Alice, I Don’t Want This Television — Ask Alice: Advice for Life at Home

Last year my lovely aunt bought me a very large, expensive TV — partly as a birthday present and partly because she’d noticed mine had seen better days and she wanted to treat me. It was extremely kind of her and I was very grateful, however the truth is I didn’t really want it.

I live on my own and don’t watch a lot of TV, and I’m not really into flashy electronics. That was last year. I’m now trying really hard to clear some debt and would love to sell the TV. I know I can get a good price for it and still buy myself a smaller, second-hand one, which would more than suit my needs. However my aunt is in my house three or four times a year and would notice it was gone. Can I sell it, and if so, how do I approach it with her?

I’ll channel Marie Kondo here and use her philosophy (or my interpretation of it, anyway): Thank the TV for the service it’s provided you, which by extension your aunt provided you, and then sell it, with the understanding that it’s served its purpose and it’s ready to move on. Tell your aunt that you downsized TVs in an attempt to help clear your debt, and that the wonderful TV she gave you came in especially handy in that regard (after having come in handy for many nights at home, as your beloved television). You could say you hope that she’s not offended, and that you are especially grateful for what turned out to be a doubly useful gift. It might be awkward for a little while, but I imagine she’ll come to terms with it.

Gifts are tricky, though — and trying to give advice about other people’s gifts feels especially tricky, but I hope this is helpful.

Alternately, you could offer to give her the TV back, but my guess is that that would be more awkward for her, anyway — and sadder, too. I guess it all depends on the relationship you have with her (and her current television needs). I’m imagining you’re relatively close, if she’s in your house several times a year.

Which is all to say: If she needs a TV, offer it back to her, but if she doesn’t, sell it.

Have a stumper for Alice? Submit your own question about life at home to advice@apartmenttherapy.com

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