Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I Want My Two Dollars!

How would you handle this? Savannah and her friend went to the mall at the beginning of June. After letting them shop for a couple hours, I picked them up. They had several bags of clothes with them. Savannah showed me what they'd bought - some earrings from Claires and some clothes from Aeropostale and Forever 21. They had lunch at McDonald's. Savannah had even bought Brooklyn an outfit from Baby Gap. Now Savannah used her own money for this shopping trip; money she'd saved from allowance and birthdays. She's a big saver. She carefully weighs the pros and cons and debates whether she wants to spend her money on it. How sweet was it that she thought of Brooklyn and used her money to buy her this cute outfit? I was really touched by that. (I was going to reimburse Savannah for the price of that outfit, but it didn't fit Brooklyn, so I returned it and gave the money back to Savannah.)

OK, so the other day, Savannah wanted to buy something with her money and I told her she could go ahead and get it. She didn't say anything, but she was acting strange. I finally pulled from her the fact that she had lent $77.08 to her friend back when they went shopping in June. Apparently Savannah had tried calling her friend to ask for repayment, but the friend never answered her phone or called Savannah back. Savannah was really upset about it. She was in tears, in fact. I offered to call this friend's mom to let her know about it. Savannah agreed.

So, I called her mom who told me she was unaware that her daughter had borrowed any money from Savannah. She told me to call her back the next day so we could arrange a time for me to pick up the money. ??? OK, whatever. I called her back two days later and she informed me, "We seem to have a problem because my daughter said that she only borrowed $20 from Savannah."

Now, I didn't want to tell this woman that her daughter was a liar, but I know that the earrings alone cost over $20! I'm the one who picked them up from the mall. I saw everything they'd gotten. It was more than $20 worth. Still, I didn't want to start a fight or anything so I suggested we let the girls talk and see if they could work it out. We put our daughters on the phone. This friend told Savannah it was only $20 and hung up on Savannah. Savannah was in tears again.

Unfortunately Savannah didn't save any receipts. She has the card that some of the earrings came on. It still has a price sticker of $14.99 on it. (Her friend got an identical card of earrings plus one additional card of earrings.) I looked online for the prices of some of the clothing they'd bought. It added up to $70-something. Now, I don't want to sound naive, but out of all my kids, I know Savannah is the last person who would ever lie. I'm quite certain she didn't pull the figure of $77.08 out of thin air. That was the amount on the receipts (not including the tax) that Savannah added up when they first got home from the mall back in June.

The problem is - how do I convince this woman that her daughter is perhaps not being entirely honest about this. Just maybe she's embarrassed or scared of getting in trouble with her mom. How do I broach this without outright calling her daughter a liar? I don't know the mom. This isn't a girl Savannah's been friends with for years. She'd just met the girl this past year.

If it was my money, I'd probably just drop it and deal with the loss. But this is money that Savannah has saved for years. And what bothers me even more is that I had to tell Savannah to go against her nature and not lend money to friends again. She was trying to be helpful, thoughtful and generous and I had to tell her that basically she couldn't trust others to be the same way.

I'm just sad for her and don't know the best way to handle this. Darn those stupid parenting books. They never mention anything like this! I so didn't sign up for this! And you know, I wasn't overly thrilled when I first met this friend, but didn't want to say anything bad about her. This girl was absolutely rude and obnoxious during Savannah's band concert. A few of us wanted to slap her that night. But I figured Savannah could form her own opinion of this girl.

Savannah and this "friend" bought a couple matching outfits that day. Savannah has only worn hers once and no longer wants it. Maybe I'll eBay the clothes to try and get some of her money back.


amber said...

this just really makes me sad for savannah. :(

girls can be so mean sometimes.

no advice on how to make this better, but just give savannah an extra for us out here in the blog world. poor thing :(

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

You need to file this under "hard lessons learned." You can't convince the mom her daughter is a liar--though obviously she is.

Though Savannah's instincts were kind, that is way too much money to be loaning to a friend. In the long run it's probably best she learned this lesson as a child, with $77 instead of as an adult with thousands of dollars.

Erin said...

Poor Savannah!
I would tell her that sometimes life is disappointing, and this is one of those times. My recommendation is that she see money lent out as a gift, and if it's repaid, then it's a bonus. At her age, I wouldn't lend more than $10. And, I'd drop the friend... if you can't trust them with "little things" (not that $77.08 is little), you can't trust them with big ones either.

Donna said...

Unfortunately, the girl's mother isn't going to believe you unless her daughter comes clean, which she doesn't seem willing to do. You probably won't ever get the money back. I think this has to go in the "hard life lessons" category. Give Savannah a big hug and take her out for ice cream. And make sure you get the $20. When you do, let the mother know that Savannah bought nearly identical things that day and it cost her $70. It probably won't change anything, but it might make you feel better.

edbteach said...

(((((Savannah))))) I agree Dawn that this is one of the times that parenting sucks and there is no guide for it. I think you are on the right track that the little girl is afraid her mom will be mad at her. Unfortunately, I don't think there is anything that you can do about the mom not believing you. This is a hard lesson to learn, especially for a little girl :(

Amy said...

"Maybe" this "friend's" mother will read this blog entry and realize what a little SNOT her daughter is! That is really tacky... and a hard lesson for Savannah to have to learn so young. There are a lot of people in this world just like that girl (and apparently, like her mother!) I bet you can get her money back, plus some, with a good old "Dawn" auction! ;o)

Anonymous said...

I feel sick just READING this. I can only imagine how bad Savannah is feeling.

I wonder if you could email (or print and show) the mother and daughter what you found online with the prices of each item? This will only be useful if the mother has seen all of the items at some time since June. Even though you don't have everything they bought, from what you said you have more than $20 worth.

Maybe this is just an expensive lesson that Savannah has had to learn :-(.

Good luck.

Ashlee and Bill said...

It's a hard lesson to learn, never lend what you can't afford to give. At 30 I'm still making the same mistake. Having friends betray you is the hardest lesson I faced as a child, and I'm not looking forward to my own kids learning it. But better to learn it young then, as a young adult when the issues are worse, and more important that money. And when you have mom's sholder to cry on...

Anonymous said...

Wow Dawn, that is a hard one. I would generally write it off as a hard lesson learned but it's a lot of money. My friend's daughter went through the same thing but it was only $20. They never got the money back. Tough call. I'd involve your husband and go to the house for a face to face meeting. Maybe the little girl will tell the truth then.

B&K said...

Wow, what a tough life lesson for Savannah to have to learn! It's really too bad that she threw away the receipts, because that would be clear evidence. Nonetheless, this is the kind of "friend" that Savannah doesn't need! Perhaps you could help Savannah could eBay the clothing to recoup her money and make her feel like she has some ownership and control over the outcome of this event.

Another idea is to call the mom and friend and ask if you can come over to their house to try and resolve this. You said you found those items online and their cost. Maybe you could find them again and print out the items with their prices. Bring them with you when you go to their house. During that talk, you could have Savannah describe the clothes and earrings that the girl bought that day with Savannah's money. Then you could ask the mom if the girl has those items. If so, she could pull them out, and you could show her the printout of the items with the prices. Then it would be a lot harder to deny that it was only $20. Doing it quietly and calmly, without accusation or name-calling, if at all possible. I would advise not to use the word "liar" with the mom; that will only incur the "mother bear" protective mode, even if she knows or suspects that Savannah is right.

Of course, Savannah has just lost a bit of her innocence about the honesty of other people, but you can emphasize with her that doesn't mean she can't trust other people; she just has to develop some discernment. That will come with time and age (and experiences like these!). Make sure Savannah didn't loan the money to this girl in order to win her affections.

What Savannah should take away from this is 1)You can't trust everybody; 2) It doesn't mean that nobody is trustworthy; 3) That she just has to be more careful to whom she lends money next time; and 4) that it is okay to stand up to someone when you know you're right. You can't do anything about what they think and feel; you can only control yourself. It also teaches her to have a backbone, even when the situation is uncomfortable.

Again, helping Savannah auction those clothes on eBay will give her some sense of ownership and control over the situation. I think it would be better than you doing it for her.

That's my two cents worth, anyway!

Amy said...

Wait a minute. Did her mother not NOTICE the pile of stuff she brought home with her that day??? If my daughter went out with a friend and came home with bags of goodies, I'd want to know what the heck happened, and where she got the money. I'm a real tag-looker, so I would have had a look at those tags right away. The money would have been paid back promptly, and the clothes returned for a refund.

The mother is either extremely naive or helping her daughter lie, because SHE'S not about to spend $70+ on merchanidise she never sanctioned.

Off the top of my head, I would invite the mother and her daughter out for an ice cream at DQ and sit and resolve the situation together. Let both girls tell their side of the story. My guess is the other girl wouldn't be able to hold up the lie after a little pressure from the moms. Even if she did, and they don't agree to pay more than $20, make it clear that you're disappointed in the girls and such a situation will never be allowed to occur again. At least you'll have the satisfaction of speaking your mind.

Something like this would tick me off, and my instinct says mother is helping the girl lie or being willfully blind.

Shonda said...

Well Dawn, I really hate these situations as well. I dont like to get in the middle of my daughters affairs but you really hate to see your daughter getting treated so badly.The mom of this girl should look at this rationally and realize there is NO way this child could get those many outfits and earrings with $20 bucks...

What I would tell Savannah's is get the $20.00 back from the girl and I would ebay the rest of the clothes if she isnt wanting to wear them any longer, and leave it at that.

Unfortunately your sweet daughter has learned a hard lesson the hard way and there looks to be NO way for this mother to realize her daughter is not being forthcoming. There isn't a reason to try and reason with this girl or her mom and it may lead into other negative situations for when they return to school.

I would have to guess that this would be the end of the relationship, Im so sorry she has to go through this.

Anonymous said...

gahh i was hoping for something lighthearted before i went to bed. thanks... lol

seems like if you went through the list of things that were purchased item by item you could prove how much money was spent based on the prices online and such... these kind of people will defend their kid no matter what evidence you show them tho.. so frustrating. cant parents just understand that their kids lie and do bad things every now and then? and its for the kid's benefit to be caught and punished? gosh.

Mandy said...

I really don't know what to tell you, Dawn. We've had similar thing happen with my kids, but not so much money. I had to suggest to them that such children aren't good friends and that they should try to stick with good friends instead.

What amazes me is why didn't the mother question the child when she came home with matching outfits? I always ask my children what they got when they go shopping. Not because I don't trust them, but because I am curious and actually care. They do the same with me.

Point is, if my grade school daughter came home with two outfits, I would have asked her how much they cost and how they were paid for. I would have known how much she left with. I wouldn't interrogate her on the matter, but I would expect my curiosity to be answered.

Of course, it's not without karma payback. :) Being a single parent with two teenagers, I've had to make them partners in the family finances, if only to lett them see why we can't get this or that luxury. So now, both of them ask me about my purchases. We don't ask about all of them, but we do have a precedent for being open with each other.

Anonymous said...

This is a tough one. However, a little easier because you don't know the Mom and obviously the friendship will not continue between the girls. It's harder when you're trying to save a friendship between the families and have the "honest" result of getting all the money back. I think I would itemize what was owed in writing to hopefully reach the logical side of that other mother and cross my fingers (maybe not directly use the word liar because that will just put her on the really have to be kind but direct). I think based on the fact that your daughter was trying to be nice to her friend I might split the loss with her and reimburse her half. One I would feel better if she didn't lose all her money but also give the opportunity for a "lesson learned the hard way". I'm not in your shoes though so this is really from the outside looking in. Good luck.

Tonia/Castaic, CA

Anonymous said...

Ohhh, I have such a sick feeling in my stomach for you and for Savannah! What a good heart she has! I vote you do the eBay thing, and maybe link to this post! Savannah should get ALL of her money back! ~ Vanessa ~

Theresa in Mèrida said...

oh, poor Savannah, this is a common problem expats have here in Mexico, they lend money to their neighbors for emergencies or whatever and never get it back. I have a neighbor who has borrowed money to pay for a doctor consult but last week bought her 10 year old a $1000 peso (about $95.00 usd) cell phone!

Lending money seldom works out well unless you have it all spelled out. That is a big chunk of change. The friendship is ruined already so I think maybe you could try a meeting with the girls and the mom, but don't expect to get the money. If you work out a payment plan expect to have to ask for the money when it's due and accept no excuses.And then call her daily until she pays it. What will probably happen is the girl will get all pissy and indignant about getting hassled to pay back money that she already spent.
Lending that large amount of money is not like lending a pencil. Did the girl "go shopping" without any cash or did she spend hers and then borrow Savanna's? If she didn't have money, why was she shopping?
All you can tell the mom is what you said in your blog. Ask the mom about the outfit and whatever else the girl bought, ask her how much money the girl had.
I feel bad for Savanna.

