Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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2000 Archive

I have lived next door to "Janet" for 15 years and have always considered her one of my good friends. I have often run errands for her and always feed her menagerie of pets when she goes out of town, which is quite often. There have also been many times I have made special trips to the store for medicine or other things when she hasn't felt well. The following story is what changes all that! (Meaning that she is on her own from now on!)

I had just had major surgery a week earlier, my husband had gone back to work and I hadn't been released to drive yet. My 2-year-old son started wanting some French fries, and seeing as how that was about all he'd eat, I was in a fix! I called Janet and asked her if she was getting out later and if so, would she go get my son some fries. She said, "Don't you have any potatoes so you can just fry him some?" When I recovered from my speechlessness, I informed her that every night the previous week there had been people bringing us food, as I wasn't up to cooking yet. Then she said that no, she wasn't getting out, but if she did, she'd let me know.

Less than an hour later I looked outside and her car was gone! She was still gone several hours later when I went to bed. Now, I wasn't asking her to drive across town, I was asking her to go less than a mile down the street to the closest fast-food place! This was the first (and last, I might add) time I had EVER asked her to do anything for me and she refused! All this after not even checking on me after my surgery! This is not a feeble old woman I'm talking about either. She is just lazy and expects everybody to do things for her all the time, but she's not about to do anything for anybody else! A couple of weeks after this, she had the nerve to send her son over to get my husband because a light in her kitchen shorted out! My good-hearted husband went over there anyway, even though he is also very aggravated with her! I can hardly wait until the next time she asks me to do something! Needless to say, my son never got his French fries that night!      Neighbors0225-01

Now, now!  Retaliation in kind will get you thrown into Etiquette Hell.

This isn't precisely a rude neighbor story -- it's just a weird one. It belongs rightfully to my choir teacher -- I'll call her "Erin".

Erin and her boyfriend "Ray" recently moved here from Canada -- it's her first year working as a teacher in my small Midwest US town. They're just out of college and they live in an inexpensive apartment near the high school. Pretty much the situation you'd expect -- except for the upstairs neighbor.

One night, as Erin was home alone, she heard a tremendous thudding and thumping above her. She didn't knock on the ceiling, as she's rather quiet and polite most times; she just waited it out, worrying a little about just what was going on up there. It was pure luck that she happened to glance out the window when the sofa went by.

Yes, you heard me right. The sofa. The upstairs tenant had somehow managed to shove her sofa across the apartment, onto the balcony, and over the railing. It fell three stories, past Erin sitting shocked in her living room, and landed on the ground, right side up but much worse for wear.

Of course, Erin ran upstairs to check if the lady was all right -- once she got up her courage. She'd never met the woman, so she was a bit apprehensive. Turns out the lady was about five-foot-two, in her sixties, just a tiny little thing -- God only knows how she managed that sofa. Maybe she had a hunk around somewhere.

Later that month, Erin and Ray awoke to an incessant flushing noise and a drip coming from their ceiling -- it was leaking, and their first thought was of the lady upstairs. Erin went up again to check. This time she found the apartment literally flooded -- there were two or three inches of standing water that trickled under the door and came out in a little wave as the lady opened her door. She was wearing fuzzy bedroom slippers that were absolutely soaked, but she seemed unperturbed. "My toilet's broken," she said complacently. She took Erin into the bathroom to show her, and there was a pipe loosened behind the toilet that somehow was gushing water. The lady pushed the flush handle, as she had no doubt done hundreds of times already, and more water came pouring out onto the floor. Erin tried to get her to stop, but it was of no use -- the lady was bound and determined that if she flushed it enough it'd somehow magically fix itself.

Erin did complain to the landlord, but nothing came of it -- it was cheap housing, after all, and there wasn't much the landlord could do. At present the lady is still living there, above the apartment.     neighbors0226-01

I've got a friend who pitched a sofa from her third floor apartment recently.   Wave to the nice people, Dana!

A few years ago a friend of mine, "Mike" and his girlfriend "Liz" had decided to move in together. They decided to give up their apartments and move into a new larger place along with Liz's 19-year-old daughter, "Tina". I hadn't heard from Mike for several months but he calls me on a Saturday afternoon around 1:00 PM and asks me if I can give him a hand moving a few boxes onto his rental truck. Since I had nothing else planned for the day and he lived near by I agreed to help.

When I arrived he explains that he has a large group of people coming the next day to move the majority of their stuff butt he just had to move about 15 or 20 boxes that afternoon. Well it turns out that 20 boxes are really about 40 and none of them are packed. Now I have no problem helping someone move but since he knew he was moving months before and had done nothing to prepare for it I felt it was not my place to pack his possessions. As he packed the boxes I would carry them quite a distance to the truck. Because he wasn't actually carrying any of these boxes he didn't exactly pack them light. He also made a point to explain to me that he didn't want to spend the extra $5.00 to rent the wheel dolly padlocked in the back of the truck - but then again he wasn't carrying the boxes, I was.

Finally the boxes were all loaded into the truck. Everything this guy owned fit into boxes - he had zero furniture despite having lived in this apartment for number of years and earning a good living. I was about to leave when he asked me to drive him to the truck rental firm to pick up his car but first we would have to drop the rental truck off at his girl friends apartment.

Arriving at Liz's apartment Mike quickly forgets about picking up his car and asks if I can give him a hand loading a few things of hers just to make things go a little faster the next day. Thinking that his girlfriend would be slightly more organized I agreed - I was wrong. As we are walking in one of Liz's male friends arrives and is enlisted to help out also.

