Break it and you buy it: No thanks


Sometimes when you break something in a store, then they make you pay for it.  I remember hearing something similar when Colin Powell noted the Pottery Barn rule of “you break it, you bought it.” Although, the phrase goes further back than Pottery Barn, supposedly. The phrase “If you break it, you’ve bought it” was reportedly first used in 1952 by a Miami Beach gift shop, who posted the message over their fragile merchandise. But I have to share with you, I have been in Pottery Barn when people have broken a lot of plates and other such items and I didn’t see anyone paying for it. In reality, Pottery Barn—a chain of upscale home furnishing stores in the United States—does not have a “you break it, you bought it” policy, but instead writes off broken merchandise as a loss, as do most other large-scale American stores. Thus, the whole thing was a bit of an exaggeration when Powell noted the Pottery Barn rule.   Now whether smaller stores actually make individuals pay for broken items, is a whole other question.   And, probably more likely.


Despite large-scale stores writing off the broken items, we as humans cannot readily write such things off. More specifically, if someone breaks your heart, breaks your spirit or breaks your will no one has to “buy it.”  But surely they maybe owe you some kind of IOU. What about when people break their word, what do they owe you? Do you even want anything more from them? Probably not. I’d just want them to walk away. And to walk away very quickly. A slow dance away is not healthy nor welcomed.  One thing most assuredly leads to another. Movement forward is warranted versus movement backwards which is what could occur if the person were to “break it and buy it.”


I think it is best to just do as the large store chains do and just write it all off.







6 replies »

  1. Assess what the break means, and be strong enough to face the answer. ‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,’ applies. People rarely change, and only when they get something out of it. But you can control what how you react, to some extent.

    Liked by 1 person

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