Shellie said...

These are the kind of awkward situations that I absolutely detest. Maybe it isn't worth pursuing any further, but if Savannah can remember the things or most of the things she got and where and price them or similar items maybe she could help "jog her memory", maybe if it is done in the spirit of maybe you didn't notice how much it was, it would be easier to be accepted. I think she is learning something valuable about choosing friends, as painful as it is. It's OK for her to be generous, but it's a good rule of thumb to not lend anything you're not willing to lose forever as many people don't return things. I like the E Bay idea though, as she doesn't feel like wearing those things, she could get back some of her losses that way. If it goes as well as the Pokemon card auction, she could come out ahead!

Brynn said...

Ok, my first question is what kind of mom doesn't notice that her daughter came home shopping with a bunch of new stuff. Obviously the girl didn't have $, where does the mom think it came from?!

I'm so sorry Savannah is having to learn this hard lesson.

I think I would call the mom back & tell her (again) what happened & how much her darling little liar of a daughter owes your sweet, generous daughter!

Good luck! Sounds like you'll be needing it.

Mike said...

The whole situation stinks, but this is why the saying goes, don't do business with friends or family. If there was a true friendship, a conflict about money is a sad way for that to end. So a good rule of thumb is to only lend out money you are willing to give away. Doesn't have to be, "never lend out money to friends," but just always have the expectation it will be a gift. In this case, it's obviously her friend took advantage of her, and it's pretty rotten to do that, but perhaps it would be different had she lent her just $10-20 for McDonald's and Earrings. At this point, she has dug herself a hole by borrowing money she can't pay back, and lost a friendship over it. Lots of hurt feelings and awkward situations all around, but good life lessons to be learned.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Oh, I think if it was my kids, I would make a rule that said if they lent over $5 usd to anyone that person needs to sign a promissory note with a payback date on it. Or tell them that they need to ask permission for any amount over $5usd. That gives her an out for not lending money, if she has to ask permission to spend the money, why shouldn't she need to ask permission to lend it? That way you are not forbidding the lending but getting some control over it.

darla h said...

Well Dawn, unfortunately I don't believe there is any way to deal with this mother/daughter. It's obvious if the mother is defending her daughter that she will not see reason, even if you had proof.

There is one of two things you can do: Give that money yourself to Savannah (since it was truly an innocent mistake), or if you feel you need to be tougher, let Savannah absorb the loss. It would be a tough lesson to learn, yes, but she will be very careful in the future as to who she lends money to.

My husband has a general rule of thumb: If you choose to give someone money, give it as a gift. It's when you give it expecting it back that you will ALWAYS run into problems.

Good luck and keep us informed.

Anonymous said...

I don't have any pre-teen age kids, but I have had dishonest adult "friends" who cleverly forget money owed to me. I think I would let it stand as a $77.08 lesson that yes, your daughter is super sweet for wanting to "loan" the money to supposed friend but that you cannot loan money with the gurantee of getting it back. She will probably understand there are certain situations where you can trust that you will get back what is yours. I don't think she will judge the whole human race thinking everyone is dishonest and you can't trust your friends.
I would really have a hard time restraining myself from telling that mom to get a grip on reality and realize that she owes your daughter $77.08 plus interest!!!
I hate to see my childrens feelings hurt.
She knows how proud you are of her and hopefully this will not turn into a HUGE ordeal for her.

Judy said...

Wow, Dawn - my heart really goes out to you. That's a tough one to handle. If it was me, I'd probably call up the mom again and without actually accusing her daughter of lying (perhaps say that you think she forgot), specify exactly what she bought (I'm sure Savannah will remember, even if she doesn't recall the exact amount per item)and explain that although you feel really uncomfortable having to involve her, this is a big deal for your daughter because she saved up this money for a really long time and she's just not the kind of kid to make something like that up. If she's somewhat normal and knows the kind of kid her daughter is, she'll believe you and settle it. Otherwise, sell some stuff on ebay and chalk this up as a life lesson for Savannah. Maybe, instead of telling her never to lend again, you could suggest that next time they both sign a little note, with the date and the exact amount owed (obviously not that kid though). Best of luck and please keep us posted.

Amanda said...

I agree with Amy. Did the mother not notice the bags of goodies her daughter came home with? $20 gets you NOTHING these days, especially after going to the mall and buying everything that she did plus lunch.

It is so unfortunate that we can no longer be kind to people because of how much they take advantage of us. I unfortunately have to agree with the others. I dont think she's going to get that money back from this brat. I'd tell Savannah that apparently she needed the money more and that next time, use your money for yourself. It's your hard earned money and you deserve to spend it on yourself. I am so sorry this happened. Kudos to your sweet daughter for trying to be a good friend. :-(

Kate said...

i was really surprised at the amount of people (especially in the beginning) that said that it was probably just a hard lesson for her to learn and she's out the money... that was not my reaction at all... yeah, she's already learned a lesson, but what about learning a lesson in standing up for what you know is the truth and not letting yourself get railroaded?? help savannah do the research and figure out exactly what was bought (which you have already done, but she should have to do it as well) then accompany her to a meeting with the girl and her mom... let savannah lay out her case and see what the girl and her mom have to say about it... teaching her to stand up for herself and keep her cool (without name calling, accusing, or crying) is a great lesson to learn... hopefully either the mom will see what happened for what it is or the girl will crack under savannah's preparedness... either way i wouldn't just tell my kid, " tough luck, guess you got swindled. don't be so nice." but that's just me...

RefreshMom said...

I remember learning a similar lesson when I was a few years older than Savannah and the amount was a LOT less. It stinks. It's hard to lose the money, but even harder to lose the friend over money. It's a really hard thing to realize that the "friend" values money more than the friendship. While there's a lesson to be learned "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" (sung the way they did it on Gilligans Island), the bigger lesson is choosing friends wisely and learning to set boundaries with people. (I'm sure you'll do a good job helping her with that.)

As far as what to do with this girl, my over-developed sense of justice always wants the victim to get back what they're due. You already tried the direct route and it didn't work. So, probably nothing will. The spiteful side of me wants to compensate by making sure the mom recognizes (what she already knows) that her daughter is a liar.

I would make arrangements to stop by to get the "$20." I'd bring with me a print out of all the items that you found online, with their prices, and hand them over "in lieu of receipts." I'd tell the mom that since Savannah didn't have the receipts, I figured that she'd want to know what her daughter bought and how much it cost.

I'm sorry Savannah had to learn so many hard things about friendship and money and such all at one time. She might also be learning a little about Mom Knows Best, since your intuition about the girl was right on. Unfortunately, she might just be taking after her mother. I agree with previous posters that the mom HAS to have a clue how much money her daughter had to shop with and that the pile of loot she came home with didn't add up. Mom isn't doing her daughter any favors by setting an example of lying and covering your tracks.

Get the $20, sell the stuff that makes Savannah upset and help her learn and grow from a sucky situation.

Liz's Random Thoughts said...

Aww man that totally bites! :(

**HUGS** for Savannah!

If I were you, I would tell the other mom that Savannah and this other girl had bought nearly the same things that day. And that Savannah's total cost was over 70 dollars. Tell the other mom that you don't want to accuse her daughter just that you want to get this mess straightened out.
If the other girl won't own up about it, and still insists that it was 20 dollars. Just make sure you get that money back from them,
I feel sorry for Savannah, its a very tough thing to learn. You grow up thinking you can trust your friends, and when you find out that you can't trust them so much anymore. It just plain old sucks.
Hope you guys figure out the mess soon!

Aemelia said...

I am so sorry you guys are going through this. But I think it would be a good time to talk to Savannah about loaning money to friends and let this be a learning experience. My mom did this for me and it has helped me forgive and move on past the money issue with a dear friend of mine.

My mother told me, "That when it comes to a friend never loan more money then you can afford to give and then don't loan it to them give it to them." If Savannah talks to the girl again she can simply say "We both know what was borrowed but I want to forgive you and the debt because your friendship is more important to me."

This advice has helped me stop and think about loaning/giving money ever since and if Savannah learns it now she might not have to learn it again when she is 23 and has loaned $500 to a dear friend of then 8 years who simply never had the money to pay it back. I can tell you that her friendship is more valuable to me then that money was as we are still friends and I am now 37 years old.

I totally understand that it was a long time saving that money but not getting it back will likely teach her more then if you manage to "fix it" for her. You can also point out to her that part of what she did buy was a fun day shopping with a friend and a huge lesson in giving money to people. Which is more valuable then any amount of money if it sticks with her.

((hugs to you both)) I know how much it hurts to see your nearly teenage children cry.


Joyus said...

My answer would be really simple - phone the mother and say okay, because the girls disagree about the price of the items the only sensible thing to do is for your daughter to return the *items* to Savannah, not the money.

Sure, the items are now used, but Savannah could choose what she wanted to do with them, ebay them, give them to other friends, whatever.

It's a tough lesson for a kid but, as someone else said, better she learns now than when the sum loaned is much bigger.

Deirdrea said...

What a crappy thing to do to someone. It just stinks that this other girl is taking such advantage. I really do hope that you take this as a time to teach Savannah to stand up for herself. Learning how to handle confrontation now will serve her very well in the future. You may or may not get the money back, but by meeting on neutral ground, like a restaurant where the other mom is less likely to cause a huge scene, and letting both girls present their arguments and hash it out it's teaching Savannah that you don't have to just take it lying down.

While she still may not get more then $20 back she will at least have the sense that she stated her side and she stood up for herself. I really think that just sucking it up and eating the $50+ loss would be a lost lesson. Teaching your kid to stand up for herself and to not be a doormat will get her a lot further in the world.

She's learned a LOT of lessons from one incident. It stinks to have happened, but it will be something that she doesn't forget for a long time and can be a good learning experience on many levels. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Man, that's hard. Give Savannah a huge hug from me. She is a sweet little girl and I know you're proud of her.

Unfortunately, I think she's going to have to file this incident away in her list of hard lessons. The other little girl has taken advantage of your daughter and there's no way to prove it. You were right to tell her to not lend money to friends again; it's never a good idea.

If you do ebay the outfit, give your loyal readers a heads-up. I have a feeling you can get most, if not all, of Savannah's money back for her.

Anonymous said...

what a horrible lying toad the so called friend is. And what an even bigger toad her mother is for believing the lying toad!

NOW the evil mother in me is going to say..Get the kid on her own LOL invite her to the mall, buy Savannah an icecream, let Toad watch, then, ask Toad about the money, Fight fire with fire, I say! lull Toad into a false sense of security and then POUNCE! I found that actually worked when something similar happened to my daughter. She got all her money back and then ditched the friend!!
I hope all goes well, I look forward to reading the next installment! lol..
Chin up Savannah sweetie, friends like her aren't worth the grief, I'm sure you'll get your money back eventually, just DONT GIVE UP!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

You will never convince the other mom that her daughter is lying. Believe me.

And, although I know it hurts to watch, Savannah has learned a really good lesson. If it only cost her 55 dollars to learn it, she's lucky. I know you hate for her to learn that you can't trust everyone, it's important that she does learn it. Especially for the coming middle school and high school years.

Oh, but ouch. I'm sorry.

Anonymous said...

You can always give the mom your blog address ;)

Cindy said...

Hi Dawn
This is a very sad situation. I was just wondering: couldn't you have a little talk with the girlfriend (without her mom being around)? Maybe at school? You never know how she will react when she is confronted with an angry Dawn! LOL!

Best regard

Anonymous said...

I would indeed auction off the clothes on ebay: she wouldn't wanna wear matching outfits with this girl anymore anyway. And yes, give the proceeds to Savannah and then make sure she tells her (no longer) friend: "I don't want to look like you anymore since I am NOT like you' - and if it is a lot of money (count on your blogreaders to bid on your items) I even would give her the go-ahead to rub that girls nose in it: 'thanks to you, I now have more money than before, and I am off to them Mall without you, thank you very much' Oh wait, rubbing someones nose like this is not very politically correct in the world of child-raising.. but then again, lying and cheating isn't either...
Mom of friend, I hope you read this and feel VERY BAD!!!

Knitty said...

I think itemizing what Savannah remembers her friend buying and discussing this when going to pick up the $20 is probably the best idea.

