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Author Topic: "Yes," then "No" -- is this too P/A? Small update reply #17  (Read 9788 times)

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Hi, All.  Long time lurker, very occasional poster here.  I could use your advice for a situation that's just come up.  I'm leaving on a trip next week, and just met today with the pet sitter.  This is the first time I've used this sitter, and the meeting was very long, with info about my pet, the sitter's experience, etc.  The sitter will be coming twice a day, and I believe that each visit will be an hour.  Because I live somewhat off the beaten path, the sitter said they'd probably stay even longer than an hour at a time because of traffic, and also to give my pet plenty of attention, etc. 

As we were talking, the sitter says, "I have a question for you.  My wireless connection (on my laptop) will get really bad reception out here, so can I use your computer while you're away?  I won't go through any of your files; I just want to check my email."  I was taken by surprise-- I've never had a pet sitter ask this of me before.  I responded, "Well, I guess you could use my computer, or you could bring your own computer and plug it into my internet connection."  And the sitter responded, "It would be great if I could just use your computer.  Really, I'll just be checking email."  So it was left with the agreement that I would leave my computer here and the sitter could use it.

The thing is, I really *do not* want the sitter to use my computer!  I barely know this person*, and it just seems like an odd request.  It's not like they are going to be living here full-time-- they'll be able to go home and use their own computer.  Moreover, isn't the point of pet sitting to watch my pet, not sit around and do email?  My problem is that I am still growing a spine, and just cannot handle confrontation or telling someone "no" when I know it will disappoint them.  I'm working on this, but not quite there yet.

Anyway, I was thinking of taking my computer with me, and leaving a note saying, "I'm really sorry.  It turns out that I need my computer after all.  Feel free to use the internet connection, though!"  Do you think that would be okay, or is it too passive-aggressive?  It will deprive the sitter of computer use for their first visit (i.e., one morning visit out of twenty morning and evening visits), but after that they'll know to bring their own computer on subsequent visits to my house. I'm just having trouble coming up with the courage to call and tell them this.  Would a note be okay instead?  Or do you think I should leave my computer, as agreed upon?  I'm not 100% sure that they would be able to just plug in their computer to my internet connection and have it work-- does anyone know if this is how it works? (for cable broadband)

Thanks for your advice!

*Yes, I barely know them, but all their references re: pet sitting check out fine and they do seem to be a good choice for watching my pet.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2008, 09:10:48 PM by sociology71 »


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Re: "Yes," then "No" -- is this too P/A?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2008, 05:43:22 PM »
What OS do you use? If it is something like Windows XP you can always password protect it and either set up a guest login or forget to give them the password.

I know the second one is very PA but it works.

Harriet Jones

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Re: "Yes," then "No" -- is this too P/A?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2008, 05:52:38 PM »
I think it's fine if you don't want to let her use your computer.  Otherwise, set up a guest account.


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Re: "Yes," then "No" -- is this too P/A?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2008, 07:05:56 PM »
I would take it with me. But, I'm insanely protective of my computer.


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Re: \"Yes,\" then \"No\" -- is this too P/A?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2008, 07:37:51 PM »
I would set up a guest account just because I would be paranoid that she would take it out on the animal if you just took the computer. Then I would never use her services again.


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Re: "Yes," then "No" -- is this too P/A?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2008, 05:33:28 AM »
Why does the pet sitter need to check her emails while she is supposed to be looking after your pet? Okay, my cat likes to sit on my lap while I type (here she is now, in fact), but it's not exactly the kind of quality time that you are paying for, is it? I also wouldn't want anyone to use my computer while I wasn't there, not just due to personal files but because they could end up downloading stuff, viruses, etc. I would tell them you had a think, and decided it wouldn't work for you after all.


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Re: "Yes," then "No" -- is this too P/A?
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2008, 11:07:15 AM »
I wouldn't be happy about them even using my connection.  As veryfluffy pointed out, they could download viruses etc into your computer so you could take it & stop that.

