States
31 Jan 16
I had loaned things to people also and never had them returned until one day I marched over to this persons home and when she opened the door I said, " I want my book returned to me right now" and I was not very nice in saying it. She has such a startled look on her face if I hadn't been there to get my book back I would have started to laugh. Since that time if someone wants to borrow something I say no way I don't loan anything of mine out to anyone anymore.
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12527)
• Northampton, England
31 Jan 16
I will tell myself to treat every loan as a potential gift and not to hand it over unless I can cope with losing it.
2 people like this
@Marcyaz (36138)
• United States
31 Jan 16
@boiboing Sounds like that is the way to go for you.
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (50225)
• Pleasant Hill, California
31 Jan 16
I am THAT GUY sometimes. I forget to return things. But I do if asked. And if I'm on the other side, I just keep asking.
1 person likes this
@Jessicalynnt (48191)
• Centralia, Missouri
1 Feb 16
I tend to not loan for reasons like that. sad, but it is what it is. Could show up one day and ask if you could get it back, need it for [insert reason here]. Or if she cant find it, if she could just order you a replacement, that would be great, and then walk off. wont work but hey.
@boiboing (12527)
• Northampton, England
1 Feb 16
I have nothing to lose by asking, do I?
1 person likes this
• Centralia, Missouri
1 Feb 16
@boiboing sounds like it, whats the worst that might happen? You still don't get it back?
@boiboing (12527)
• Northampton, England
1 Feb 16
@Jessicalynnt I've done it. Sent her a mail saying I really want it back, giving her the amazon link so she can send a new one if she's lost or wants to keep the original. Let's see if she can be shamed into action.
1 person likes this
@lokisdad (4307)
• United States
2 Feb 16
Well they do it because they know you will not keep hounding her. People like that do this to many people for long periods of their lives. They don't see anything wrong with their behavior sometimes. I would just directly ask her to give the book back to you say you need it for something coming up and you would appreciate that she return it within the next few days.
@boiboing (12527)
• Northampton, England
2 Feb 16
I have written again and told her I want it back and provided a link to Amazon and said if she can't find it or wants to keep it, she can send me a new one. This woman and her partner bought the most expensive house in our village - about £ 800k - and then she upset ALL her neighbours. It's not like she can't afford to buy a book.
1 person likes this
@lokisdad (4307)
• United States
2 Feb 16
@boiboing It sounds like you are better off cutting your losses and writing her off and remember in the future that no matter what happens she doesn't get a sympathy vote from you. She is a butthead
1 Feb 16
Good thing most people who borrow things from me are returners
@celticeagle (113100)
• Boise, Idaho
1 Feb 16
Yes, I do. We had a lady try to steal our cat once a few years back. Twice in fact, come to think of it. Two different women. I have lost a lot of books because I loaned them to people and then forgot or forgot who. So partially my fault.
@Auntylou (4410)
• Oxford, England
31 Jan 16
I think I would go to her house and tell her what I need it for