Her friend's mother might truly be clueless as to her daughter's lying. The way some girls frequently borrow or trade clothes and accessories, her daughter may have pretended the new items weren't hers. As for the mom not seeing what she brought home from the shopping trip, maybe mom wasn't home or was preoccupied with something. Her daughter's safe return may have been all that registered. If dad was home, he may not have noticed a shopping bag at all! ;)

How both mother and daughter react when Savannah questions the girl about specific items will show their true characters. The girl may have raised to know better and is both scared and embarrassed now which could explain the phone hangups. If her mom is unaware of this problem, this will bring it out in the open (hopefully a little more like proof as opposed to a vague accusation in her eyes).

I am not excusing the girl's actions, just hoping she is caught in a bad situation and is using poor judgment.

I hope this is resolved for the sake of both girls. The friend needs to get life back on the right track and Savannah needs her faith in people doing the right thing restored.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully this woman will read your blog. :)

Anonymous said...

If I had been in Savannah's situation my mom would have gotten my money back. Why? Because she's MEAN. You need to get the girl on the phone and say something like "I didn't want to do this, but since you won't own up to borrowing the money, I'm going to have to call the police." Beleive me, the kid will crack.

Phyllis said...

I can't believe that! Poor Savannah. And poor you for being placed in this situation of trying to figure out how to help Savannah work through all of this. My eldest daughter is only 8yo, so I've not had to deal with anything like this, but I can honestly say that naive me never thought this could even be an issue.

I hope you and Savannah can figure out a way to put closure on all this -- whether it be just chalking it up to a lesson learned, or by showing her 'friend' exactly how much everything cost and praying that the pressure makes the girl come clean to all.

Anonymous said...

It is always a good idea to know the parents, at least the mother, before the girls go shopping or hanging out at the mall. So sorry to hear about this situation.

Just love your blog!

Carla said...

I am livid. Sorry Savannah. I would think long and hard of all the things this "friend" purchased and write up a bill for it.

I agree with Kate. Arrange a meeting with Mom and daughter and tell what happened.

An ebay auction explaining everything would be cool too if the above gets you nowhere!

Mommy, Esquire said...

Tell her you'll take 20 this week, 20 next, 20 the following and 17.08 after that and you'll call it even.
Write John Rosemond ( and see what he says!

The Broken Man said...

Poor Savannah! What a horrible lesson to have to learn - not even that it isn't a good idea to lend money you need back, but that people who call themselves your friend can hurt you like this.

My wife and I often use each other as a buffer (not specifically in this kind of situation). We will quite often say "Oh, my wife/husband really wouldn't be happy about that". It takes the pressure off us directly. Maybe Savannah could use you as a buffer when she feels uncomfortable - "Oh, if it was up to me, I would definitely lend you the money, but my mum won't let me lend more than x amount". The two of you could have a chat about how much is a reasonable amount to lend - I always work on the basis of how much I can afford to lose!

I think the Ebay idea is great - confronting the family seems unlikely to work, and could just raise tensions even more. Hopefully with your notority (!) Savannah will make her money back.

Sorry she has had her trust broken like this.

The Broken Man

Anonymous said...

I don't think sitting down and talking to this women and her child will work. I don't remember how old Savannah is but trust me I learned to lie and deceive at a very young age to get what I want, she will not cave under pressure and I kind of agree that this mother doesn't want to pay $70+ for items she did not approve of first. I feel horrible for Savannah, saving money is very hard to do especially for a young girl who wants the newest name brand items! I agree see what you can get from ebay and make sure you post the links to those items on this blog. I also had to learn the hard way, don't lend what you can't afford to lose. Especially to a friend... :(

Rebecca said...

Wow - tough life lesson. I don't think there's anything you can say or do to change this girl or her mother's mind. Keep in mind that children learn ethics and scruples from their parents, so if it's going to be a nasty battle, you might as well chalk it up to a hard lesson learned. In the meantime, maybe you can come up with ways to prevent this from happening again - is it possiblre to get a credit card in Savannah's name so that she won't have to carry so much cash, etc...? At least then you'll always have receipts as well.

A hard way and tender age to learn such things - but there are awful people out there who will take advantage of you whenever they can. Good luck, Dawn - I don't envy you.

Anonymous said...

were there other girls there that day as well that could vouch for Savanah that she did indeed lend this girl the money...poor thing I hope that mom reads your blog and feels really bad

Irishmama said...

Well, first of all, take the $20 that they're willing to give back. I can't offer anything else that your other brilliant readers haven't already said........its just another part of life.

They say, if you loan someone $50 bucks and you never hear from them again, it was probably worth the money........

Mel said...

I unfortuantly had the same thing happen to me when I was younger, although not with as much money. It never did get resolved, and my parents used it as a valuable lesson to not lend money to anyone, without talking to them first about it.
I would appeal to the mother one more time, but its really a matter of her word against Savannahs word, and although Savannah wouldn't be as upset if she were lying, the other girls mother might think she is, just like this girl is. Although $20 isn't as much as what is owed, it is better then getting nothing.
My heart goes out to Savannah, it really sucks being in that situation.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like the apple doesn't fall far from the tree in this case. First, the mother made no effort to call you back, you had to chase her down. Second, when you agreed to have the girls discuss the issue, she lets her daughter hang up on Savannah and that's it? Based on that it's not difficult to see how the girl ended up to be rude, obnoxious and selfish, obviously lacking consideration for others.

Sadly, I don't think you will get anymore than the $20 out of this (if that, I wouldn't put it past this duo to worm their way out of repayment altogether). Your daughter sounds very responsible and thoughtful, it's unfortunate she has to be hurt by this. I would focus on the lessons learned and hopefully she will end her relationship with this girl altogether.

My daughter is only 2 and as I teach high school I am dreading those life lessons I know are inevitable.

Chris B. said...

I'm sorry to hear about Savannah's dilemma.

In my teen past, I was the borrower. It's hard to admit to your parents you borrowed money from a friend, especially when you know you'll get in trouble for borrowing.
Her money knows exactly how much money her daughter left with on that day, and what stuff she came home with. You are not going to convince her that she borrowed more than $20 but you can explain to her the costs of all those items and let her sort out her daughter's lie.

I'm a big Dave Ramsey fan, and he recommends going to the Bible for help. Savannah has to decide if the friendship is worth $78. She should decide whether to forgive the debt now, and tell her friend so (without getting her mother involved) or keep pushing for her money.

Dave S. said...

I'm not a lawyer, just an honest person. I would consider taking the family to small claims court.

Anonymous said...

Eek! The hardest lesson to learn in life. Never, never loan money to a friend. Poor Savannah. She learn it so young.

She is a sweet girl to think of her friend and her baby sister. I am sorry she is going through this pain.

The mother of the other girl is enabling her daughter to lie. She will be having problems with her daughter in the future. If the girl is lying about her shopping expenses, what else is she lying about? I hope the mother wakes up and smell the coffee. Problems are banging on the door loud and clear to us. The mother is being deaf about it. She does not want to face the reality that her daughter is lying to her.

My suggestion - ebay all of the matching items Savannah bought with this so-call friend and tell the story about the lie her friend made, etc. I imagine that the mother would definitely see that on ebay and realized just how much stuff her daughter really did get and the repeated lies she told her.

Anonymous said...

Poor Savannah

I agree with getting together with both of them and have Savannah confront her friend with you there she'll be stronger about it. That figure is too random a number to pull out of the air. Print off the things they bought that you found online with the prices and bring it to the mom's attention and offer her a calculator to add it up and see what figure she comes up with. If all else fails then hopefully Savannah will get the $20, and you can sell the clothes on ebay cause she doesn't want them anymore poor dear.

Beckie said...

Your poor girl. What a rotten lesson to have learned so young. I would do like others have mentioned, a face to face meeting with printed off pictures and prices. If this gets no where, than do a auction on ebay with the whole story in the description.

My oldest son learned a similar lesson only it involved a boy from a family better off finacially than ours and was only lunch money. After I fed this boy lunch for several weeks and mine went hungry, I had to tell my son no more lending all. I know he still does occasionally, but he now knows who really needs it and who is only trying to use him. I didn't go to the parents, but I did let the teacher know and she helped put a stop to it.

Good luck with whatever you choose to do. Let Savannah know we have all done this once or twice and give her big hugs from all your internet fans.

Kristin said...

This is so sad for Savannah. I also have learned this lesson the hard way and no longer "lend" money unless I can do so with no expectation of ever getting it back, then when I do it's a nice "surprise"!
I think you and Savannah should take the girl and her mother to People's Court. I'm usually not an advocate of suing but in this case the other girl and her mother need a lesson in honesty. Judge M would be able to help with that... plus you and Savannah would get to be on TV!! How's that for publicity?!

Tammy said...

So sorry for Savannah. It is hard, and $77 to an adult is a lot of money, but for a child it is a huge thing. They don't have the opportunities to re-earn that money that adults do.

So many people with such different advice. So here's mine: I don't think I would take Savannah to the door with me. She's been burned enough; she doesn't need to see the mom get defensive. But if there were questions, she could be called from the vehicle.

I would also have Savannah make a list of items her friend bought. I would give the list to the mother and let her know that if she is only going to reimburse Savannah the $20 for the earrings, you will have to be satisfied with that. But that it is too bad that her daughter chose the "things" over her friendship with your daughter.

And I would help Savannah ebay the stuff even if she does get reimbursed for the whole amount. With the blog-readers you have, she'd be sure to see a profit. Many many people here would pay a big price tag to feel a part of righting the wrong. :0)

christa said...

Either one of two things is happening here and neither one is good for that other child. Either her mom know's that she owes you $77 and can't/won't pay it back. Or she believes her daughter (not noticing all of the clothes her daughter came home with) and nothing you do is going to convince her.

If you go over there and show copies of receipts and things on the internet, you're going to look like a crazy person. You don't want this girl going to school and telling the other kids what a crazy person savannah's mom is.

My advice is to help Savannah get some of it back, (sell things on ebay, extra chores) and cut all ties with that little girl. And give that mom the cold shoulder the next time you see her.

Tammy said...

OH! And loved the "Better Off Dead!" reference!

Rebecca said...

Im so sorry that Savannah had to learn this about people already. I dont have children but I have leant money to friends before, some have paid it back and some are no longer friends. Im a grown woman and still give to people when needed but its always hard to learn that you were taken.
If I was you I would tell the Mother all the clothes and earrings the girls got (even taking pics of similar clothes in the stores) although this might not get the money back it will show Savannah that you never give up when you are right.
I would definitly get atleast the 20 dollars. I hope that Savannah knows now that this girl is not a friend and never will be.
Big hugs to her and please tell her she is not the only one this has happened to.

Robin said...

What a tough spot to be in! Don't you hate it when you try to help your kids and then you find out you can't completely resolve the issue? It breaks my heart when that happens.

I'm sorry for Savannah. I hope somehow it gets resolved in a way she feels good about.

Mabunny said...

Wow congrats to Savannah being so dutiful and saving that much money. Lesson learned the hard way though that you can't always trust your 'friends' and that they will lie to protect their own butts...
I fell sorry for Savannah. She was also being such a sweet sister to see an outfit for Brooklyn and buy it:)) Sounds like you've got a great girl there Dawn!

Christy said...

I suggest bringing Savannah to the other girl's house to get the money. Have her tell the other girl again that she expects $77.08 since that is what she owes.

If the other mother gave her daughter $50 for shopping, but the girl had Savannah pay for everything, then the mother would only thing that she borrowed about $20.

If she only gets $20, then this will be a tough lesson for her. I feel really sorry for her and hope she gets the money back.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read your e-bay auction for this one!

The Miles Family said...

Oh Savannah!!! I'm so sorry. I hate stuff like this!
My oldest daughter is only 5 so I haven't had to deal with this yet, but I do agree with MANY other commenters... How do you let your daughter go shopping and NOT ask how much she spent or where she got the money????
Maybe the daughter hid some of her purchases knowing that she would get in trouble for borrowing the money OR because she never had any intention of repaying Savannah. :(
I think I would set up a time to go by the other girls house. I would take the info you found online about prices. I would take the items that Savannah bought. I would then ask the mother if she saw the items that her daughter bought.
If the mother refuses to accept that there is something fishy about her daughter's story then I would take the $20 and leave.
I would probably feel so sorry for my precious daughter that I would give her the $57.08 that she was unable to get back and make her PROMISE me that she would never lend that much money to anyone EVER AGAIN! :)

Sharon said...