When we walk into the apartment we are met by Liz and her 19 year old daughter Tina. Neither of them say hello in response to my greeting - Liz does manage a little nod. As nothing is packed here either we start moving furniture out to the truck. The whole time Liz and Tina are sitting in the kitchen drinking coffee and smoking. Eventually we fill the truck and I'm again asked to drop Mike off at the truck rental firm. But he wants to drop the truck off at the new apartment first. We arrive at the new apartment only to be met by two others friends who have come by to see the new apartment. One of the friends "Diana" suggests that we empty the truck to make it easier the next day. Since everyone else was willing I was put on the spot and agreed to help. So Liz, Tina and Diana all head up the 3 floors to the new apartment - empty handed.

While the men are unloading the truck the three women are discussing where they will put things, what curtains they need etc. At around 6:00 PM the truck is empty and Diana suggest we all go back and load up for tomorrow. Again, since everyone else was willing I agreed. Back at Liz's apartment we start loading furniture again. Liz and Diana talk about putting stuff in the storage locker at the new place but they need a padlock. So Liz, Diana and Tina head to Sears to buy a lock. They come back an hour later having bought the lock and done a little clothes shopping while they were there. It's now about 7:30 PM and there has been no talk of stopping for supper. Around here it's usual that if you ask friends to help you move you provide some sort of fast food around meal times - chicken, pizza etc and beverages. I've been helping these people for over 6 hours and I haven't been even offered a glass of water.

At one point Tina comes into the living room, sits down on the sofa, puts her feet up on the coffee table and starts watching TV. I couldn't believe it! Not only had this girl not lifted a finger to help but this was just too much. One of the other people helping came into the living room and asked me what was next - I looked at the girl and then at the TV - the choice was obvious. I went over unplugged the TV and we carried it out to the truck. Next to go were the sofa and the coffee table leaving her no where to sit.

Around 9:00 PM I had enough so I made an excuse to leave. I had been helping these people move for the past 8 hours, hadn't been fed or offered a beverage (not even water) and two of the people being moved hadn't helped. When I told them I was leaving Mike said "OK" - no "thanks for helping" - nothing. I heard from a mutual friend that they had a large apartment warming party the next week but apparently I wasn't invited. To this day I have never been thanked for helping out. Mike and Liz split up a few months later and I have no idea who helped them move but it sure wasn't me.     Neighbors0310-01

This is just a small addition I'd like to submit- an invitation to a baby shower that was placed in our mailbox one day a year or so ago. I was so nonplussed by it that I actually kept it for a few weeks to show friends. The invitation was printed on a full size sheet of bright orange paper and tri-folded before being slipped into our mailbox. I assume they went down the street and just put one in everyone's box.

The invitation started out saying that the sender was offering the opportunity for a chance to get to know my neighbors. I thought "how nice" since my husband and I had lived in that house for a couple years and had yet to meet many of them. As I read further down the page, I saw that the event was a baby shower for "Beth" and I was instructed to bring a shower gift and a food dish to pass. The shower was given by "Amy" and "Nancy". I have no idea who any of these women are. The address for the shower was a house down the street from us. Needless to say, since the invitation was given anonymously, I felt no obligation to send my regrets. What's your opinion? Was this just misguided or plain tacky?

Tacky.  A person never asks the guests to cater a function they are hosting.  It would have been better to have a community potluck to meet the neighbors separately from the baby shower.

I live in the Midwest and I wonder if it is common for the common person to be inundated with invitations to come to someone's home to purchase items.

Last spring, I received an invitation to a an all-female gathering at a former colleague of mine. The invitation just stated that they wanted me to come to a gathering that "would be a chance to toss out the old and ring in the new". I thought the invitation was to debut a new enclosed porch and deck that she and her sister had just added to the home that the older sister owns. It having been an unusually harsh winter in which I had just finished a challenging graduate class, I was looking forward to an evening of relaxing on their new porch and chatting about old times. I asked the hostesses if I could bring anything and they told me absolutely not.

When I arrived, I immediately spotted a table in the corner that had about two dozen candles in various sizes and shapes and holders. All for sale. The representative from the candle company handed me a brochure and a pencil so that I could list my "faves" before we got started. Plus, one of the sisters sold Mary Kay and she was peddling her wares that night as well.

Well, the candles were horribly overpriced and they did not appeal to me anyway. I could tell that about half of the guests--there were about fifteen in all-were totally unprepared for the evening of commerce. A couple of people had not brought any money or even their purses with them. The rest of the guests had apparently been ready for the evening because they were prepared to buy. The candle representative kept trying to get the guests to book parties of their own--I would never dream of inviting someone to my home and then ambushing them with a request to buy.

The worst part about the whole evening was that one of the sisters is an avid sports fan so she didn't bother to turn off ESPN during the gathering. The sisters have a rather large screen television in their living room so this kind of overshadowed everything. She did, however, turn the sound down to a low rumble. Also, towards the end of the evening, the hostesses announced that if we wanted anything to eat that we would have to stick around a while because the mini-quiches and pizza rolls were still frozen. They announced laughingly that this was a tip that they had learned from one of the representatives of an herbal supplement company whose products they had pushed at a home party at Christmastime. Hungry people stick around to eat and they buy more! Oh well, I did buy an undereye concealer from the sister who sold makeup because I did need one. But I won't go back to any gatherings at their house anytime soon.

By the way, in a two month period last year, I got invited to a clothing party, two home decorating parties, a country decor party, a basket party, and a jewelry party. Don't people just visit anymore?     Neighbors0226-01

Miss Jeanne has a special place in Etiquette Hell for people who only invite her to their houses for the purpose of extracting cash from her.  Until a person entertains people as guests in their home, they should recoil in horror at the thought of inviting people to a party in which they will receive some form of benefit either in cash or hostess gifts.