But suppose they download dodgy stuff over your connection and the police find out?  The police are going to be after YOU for it, and even when you've prooved your absense & that therefore it couldn't have been you - mud sticks.

I rather think they were planning to be at your house a lot more than 2 hours a day and do more than just briefly check emails.

I'd turn off the internet while you're away and give them a text/quick ring to say 'sorry, have a problem with the internet that won't be sorted till I get back.'


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Re: "Yes," then "No" -- is this too P/A?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2008, 11:11:45 AM »
I've priced pet sitters, and they don't come cheap.  I'd be really put out if someone I was thinking of hiring asked me if they could basically surf the internet while they were supposed to be working. 

I would absolutely tell this pet sitter you have decided against allowing her to access your internet or use your computers while she is in your home.  You are more interested in maintaining a professional relationship, and you're paying for a service that you're expecting to receive.  You're not paying her to sit around checking her email.

Really.  This does not bode well for this person's work ethic.  I'd reconsider hiring someone who was trying to force such familiarity.


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Re: "Yes," then "No" -- is this too P/A?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2008, 11:42:00 AM »
LollyBee and Shoo both have excellent points!  I would call or text her to say it will not work out for her to use your computer.

Shoo is right. This doesn't bode well for the sitter's work ethic.
"Carry out a random act of kindness, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."  Princess Diana


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Re: "Yes," then "No" -- is this too P/A?
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2008, 11:46:16 AM »
Thanks for all your replies, everyone.  I've been wrestling with this all night-- not just about the computer, but about the pet sitter in general.  The thing is, she has impeccable references from local veterinarians in the community, and she truly does seem to care about animals.  So in that respect, I think she is a good choice for watching my pet (cat) for this trip.  However, her personality/style and mine really don't mesh well.  I'm someone who wants things clearly spelled out in a straightforward manner, and she seems much more free-spirited (although again, with a strong love of animals).  For example, the consultation yesterday lasted 3 hours, but we didn't actually get to my instructions for caring for my cat until about 2 hours and 40 minutes into the visit!  The majority of the consult was taken up by her talking about her past experiences pet-sitting, how much her customers love her, how they will sometimes leave checks for double her rate because they value her work so much, and so on.  She already charges $25 a visit-- I can't afford to double that!

She seems to be someone who really wants to cultivate personal rel@tionships with her clients (she says she brings homemade bread to some of them, and that they leave food/drinks for her to enjoy while she watches their pets).  This is not my style at all.  I don't want a new friend; I want a professional who will take good care of my pet.  I don't equate pet sitting to baby sitting, where I am supposed to leave food/drinks, videos, or whatever for her.  Maybe I'm wrong about this, but again, I've never had a pet sitter make these kinds of requests before.

Anyway, I certainly won't be using her again. I'm stuck with her for this trip because I'm leaving in two days and it's too late to find someone else.  I am taking my laptop with me-- everyone's points about viruses, etc, are right along what I was thinking.  I'm also going to ask a neighbor to keep an eye on the goings on at my house while I'm away.

Sorry to go on about this.  My cat is very important to me, and so I wanted her to have the best care possible.  I just have to keep telling myself that the sitter is much better with animals than she is with people!

[edited to fix subject line-- I'm still learning how to do all the posting tricks! ]
« Last Edit: May 22, 2008, 11:49:58 AM by sociology71 »


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Re: "Yes," then "No" -- is this too P/A? DECISION in reply #9
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2008, 01:54:16 PM »
Hmm, is the next line going to be "Yeah, some of them pay me to just stay at home, and I petsit through my webcam", or "Im expecting great presents for my birthday next month, my clients usually get me something"?

Honestly, hinting that she often gets paid double, has food/drinks left out for her? Rude. $25 per visit is plenty, and she doesnt need internet perks on top.

