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Dear Amanda, Advice Post #1: A Ticking Triangle

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Dear Amanda,

I need your help because I’m stuck in a situation that doesn’t seem to work out for me no matter what I do. Here’s the premise: I currently work part time at a gym. I was able to get the job through a long time friend of mine who I’ve known for nearly 16 years. Her name is Sydney. Sydney worked at the gym before me and dated one of the current trainers, Andrei. Andrei and Syd didn’t work out which is the main reason she wanted to leave, so I happily took her place.

So recently, I was hanging at Sydney’s house and saw she had an Apple Watch charging on the counter of her kitchen. I’ve always been interested in the Apple Watch and asked Syd if I could try it on for fun and hook it up to my phone, to which she happily said yeah. She even mentioned she was trying to get rid of the watch and would give it to me for a good price if I really wanted it. After wearing the watch for a few hours, I couldn’t get over how cool it was, and how seamlessly it worked with my phone. I was sold, and we agreed upon a price that made both of us very happy.

I walked into work at the gym a few days later, happily sporting my new Apple Watch. Which is where things took a turn for the worst…

Andrei, who still works and trains at the gym saw the watch and did a double take. He approached me and in an out of character tone said “Nice watch, where’d you get it?”. I just want to point out that I don’t normally tell Andrei I hang with Syd because she’s his ex and I feel like he’d get jealous or feel upset. So I replied “I got it for a steal from a friend of mine trying to get rid of it”. He coldly asked “Who?”. To which I replied “Syd”. Andrei stormed out of the room leaving me dumbfounded… I still didn’t put together what was going on until I received a text from Syd saying “I should’ve told you that watch was a christmas gift from Andrei”.

So now I don’t know what to do: Andrei wants me to sell the watch back to Sydney but she keeps telling me she doesn’t want it and frankly, I don’t want to sell it back because I really love that watch, not to mention I already bought a $50 band for it. So I’ll be down $50 at least. At the same time, I don’t think Andrei will forgive me and it’s making my experience at work difficult because of the underlying resentment I can feel resonating from Andrei when we have to interact.

Please help me with my dilemma, I don’t even know where to begin or if I’m being a good person in all of this.

Thanks,

Watch Man

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Dear Watch Man,

It seems you’ve found yourself amidst a love triangle—one you did not ask to be in, anyway. My first concern is to address your friend Sydney’s actions. It seems to me that there wasn’t true intent to sell you the watch and have you play this “villainous” role that you take on through Andrei’s eyes. However, she did withhold important information from you when selling you the watch, which seems less than friendly. Perhaps Syd did not think through the possibilities of you running into Andrei at work, and therefore thought nothing of it. A simple exchange.

However, things did go wrong, and that’s why you wrote this letter. So first thing’s first—your loyalties should be addressed to everyone involved. It sounds like you have found yourself in a mutual position to both Syd and Andrei, you don’t want to jeopardize either person’s opinion of you. I think if both people knew that you were not trying to hurt Syd or Andrei’s relationship with one another (whatever that may be at this point in time), they might be more inclined to leave you out of their quarrels. It seems that the problem is not that you haven’t viewed this situation from other people’s point of view, but that they have failed to see yours. Speak up!

Second, the watch is rightfully yours. You paid someone in exchange for an item, and now that item is in your possession. You don’t owe anyone anything. If your friends were not involved, this situation would look a lot different. Let’s check it out: A fictional man named Jack receives a watch at zero cost. Two months later he sells the watch for half it’s original market price. Jack still makes a profit while Steve who buys the watch at half-price overall saves money, while still taking on costs. Now, a couple months down the road a third buyer comes along and asks Steve to sell him the watch for the price he bought it at, even though Steve’s interest in obtaining a watch of his own remains. Now Steve must contemplate emotional loss over physical loss. The third buyer would have to pay the watch at full market price in order for Steve to obtain a new watch and not take any losses, emotional or physical. But then why would Steve sell the watch in the first place, isn’t it counterintuitive? Yes, it is! Therefore, my point is that Steve, should not sell his watch and take on any loss if he is not forced to. Rather, we should revert back to what this country is all about, diplomacy!

What if Andrei gets mad at you because you refuse to sell him the watch? Let’s look at Andrei then. If the third buyer woke up one morning and decided he wanted an Apple watch, most would first check the market price, maybe as he punches in “Apple Watch” on the internet. The third buyer might then make his decision to look for better prices on Ebay, Amazon, or wherever else they are being sold. Now, to my knowledge, it seems borderline crazy to get mad at someone on Ebay for not lowering the price of their watch to suit the buyer. The seller, in most cases, are trying to make the best possible profit, while still beating market price value. The seller is the one who weighs their losses against their profits, just as you should, Watch Man. It ultimately up to you, the loss you must live with, and only you can decide what is plausible.

The next issue I’d like to address is the workplace. It is a well-known rule that dating within the workplace can be a slippery slope, one that Andrei and Syd has went down. In my opinion, it is Andrei and Syd’s duty to you as a co-worker and former co-worker to keep their relationships outside of work. This watch is a symbol of their relationship that you have now been tied to by their own doing. It is not your place to solve their interpersonal relationship problems just as much as it is not your watch’s fault they did not work out as a couple.

Sometimes when we find ourselves in relationships we make quick decisions without any rational judgement. And sometimes, things get messy. Perhaps you can offer your friend Syd some advice in cooling down the heat between her and Andrei so that everyone in this situation can think clearly and rationally, and perhaps, leave the past where it belongs. Somehow the past has landed on your wrist, and there it shall stay.

 

Good luck.

Sincerely,

Amanda

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3 Comments

  1. mollie

    Amanda I like how you cover all the aspects of this problem and not just the one at face value. I think you do a lot of important strategies here and some sentences are very strong. I particularly love the last one, “Somehow the past has landed on your wrist, therefore, there it shall stay.”

  2. Jeromey

    Wow I have to be honest and say I was laughing my a$$ off reading the question part of this piece. You did a good job with building up the story and it held my interest. In regards to your response you kind of lost me a bit when began with the Jack and Steve story. I understood your point and felt that example wasn’t needed. However, I felt that advice you gave was very thought to all three parties involved. If it were me, I’d tell watch man to keep the watch and whatever issues Andrei and Syd have are between them because they fact that they based their relationship on a watch that carries no sentimental meaning besides it being a gift is ridiculous. That’s MY less sensitive take.

  3. Scott Korb

    One bit of advice that I considered while reading this was to suggest to Watch Man that he not wear the watch at work. I agree with Mollie that you have gone a long way to cover all sides of this story. And you’ve done it with some verve and a sense of authority. Well done.

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