Well, we found this rather funny, but don't know if anyone else will.

My fiancé and I live in a townhouse, with neighbors on one side and the open park area on the other. Pretty decent sized place. I had two dogs when we moved in together. He had two dogs. Along the line, we took in my sisters two dogs when she was getting out of a nasty relationship and they have stayed with us since then. The elderly dog died soon after moving in with us, but she was almost 18 y/o. So five dogs. All rescued sighthounds. All are actually very quiet and reserved dogs. Had neighbors across the "street" from us not realize we had 5 dogs in our place until they came over one night. Yes, landlord does know about all the dogs, and doesn't care. Our complex is very pet friendly, if the pets are well behaved and clean, our landlord looks the other way on the "rule" about two pets per apartment.

Two places down, the couple there have a pair of very lovely, well behaved dogs. Mixed breeds, very sweet, very calm, not problems at all. There are quite a few other dogs in our area, some tiny little types, some big Mastiff types, and just about everything in between. Until last year, all were very lovely, polite, well mannered dogs.

Last year, a couple moved in next to us. With the hounds from hell. Noisy, untrained, rotten dogs. As my FI or I frequently walk all of our dogs together now, it's known we have 5 dogs. I repeat, they are mostly quiet.

One of them does get a bit fussy if someone isn't home after she is in her crate for 8 hours, but that's it. They get baths as needed. They are fully housebroken. The landlord knows about them all, has met them all and doesn't have a problem with them. Well, unless you count the fact meeting our dogs lead him to getting a pair of dogs from the same group.

The neighbors repeatedly complained about our dogs. The dogs made too much noise. The dogs smelled. The dogs were marking the wall between our places. They couldn't walk their dogs if ours were out, as our dogs tried to attack their dogs. We later found out this was being directed towards ALL people in the area.

The problem? This was how their dogs acted. Thankfully, due to their complaints, the landlord would check the problem out. They were evicted three months after they moved in. All the people who complaints were about are still here, with the same dogs.    Neighbors0606-01

Up until about seven or eight years ago, we lived next door to a very nice couple with two small sons. They couldn't afford to do any repairs to their house, which was old and desperately needed them, but they were friendly and polite and we never had a problem with them.

Not long after they moved away, an old man in his seventies moved in next door. We live in a small town of just over two thousand people, where everyone knows everyone else and doors are usually unlocked, even at night. This man, whom I'll call John, used to live in New York City.

Now, to give you some idea of where the problems started, I have to give you some idea of the set-up of our neighborhood. We live along a busy main road at the edge of town, right across the street from the park. There is a road that branches off the main road not far down from our own home in a T, and another road that meets up with it parallel to the main road. Basically, it's a capital H, with the upper left part being a dirt driveway that's an extension of the road and stretches behind our homes. At the intersection lives another man, then John, then us.

From the very beginning, John was a problem. First off, the man never spoke to anyone, save the man at the corner. He had no friends or family, as far as we could tell, and made no attempt to rectify that. Another thing that we didn't even notice for a while was that he would take the battery out of his car (which he parked in the back driveway) at night and replace it when he used the car. Not unusual, I imagine, for a big city, but this is a small town with virtually no crime.

Umm, explain to me why desiring to be a loner (which hurts no one) and taking his battery out of his car is problematic?   Being weird is not necessarily an etiquette faux pas.

The biggest problem lie with the property lines. Apparently, the man who had sold John his house had told him that his property line extended to the house on the other side of the dirt driveway -- including that home's meticulously kept lawn. But the big thing was the driveway. He didn't want anyone parking on it, or even walking near it. The problem is, it's city property, so he has no say. Every year, when my mother would throw a huge party for the summer fireworks display across the street, he would both yell at people who dared to walk or park on the driveway or take pictures of them doing it, when it was perfectly alright for them to do so.

Our family, at the time, had four cars -- the family car, my father's pickup, a convertible, and my personal car. Since we didn't have much room in the front driveway, I parked in the back driveway. At first, John would ask me politely to make sure my car wasn't parked too close to his, and I obliged. But then came the letter.

Were you hogging more than your fair share of the communal driveway, by any chance?

My father received an "anonymous" letter which contained statements about things that only my father and John knew. It referred to John as a decorated and respected war veteran who was a part of his local NYC American Legion. (What it didn't mention was that no one at the local AL in our town has heard of him, and at the time, he'd been here for about six or seven years.) It then went on to say that if I did not find somewhere else to park my car ("off his property"), he was going to sell his house to a black family from Brooklyn. He wrote it as if it were a threat, saying that white people expected better, and apparently, he expected us to cower in fear that a black family would bring down property values in the neighborhood. He also had a problem with the property lines, which were skewed slightly due to the position of his house. Because, of course, that was all our fault. He said in the letter that black people were used to skewed property lines (huh?) and white people, of course, expected better.

What gets me was that he thought bringing in a black family would bring down property values. In the seven years he had lived there, the man had done not one iota of improvement on his home. His porch was (and still is) supported by a stack of bricks on either side, and his roof looks as if it's tiled with toast. Meanwhile, my father -- a contractor -- has added a two-car, two-story garage with a game room, wrap-around porch, gazebo, and a driveway to our house. If anything, his house already is bringing our property values down.

In any event, my father declared a war. He printed up as many copies of the letter as possible and took them to everyone. Every neighbor for three or four blocks, the police, our lawyer, everyone. There was hardly anyone in town who hadn't seen it and been shocked by it.

That was classless and petty and certainly an overblown reaction.

My parents also took out a loan and put up a fence they couldn't afford. (Why this antisocial jerk couldn't build his own fence, I'll never know.)  Wait a minute...they can afford to add a 2 story, 2 car garage with game room, wrap-around porch, gazebo and driveway but not a fence?

