2012-12-06 / Lifestyles

Beg, borrow or deal

Lois A. Corcoran Lois A. Corcoran I wonder what prompted Shakespeare to write “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”

Given the era, I doubt he lent out his truck to someone who crashed it. Chances are, no one borrowed his GPS and failed to return it either.

Such are the tales of woe that occur in modern times.

Although I never lost those items, I’ve loaned articles of clothing that never came back. When I worked up the nerve to ask about it, one lendee said, “I already gave that back to you.” Um. Not.

Some people claim the item was a gift or deny ever receiving it. Or they borrow my whats-it, and I find it later in their garage sale.

A friend said she lent out a book, and the borrower lent it out to a handful of other people.

Apparently, mine make the rounds to everyone but the author. I’ve loaned out countless volumes that never made their way back home. I should put an address label inside that tells it like it is: One with the words “stolen from”.

Others return the item in their own sweet time — and far from mint condition. Friends reported that a neighbor borrowed their lawn mower and returned it after summer ended — in serious need of repair. Now the neighbor asks to borrow the new mower instead of the one he damaged.

To avoid outcomes like these, I inquired about other people’s strategies. One guy advised doing the work (i.e., tilling the garden) for his neighbor rather than lending out the desired doohickey.

“Only lend things out that you don’t need,” suggests another. A third reports that when a neighbor fails to return something, she pays a visit and asks to “borrow” it back.

Other counsel includes charging rental fees. Or, borrowing a quote from Robert Munsch, write your name on the loaner in “super-indelible never-come-off-till-you’redead and-maybe-even-later” markers.

Or do like an entire subdivision did. A fellow resident habitually borrowed different ingredients from each of her neighbors in order to make dinner each night. They finally cut her off when she bragged about paying cash for her new car.

Still, web sites like Neighbor- Goods.com are popping up all over the Internet. A high-tech way to beg, borrow, or deal.

I wonder what Shakespeare would say about that?

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