How to handle this promise?
Dopers, some ethical advice please!
Last year I was living in the UK, and my brother (a big Beatles fan) emailed me about a signing Paul McCartney was going to do to promote his new kids book. ‘If you have nothing else to do, it might be fun to see if you can get in’ said the email – note there was no request here. I emailed back, said I would try to go, and joked that it might be a cool present for my nephew (his son) although it would be hard to protect it from his dad.
So, I got up around 5am, a hour into town, then waited in line outside a store in London on a cold December morning for almost 3 hours – and received a wristband which got me entry to the signing a couple of days later. Juggled some work commitments around, another 2 hour wait, and then I finally got to shake hands and carry off the book.
At some point during this 6-7 hour marathon, I began to think about how rashly I had promised to give the book away. I don’t have kids, and so had automatically assumed that my nephew was the only logical place for the book to go – but the experience now means the book has greater meaning to me, and I would really like to pass it to one of my kids.
However, I do feel I promised to give it to my nephew – and so apparently had my brother and his wife. Fast forward to Christmas in New Zealand; I thought I had packed the book but had instead forgotten, Once all the presents had been handed out, they followed me to another room to ask where the book was – which does grate just a little as the book’s worth several hundred pounds, and I would not have wanted to give that as just a standard gift at one Christmas
My nephew’s only 3 anyway and I am concerned my brother will take ownership of the book and put it away with all his own memorabilia (he already has one Paul McCartney signature).
So, as I said, I kind of feel like I did promise to give the book away, and I still think I should, while chalking it up to experience of not being so rashly generous in the future. This does not make me happy, but I do kind of feel it’s the right thing to do.
However, if I do this, I really want to make sure the gift goes to my nephew, and not my brother.
I am thinking that I will write a letter to my nephew gifting it to him, and telling him about the experience, what I said to Sir Paul: “It’s a pleasure to meet you’, what I really wanted to say to Sir Paul: 'You have a large chunk of scone stuck to the corner of your mouth’, and include this letter with all the provenance stuff I collected (including an article mentioning only 300 people got in that morning).
I also want to include a request that if my nephew ever wanted to sell the book, that I get first right of refusal, as it has meaning to me as well, and I’d like to see it stay in the family.
Do you think this solution is fair? Can you suggest any other ways of handling it?