But it doesn't stop there. A few weeks after we put up the fence, I came home from shopping to find John scrubbing his side of the fence with a dirty toilet brush. The fence is six inches back on our property -- he can't touch it.   Errr. no. Not quite.  Most states have a statute that makes both owners equally responsible for repair and maintenance of boundary fences between two properties regardless of who paid to have it installed.  So I tattled to my mother.  Brat.   My mother, who's got a wicked temper, stomped outside and demanded that he stop. Another petty reaction that is out of proportion to the offense. He threw down the brush, stomped towards his house, and yelled out, "Wait until I go to Harrisburg!" Who the hell in Harrisburg was going to care about him and his ridiculous obsession with his property lines?

My father talked to him later and got him to admit that he wrote the letter. (He badgered it out of him after John claimed that he'd received a handwritten copy of it and typed it up to remove the REALLY bad stuff. Yeah, okay.) He also made a big deal about his being a WWII veteran and deserving more respect. My mother, who'd been eavesdropping from inside our house, stomped out and shouted, "I don't care if you're the f*$#ing President!" Finally, my disgusted father said, "Look, don't talk to my wife, don't talk to my kids, or I'll call the cops for harassment."   So, he hasn't spoken to us since then. Thank God.


One of the potential hazards of nominating someone to Etiquette Hell is that Miss Jeanne might deem you to be even more deserving of a permanent residence in her fiery dungeons than the subject of the story submission.  It's rare but it happens.  "John" gets Level 3 in Ehell and this family gets level 5.

Several years ago I lived in an apartment complex that was a sort of Ground Zero for all of the young semi-punk-but-gainfully-employed (basically, grad students and computer folk with weird haircuts) in my area. The superintendent of the place was pretty nutty - she used to sunbathe topless in front of my friend Christian's apartment. He didn't have a nice grassy area out there - his door opened on the parking lot and she marked off a parking space with cones all summer so she could use it to sunbathe in. Right outside his door.

It was never easy to get anything repaired there, and it got a lot harder after the super got her number changed to an unlisted number. You could knock on the door all you liked - the TV would be blaring and you could hear her chattering to her daughter, but she wouldn't answer.

My friend Christian was on the rocks with a girl he'd been dating - who wound up moving in to the apartment right next door to me with a roommate. I tried to make nice, being as I was his good friend, but she didn't particularly like the fact that Christian's best friend was female. She would watch through her peephole to see if he was coming to visit - for hours - and throw open the door to catch him if he was coming in. She would sit in the dark for hours so he would have no sign that she was at her place. After a while I wound up going down to his place. Ironically, if she was so worried about his fidelity, she should have looked closer to home - he was sleeping with her roommate. (Chris is a good friend, but I'd never date him...)

Meanwhile, her roommate tried to accuse my (male) roommate of date rape - not legally, just among the circle of people we knew. It would have been more believable if I hadn't been in the room at the time she said it happened.

A couple of years later, I got REALLY bored and searched for her name on the Web. I found a story she'd written. Her "story" was transcriptions of my personal conversations and phone conversations, with the framing device of her listening with a glass pressed against the wall. Chris patched things up with her. They got married and she took the story off the web. I was kind of sad about that - her "story" was a more thorough chronicle of my life than my diary.


We live on nearly two acres, have two dogs and four cats. I like animals, but I keep them for their usefulness. Living next to a field all four cats are useful mousers, and the dogs are good security. Most of our neighbors have quite a bit of property and are a good distance away from us, except for one neighbor’s house, which was originally built as a mother-in-law to our own, then sold. So when someone "anonymously" reported us to the humane society for having too many animals (all were fixed and dogs were licensed) we had little doubt over who it was. (Their landlord won’t let them have pets.)

We licensed the cats, and the Humane Society said technically the limit on pets was four, but they were just thrilled someone was taking so many animals all fixed and licensed, so they weren’t going to say anything about it. We continued being civil and hoped that was the end of it. We didn’t hear any more until I found a sickly stray I was trying to nurse back to health before finding a home. (The wife neighbor offered to try to find it a home and I told her it was my intention to get it healthier first so they knew it wasn’t a permanent addition to our household.) Soon afterward however, I came home and happened to look over to our neighbors’ front porch to see a box on it labeled in black marker "Cat for Shelter". Cat was rescued for the day but disappeared soon afterward, and because it was sickly, probably killed as soon as it reached the shelter.   Neighbors0811-01

My story is about my upstairs neighbors (I live on the first floor of a 2-floor apartment building). "Herbert" and "Myrtle" are about 75 years old, and they are two of the rudest, most unclassy people I've ever come across. I have tried to be patient with them because they're old and frail (not that that's any excuse for being rude), but man, is it hard.

Anyway, ever since I have moved in, I've noticed that there has been a steadily increasing amount of garbage in the flowerbeds under my windows-cotton swabs, cotton balls, tissues, even eggshells. Well, silly me, I couldn't figure out where this stuff was coming from--it was a total mystery.

However, one day I was talking to my landlord (who I get along with very well) and he told me that one of the other tenants had complained that she had seen "Herbert" throwing his garbage out the windows and it had been landing in the flowerbeds! The landlord then told me that when he confronted "Herbert" about it, "Herbert" had blamed it on ME and said he'd actually seen me throwing eggshells out the window! I would never, ever do that in a million years and I must have looked totally indignant because the landlord hurriedly assured me that he didn't believe it was me for a minute and that he knew that "Herbert" was the real culprit. Man, those people upstairs drive me nuts. Thanks for letting me vent!     Neighbors0821-01

Good manners forced me to sell my house and move to a rural area because of the hovering neighbor, that lived next door. I just couldn't tell them to get lost - I was a 19 year old kid with my first little house and they were in their early 40's - they just didn't know when to allow us some privacy, and all I had ever learned was to always be polite - especially to my elders. They were afterall my elders.