I agree with a lot of what people are saying. However, I didn't read in your post where the mom was defending her daughter....just that she was stating what her daughter said. I don't think that you necessarily need to let this go, but I don't know that a face to face confrontation would work either. If this child is as truely manipulative as she sounds, then she could have hidden most of the items and only shown her mom a pair of earring or something. Perhaps she didn't see all the bags coming in the door and the merchandise is now hidden. Personally I think I would write a letter to the mom and include print-outs of the items that Savannah remembers the girl bought, then you can leave the ball in the other mother's court. This way she has time to think it over, and you can state that you are not trying to cause and issue, but perhaps her daughter doesn't remember all the things she purchased that day. Hopefully doesn't feel defensive and then has an opportunity to look through her daughters things and talk it over with her. Most people are not blind to their children's fault's and I doubt that this was the first time that the daughter has manipulated her mother. Perhaps, then the mother will contact you. But, after mailing the letter, I would just move on and then if something results, fine.

Anonymous said...

I feel so bad for Savannah! Not a fun lesson to learn at any age, but especially not so young.

A couple of thoughts . . . the girl and her mother probably don't have $78 to repay Savannah . . . not that that makes it okay to lie about it, especially not on the mother's part!

Second, to all my friends who disagree with me, situations like this are why I am the "mean overprotective mom" who won't let my 12-year-old hang out at Stratford without a parent present! Now, to be truthful, my arguments had more to do with a stranger stealing from our kids (or stealing them) than the friend actually doing the stealing. And I know, I have to let them grow up, but I didn't hang out at Woodfield until I could drive myself there.

Anyway, a good Dawn e-bay posting ought to recoup most, if not all, of Savannah's money! Good luck. Oh, and definitely get the $20 if you can!


Julie said...

That really bites! It's so hard when we can't protect them from the hurt caused by these "life lessons". Sounds like her friend is not much of a friend.

So did she at least get $20 back?

Barbara said...

Wow, Savannah is learning at a very young age that 1) you shouldn't lend anyone more $ than you can afford to walk away from and 2) you should never mix friends and $. I didn't have to learn this until I was 30.

I hope this works out in some small way for all of you.

MayberryMom said...

ugh. I'd meet to get the $20 and hand the mom a print out (what you found online) of what each girl bought with the prices as an FYI. Leave it at that. If they can't be honest, I hope Savannah doesn't hang out with this girl again.

If Savannah's natural tendency is to help, maybe give her a limit of what she can loan to people ~ $5, $10. . .

I hope this works out.

Amy said...

I have no advice. I just feel sorry for Savannah :o(
Life lesson learned the hard way I guess....
Poor thing!

Ruth said...

This is a hard lesson learned at a much later age than I would have guessed. My daughter learned this at the tender age of 5 (she is 9 now) when she loaned one of her
"friends" $5 to buy her mom a present at the school's Christmas mart and never got it back. There is no way that the other girl or her mom will pony up but I would suggest that Savannah let her other friends know how untrustworthy the girl is and you let the other moms know as well. I would say Savamah should distance herself from this girl but I suspect she already will. If Savannah still wants to be friends with this girl, don't let Savannah go to the mall with her unsupervised again. If the girl can steal from her friends she can also shop-lift and you don't want Savannah around that.

Kelly in TX said...

I feel awful for Savannah, what a generous heart she has! I am so sorry she was used like this by a "friend". It took me a long time to realize that when I loan money out to make sure I can do so willingly without expecting it back anytime soon or at all. Like someone said, more like you are gifting it out! If you are willing to look at it that way then you tend to be a little more smart about it. Plus, it make you feel better getting the money back because you truly let it go knowing there is the reality that you might not see it again and there isn't that "tension" between the two because of the expectation.

Joy said...

Just to be mean, I would agree with the mother. Say "Why you are right, Savannah did only loan her $20." Make sure you get the $20 in your hand and then say "I don't know how she got all those bags of stuff with just $20, she must have shoplifted them"

And then walk away. But I am a hateful witch

Jenni said...

I would call the mom back and let her know that you have looked into what was purchased on the shopping trip and it appears to be about $70 plus tax. Offer to print out and show her the prices of the items online. Then give her time to talk with her daughter about it, in private. If they stick with the $20 story, Savannah has learned that life isn't fair and your friends aren't always your friends. If her "friend" finally admits to her mom how much they spent, and they payback the full amount, then good Savannah learned to show proof and make logical arguments to show someone else the truth.

However, I would not give her the money because that is not how real life works. She is at a good age to be learning this lesson. It sucks. It's hard.

Anonymous said...

Dawn, I'm a grandmother now, and I have had several experiences with this kind of stuff-- with my own kids and with, in fact, myself.

In my experiences, any further approaches to this mom or her daughter will dramatically increase their defensiveness and anger. No mom wants to think (or admit) their kid is a deadbeat; so once the mom defended her, the story was over. The money was lost. Gone.

And then, of course, there's the back to school issue. . . this thing can escalate SO easily and cause MORE distress to your daughter once they're in a public environment where girls have been known to be drawn into circles of middle-school hell over a lot less than something like this.

Hard-- SO hard to see your daughter so hurt, angry, disillusioned. So hard. Perhaps you can help her find some ways to build her "account" back up. Little "jobs" and so forth.

And finally, ask her to create her OWN new policy about lending money. Then she will have created her own lesson and not have to bear the further humiliation of hearing "well, you've learned a good lesson" from someone else. Even now, as an adult, I HATE hearing that. It translates (to me) as "you did a stupid thing, so don't do it again." But that's just me.

The Grandmummy

Stephanie said...

Dawne - how awful. Here's my two pennies. As this isn't a "friend" that Savannah has had for very long, and you don't know the mom, I would put the information in writing. Detail out what was purchased, along with the cost, and request reimbursement. I suspect that they will not repay Savannah, but you can at least try one more time.

After that, it is unfortunately a very painful life lesson for your daughter, that this person is not really a friend, and cannot be trusted. It is time for her to end the friendship.

In the future, she will be much more cautious about loaning money to friends, limiting it to friends she knows very well, and keeping the amounts much smaller.

As far as reimbursing your daughter if she doesn't get paid by from the other girl, that's a difficult decision to make. Maybe you can reimburse her half of the amount or something, so that she doesn't lose out on all of it? I dunno, it's a hard one. I'm so sorry that this happened!

Stephanie said...

Dawne - how awful. Here's my two pennies. As this isn't a "friend" that Savannah has had for very long, and you don't know the mom, I would put the information in writing. Detail out what was purchased, along with the cost, and request reimbursement. I suspect that they will not repay Savannah, but you can at least try one more time.

After that, it is unfortunately a very painful life lesson for your daughter, that this person is not really a friend, and cannot be trusted. It is time for her to end the friendship.

In the future, she will be much more cautious about loaning money to friends, limiting it to friends she knows very well, and keeping the amounts much smaller.

As far as reimbursing your daughter if she doesn't get paid by from the other girl, that's a difficult decision to make. Maybe you can reimburse her half of the amount or something, so that she doesn't lose out on all of it? I dunno, it's a hard one. I'm so sorry that this happened!

Sherry said...

My gut reaction is that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I don't think this mother wants to believe her daughter owes more than $20 so it probably won't make any difference what is said to her. She probably knows very well that the stuff her daughter bought was worth more. That's just my experience with people who lie. I hope you can get the $20 back and move on as lesson learned.... it's just sad that a young girl has to feel so much pain for this kind of lesson. And it is a shame that this friend took such advantage of Savannah. She might have had good intentions of paying it back in her mind but couldn't cough up the cash.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn, I can relate to your situation. My 11 year old son had a friend over a while ago and he wanted to borrow a playstation controller from my son. He said No. After the boy left it was missing. The boy denied taking it. I called his mom and tried not to sound like I was calling her child a liar. But low and behold they showed up the next day with it. My son has not talked to him since. Its such a hard situation and something we learn from. Kristine in Michiagan.

Mary G said...

Oh, poor Savannah! I used to get in trouble because I would lend my youngest brother money. I'll never forget when my oldest brother found out that he owed me over $100! My oldest brother paid me back and made my youngest brother pay HIM back. It was the last time he borrowed from me.

So do you always sit it out when you don't like your kids' friends? My son has a new friend who is pretty obnoxious, but I've been trying really hard not to say too much. (Of course, if my son's safety were in jeopardy, I'd be right there with my mama bear persona!) Right now it's just basic obnoxiousness. It's such a fine line. I hated it when my parents expressed dislike for my friends. One of them that they mildly disapproved of is STILL a good friend of mine, more than 20 years later, so I guess moms don't always know, which is what makes me hesitate to say anything. OK...I'm blathering on. I guess I just want to know when to step up and say something?

Good Luck!!

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to both you and Savannah... this is not an easy lesson.

Yes, you should document what was bought and go with your daughter to give this information to the other mom and her daughter.
How they respond is not your responsibility, but being honest and standing up for yourself is.

Collect as much of the money as your are able to, and then auction the clothing that Savannah hasn't worn. Tell the story on the auction, and see what kind of response you get. Maybe Savannah will learn that some people can't be trusted, but others you don't even know will sometimes go to great lengths with their kindness.

People will fail each other often, and it is always best to put your trust in God so that when we hurt each other we are able to forgive, even when the other person no longer is a friend.

hugs to both of you,

Brenda said...

I find it hard to believe the mom didn't see the things her daughter came home with and knows how much money her daughter has. Take Savannah shopping and take a camera phone and take pictures of the items with their price tages. Make an itemized bill and send it to them in the mail and do nothing else. If they pay her back fine. If they refuse I'd give Savannah the money myself this time but explain that she should not lend money to friends again. Let he know it is a one time bail out type thing. That is what I would do.

Anonymous said...

I'd tell everybody the truth.
Tell the Mom that you appreciate her help getting the $20, and although you understand it's her child's word against yours, you believe that there was more money borrowed because of the quantity of things purchased, which you saw in the car.
Tell the girl (or better yet, have Savannah tell her) that you're disappointed that she has chosen money over a friendship.
Tell Savannah that you're proud of her for trying to be a kind, generous person, and that sometimes people do those kinds of things, and it sucks.
Finally, if it were me, I'd tell her that I can't - and won't - always bail her out, but because family finances are in a pretty good place right now, and because she did this in good faith and with the right motives, that you'll give her the $50 if she'll give you the clothes (to sell, to donate, whatever). I know she is learning a lesson about loaning money here, but I suspect she's already learned it. And honestly, we as parents can take that kind of financial hit a lot more easily than our kids can. We have greater earning power and all that.
I don't bail out my son more than once, nor do I bail him out when he caused the problem. Those are learning experiences. But she didn't know. Hard to punish her for that.

Brenda in SC

Rachel said...

Poor Savannah, that's such a hard lesson to learn. When I was about 12 I had a girlfriend who told her mom that she'd lent me some clothes and I'd lost them. This mom came storming into our house and informed her daughter to go in my closet and pick out any 5 things she wanted, to keep. Luckily my mom was there and stopped it... but that girl and I were never friends again. She had lied, just like Savannah's friend. It's a horribly hard lesson to learn, but she needs to learn it. It sounds like that mom is in denial, or is really out of touch with her daughter which indicates a whole other world of problems, and might explain the daughter's behavior. I'd do the e-bay thing. At least she learned now, instead of later. Poor darlin'.

Lisa said...

This is going to end up being a hard lesson, try to get back what she will atleast give you. Try to sell the other things on Ebay to recoup something. I am so sorry about this mess, sounds like this other demon oops child needs to have a few lessons on manners, and how to treat friends.

Michelle said...

Let me know if you decide to ebay the outfit. I have a 12 yo that has recently discovered Aeropostale and I'm please because they cost less than Abercrombie.

Rather than warning Savannah not to loan money to friends, perhaps the lesson here is determine first if loaning/not loaning is worth losing a friendship over. Friends may want to pay you back but might not be able to. The invaluable lesson here is that if you buy something for a friend as a loan, keep the receipt, circle the items, tally up the total and provide the friend with a copy of the receipt and totaled amount, in the presence of a parent.

Man, that sucks!

Lyndsay said...

If you’re asking for the RIGHT thing to do, I don’t know. I don’t have that parenting book either. But if you’re asking for what I would probably do:

1 – I would take Savannah with me to pick up the $20. I would say something to “Nasty-Girl” like – “So Nasty-Girl, you are sure that the 2 pairs of earrings and matching outfit cost $20? Because Savannah’s cost $75.” Or something like that. I wouldn’t take it further. If Nasty-Girl and her Probably-Nasty-Mom still only repay $20…

2 – I’d give Savannah the remaining $57. I’d give it to her because you said she is a “saver” and very conscientious with her money. If she was a “waster” it would be a different story. And also because (like you said) she was just trying to be a good friend. (Although I do wonder if Nasty-Girl pressured her into “lending” her the money.)

