Dear Mary Pat,
Two years ago, I was downsizing my space and gave some items and large framed pictures to my sister-in-law free of charge. I was happy she had use for them and that I was able to clear some space. The thought of putting a price on them never occurred to me, so imagine my surprise when I logged onto Facebook two weeks ago to see a post from her selling the items I gave her for free! I’m not upset about the money (after all, I had no intention of profiting from these items) but it’s the principle that really upsets me: she is profiting from items that were given to her at no cost. This is the second time this has happened to me in the past two years. What is your take on the situation? Is it OK to sell items you received for free or should you pass them along in the same way they were given to you?
SIL of Profiteering Patty
Ellison Bay, Wis.
Dear SIL of Profiteering Patty,
On one hand, you gave the pictures to your sister-in-law free and clear and technically she had the option of doing whatever she wanted with them. On the other hand, this just doesn’t sit well with me. Your sister-in-law saw value in these pictures and sold them, which is fine. However, I think it would have been polite and appropriate for her to offer you a portion of the proceeds, which then you could have refused if you chose to. Or better yet, she could have given the money to charity or given it to someone else for no charge. If she has other things of yours, this will likely happen again. You can either let her know that it bothers you a little bit or just let it go.