I was home with my baby while my husband worked and would anticipate their arrival easily 3 times daily that typically began at 8:00 a.m. I suppose they felt I would be lonely if they didn't come to visit - and since shift work and early retirement allowed them to be home all day - why not spend the day together - right??? Not..../

Last year, now 31, I purchased now my 4th home in a mature neighborhood in Toronto with a nice sized lot, backing onto parkland. The hunt for this home took 3 years; as I was determined to live with a certain level of privacy. The back of our home is an open window to trees and acres of green land, which was the selling feature of the house. I refuse to speak to the neighbors other than a friendly hello for which my husband thinks is a riot because I love meeting new people, love to socialize and adore entertaining.

Then we met the "Smith's", I immediately share with them my fear of attachment to neighbors and my need for privacy - "just call me before you come over and I will always do the same". A little bit of idle chit-chat in the park with these neighbors that live a few streets over, very slowly led to dinner and somehow a weekend at their cottage etc. Following which they continued to invite us to share in their time, basically whenever we are free. Fortunately, September and October has been action packed with 5 showers and 4 weddings. My husband and I love each other and enjoy spending time together on our own, as hard as that may be for some people to understand. Unfortunately these people are relentless. They've come up at our door with a homemade pie while we are preparing dinner. What does one do in this situation? The polite thing to do is invite them to stay right? Well, this is the 3rd pie this month....I'm losing my mind.

Some people would give their eye teeth for neighbors like this.   Perhaps if you had reciprocated the dinner and weekend visit to their cottage, they wouldn't be making such blatant hints with their aptly timed gift of pie.

Read the comments from forum members about this story! 

It all began when me and my partner, lets call him Nigel, and his best friend, we'll call him Roger, and his girlfriend, we'll call her Katherine moved in together.

Katherine had just finished her degree and didn't really want to move back with her parents, so she asked if we would all go in for a house share to cut costs. Nigel and myself discussed the pros and cons together, and decided that we would discuss it with them, and if they were willing to draw up some plans then we would go ahead.

The first thing Roger kept saying was "we must keep everything very clean and tidy, there is no way we can stand a mess!" obviously Nigel and myself were more than willing to agree to this! Katherine continually made the point that the communal areas, i.e. the lounge, bathroom and kitchen would have to be kept clean as she could not bare mess and dirt. We all agreed to this and a house was found and a moving date set. One week before the moving date Roger announced that he would not be around for the afternoon as he was going to have to sit in at his Mum's house and wait for a furniture delivery. Katherine then announced that she would not be there all day as she had managed to get a job waitressing for the day. Nigel and I were naturally flabbergasted as we were expected to handle the move alone, and ensure their things were moved in, and their bedroom was clean etc!

The day came, and we set to work on a really hot summer day. Roger disappeared as soon as the clock struck noon, and we were left to get this dirty house into some sort of livable condition!

After sweating away all day, Katherine and Roger turned up at  6pm and announced that they were too tired to do anything, and settled in front of the TV for the evening. They drank our wine and beer, and went to bed and had a loud argument into the early hours of the morning.

Nigel and myself got up early the next morning as we both had college and work the next day and wanted the house in some sort of order. We set to making the lounge comfortable, and began wondering were all the furniture was that Katherine and Roger had promised. i.e. we were to get the sofa and chairs, they were to get the dinning table etc. We had up-held our part of the bargain, but they hadn't come through. We had also brought all the little things which add up to a lot, like a kitchen bin, and the first toilet rolls, pasta and coffee and tea. All the cleaning equipment and it had come to quite lot of money. They still hadn't paid their half, but had tucked into the food, and made a real dent in the coffee. At about midday they emerged from their room and announced they were going out for they rest of the day, and we could leave what we wanted them to do, and they would do it later. Nigel and myself did not want to leave it as it was a tip, and we wanted to be able to relax, and so we finished off the house. It was a good thing we didn't wait as they didn't come back till nearly midnight and I couldn't see them starting at that time!

As the months went by, we had a house warming b-b-q, I spent the whole day preparing salads and party food, while Katherine was out. She arrived home twenty minutes before the party was to start, and accepted graciously the praise that was heaped on her from her family for all the hard work that she had gone through to lay on such a spread!!(all the time they were glaring at me!!)

As the party drew to a close, Roger's Dad was a little worse for the drink, and decided to kick my stereo across the garden and tried to feed my rabbit to the local cat! I was not happy, and found that Roger's family were not good at apologizing either!!

Roger's car was off the road from the day we moved in, and so they relied on us to give them lifts if they needed to go anywhere. We generally chauffeured them to wherever they wanted to go, and didn't ask them for fuel costs. Then after a few months of this it was my birthday, and so we asked Katherine if she could get her Mum's car for the evening, as neither me or Nigel wanted to drive. She agreed and drove us to a neighboring town to a nightclub, on the way she calmly asked us for fuel money with her hand out-stretched!!!!!

It was after this that we decided we could no longer live with them, as they still hadn't paid us for the cleaning items and other bits and pieces that we had paid out for.