3 – Have a conversation with Savannah about the ‘lesson-learned’. Praise her for trying to be a good friend but suggest that perhaps in the future she lend smaller amounts to friends she really trusts.

But what do I know??

Perky said...

I agree with most everything said above, so I won't bother repeating it.

I can recommend a great book, however --- "The Blessing of a Skinned Knee" by Wendy Mogel (sp?). It's a great parenting book from a Jewish perspective, BUT you definitely don't have to be Jewish to appreciate the advice. It really just uses Jewish teachings and sayings and proverbs and similar things to reflect upon modern child-raising.

Your daughter has learned a priceless lesson! Seriously -- $70 is a small price to pay to learn something so important! I bet that she'll make very good decisions concerning money in the future!

If you do eBay the outfits, make sure that she helps you do it. In fact, make her do most of the work. Then, she'll benefit from an additional lesson of how to persevere, make the best of things, try other alternatives and be self-reliant.

Oh, BTW ---- I LOVE the title of this post!!!! What a blast from the past!

Anonymous said...

I feel for Savannah - we've all been in this type of situation with a "friend". Do you know what date they shopped and where? The stores may be able to issue a duplicate receipt if you have the date and approximate amount. It's easier if paid by credit card but they should have cash receipts also.

Tonya said...

I would take the clothes the girls bought along with the mother of the girl to the store and show her how much they cost! If the girl didn't have any money on her then the mother will quickly see how much was spent.

If the girls mother wasn't going to give her money, she shouldn't have let her go to the mall.

Duckygirl said...

Is it at all possible that they are lying because if it was more than $20 they'd (mom included) have to admit they couldn't pay her back???

It doesn't sound to me like any sort of confrontation would help. I'd take the $20 and leave it at that.

Manic Mom said...

Ooh, that sucks! First it sucks that the other mom wouldn't even question when her kid came home with a bunch of new stuff that she knew her daughter obviously didn't have money for! And then it sucks for poor Savannah!

I am trying to think like how "Just Another Manic Mommy" would answer the question and I'm SO glad this is not a question I would have to address 'for real!'

But I feel so bad for Savannah. All I can think of is that I hope the bitchy mom knows who YOU are and reads your blog and sees what her daughter has been up to. How can a mother be that ignorant to her daughter?

And this is a hard thing for Savannah but now she knows that not everyone is honest or nice and she can't trust everyone.

What a bummer situation.

Jennifer said...


I'm so sorry for you & your daughter. My daughters are young, so I am counting on you to have the wisdom of Solomon and totally figure out how to deal with this so that I'll know what to do in the future!!!

Anonymous said...

Here's another option: when going to collect the $20, Savannah wears the items that she bought that match the other girl's items. You can then ask the mother if she has seen the same items on her own girl. If she is honest, the truth can be laid out and maybe the right thing will be done. It's entirely possible that the girl could become repentant and change her ways. If not, you could still lay out the truth, take the $20 and count that relationship as over.

Anonymous said...

You said that you kept your comments to yourself about your feeling on this girl when Savannah first met her. Well sometimes things have a way of working themselves out. It may be a $77 lesson learned, but at least Savannah has been given the opportunity to learn the real person behind the person. And maybe it's a $77 dollar lesson learned now, instead of later on when this girl does something horrible, that would REALLY break Savannah's heart. Get your $20 from the girl, express your dissapointment to the girl and her mother, and comfort your generous and kind hearted daughter....and make sure she know's that not everone is so deceitful.
Good Luck-

Katina said...

Oh, poor Savannah. I love her just from reading your blog entries about her.

I think all the other mamas have great suggestions, but the bottom line is that her friend is probably not going to pay back more than the $20. BUT if you ebay the items, I guarantee those of us in your fan club will buy them up for top dollar and Savannah's going to end up with more than $70 in the end. A hard life lesson, indeed, but nothing that we can't fix for her. Just be sure to tell us in your blog when you put them up for auction, and we'll help you out.

My love to both of you,

Anonymous said...

I'm probably going to repeat what others have said but here goes:

This woman probably knows her daughter is a liar. She doesn't want to admit it and may be the kind of person who doesn't care or even condones it. That aside, I suggest that you meet with the mom and the girls, "to get back the $20". I'd then ask the mom if she saw everything the daughter bought with that twenty dollars. She may lie, she may say her daughter had money of her own. Regardless, she needs to understand that her daughter stole that money from Savannah. Whether you get it back or not is pretty irrelevant. But the mom will know that you're on to her and the daughter, and that Savannah will have nothing further to do with a child who has no problem taking money from someone else and lying about it.

You'll have given her food for thought and Savanna, unfortnately, will have learned a lesson the hard way. You might even throw in that she no longer wants that matching outfit they bought together and that you're getting rid of it.

The bottom line is that you don't have an investment in this family and obviously don't need or want it. At the very least, the mom will think about whether her daughter lied to you and could possibly fix this down the road. I suspect that she doesn't really care and won't do anything. But a face to face meeting is essential.

Good luck! Chris in PA

rthling said...

I had something remotely similar happen once. I came home one day and the neighbor girl from next door came out of her house with an MP3 player that looked like my daughter's. It was one of those cheap ones the sold at Bath & Body Works at Christmas. I asked her where she got that, and she said someone else had given it to her for Christmas. Just then her parents came out the door, and asked what was up. I told them I thought she had my daughter's MP3 player, and they asked her where she got it. (How do they not know where she would get something like that???) She repeated her answer to them, and they shrugged and said okay. So I was out of luck. I steamed for a bit, because I knew she was lying. Later that day, she was outside again, and I asked to see the item. She brought it to me, and I took it inside to check the content. Besides some other stuff she had added, it had the same content I had loaded. The catch was, I hadn't loaded the songs on it in the order they are on the CD. So it was like a signature, staring me in the face. I took it back out to her, and sat on the porch with her alone to confront her. I told her that I understand why she would have felt cornered and the need to lie, but that I knew that it was my daughter's MP3 player, and why. Then I asked her if she had anything she wanted to tell me. She started crying and admitted that it was not hers, and apologized. I forgave her, hugged her, but gently told her that I would give her one day to tell her parents the truth. The next day, I spoke to her Mom. She hadn't confessed to them, do it was news to her. She was disciplined appropriately, and we don't associate with that child very much in spite of the fact that she lives right next door.
So I'm saying, that maybe if Savannah invited this friend over, you could try the same tactic. It's a long shot, and if her Mom is protecting her, she will probably not like it, but if she's willing to help her daughter pull off such a scam, I wouldn't worry too much about what the Mom thinks.
And if all else fails, do auction Savannah's things with the whole story in the description (exclude the names). I guarantee that she'll recoup the money she's out.

Julia in Sweden said...

I feel really bad for Savannah, girls can be so mean! I know, I remember it like it was yesterday :-( The only thing she can do is make sure to get the 20 dollars back and stay away from that girl. Was it just the two of them there? Maybe someone else can back Savannah up?
I hope that brat comes clean, but some people just never develop a concience.
Tell Savannah to stand tall and be above those people, even though it hurts. In the long run, she will be the one that remembers this as a hard lesson learned, but she did the right thing. That other girl, well, that's up to higher powers.
Take care!

Emily said...

I feel so awful for Savannah! Why is it when we do "the right thing" we sometimes end up paying dearly for it? UUUGGGHHH! I am so sorry! I hope you can get some money on eBay for the outfit. If I had girls I would definitely bid on it! Good luck!

Candi said...

A hard lesson well-learned. Savannah will not forget this, and that's a good thing. When lending ANYTHING, but especially money, a key step even adults often skip is start small and build up. If I loan you $2 and you pay me back I may be more open to the $5 you ask for another time. If I never see the $2 again, I know I must learn to say, "No" if I am not willing to give the amount as a gift. I set a $5 maximum for the first time with anyone, even my own kids (when they were younger). Now I know which ones will repay me and which ones consider everything I do for them a "gift". So long as I am able, I will still give my children whatever they need, but I can decide whether to make it a gift or a loan, based on their "real" need and their track record. With friends and strangers alike, I try to help everyone in some way, but I am not quick to give money. Too often, that simply enables them to remain dependent on others. Better to pay for a "favor done" without a payback than to put the relationship on the line. So when someone asks me for money, I generally ask them to help me with a chore I cannot perform alone, and then Give them the money as payment.

McKenzie said...

Oh, this made me so sad. Darn it, why are some pre-teen girls so awful? Your Savannah is one of the good ones, and she got an unfortunate burn while being so. I'll add situations like this to the long list of things I'm dreading when my own Savannah (8 weeks old today!) starts those formative years.

If all they're willing to own up to is $20, then make sure you get that $20. And then get out of Dodge - a friend like that isn't a friend worth having or even acknowledging at this point, and your Savannah deserves better. Hugs to her!

Liz said...

Awww...Savannah...that's horrible! Maybe what you guys can do is find as many of the things as possible online, with prices, copy & paste the images & prices on to a word document, print out two copies, and mail one to this girl's mom in an "official" looking envelope (printed off the computer, not hand-written so the daughter doesn't open it first) with a note saying that Savannah would indeed appreciate the $20 that her daughter is willing to repay her (hey, at least it's something!), and that you and Savannah sat down together and found the items online that her daughter now owns in case she didn't realize everything she'd brought home that day. Hopefully the mom will have seen some, most, or even all of the items in the past month on the sheet. Hopefully Savannah can take something good away from this in time. Karma has a way of working these things out in different ways...I know from experience. I lent my best friend's brother much more than $77, only to be repaid about 1/6 of what he owed me. I was going to talk to his wife about it, but he threatened me! My safety is more important than money, so I let it go. This past year he was caught stealing from a former employer, lost his job, lawsuit against him, and their house foreclosed on because no one would lend him money. He's almost 40 years old, married with a kid, and still pulling this crap!! Yes, Karma will visit this girl in time.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I have been reading your blog since you had the ebay auction, but have never commented before. First I'd like to tell you that I love your blog! I would have Savannah email the girl (or myspace message her, etc something that is in writing) and ask her why she did not tell her mother the truth. Perhaps the child is afraid of her mother. We don't know what goes on behind closed doors, so that would be first. If the child doesn't give an adequate answer, the next step would be to have Savannah write out everything that the girl bought and list approximately how much it all cost. I would snail mail this to the girl's mother. When the mother sees everything in writing, the light bulb may go off and she may say "Where did you get the money for all this if you didn't get it from Savannah?" If nothing comes from these efforts, there isn't much else you could do. Anything more will probably cause fighting between the families. That is when I would explain to my child that I am very proud of her giving heart, but when she lends money, expect that it isn't going to be paid back. Tell her that sometimes it will and sometimes it won't. Tell her that she has to decide if she wants to give it away as a gift because there will be those times in life where the person is not going to pay her back. Lastly, I would probably give Savannah the money that she lost this time but not if it happened again.

witchirsh said...

I feel for Savannah - what a terrible way to learn a hard lesson. :(

I do want to give kudos to you though. You are helping Savannah develop a sense of responsibility - something that far too many children (and this other girl, apparently) never learn these days. Their parents are to busy bailing them out or blaming everyone else instead of helping them take responsibility for their own actions.

Hugs to Savannah, and to you for having to deal with the heartbreak.

Anonymous said...

I feel really bad for Savannah. I have been reading your blog, and she seems a very very nice girl. She even bought brooklyn an outfit!! Dawn, you are so blessed to have her!! I hope the girl will give her back the money.

Anonymous said...

Dawn, I'd take the $20.00 first and foremost since they are offering that much don't walk away with nothing.

Then you're going to have to write it off. However, it's time to talk to Savannah about friends and trust unfortunately, this is a hard lesson learned early. That saying "neither a lender nor a borrower be" suits just fine. Telling friends 'I'm sorry I can't lend you any money my mother will not let me' works very well in this situation.

Hugs to Savannah and you.

Debbie Yost said...

It's a sad and hard lesson to learn so young in life. Loaning money should never be done unless you really don't expect to get it back. I wonder if the mom really believes her daughter or just doesn't care. Either way, I think you've done all you can. I think selling the items on e-Bay is a great idea. I can't decide if you should reimburse Savannah yourself. I think in the end, I probably would give her at least half of what she was out. That's my 2 cents worth, at least.

