Never, ever have I even thought to loan anyone, anything to do with audio.
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I am shocked, shocked, to find people aren't careful with other people's stuff.
This is the ironic use of "shocked, shocked" as opposed to the ROTFLMAO when reading someone so midwitted they just keep making this same mistake over, and over, and over again. Then being so oblivious to their cluelessness they write it up expecting no one to say, uh hey bud, you ever gonna figure this out, or what?
When I was about 6 years old, I had lent my then twenty-something cousin a 45 rpm of "Just Like Me" by Paul Revere and the Raiders. He returned it to me with a frickin’ scratch well-deep into the grooves which caused a skip. As my folks didn’t have much money, they couldn’t afford to replace the record. So, I had to get used to the newly made skip and, to this day, it sounds weird to listen to that song without it.
Fast forward about 40 years. That same cousin (who is now an audiophile) borrows several CDs and Mosaic box sets from me and returns them with one CD missing. He denies that he borrowed the missing CD, despite the fact that I had catalogued each disc that I had lent to him. Ultimately, I had to shell out to purchase a replacement disc.
The moral of these vignettes is that one should NEVER lend physical media to anyone. Nobody will take care of your stuff as well as you do.
Give the CD’s a try. Chances are decent the vast majority of them will track just fine. I have several hundred of the silver discs. Some of them have swirly surfaces gotten from who-knows-where. Maybe a couple at best have ever failed to play, either in my Sony CD player or on a computer disc drive.
" Then being so oblivious to their cluelessness they write it up expecting no one to say, uh hey bud, you ever gonna figure this out, or what?"
6,134 posts, and still he hasn't figured out what is plainly evident to most people as soon as they leave puberty, if not before. Talk about being bereft of clues.
Try not to get overly worked up about it, whatjd. It's obvious that you know the risks and attempt to moderate them when loaning out your valuables.
But here's the truth; soon it won't matter, literally. All the stuff you're working to protect - it will not matter. Someone else will dump it, sell it, use it and of course scratch, break it. So be it. You have to let go of the anger.
There are two kinds of people; those who talk about helping others, and those who actually do. You, obviously, are a person who helps others grow in appreciation of love of music by doing, loaning. Others - they just talk about it. They will "give advice", but won't give equipment away (at least any equipment that's worth much), won't loan media. Big talkers, zero action. Let them cultivate their precious collection that in time - won't matter.
Obviously, my priorities are a bit different than some. I have given gear away, loaned out discs and had them returned scratched, some go missing. My life has hardly been diminished. Frankly, I can't even remember the discs usually that went missing. Big deal. I am not living to die with the biggest, most perfect media collection, and I suggest you do not. Perhaps look into streaming audio; there's so much music coming out in so many genres you won't have time to cry about an old album or disc that was scratched. You can spend your time lamenting the attrition of the nostalgia pieces, or you can go get new experiences.
Some won't like this advice; they will say it's "stupid", and the like. I just lost my father about three weeks ago. He loved rock, antique collecting, etc. Had to let it all go; the collectables, hobby and assorted paraphenalia doesn't matter in the end. I have one or two pieces that he gave me as keepsakes. There are potentially much different outcomes in things that do matter in the end when you cultivate your relationship with your family than keep your discs perfect. Whenever you offer to do for someone else, there is a risk of loss. You know that; it's obvious you're sharing frustration over the lack of concern that many have to return something in perfect condition. That is an unrealistic exception, given the variables involved. I think you know that, too.
So, from one person who actually does loan, does give gear away, etc. I hear ya. But, remember (and this is a reminder for me as well, when damage happens), it won't matter long term. Seek out the new and ease the pain with fresh discovery and joy. :)
“I am not living to die with the biggest, most perfect media collection,”
~ I felt that. In the end it just won’t matter.
Great post by @douglas_schroeder. My condolences on your loss. I lost my Dad four years ago. I end up giving away most of his stuff that he treasured for 50 plus years. It was a very hard thing to do but knowing someone else could make better use of it made it worthwhile and ease the pain a bit.
To answer OP question, I say train them.
In my experience people rarely look after borrowed stuff as well as you’d like them to.
In fact I’d say that some of them can be counted upon to damage whatever you lend them. My youngest brother is like that. He seems to be a serial damager of other people’s property whilst slightly paranoid about his own.
Whether it’s conscious or unconscious damaging is difficult to determine but needless to say, eventually you have to draw the line and say no.
Other people seem to have issues with returning stuff. For whatever reason it becomes increasingly difficult with them to get things back. This behaviour is also quite common as I’ve heard from others who have suffered in this way.
Lending and borrowing also works both ways and can reveal an awful lot about your relationships - sometimes a little too much.
Ultimately though @douglas_schroeder is right. You need to keep a sense of priority. It’s only stuff, and if you don’t know that now, be sure that time will eventually teach you.
Or you could just watch Citizen Kane one more time.
Ever since High School I have had a rule to not let my LPs out of my possession.
I was at a used Record Store some time ago and the guy was "polishing" CD's playable side with a machine that looked like the what you use to buff out your shoes. A short soft cotton rotating wand thing. He was buffing out surface scratches on CDs to make them look like new. Not sure that is a good thing or a bad thing, but it was an interesting observation.
I like the idea of making copies of CD’s and giving the copies to people who ask to borrow. I wish I had done that a few times. Obviously, some people care for things and some others do not — not even their own things. No one I know plays records anymore — they don’t even have a record player. So I don’t get requests to borrow those. But some still play CD’s. Fortunately, others’ tastes in music seldom match my own, so I get few requests there either.
When I come across a CD that is scratched, but not too severely, I have had success using a method I found on-line: white tooth paste. You want the plain white kind, not the paste with other colors or crystals. I wet the CD with water, apply a pea-sized glob of the paste and rub it in using my fingers, going over any places with obvious scratches. Then rinse off the paste with water, pat dry and play it to see if it still skips. Sometimes I need to go over it a second time. It doesn’t always work, but it usually has.
I have never had a CD scratched that couldn't be made playable again. Even when I was carrying one to the car in a jewel box that fell out of the box unbeknownst to me and I discovered it after driving over it with my car a few times with tires filled with the gunk of a Chicago Winter. Soap, water, dry, and yep, perfect sound forever.
I agree with the posters who point out that in the scheme of things, this is not a big deal. At least some one is fortunate enough to share your love of Music and likes your taste enough to borrow.
I did once loan a SACD to a friend who thought he was doing me a favor by returning it having cleaned it with some type of home brew he concocted...it left a maple syrup like residue on the disc. Again, soap and water got the job done, and hey, at least my friend now likes Mahers Fifth Symphony