The worst of all this was their cleanliness, they had insisted that they could not live in dirty messy conditions, and yet in the whole 6mths we stuck it out with them for they didn't clean anything at all. They left the bathroom weekly clean to me, and the kitchen and the lounge to me and Nigel. We were basically their unpaid cleaners! The only time Katherine ever tried to clean the bathroom she used window-cleaner, which is obviously not hygienic, and the kitchen cloth. After cleaning the toilet she put the cloth back in the kitchen to wipe the sides with!!!! She would also use a floor cloth to wash up the dishes, on the rare occasion that she would wash up. She would usually use all the plates (which were mine!), and then leave them with food encrusted on them, so that Nigel and myself could not have our dinner!!

We would also offer to cook for them, in the hopes that we wouldn't have to wash up their plates before we could use them, they would take the most, eat it and then tuck into a frozen dessert they had in the freezer without offering us any!!!

We decided to move out after two and a half months, and we saw through our contract till 6 months were up. At the end of the 6 months we no longer speak, and we thanked god every day that we didn't sign a years contract which is what we originally wanted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


All of this happened about 15 years ago. While in grad school I rented a house and sublet the extra bedrooms. The first year my tenants were Bob and Laurence. Bob paid his rent late, left the doors to the house wide open, flatly refused to rake leaves or shovel snow, and cursed me and then threatened me with the police if I laid a finger on him (he was half my size).

Laurence had male guests in her room for weeks at a time without so much as a by-your-leave, left her dirty dishes and breadcrumbs strewn about the kitchen, got nasty whenever I tried to get her to clean up after herself, and in general personified several unkind stereotypes of the people of her native country. I stuck this out for a year for purely financial reasons, then quietly made arrangements to replace them both. When Laurence found out, she was shocked that I had betrayed our mutual "trust". Bob simply replied that he wasn't going to pay his last month's rent, because that's "what the security deposit was for".

After more arguing I got him to advance me enough money to cover his share of the final utility payments. Once these two delightful people were gone, my new tenants moved in- Tim and Kurt. Tim was neat and responsible, but a bit prissy and compelled to pass judgement on everything I did. Kurt was a consummate slob, but easygoing, friendly, and considerate of his housemates. At least, that's what I thought until a year later, when his rent checks started bouncing. Kurt always apologized, had a plausible excuse, and promised to repay- which he did with another rubber check. It was about this time that his car disappeared. Kurt claimed that it was at his mother's house, but I found out later that the bank had repossessed it.

Soon Kurt owed me about $900 in back rent. I talked to a lawyer who said she could get a formal judgement against him to recover my money, and she set the legal wheels in motion. (Note to self: next time, verify that the account is closed, take the returned checks to the district attorney's office, and let them prosecute. No cost to you.)

Following my graduation I had to move out of state before my lease was up. I told Tim and Kurt to find other apartments by the end date, and made arrangements for undergrads to take over my lease. I told the undergrads about Kurt and warned them not to keep him on once the new lease began. I actually made the trip back at the end of my lease to ensure Kurt had moved out- but the undergrads had ignored my advice and taken him on as a sublet to save themselves some money. So I left.

Surprise! Kurt tried to pay his rent with a rubber check. The undergrads responded with an ultimatum- pay up in cash or get out. So late one night, Kurt got out- leaving an incredible mess behind. The undergrads believed the cleanup costs should come out of MY security deposit. Luckily, the landlord didn't agree. Kurt was also a no-show for the judgement court date, so I got a $3000 judgement against him- which was worthless, since no one knew where he was. A collection agency told me point blank: "you aren't going to get your money". I did get something, though- the lawyer's bill for $400. I now own a house of which, I am happy to say, I am the sole human occupant.    Neighbors0213-02

When I moved up to the DC area I was looking for the cheapest place possible in the reasonable safe neighborhood. I found a four bedroom place to share with three other girls, one being the "agent of the landlord". Tenets of the lease were odd (no opposite sex guests are allowed to stay over unless they are from out of town or unsafe to drive) but the rent was cheap so I over looked it, my boyfriend at the time was an out –of- towner so it was not an issue anyway.

The girl, the "agent" to whom we paid rent was a real piece of work. EH was ultra right wing conservative, ultra Catholic and from the way she and her boyfriend talked you'd think they were Pat Buchanan's best friend. There were problems with the place; the WD combo had no hot water. EH immediately was suspicious that we were making it up even when we showed her that it didn't work. "But it worked last week" she said. Finally we got tired of perpetually being called liars when there were legitimate problems with the house and asked her who owned the property. EH wouldn't tell us and circumvented as best she could. I called the Tax Bureau and they informed me that her parents (Mr. and Mrs. H, I put two and two together) owned the property. EH about took my head off when I told her that we would call her parents to fix the problem if she wouldn't. Eventually EH's parents sent her brother to fix the WD combo. Better than nothing, I suppose.

Despite the "no boy" lease tenet, EH became pregnant by her in-town boyfriend in August, right after the other three girls and myself had moved in. They threw together a quickie wedding for early January with all the frills, with EH ignoring the fact that she would not fit into her dress with all the time the planning was taking. We three roommates (who at this point had enough of EH's insults and were just waiting for the lease to expire) were invited to the wedding shower. We took one look at the registry list (mattress set, gas grille, new bedroom suite, Wedgwood china and Mikasa Crystal) and decided to have other things to do but politely declined, me especially since EH had made it clear I wasn't invited to the wedding in Massachusetts (because the diocese here wouldn't marry them in so short a period) but felt free to take any gift I would give.