Fearless Mom said...

I know it's hard but why don't you try to arrange a face to face with both daughters and mothers. Let the girls talk to each other emotions and all, and maybe the mother will be able to see the truth in their faces and words. I think Savannah has already learned her hard lesson. Maybe she can also learn not to be afraid of confrontations. Also, I would pray together with Savannah before the meeting that everyone keep their temper and just thank Him for whatever outcome results.

I can't believe earrings for kids cost that much! God's Blessings in this difficult situation.

Joanna said...

I'm so sad this happened to Savannah! I have no advice for you, as I'm a couple years away from a situation like this coming up, but I am curious to know how you decide to deal with it. It's so disappointing that people can be so dishonest and mean. Hopefully, this girl's mom reads your blog and can hear your side of the story without a chance to interrupt! Good luck! Tell Savannah my heart is aching for her.

The EQ Alert Guy said...

1) It sounded like the mother ORIGINALLY was going to pay the sum (was it 77.08?)

2) Realize that 20.00 is a ROUNDED OFF number and was probably NEVER a real number from the start, but rather one that the other girl just made up.

3) Absent the money being paid AT ALL, you would be entitled to all the merchendise being returned to Savanah. (and you could probably take all of it back)

Bottom line is in my opinion this matter would HAVE to be settled. My way would be threaten to take the matter into SMALL CLAIMS COURT, which in Wisconsin would be a mear nine dollars to file, but could likely get the matter settled.
Dawn, you really have to resolve this, it would be much worser to try to go on through life otherwise.
Good-Luck at getting this matter solved!!!


Anonymous said...


This is a REALLY tough (and emotionally charged) one!


FIRST OF ALL...what did Savannah say were EXACTLY the circumstances that initiated the loan?

Did that other girl in any way THREATEN/BLACKMAIL/EXTORT/COERCE/BULLY or EMOTIONALLY MANIPULATE Savannah into lending her the money? If yes, KATIE BAR THE DOOR! GO GET 'EM!

NEXT...Did OG (other girl) ASK for all/part of the loan or did Savannah OFFER to front her the money in whole or part?

If the girl only ASKED for the $20 loan, but Savannah OFFERED the extra $50+ out of sympathy, generosity, compassion, confused guilt, Savannah may have INNOCENTLY and UNINTENTIONALLY (peer-)pressured OG into accepting a loan that she could not possibly pay back and would get in trouble for accepting.

REMEMBER, we DO NOT KNOW what OG's home life is like! Confessions may not be safe there. We already know that OG's behavior has previously proven to be unacceptable which may have come from a poor upbringing.

FINANCIALLY SPEAKING, if Savannah OFFERED the loan without properly weighing the risks involved, then unfortunately...much like the MORTAGE/CREDIT CARD COMPANIES are now learning...this was a really BAD DEBT!

OR she could look at it as a (SIZEABLE-upwards to 50%) charitable contribution, pointing out that perhaps tithing (10%) her income might be better choice ;)

If this girl ASKED FOR and AGREED TO PAY the full amount (or you want to pursue it for WHATEVER reason) HAVE SAVANNAH collect the following evidence:

Has Savannah seen the girl wearing the purchases? If so, have her take pictures.

If not, I'm guessing the girl has hidden/thrown them out OR...taken them back for a refund/credit. If so, the store will have a refund slip for that amount WITH THE GIRL'S NAME & ADDRESS on it!

HAVE SAVANNAH gather the above evidence, type a bill showing the $20 credit she will have already received with the $50+ balance owed. Send it all by REGISTERED MAIL-SIGNATURE REQUIRED. Use your PO BOX NUMBER as the return address!

Dawn, unfortunately, this is one of those make it or break it moments in parenting. Innocence will be lost here, but hopefully wisdom will be gained.

Let us know what happens!
Hope it ends well!

Nancy Binky

Morrighan said...

Oh wow, I'm the one on the verge of tears here. Similar thing happened to me when I was a kid and it truly hurt.

You guys are right. It's a portion of Savy's innocence that she'll never get back. Child-like wonder and complete faith in the universe that is forever shattered. I remember the time when I wanted to buy things for particular friends or lend them money to please them only to be disappointed.

There's not really a way to solve this, as you probably know. And there's no way to go back in time. My mom used to lecture me on this and then make me work for the money again. Thing is, because she knew it wasn't my fault (most of the times), she'd always make a case of being there for me and helping me and encouraging me while I tried to earn my money back. Other times, she would just give me the money back attached to a really big lecture and some light punishment. But then again, I grew up an only child.

Oh Sav, I just wanna hug you and pick you up and put you in my pocket. Wanna come to Europe? We'll hit Claires together, go to the movies, dring s-berry milkshakes and buy clothes. I love it too *grin*

Hugs to you too Dawn. You're a stellar mom.

And a SSO question: What are your kids' middle names? I seem to recall you mentioning Clay's a few days ago.

And another thing: can you tell us more about you? Like, what was your favorite book while growing up. Biggest music crush? How did you meet Joe? I want to know more about you. Hugs!

B&K said...

I'm with Kate. As I said in my previous post, I don't think it's okay to back down and let this girl "get away" with ripping Savannah off for $70. Confronting the girl and her mom, and kindly but firmly asking for the money is a definite must. You can't "force" them to give you the money, unless you went to small claims court, but at least you'd show Savannah that it's important to do your level best to stand up for yourself and not just back down because it's difficult and uncomfortable. This girl (and her mom!) will just keep on doing this to others until someone stands up to her.

Maybe when you go to their house to confront them, you could not only bring the email printout, but Savannah can bring her outfits that she bought that matches the ones this girl purchased. Surely this mother has seen these clothes.

I, too, am very surprised that this mother didn't realize the amount of clothing and items this girl brought home with her from the mall. It sounds like this girl is really railroading her mother. The mom should be more involved and aware of what her daughter is purchasing, especially to the tune of $70. She's really kidding herself if she thinks those outfits plus earrings all cost only $20. The mom needs to pull her head out of her . . . er . . . the sand. Heh!

Let us know the outcome!

Polli (UK mum of 2 boys) said...

Awww Savannah I'm so sorry you had to learn this lesson at such a young age. I loaned money to a long-term friend (we'd been friends about 15 years) and she didnt pay me back, and I havent seen her since. I'm kinda sad about that, because I thought the friendship was worth more than money, but she walked away from it over a bit of cash :(
My dad told me, if you lend a friend $20 and never see them again, it was probably worth it - meaning they were not a true friend anyway and you are probably better off without them.
If it were my child, I'd drive them over there wearing the items, ask for the $20 and ask do you really think you can buy all of this for that little money?
Sorry Dawn, you are in a horrible situation. Hope it all works out well for Savannah

Kyddryn said...

Knee-jerk thoughts:

"No, I'm sorry, she can't come over to play/for dinner/to the movie with our family/to the mall with us, because I'm afraid I can't trust her to be honest about what she has been doing and with whom, and I won't put my own family at risk for learning incautious behavior and attempted cover-ups. Today, it's about money but tomorrow, it could be about boys and what they're doing together and who is chaperoning them, or drugs, or drinking, or other dangerous behavior."

"Oh, I know it was a long while ago and maybe she forgot the things she purchased. I have a list here of the items they bought, and what they cost. Perhaps that would help her remember, because I'm sure she's not trying to be dishonest."

"Are you blind or just stupid? How can you not notice that your daughter came home with much more than she had money for? How could you not question how she got all that merchandise with limited funds? Why would you encourage her to take advantage of a friend's kindness and default on a loan at the same time? Is this the kind of person you want your child to be - lonely and bankrupt both morally and financially??"

I know they aren't appropriate or terribly forgiving, but I often wonder if being constantly forgiven is beneficial to a body. Maybe she's done this sort of thing before and gotten away with it because people are forgiving. People need to face the consequences of their actions, even children.

If I have a friend wanting money and I have it to spare, I give it to them and consider that money gone. If they pay me back, bonus! I'm blessed with some terrific friends, though, and we don't keep tabs on eachother - one day, I buy lunch, another day, they do. We don't let each other's kids go hungry or unclothed, and of someone can't pay a bill, we help out if we can. It all evens out. The word "loan" creates an expectation, and it stings when someone doesn't live up to their promise, doesn't answer their obligations.

I hope you manage to find some resolution, but I suspect this girl's mother will refuse to see sense or any viewpoint but her child's. It is a hard, unpleasant lesson for Savannah to learn.

I think the eBay auction is a good idea, too - a way to get back some of what she lost, at least when it comes to money.

Shade and Sweetwater,

Natalie said...

{{{{Savannah & Dawn}}}} I normally just sit quietly and read your blog but I felt the urge to reply to this one. She is a caring and loving child, the money is not even the issue. She lost trust in one of her pals, a good pal. She knows that she will also lose this "friend" over the money issues. Her friend has ignored her and her attempts to contact her and hurt her. Thats harder on a growing girl than any money. Ebay the clothes Mamma, I sure will bid on em!

Anonymous said...

Could you print out everything that the girl bought that day. You did see it. With the prices and show that to her. Plus show her that just the earrings were 14.99 (the thing you have proof of) and see what the mom says about that. Could you meet the mom in a neutral place. Say starbucks and talk about it over coffee.

Prairie Lady

Jennifer Engel said...

I also agree with Amy. Invite them over or go out together and have Savannah wear one of her new matching outfits. Maybe mom will get a clue to where her daughter might have gotten them. Plus this mom needs to be aware of her daughter's hiding habits now before she comes home with the cops for shoplifting. Unless mom is teaching her this by hiding things from her husband (I have a MIL that does this but can afford her own things). If this "friend" can be this deceiteful now, wait until she gets older. As for Savannah, tough lesson learned. Good for you not getting right in the middle of this and letting her learn how to handle it, no matter how much it breaks your heart. And thanks for the lesson for all of us to learn to how we might handle a situation like this with our kids.

Cookie said...

Your poor daughter! This is one of those awful things that we all wish our kids never had to go through or learn. But she is somewhat fortunate to have this lesson when she still has her parents around to help her through it. I'm sure she won't make this kind of "mistake" again like when she's 22 and her friend asks her to put something on her credit card or co-sign for an apartment etc.
Good luck! Oh, and I hear chocolate cures almost anything, even works for little ladies too ;)

Mandy said...

Take the $20 from the liar, sell the clothes on Ebay... (from your selling experiences you should get a lot more than 77.08 for the items... sell them in a set!!) I feel bad for Savannah. This is a tough learning experience, but will teach her to be more careful in the future.

joyfulmom said...

Ouchie Mommy Moment, that's for sure. I agree with Amy and think you should hash this out with the girl and her mom. The fact that this kid hung up on Savannah and is so defensive about it makes me suspicious. I hate confrontation, but in this case where Savannah worked so hard to save her money, it just seems like it needs to be done. What a hard lesson for Savannah to learn. My heart hurts for her. :(


Jennifer Engel said...

Another question that came to mind is, Did this other girl have the receipts? So she could easily return the things and pocket the cash? (I'm a very suspicious person) Also, did Savannah only buy the outfits because her "friend" was, especially since she is such a good and responsible spender? I hope you do follow through with the recouping of at least some of the money. Savannah needs to learn to stand up for herself and not "just" let this go as a life lesson. The other life lesson needs to come with taking a stand and not letting others walk all over you. Good luck Savannah. If you need help, I'll call the mom. :)

swissjordanmom said...

I have to agree with Amy from above, the mother is a participant in this child's actions. Confrontation may reap a reward but would most likely push you into an awful situation with your daughter as witness. The phone call shows S that you will stand up for her to find a peaceful resolution. However, that is not possible and a full out confrontation would be required by now. Who knows what extreme someone with those parenting skills would sink to, ie: slander suit. The kid is a liar and I think its okay to use those words when speaking with S. I appreciate that you didn't sugarcoat this for her or swoop in to reimburse her money thus, perhaps, canceling out the lesson. Your a good mom Dawn, thanks for sharing.

Rebecca Goodwin said...

Is it possible that Savannah bought this stuff for her friend and the girl thought it was a gift, and that only $20 was handed over as actual cash? That's the only way I can think of that she's not lying outright. If that's not the case, then what you and Savannah have to decide is if she wants the money back badly enough to make an ugly scene about it.

My Semblance of Sanity said...

SSssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....the mom might be reading!

