Q: My husband and I received a lovely wedding gift from friends of my parents who live in another country. Unfortunately, it was ceramic and broke during shipping. We would be happy to replace it ourselves, but we don’t know where it was purchased. We would really like to enjoy this gift, as it is one of very few things I have from the country where I was born, but it is beyond repair. Is it polite to ask the givers where they obtained the gift? Do I ask them this in the thank-you note, or should I write a separate note? Do I say it’s lovely and I want another one like it for someone else and never mention that it broke? What is the polite way to handle this situation? We want to avoid shaking down the givers for a replacement.
A: Hopefully, they insured the package. If not, it still would be better to be honest. Tell them that it was broken during shipping and that you don’t expect them to send a replacement but you would like to replace it since it is, as you said, one of the very few things from the country where you were born. This way it allows your parents’ friends to send a replacement or just tell you where they bought it.