After the honeymoon, EH and her husband tried to move back into the house with us. We three said no because roommate A was unwilling to move out of her room without her grandmother's furniture (it wouldn't fit into any other room in the house so A took the Master bedroom/bath, EH was kind enough to volunteer to use the furniture if A would move into the glorified closet EH was in) leaving Roommate B and I to share a bathroom with EH and hubby (who is notoriously messy, not to mention hit on all the roommates, I was his "second favorite girl."). I can't tell you how happy I was to live by myself after that.   Neighbor0222-02

I had two awful neighbors - one above and one on the same floor. The one above walked around so loudly, my roommate and I called her "Thumper". She also played the worst music at all hours of the night very loudly. One night the music was so loud, neither her or her two psycho dogs heard me knocking on the door to ask her to turn it down, until I was literally pounding on the door. She also let her dogs off their leash, even when others were outside, and they would charge you.

The neighbors next door were even worse. They grew pot near the stream next to our apartment house, and of course smoked it. The woman once came home so drunk, she tried for an hour to get into her apartment, before my roommate finally helped her out. We also had to share a coin-operated washer and dryer in the basement. If we left a bottle of detergent down there, it would disappear in a week. One day I found a small woman's shirt that I didn't own with my clothes in the dryer. A few weeks later - a man's T-shirt. My roommate and I realized that they were putting their laundry in with ours, but getting it before the buzzer went off! We could never figure out why sometimes the dryer worked and other times clothes were soaking wet. Now we know that they were taking their clothes out and just not re-starting the dryer.

We lived with Thumper and the potheads for 8 months before deciding it was too much. We found 2 guys who didn't care about the noise to sublet - who have had similar problems including catching the pothead picking their lock.      Neighbors0517-02

 This little incident happened to a very dear friend of mine. First I must first say that we live a small town and almost everybody knows everybody but not quite.

My friend Sally had stopped in a little shop to pick up something but since she had bought a few too many groceries at the market, decided that she would call her husband and see if he would drive over and pick her up. Asking to use the phone in the little shop was very easy and they told her to go ahead.

My friend Sally had never used a cordless phone before and when her answering machine at home kicked in, she just placed the cordless back on the counter where it had originally been. As she was leaving a customer was coming through the door. They exchanged pleasantries and Sally headed home.

Later on that evening I went over to Sally's where she passed me the phone and said to listen. Apparently after dialing her home earlier on that day she didn't know about shutting the phone off and there on her answering machine was 4 minutes of conversation by the two ladies discussing Sally's life.    Neighbors0226-02

Back when I was in college, my dormitory was arranged on the "cluster" system, 4 or 5 double rooms sharing a common lounge, balcony and bathroom. One of my clustermates ("Peggy") somehow managed to be nine months pregnant for almost the entire quarter! I mean she was *enormous, and near the end of the quarter her roommate "Jill" was afraid she was going to give birth right there in the room!

Anyway, "Peggy" had a lot of male friends who visited and called frequently, often at very odd hours. However, she would never answer the door or the phone, forcing the rest of us to get up and answer for her. Once I took a phone call for her well after midnight, and told the caller that "Peggy" was already in bed and I wasn't going to wake her, please call back during the day. The next day "Peggy" chewed me out royally for not waking her for her phone call.

After several more calls at horrendous hours (1-3:30 am!) "Jill" and my roommate and I held a meeting and decided we weren't going to answer any more late-night calls, that "Peggy" was going to have to haul her butt out of bed and answer the phone herself. That very night the phone rang about 2:30 in the morning, and rang and rang and rang. Most sensible people will give up after 10 or 15 rings, but this caller let it keep on ringing - I lost count of how many rings before I finally heard the door open and "Peggy" shuffle to the phone. My roommate and I *had* to eavesdrop, I'm afraid, to find out what was so blasted important at that hour. What we heard from "Peggy" was a series of "Uh-huh, uh-huh", then "Yeah. G'bye." [click] We never knew if the lesson worked, because 2 days later the college found out that "Peggy" wasn't attending *any* of her classes, and evicted her from the dorm. 2 days after her eviction "Peggy" had her baby -- and had the gall to invite us to a baby shower! Needless to say none of us attended.


As it so happens, my father is an executive in the construction industry. Over the years, he's made friends with several co-workers, and sees them outside of work. They are good friends of long-standing, and wonderful, well-mannered people.

On the occasion of my parents' purchase of a new house, he called in a favor from these friends to help him with some odd jobs before the house could be ready. They helped out, and my father invited them inside the garage for a beer, literally one apiece. So many friends had shown up, he didn't have any more to offer, not having expected so much generosity on their part. They were all thankful, not even expecting any refreshment. They were just happy for his success, that he was able to move into a large, new house in an upscale subdivision.

As they were toasting, a police car pulled up. The officer stepped out, and told them to all "move along so there isn't any trouble here." My father asked, "What's the problem? This is my house." The officer stammered in disbelief, "This-this, is your house?" pointing at my father. "Yes, it is, and if I want to entertain my friends by having a beer on my own property, I have every right to." The officer apologized, stating that they'd had numerous complaints of drunk Mexicans making trouble at this house, from the neighbors. How they could be "drunk" before they'd even started drinking still puzzles me. So much for the welcome wagon - none of the neighboors would even look at my parents the entire time they lived there. They now live in a much nicer neighborhood, away from the "upscale" lifestyle.    Neighbors0806-02

  I was living in a fairly remote, hillbilly part of Pennsylvania, the kind of town where some roads only exist if it's not raining, while I went to college. No big deal, I had lived in the same area a few years before, only about three exits up the highway. My husband and I both enjoyed the hiking, fishing and mountain biking in the area, and we are far from being uppity city folks.

I must have had the world's most redneck neighbors, though. One woman on the corner across from us had three daughters. One ran away from home, another was the town arsonist, under house arrest for burning down a few buildings, and the youngest simply ran wild, literally. Her name was Abby, and she was nine. Every night at precisely 6 p.m., the mother would step onto the front porch and shriek, at the top of her lungs: "AAAAAAAAABBIIIIIIEEEEEE! AAAAAAAABBIIIIIEEEE!" over and over. She must have had the lung power of an opera singer, because she would go on for half an hour, barely taking a breath. You could hear her six blocks away.

