Before moving to San Francisco a few months ago I asked a friend to look after a box of stuff for me; kids birth certificates, mortgage papers, premium bonds, payslips etc, stuff I wouldn't need in the US for a while. I even sealed up the storage box with tape to make it easier for him to keep safe, not wanting to be a burden.
I came back to Brighton for a few days this week and was in the pub with said friend, who happened to mention he was a bit narked I left him a load of stuff to deal with. He said he didn't mind too much as I had left him my TV to look after, but it would have been nice if I had asked.
Confused, I asked what stuff...
"All the rubbish in the box, and the BT modem, I wasn't expecting to have to dispose of your trash"
"Where's the box????"
"The box is fine, its at my flat"
"Where's the stuff that was in the box????"
"I threw it all out for you, didn't look important. The box is fine though, do you want it back?"
There is a very well protected storage box in my friend's flat. It is in great condition. Immaculate even. Can not fault his ability to look after a box in the proper way that such a nice box should be looked after. It is clean and dry, free from harm or fear and has even had all that tape carefully removed from it. 10 out of 10 for box-looking-after-skills.
My stuff however is on the local dump somewhere.
There are so many lessons that could be taken from this I guess. A business consultant could probably spin this into a message of how a misunderstanding is the fault of the person making the request for not being specific, or some such rubbish.
But I think the key lesson is simply not to trust said friend with the contents of your box. The box yes, the contents no.
He bought a round of drinks before going to the toilet - when he came back to an empty glass I explained that I thought he just wanted me to look after the glass, not the beer....