I would take your handy camera back to those stores (or look thing sup online) and make an inventory including prices to show the mom exactly what Savannah bought her daughter and whip that ole' list out when her mom tells you that she onlyowes you $20.

Hugs to Savannah - what a good friend she is!

Veggiemomof2 said...

Whatever you do, let us all know! I hope it works out for Savannah.

Nancy Peacock said...

What I think is very sad is that the mother of this girl chose to believe her daughter over you and Savannah. Every parent should realize that you can back your kid into a "lying corner". If someone called me and told me the details you gave this woman I would see to it that you got back the $77, even if my daughter insisted it was only $20. If anyone believes their child would "never lie" I think they are being naive, silly and quite unrealistic. Teaching your kids the importance of telling the truth is huge. But it hasn't usually been accomplished by the time they're 12 years old...

Anonymous said...

Hats off to you for raising a wonderful daughter who shows such thoughtfulness, compassion and generousity. I was so touched to read that she bought her little sister an outfit with her own money!! I think your intervention with the other girls mother has been appropriate: you explained the situation to her, voiced your opinion and attempted to guide your daughter towards a solution, but unfortunately without success. I don't think you'll be able to pursue this without insuating that the girl is lying, to which the mother will most likely take offense. And if the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree, it might not even bother the mother that her daughter might be lying. You also never know what people are capable of in this day and age and addressing it could escalate the situation. It will hurt to see Savannah upset over all of this, but it will also show her what other people are capable of and if she's a giving soul, it might be a good way for her to learn this. As parents we always want to jump in and save our children from hurt and harm, but if we continue to do so, they will not learn how to deal with life's challenges on their own. I would let this go and write it off as a monetary loss, but chalk it up as a life lesson gained. And I might even spend some quality one-on-one time with Savannah (which probably isn't easy with 6 kids) doing something special (just the two of you), where you can let her know just how special SHE is.

Anonymous said...

Hugs to you both. I went through something similar with my oldest this year, but it was only $15. My daughter isn't friends with the other girl (they were in choir together and on a field trip when the girl borrowed the money) and didn't want me to call the girl's parents, so I stayed out of it. I do think she learned her lesson though.

Jennifer said...

Dawn - I wouldn't worry about it. You mentioned this girl wasn't a good friend. You tried to make amends, only for this mom & girl to be rude. Let it go, lesson learned for S, albeit a hard one.

I stopped telling my sister when I get raises bc she asks me for money shortly thereafter. I always give when she asks, I'd just not rather either of us be put in that situation.

So, S should not take extra money to the mall. I she only intends to buy $50 worth of things, only bring $50.

So sorry to hear about rude people, but, unfortunately, welcome to live. Not everyone is considerate or polite, much less nice.


Ashleigh said...

That is so awful for her to go through. Hugs to her, I've gone through the same thing, except it was a family member who owed me money and never repaid me. Hope you figure that mess out, though I would meet up with the mother with the print outs of the items they bought and show her.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I love all your movie quotes. I think their hilarious!

What a bummer for Savannah. I am sure you wanted to jump through the phone and yank the girl's teeth out!

It is unfortunate that there are some parents that are willing to believe anything their children say as gospel, and not listen to reason. I hope this can be resolved, but PollyAnna didn't borrow the money.
Good Luck,

Alicia From Delaware said...

Savannah is a good kid, Its just ashame she got stuck with such a crappy friend. Its just the example as poor parenting, The mother obviously does not pay attention to what her daughter does to not even know that she had this stuff, I mean if my child came home with bags full of stuff, i would want to know what was in them,and where they came from, or seen them in a new outfit, and wonder where they got it from. In the end the child is the one that is going to get hurt by the mother not paying enough attention to her daughters actions. Take the 20 dollars, give the mother a print out of all the prices of the things she bought, and tell her next time, maybe pay a little more attention to what is going on, and leave. Its a sucky situation all around!

Anonymous said...

I would call the Mother and let her know that you and your daughter discussed the situation, and came to the conclusion that THEY must need the money more than Savannah. Offer to be of further assistance if needed. Hehe.....

HisWifeTheirMom said...

I say.....(drumroll please) give the Mom your blog address and have her read comments people are posting about her child and parenting style.

Sheila said...

All right, here's my best advice:

Make it up to her surreptitiously.

Let me explain. My daughter recently lost her wallet. It had $35 in it that she had won from a piano festival, and she had earned that money fair and square. She'd actually earned more, but when she got it home she dutifully tithed the 10% and then put 30% in her university savings account. This is what was left over.

And then she left the wallet at the mall. With no ID in it. Gone forever.

She was heartbroken, but she handled it pretty well. She knew it was her fault.

I felt that if I were to just hand over the $35, that wouldn't be right. But I did buy her a special gift, just out of the blue, that she wouldn't otherwise get, that magically added up to about $35.

I don't think she's going to get the money back from this girl. The mother is clueless, and if I were you I'd give up on that because it will cause more aggravation.

What this will do is teach your daughter how to choose friends, and that lesson is priceless.

So buy her something nice, and commisserate with her. That's all I can suggest!

Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

Anonymous said...

Delurking because this story is something so many people go through, myself included! Just reading it brought back the sick feeling in my stomach that I experienced when lending a fairly large amount of money to a friend which I was led to believe would be paid back and, of course, never was. The truth is that I think it's generally a good rule of thumb not to lend money to family or friends. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same priorities in life and even good intentions often go awry. I don't think lending money is necessarily "the right thing". We always want to help family and friends, but maybe the healthier thing is to brainstorm ways to "help" that aren't financial. That way we get the satisfaction of giving without the hurt of not getting paid back. It has taken me 28 years to learn this! If Savannah can figure this out now, she may save herself a lot of heartache in the future. I totally feel for her!

Anonymous said...

I had the same thing happen with my daughter. We took my daughter & her friend to 6 Flags. I naturally assumed when we dropped them off (they are 17 btw - I don't leave my little ones at 6 flags - lol )I naturally assumed that the friend had money, right?
Wrong. Luckily my daughter had alot of money with her (which I didn't know) and agreed to pay for the girl's ticket (which was $70 b/c it was fright night for Halloween) plus whatever food/drink they consumed while there. Otherwise, they would have had to call us to come them up b/c they couldn't have gotten in. In total, this girl used $110 of my daughter's money that day and never ONCE offered to pay it back. I'm thinking this child's parents must not have known where they were going or surely they would have made sure she had money. I didn't think at 17 I had to call parents for this type of thing - but I learned a valuable lesson that day - YES, you do. Don't assume anything.

My daughter didn't want me call the other girl's mother - she's very non-confrontational with anyone but ME (go figure). So I felt so bad for her that I ended up paying her back b/c I just didn't feel it was right. But I told her that was the first & last time I'd do that. She needed to learn "neither a borrower or lender be" and "never do business with friends" b/c inevitably something will go wrong.

I'm so sorry for Savannah. Some kids are just ROTTEN.

Anonymous said...

No advice here - I just feel bad for both of you. I can see that happening w/my kids, as they are generous and love to give things they still enjoy having. So, I guess I'll just be curious to see - maybe a good SSO question here - what did you decide to do, and how did that work out?

Nik said...

(((SAVANNAH))) I agree with others who said to file it under "hard lesson learned". Right now it's this girl's word against Savannah's and without receipts, there's no proof. I like the idea of the eBay auction to try to recoup some of the cost for her.

A similar thing happened to me in high school with my "best" friend. I loaned her $70 to help pay for the remaining cost of her prom dress that her wonderful mother lied to her about helping her get. After graduation I never saw her or my $70 again!

Dayna said...

I agree with many of the commenters that it is a lesson learned for Savannah. Loaning such a large amount to friends is not the best idea -- especially if they don't seem to have a way to pay it back. I doubt many of her friends are as good with money as she seems to be. I say take the $20 and make sure the mother knows you are settling for so little of the actual amount, and eBay the stuff. Sometimes we just have to write off those losses and move on.

Anonymous said...

I agree with B&K. I think this mother knows Savannah is telling the truth and just dosen't want to put the money out. There are mothers out there who don't think their child does anything wrong, like the band concert, was the mother there to see what the child was doing? Or she may be one of those mothers who just dosen't care and teaches her children to look out for themselves regardless of how bad it is.

Hugs to Savannah,

Shari said...

This makes me sad for Savannah. Ouch! I think the other girl KNOWS, but she's too scared to tell her Mom. I know there are Moms who think their kid does no wrong and it sounds like this Mom might be that way. If she is that way, then she is going to have major problems later with her daughter and the lies she tells. I wish I had the answer! This might have to be one where Savannah learns and is no longer friends with this girl. True friends wouldn't lie about their actions! They would own up to it and pay her back! :(

Sara said...

I am sorry if this has already been said because I didn't make it through all 145 comments...

I think that you, Dawn, need to be very deliberate in any further actions that you take in this situation. I know your daughter is still young, but she is old enough to go shopping on her own and decide to loan out her own money. So...

1. Do you want to get more involved with this by continuing to call the other girl's mother? You are setting a precedent that you will always be there to fix her problems, which simply is not the case, and you don't want it to be! You don't want to hear a call from your daughter years from now "Mom, my roommate ate my food out of the refrigerator..." where she expects you to step in.

2. Whatever you do yourself or encourage your daughter to do with this situation, you should think about how you would want her to react to this when she is 18, 20, 30... Do you want her to brush off the friend as a loser and chalk this up to a hard lesson? Do you want her to stand up for herself and make sure that her views are heard? There is no right answer that I know of... just your parenting preference.

Thanks for sharing the story. Good luck, and please let us know how it goes!

margalit said...

We recently had a similar situation, albeit for a much lesser amount of money. My daughter lent her friend $20 for some clothing when they went shopping at Marshalls. My daughter had MY credit card, and was feeling generous, which was sweet, but it was MY money and she didn't ask. Needless to say, I was no a happy camper.

Her friend paid me back $7 and said she would get me the rest 'later'. Later ended up being several months and I finally laid my foot down and told the gifls that were would be no sleepovers until I got my money. It arrived that very afternoon.

Now, I didn't have to get the parent involved because there was no lying, but I would have if there was. I've had to do that before.

My suggestion is that you go online and get the prices of as much of the merchandise as you can, and then print it all out. Go to the girl's house with the pictures and ask to sit down with her mother and the girl. Show her the photos and the prices. Ask the mother if she has ever seen her kid wearing this shirt and those pants. Make the kid squirm as her mom looks at the stuff. And then say to the kid, are you SURE it was only $20 and not the 77.08 that Savannah lent you out of her OWN hard earned money?

You let the kid know that she's lying, you intimate that to the mother, you let them know that the kid isn't off the hook and that nobody is ever going to trust her once they hear Savannah's side of the story.

I'm experienced with dealing with a family like this. The mother REFUSES to admit her daughter is a thief and a liar. She got my daughter in HUGE trouble after the kid stole a Cape Cod bracelet and blamed it on my daughter. We had to go to court, where the mom out and out LIED to the judge, and I ended up having to pay half of the cost of the bracelet that my kid never laid a hand on.

So good luck.

Karen said...

As a mom I know it's VERY hard to see your sweet, honest daughter get hurt by this "friend", but I think she has learned a valuable lesson from this. As Dave Ramsey always says, don't loan money to people. Savannah can decide if she wants to adopt this policy or if she wants to alter it to fit her. Like maybe she could loan someone 50 cents or a couple of dollars for a snack, but $77 is a lot to kids and a lot to expect a friend to pay back. I'd probably accept the $20 from the "friend" and write the "friend" off, and then at some point I'd probably give the remaining $57 to my daughter after discussing the subject about loaning money, etc. Anyway, sorry this happened....maybe you can write about it in your next book and the mom will feel like an idiot. ESPECIALLY since her daughter hung up on Savannah - who let's their kid do that when they are supposed to be having a "talk" about something with someone?

Jessica said...

First, you're probably not going to get anywhere with the mother, since the kid didn't learn to be a liar and frankly a little witch from a mother who is decent and honest and kind...
You're not going to teach that kid any lesson since the mom is probably telling her that you are overreacting or believes that YOUR kid is the liar...

Honestly I would treat this as a $77 lesson for Savannah. A lesson about friendship, finances, honesty, and little witches.

I once heard that you should never lend more money than you can afford to lose. Sort of like gambling, there's no guarantee you'll ever see that money again.

Jessica said...

Dawn, I've heard you mention the Bible and going to church a couple of times, so I hope you won't be offended by my referencing it here. It's the best parenting book I know!

Proverbs 17:9 "Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends."

