The gift you DIDN’T give

There are many gifts I’ve given that, in retrospect, I wince about.  Not too many like that these days, but as a young, callow girl/woman, I made my share of gift-giving mistakes.

However, one that stands out for me is the gift I didn’t give – and should have.  Nearly 10 years ago I was fixing up my house to sell, and had a plumber come round to replace the busted hot water cylinder. 

“This is a great house,” he commented.  “I know some people who might be interested in buying it.  Could I put them in touch with you?”  Sure, I agreed.  I figured there was no way it would result in anything, but it couldn’t hurt.  Well, to my very great surprise, one of the couples that came round to look at the place did end up buying it!  That plumber did me a huge favour, by facilitating a private sale – I saved many thousands of dollars in agents’ fees and advertising costs.

I should have bought that plumber a present.  A bottle of fine whiskey, perhaps (or whatever his preferred tipple was); or a gift basket, or a sheaf of gift vouchers.  But in the drama of selling the house and finishing fixing it up and what was going on in my private life (plenty), that good deed somehow escaped me.  I’ve always regretted it. 

Given how much money he’d saved me, I should have made the time and effort.  Now I look back and realise how cheap I was, and I always wince.  It’s a mistake I won’t make again.  One thing I have learned is that, where gifts of gratitude are concerned, promptness is everything.


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