Dear Ms. Manners,
I'm writing to settle a quibble between myself and a friend. Four years ago, my friend was in very bad shape. She was heading toward financial ruin, in fact, when I offered her a $182 billion loan. This past October my friend was able to pay me back in full, including interest. I'm not ashamed to say that I profited from this loan.
Last week, my friend sent me a thank-you note. I saw no need to send a thank-you note in return, as I was the one who did the initial favor. Unfortunately, I've since learned she is now considering a lawsuit against me because the terms of my loan were supposedly too harsh. Do you think she's doing this because I didn't send her a thank-you note as well? Please let me know who's in the wrong.
The United States Treasury Department
Dear U.S. Treasury Department,
You are a generous friend, and this borrower is lucky to count you among theirs! As for the thank-you note, it isn't customary to send a thank-you note for a thank-you note, thank goodness. It is considered polite, though, to call or electronic mail (in this "modern age") to let someone know you've received their thanks. Assuming you did this, it would be wise to give your friend a chance to explain. Perhaps she is obligated by some fiduciary duty to her stockholders, in which case I wouldn't take offense. That sort of thing is, alas, becoming more and more common.
That said, I wouldn't lend this particular friend any more money, and perhaps this experience will make you think twice before entering into such arrangements again. As you've learned, friends and money mix about as well as etiquette and politics.
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Tags: AIG, Money, Treasury Department