But yesterday, my co-worker Norm approached me asking for a BIG FAVOR. Norm and I don't have any relationship outside of work, and not much of a relationship inside of work ... unless you consider me making fun of him behind his back a relationship ... so I was a bit surprised when he asked me if he could borrow ...
Wait for it ...
Norm and his wife carpool to work. His wife drops him off here, then goes on her merry way.
Well, it seems Norm forgot his script at home yesterday (Did I mention he's in community theater?) and last night's rehearsal was for Act 2, Scene 2, and he wasn't "off book" yet so OH MY GOODNESS I NEED TO BORROW YOUR CAR AT LUNCH SO THAT I CAN GET MY SCRIPT AND MEMORIZE MY LINES BEFORE REHEARSAL!!!
I had a difficult decision: allow Norm to borrow my car, or listen to him piss and moan about not being "off book" all day long. The former seemed the much less painful option.
Knowing Norm like I know Norm, I had no expectations of anything more than a "Thank you" once he returned my keys, even though it is 30+ miles round trip between work and his house. Unfortunately, I was spot on with that assumption.
Had I borrowed someone's car? I'd have returned it with more gas than it had in it before I borrowed it, and would have likely sprung for a car wash too. At the very least, I'd hand over $10 to cover costs.
I think I'll provide him a copy of my 3 Rules For Courteous Borrowers next time:
- If you can't replace it, think twice about borrowing it - I wasn't too worried about this aspect. I have insurance on my car, Norm has insurance on his cars, and I know where he lives/works. But this is still a good rule.
- Don't put people on the spot - Although Norm prefaced his request to borrow with, "If you say no I'll understand," asking really bordered on inappropriate. The world was not going to end if he didn't get to practice his community theater parts prior to rehearsal tonight. No one's life was on the line. And yes, I realize that I could just as easily have declined to loan him my car, but the ownness for courtesy is on the borrower, not the lender.
- Return borrowed items promptly in the same or better condition than when borrowed - Whenever you are borrowing anything, someone else is doing you a favor. For the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, return the item in at least the same condition as when you borrowed it. Gas in Illinois is $3.69/gallon. My 6-cylinder car gets 25MPG. Put $5 of gas in the damn thing before returning it!
Do you lend things to friends/family/co-workers? Do you borrow from those same people? What are your expectations?