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Ask Amy: A house-sitting friend turns alpaca into felt

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: A friend recently returned from abroad. He is struggling to find a full-time job, so we let him stay at our place for a month and a half (rent-free) while we were away. We did this as a favor to him.

When we returned, we realized he had damaged a piece of furniture by using a homemade cleaning solution on it. He also turned a (very expensive) alpaca blanket into felt by washing it.

We let the furniture damage slide as a simple mistake, but when I brought up the blanket, he only offered to pay for half of the cost.

I recognize that mistakes happen. I know it's dumb to spend an inordinate amount on a blanket. I also realize I could have been clearer about how to care for these things, but am I in the wrong to be frustrated by his offer to only pay half of the cost to replace it?

Since we returned, he's traveled by plane to visit other cities, which leads me to believe he's not completely cash strapped.

I feel like I'm being a snotty, privileged jerk, but it still rubs me the wrong way.

 

– Annoyed Samaritan

Dear Annoyed: While you easily categorize and forgive one piece of damage as “a mistake,” you seem to put the other item in its own special drawer.

I would categorize these incidents as “mistakes,” and yes, frustration is a proportional response. Does your friend owe you the total replacement cost? I don’t think so.

He was obviously very concerned about keeping your house and belongings clean (both of these mistakes are cleaning-related). I assume that other than these, your belongings were in acceptable condition upon your return.

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