My nephew recently learned this lesson the hard way. The lad had been living in Hong Kong with his girlfriend for a few years when he decided to return to London for a new job. The ensuing breakup was not pretty, and in his haste, my nephew left behind a few prized possessions.
When he realised his error, he immediately contacted his ex to ask her to return his belongings, but she refused to acquiesce. While the chap was ready to forgo his expensive snowboard and a few other bits and bobs, there was one item he simply couldn’t leave behind — his beloved soft toy 'Grizzlebear', which he had had since birth.
It may have been the fact that my nephew had quickly got a new girlfriend in London, but his ex refused to give up the 32-year-old bear. Instead, she decided to hold him for ransom, demanding HK$4000 (a bit more than $500) to compensate her for bills she claimed were left unpaid.
My nephew was desperate, willing to pay whatever it took, including postage, to get the bear back ASAP.
As my nephew’s only family member in Hong Kong, I was compelled to get involved in the tragic saga. Never did I think I spend my retirement negotiating the release of stuffed bears. Fortunately, my years of fee haggling experience paid off, and I was able to whittle the ransom down to HK$3000. I met the ex-girlfriend in a public place, and conducted the exchange.
I’m happy to report that Grizzlebear is on his way to London as we speak. I just hope my nephew remembers to pack it if he dumps his latest girlfriend.