DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are expecting a baby in a few months. My father and his wife asked if we would like a large crib/changing table/shelf combination they took a fancy to at an antique store. I politely refused and explained that there is no space in our small apartment. They sent it anyway! Now I have to figure out how to get rid of it because it takes up most of our living room. The piece can't be returned, won't fit in my car, and I can't lift it anyway. I'm hoping the thrift store will pick it up.
My questions are: Must I send a thank you for a gift I explicitly asked them not to send, and what should I say when they discover I've given it away (they are going to be angry), and how do I prevent this from happening again? -- UNWANTED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR UNWANTED: Write your father and stepmother a sweet note thanking them for their thoughtfulness, and include with it a photo or two that show it crowding your living room. The next time you talk with them, explain that space is tight and offer to have it shipped to them to be used when the baby visits. If they agree, you're off the hook. If they don't, sell or donate it.
As to preventing this from happening again, much as you may wish to, you can't control what other people do. You tried that before, and it didn't work.