Matthew 18:21-22 "Peter asked 'How often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?' Jesus replied,'Not seven times, but seventy times seven.'"

In light of these words, I'd suggest you discuss forgiveness with Savannah (I know that's hard!) and then meet the other girl and her mom to get the $20. If she can, Savannah could offer the girl forgiveness. The girl knows what she did and knows it was wrong. By Savannah forgiving her, Savannah will be taking the power back and showing the girl the right way to act.

It sounds like this girl might need some good influences in her life. If your daughter is careful to guard her heart, she might be just the good influence this girl needs.

God bless!

Michele / IL said...

My heart BREAKS for Savannah! I wish that we could always protect our children from having their heart broken by a "friend".

No advise, just big hugs out to Savannah!

Anonymous said...

oh wow, difficult issue.

i'm aware that this might be a cultural issue as well so forgive me if my suggestion is too blunt or rude. i would confront the mother with the facts, what you have seen, what info you found online etc.

at some point i would also like to hear the opinion of the girl and ask her specifically about what her purchase was worth and who if not savannah and her bought the stuff in the shopping bags.

if they don't want to give the money back it's a real disappointment. but you didn't lose anything by going for confrontation. the money is gone NOW but there's a chance to get it back.

i like the idea of ebaying off the clothes but first, take the evidence to that talk and let the mother see that these clothes were worth more that 20 bucks.

best of luck!


Rachel said...

That really sucks.

But I love the reference to Better Off Dead

SarahDragon said...

Wow, Dawn. I really hope I never have to deal with something like that with my girls... I think you handled it as best you could, and who better than you could pull off an eBay auction of the outfit to recoup poor Savannah's loss? : )

Anonymous said...

I agree with Sara-

Take the receipt that you do have. Print out pictures of the other pieces of clothing that the girl bought. And then itemize a list and go sit down with both the parent(s) and the girl.

If nothing else, both you and Savannah will know that you tried and by putting the girl on the spot in front of the parent(s)- maybe you can get her to tell the truth.

If Savannah were old enough to drive and tackle all this by herself - then I might agree with the comments to leave it alone but as she can't, then it's time for a little "parental help".

I'd also make sure any other parents who have children in this group get warned too so that their children/pocketbooks don't get waylaid next.

Christine said...

So sorry for you and your daughter... lots of good advice has already been posted and I look forward to your follow-up... MY ADVISE: Simply get this BLOG address into her mailbox ASAP!!!!

Just Batty said...

Oh man, sometimes life's lessons suck!

(I'll qualify myself by saying that I work in the court system with delinquent youth and I'm a certified mediator, so I have experience with similar situations.)

My adivce, support your daughter, ultimately anything that happens should be her decision! Good job at getting permission to call the other parent!

A lesson you may choose to teach: When my husband and I got married he never wanted to laon $$ to help people out, which I often do. Something that helped us agree was that whenever I loan out $$ I front it to the person I'm loaning that I expect it back. However, I really don't ever expect it back and if I get it back it's a character builder for that person and a wonderful gift for myself.

I would definitely see if Savannah wants to try to recover some of the funds (I wouldn't want to wear the same thing as someone I feel slighted me) eBay or whatever, even donnating to good will would be an emotional empowerment booster. I would call the other girls mother and let her know that you will settle for the $20, provide her the information you have researched and let her choose whether or not it will be an issue in their home. The trick is to be sincere in providing the information because this girl obviously needs a lesson in honesty, integrity and probably more!

Anonymous said...

I think Amy's idea in the beginning of the comments about taking them to DQ and discussing it is a good idea.

Personally, I try to never mix money with friendships (other than simply giving it to them, or unless I know they can be trusted), because it's just too easy for it to get messy. and that may be something that Savannah will have to learn.

I think trust has to be earned. and there will be a lot of people in her lifetime that will want to abuse her generosity, so it's good to learn early on that it may not be smart to easily trust someone so much.

Meg said...

I would call the mom and say that since there is a dispute with the amt of money, that you think it would be best if they would just return the items to Savannah and then you can ebay them and hopefully you can get more than the $20 back for Savannah.

I hate these life lessons. I'm 30 and going through the same crap. Tell Savannah she's a great kid and not everyone is like this girl. But because there are people like her, just remember never to borrow what you wouldn't just give away.

Jennifer said...

Unfortunately for Savannah this is a lesson learned. It comes down to her word against the other girls and of course the other mom is going to believe her own child. If she doesn't want the outfit I think eBay is a great idea, at least she'll get something back.

Mountain Girl said...

I would have both girls tell their stories. Bring the evidence of prices - maybe have Savannah go back to the mall and retrace the "friend's" shopping tracks and get prices via digital camera, receipt or something. If the "friend" says $20 and Savannah says $77 - split the difference.....if you can swing that. Good luck! Hugs to Savannah for being such a nice young lady.

Jessica said...

Aww, poor Savannah! My only kid (so far!) is still a bun in the oven, so I have no "wisdom of experience" to offer, but my advice would be to take Savannah to the girl's house for the $20 and hand to the girl (in her mother's presence) an itemized reciept for all the items purchased. Perhaps she could simply say something like, "Here, I thought you'd like a reciept, just in case you need it." Then, the ball is in the friend's court. If Savannah is straightforward and unemotional it may remove some of the drama and show both the friend and her mother that she is serious.

I would also recommend that if this girl ever invites Savannah to any sort of activity, that your daughter responds "I'm sorry, that won't be possible," and ends up the conversation. It seems as though this girl had a lot of fun shopping, and perhaps if she realizes that she did lose a good friend over her own dishonesty, she may come to her senses and confess. Or at least apologize.

Anonymous said...

Something very similar to what happened to Savannah happened to me when I was her same age. My mom called and got the girl on the phone and in the sweetest voice, laced with steel, said "Well, since you are going to keep on lying, you give me no choice. I am going to call the police as soon as we hang up." I had my money is less than 30 mins...and NOT just $20...:)

Anonymous said...

I don't have any better advice than anyone else but I just had to comment/compliment you on letting her choose her friends. My mom did the same thing. She would "advise" me of what she thought but let me know it was my decision...and of course she was right and that friend turned out to be a bad one...but guess what? From that I learned to pick friends more carefully and pay attention to the people I surrounded myself with. And I also know that had she "forbid" me to be friends with someone, that would have made me want to be friends with them sooo much more. Good going on that!

Mollymom said...

Hi Dawn-I know you've already gotten a lot of advice on this topic and I have to agree that this is a hard lesson for Savannah to learn. I only have one other insight to add. Money isn't the only currency exchanged here. As one other commenter pointed out, besides showing her generosity and faith in friends, Savannah has an opportunity to show forgiveness. Kids, even tweens, are still kids. This punk ex-friend of hers obviously has a rocky relationship with her mother. If she has to lie and steal to be "o.k." at home, then she is unfortunate indeed. Don't forget to remind Savannah that an honest relationship between mother and daughter is priceless and that as hard as it is to lose so much money, its value pales in comparison to feeling loved at home. This might help her learn to forgive and feel compassion- even for those who seem to have the upper hand. In the end, that girl loses her integrity- which is much harder to come by than $50.

Chelf said...

I am so sorry that Savannah has to be taught anything...she is so generous and sweet! It was not HER fault that this "friend" took advantage of her.

I would agree to take the paltry $20 that the mother and daughter agreed to give her, and I think that eBay would be a great way to get the emotional baggage of the clothes out of the house, and money back in Savannah's pocket.

I like the idea someone gave of limiting lending to $5. That puts the blame on Dawn and not on Savannah when the "friends" try to do this kind of thing again. The problem was NOT that Savannah wanted to lend money to her companion. She should never be taught that giving is wrong. Part of lending (from the Bible) is learning to be fearless, and not expect anything back.

Seems to me the lesson is that you should not leave Savannah at the mall without a defense. And she should drop the impostor, and find real friends.

plainprecious said...


Having 3 teenagers myself. I have had to deal with things like this. I would go to house unannounced (dont want to give them a heads up) and confront them and have your daughter explain exactly what happened. If the evil child doesnt confess and the mother of the spawn doesnt cough up the money it will then show your daughter that not everyone can be trusted. Its sad but will indeed be a lesson learned the hard way. I would as others have stated question the mother about the fact that her child came home with new items and ask her if she didnt realize her child didnt have money to pay for items. TEll her about your daughter saving all her money and maybe she will realize the error of her ways. WE can hope. I would sell items of Savannahs on ebay as you mentioned telling the grim story or betrayal and then make up difference. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

aww how sad for Savannah... I too have great savers for kids both of my girls automatically put any change found, gifts or anything like this in a coca cola bottle bank... I added it up not too long ago and in a 2 years together they have collected 500.00 about 112 of that was in change well we decided to have a garage sale this past week and I needed some change so rather than go to the bank I just pulled some out of my daughters coca cola bank... then i noticed that just about all the bills were MIA so I ask what happened to the money oh my oldest let her cousin HAVE IT because she asked so after talking to my sister and my niece and finding out that indeed she asked and received the money my sister made her give all the items purchased to my daughter... I think as humans it's our nature to want to help or please someone all the time it just sucks that not everyone is like that I had a friend who needed to borrow 250 dollars for her vehicle registration I (like a dork) lent it to her I told her that instead of paying me back (she was having serious financial hardships) she could just watch my girls for me a couple of times but anytime I called she was busy or had a "friend" over watching a movie and didnt mind if my girls came over (i'm not to fond of any men i dont know being around my kids) after a while I just gave up on that until she called me about 5 months later for more money to borrow to which I informed her i loved her to death but we are not an ATM nor a bank and I simply could not just shell out money for her bills needless to say she hasnt spoken to me since I am obviously better off though...sasha

Margee said...

I read quite a few of the comments and honestly, the mom and daughter could always say that she used $50 of her own money before borrowing the $20 from Savannah. Of course you would always know the truth, but don't forget that they have that loophole. It's such a shame that our children have to learn these lessons at such a young age. I'm so sorry. If you list them on ebay, let me know--I'll bid high.

Christina said...

I'm so sorry that Savannah has to go through something like this so young :( I am praying that the little girl tells the truth and things can be worked out. Sorry no advice cause my girls are only 9 and 7.

Kris W said...

Well that stinks! I'm sorry for Savannah. It sounds pointless to fight it with the mom because the girl probably is scared and I betcha the mom already knows (even if deep down inside) how truthful her daughter is.

I think I'd just get that 20 from them and just be the bigger person. It's not like the girl is getting away with anything because she knows that Savannah knows ... and is she doesn't feel guilty then she has no conscience anyway.

Then with this story and those clothes on ebay - i too think she could get way more than the 57.08. Heck I'd give Savannah the 80 without the clothes -- if i had it just because I love her compassion.

I learned a long time ago never to loan money - GIVE it if i have it to give. When I hand money over I never want to see it back again. It's too much stress having relationships that are tainted by loans. So naturally I also feel free to say that I'm unable to help out. A good friend would understand that as well. A bad friend would get mad and never ask me for money again. Problem solved LOL

papersunshine said...

I hate to say this but it might have to be one of those life lessons for her. I would ebay the clothes and I would take the $20 from the other girl and explain to the mom what the girl bought and if she doesn't offer more money maybe Savannah will let the friendship slide away. I would (now this may not be the right thing to do) give her $20 myself and tell her she will have to cut her losses on the rest. Just my way of doing things, everyone has a different idea and I am sure you will make the right decision! Good luck and I am sorry this had to happen to her!

Treebe said...

The same thing happened to my son. I tried to use the experience as a lesson of "don't lend anything to anybody if you want to ever see it again". I explained that everbody has diffent morals and if you are going to loan someone something you have to take the chance you may never see it again so think of it as a gift that could come back. I hate it when my children get hurt my first reaction is to harm someone but I eventually calm down and try to use those crushing times as a lesson and keep reassuring my child that I am pround of them and who they are becoming -unlike the other kid!

Jennifer Foster said...

EBAY, EBAY, EBAY it! The world needs another Dawn Meehan ebay adventure.

You have my word I'd be your first bidder!

Rick said...

Savanah had $77.08 she could loan? Where was I when that bank was open?

Savanah, could you spot poor Ricky-poo a few? I'm running a bit short. Or has that bank closed too?

Yolanda said...

i've been meaning to leave a comment, but alas...

it's lame that she had her heart broken like this so young. BUT, she really did learn a valuable that most of us don't learn until we're thousands of dollars in debt because a friend couldn't/wouldn't pay us back.

she'll be more guarded, which sucks, but she'll bounce back.

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