Relative Regifting Niece Laptop Meant for Brother's Stepdaughter Cheered

A Reddit user meant well when they bought a laptop for their step-niece who didn't have much, but the generous gesture backfired and they asked for it back in order to give it to someone else.

The individual asked for advice about the way they handled the situation, which left a lot of people angry and upset, in a since deleted Reddit post.

The OP [original poster] explained that their brother has a daughter named Alina, and after remarrying he now has a stepdaughter too called Sarah, both a similar age. However, while Alina has had a comfortable upbringing, OP adds that Sarah hasn't been quite as fortunate.

The post reads: "My SIL doesn't have a good job, so Sarah had a pretty tough life. Her birthday was about a week ago so I decided to buy a laptop for her.

"I know she needs one for school and they can't afford one. I explained to Alina that I'm giving Sarah a better gift, not because I love her more but because Alina has everything she needs and Sarah doesn't, and she understood."

Birthday Gift Taken Back and Regifted
A file photo of a man reprimanding a young girl. A relative has been criticized for their stern decision to retract a birthday gift and give it to their niece instead. PeopleImages / PeopleImages/Getty Images

Unfortunately, the high from doing such a good thing was very short-lived, as the OP later "heard her bragging to Alina" about her new laptop, and even insinuating that OP didn't love Alina because they didn't get her a new laptop.

This rude behavior was too much for OP who refused to stand by and allow it to go unpunished, so they took the laptop back.

"I asked Sarah to give the gift back and give it to Alina. Her laptop was 3 years old so she could use a new one," the Reddit post continued.

"My SIL got extremely angry and called me an a****** and said I ruined her daughter's birthday. I told her, her daughter ruined her own birthday, and this punishment is well deserved. I will never sit here and watch someone bully my niece."

The Redditer's behavior has sparked debate online, as many people understand their reason for taking the laptop back, but don't agree with being so brazen in regifting it.

Regifting something is often frowned upon, but experienced etiquette expert Lisa Mirza Grotts says that there are occasions when it is acceptable.

Recycled Gifts

Speaking to Newsweek, Grotts said: "Done correctly, regifting can be an art form. Almost everyone has recycled a gift or two. The end goal is to make sure that the gift is suitable for the recipient.

"Gift giving is about the gratification someone receives from a gift, not whether the item was purchased or passed on."

There are many ways to regift something sneakily without the recipient knowing. However, Grotts adds that on the occasion that the gift is rather expensive, it's OK to admit that it was regifted.

Regardless of the price tag, Grotts has one pivotal condition when it comes to recycling gifts: "The golden rule of re-gifting is that the gift must be new, not used. Always give a gift that you would want to receive, or don't give at all."

Since the Reddit post was shared on February 22, it has received over 5,000 votes, and hundreds of comments from other social media users offering a mixed reaction.

One conflicted person commented: "I think this probably was effective as far as teaching Sarah not to bully someone in front of a gift giver, but this whole situation is likely going to have caused even more resentment from Sarah towards Alina. I'm not sure that you'll have done either girl any favors."

Another person praised OP for their decision: "Overall Sarah was a rude awful bully who used the fact that she got a more expensive gift as a weapon. So the gift giver ensured that she did not in fact get the more expensive gift. That seems like a very reasonable lesson learned."

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