Here’s a sticky situation: Your cousin has given you a beautiful crystal dish, but when you open the box, it’s broken. Do you tell your cousin?
Most of the etiquette books say no -- that this would be distressing for the giver and make her feel obligated to spend even more time and money on replacing the damaged gift. Instead, they say to handle it yourself by contacting the store immediately, or checking to see if the package was insured.
But in some situations -- for example, if she mailed the package herself via FedEx Ground -- only she can file a claim. Also, some credit cards have buyer-protection plans that might let her replace the item, no matter how it got damaged, without extra expense.
So I don't agree that you should never mention it. As a gift-giver, I’d want to know. I’d hate for my $75 to go to waste because you were too coy to tell me.
I suppose if the gift is inexpensive and your relationship with the giver is not close, it might be best to simply write the item off. But otherwise, I vote for gratitude and gracious honesty. Tell me you loved the vase, and you’re heartbroken that it’s chipped. Is there anything the two of us can do?
What do you think -- would you tell the gift-giver?