If Abby did not respond to her mother's bellow, the performance would be repeated at 9 p.m. At 2 a.m., when the child chose to return home, she would be berated for all the world to hear, for such offenses as putting the dirty clothes in the wrong hamper. When the social worker showed up to find out why the arsonist hadn't shown up for her court date, the entire neighborhood was informed that "that little b**** got herself knocked up and run off." Thanks for the update, lady!

But wait, there's more. One house up the street from us was Ms. I've Never Seen A Book Before. My husband and I have an extensive library, and as we moved in, we carried numerous boxes of books into the house, along with a relatively small collection of furniture, since I was still in college. We had the necessities: bed, kitchen table, sofa, a few chairs, tons of bookshelves of course. And, as we were moving, we didn't exactly wear designer suits or dresses to carry boxes around--jeans and T-shirts seemed appropriate attire for that task, or so I thought.

Our landlord called us the next day, distraught. It seems the neighbor-lady didn't know what was in all those boxes (clearly marked, "Books-Biochemistry," "Books-American History" etc. in three-inch-high letters), wasn't sure if we were both men or both women or what, but in any case decided that we must be drug peddler hippies looking to ruin the neighborhood (as if that was possible), and she had drawn this conclusion from 1. our many boxes, which could only contain a drug lab 2. our lack of furniture and 3. my small, C-cup bra size. She called the landlord's mother (not him, his mother) and told her she'd better get, and I quote, "those dirty fag hippies outta the neighborhood yer son is rentin' to" or she'd call the cops, and explained her line of reasoning.

The landlord instructed his mother to simply hang up on future calls, but sure enough, not much later, a police officer did indeed show up at the door. He asked politely if everything was all right. I said it was, he looked vaguely around the living room and said a neighbor had called saying "strange people" were creating a disturbance, breaking into a house. I replied that it was our house, he could confirm it with the landlord if he liked, he said that wasn't necessary and went back to more important tasks, like keeping the community safe from arsonists. We later heard her on her front porch, loudly discussing our "offenses" with another neighbor: Other guy: "Well, they in college--seems like I saw books in there when we took the kids trickertreatin'." Rude Neighbor: "Nonsense. Who would ever have so many books? No one needs that many. Besides, license plate says Ohio. Why would anyone from Ohio move here?" Yes, I confess, Ohio is indeed a cultural Mecca. George Voinovich has been trying to keep it a secret, but...

The coup de grace came two years later when we were moving out. My landlord's wife had slowly become battier and nuttier, although she seemed at first to be a nice enough lady, and we had initially been good friends. She gradually began calling me and fussing on the phone for 2-4 hours every day, at a time when I was spending 100 hours per week at school doing research and working for the university. None of her conversations were particularly important, civilization-changing issues: her favorite subjects were the exact color and consistency of her dog's feces and what her parrot had said that day. I tried often to say, graciously, "I'm so sorry I have to let you go, but I've got an awful lot of work to do, and I have to go back to school," to no avail.

Finally, when we moved to another state, we decided that since no amount of polite explanations seemed to do the trick, we would simply not give the landlord our new phone number, only an address to write to. We heard from her exactly once, a year and a half later, via e-mail, berating us for not giving out our new phone number and announcing she did not want to be friends with me anymore, despite the many times I had e-mailed her personal notes asking after her mother's health, mailed Christmas cards and condolence cards when I heard through mutual friends that her aunt had died. I'm sure there are nice, polite people in that particular corner of coal country. I just never met them.    Neighbors0704-02

Everyone I have ever told this story to is absolutely appalled, but I think it is funny. I would like to preface this by saying that I am a well-educated young woman in my 20's who wears nice clothes, works several jobs while going to grad school, and tries to be active in my community. No one, so far as I know, has ever found fault in my personal appearance, hygiene, conversation skills, etc.

I live on the nicest street in an old town which has recently seen a flux of wealthy yuppies invading the town. I live in an old house that my parents bought years ago and fixed up and handed down to me. My parents weren't very rich, and neither am I, so it was a slow process and even though the house is beautiful, it is obvious that we have not spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on landscaping, like many of our neighbors do. A couple bought the house next door to us for about twice what it was worth (according to a realtor friend of mine), and then found out that the sills were sinking, so put in another $700,000 or so. Needless to say, after shelling out almost a million dollars for their Arcadian paradise, they were not happy to be living next door to some twenty-somethings who (shock horror) mowed their own lawn instead of paying a gardener to do it. The wife seemed nice, and always smiled and waved from her back yard and I never really thought much about them.

Then, one day, there was a horrible car accident in front of my house, and all of the neighbors ran on to the street because it was so noisy. It was the first time I had seen the husband next door. Although a morbid situation, I walked up to him and introduced myself and my male roommate (a mechanic), trying to be as friendly as possible. The man stared at me as though I am speaking a foreign language, then stared at my roommate, then stared back at me. Then he said, slowly, "Rent or own?" I was shocked, and sputter something incoherent about "owning" but before I could get more than a sentence out, he turned around and walked back into his house.

In 5 years of living there, those are the only three words he has said to me, and I swear I have seen him pull his children into the house when I go into my back yard. (I realize this is a little long, feel free to edit and to correct anything you want. I doubt it is worth anyone contacting me for a news program, so I'll say sure if someone wants to interview me about the horrible social problem of people with too much money for their own good, I'll be happy to make my views known.)    neighbors1010-02

Page Last Updated May 15, 2007