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Re: "Yes," then "No" -- is this too P/A? DECISION in reply #9
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2008, 04:15:36 PM »
DH & I are very private people.  DH would rather not let anyone in our condo when we are not home.  If we are gone for a couple days, the girls (cats ;-) watch themselves.  We normally fill their food tower with dry food once a week.  When we're home, they get a fresh bowl of water daily.  When we're gone for a few days we leave both bathroom faucets on "slow drip" so they always have fresh water.  We usually clean the litter box every night.  When we're gone, they still use it and don't poop elsewhere to punish us for neglect.

We've only been gone for two weeks once.  We know a young lady (YL) who pet sits for lots of people in our building.  She used to live in the building.  When she sat for us, she was still in HS.  Our cats don't come out for visitors; They stay under the bed.  We gave YL carte blanche in our home: Computer, refrigerator, TV, DVD player, anything she wanted.  She asked if her male best friend (not BF) could keep her company.  She's pretty computer savvy; We found no evidence of her having used the computer when we returned home, but she says she did.  We encouraged her to hang out as much as she wanted to.  With her mother's permission, she even stayed one night.  The only time the cats came out was in the middle of the night: She awoke to find Midnight giving her "stink eye" nose-to-nose.  If you look at the picture of Midnight to the left, you can imagine how frightening that must have been.  The next day when she came to visit, she found that the cats had pulled all the bedding off the bed and strewed it around the condo.  She got the point & didn't stay overnight again.

It was our hope and hers that, if she hung out long enough, the cats would get lonely and come out to visit.  That's why we wanted her to hang out even though she wasn't actively visiting with the girls.  She loves cats and was sure she could get them to thaw if she put enough time into it for 2 weeks.  It never happened.  Next time she said she's just going to clean the litter box and make sure they have fresh water daily.  Less stress for everyone that way.

If you use someone you trust, the rest of the problems take care of themselves.
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Re: "Yes," then "No" -- is this too P/A? DECISION in reply #9
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2008, 02:06:37 AM »
Hmm, is the next line going to be "Yeah, some of them pay me to just stay at home, and I petsit through my webcam", or "Im expecting great presents for my birthday next month, my clients usually get me something"?

Honestly, hinting that she often gets paid double, has food/drinks left out for her? Rude. $25 per visit is plenty, and she doesnt need internet perks on top.

Agreed. You're not paying this person $25 to come over and use your internet. Have it temporarily blocked (most good IPs will do this). Hinting that people often leave her gifts and food is SO rude. It's not a personality thing, it's not-so-subtle suggestion. Also, if you have non-perishable food/drinks in your fridge (i.e. soft drink), keep an eye on the amount there.


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Re: "Yes," then "No" -- is this too P/A? DECISION in reply #9
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2008, 05:15:29 PM »
I'm actually going to disagree w/ most of the posters here and say this doesn't seem quite so weird to me as it does to the rest of them.

This Miss Manners column is why.
But in regard to polite guests, Miss Manners is afraid that the computer is taking the place that the telephone had before the widespread use of cellular ones. That is, guests should ask before using it, keep their use of it short, avoid incurring expenses or pay for those they do, and leave it in the same shape they found it.
But when they do ask, reasonable hosts allow them brief use.

True, she's not a guest, she's a service provider (not quite an employee, actually--more independence than that)

Her point about the phone is pretty strong, to me. If this woman asked (in the days before cell phones) if she could call her next client from your house, or check in w/ her family, or if she could be reachable while she was there for several hours, you'd probably say yes.

You yourself say you live off the beaten path, it'll take her a while to get there (she can't email in the car), she'll be there a while, twice a day.

In this world, people communicate--with other clients, with their families--via e-mail and cell phone.

So, I'd suggest setting up a guest account, and letting her use your computer if she needs it. She'll have to boot up each time, it's not like it'll be that convenient for her.

Or, leave her the Internet connection, at the very least--maybe even w/ a note that suggests she charge up.


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Re: "Yes," then "No" -- is this too P/A? DECISION in reply #9
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2008, 04:35:25 PM »
This person is being paid for the time she spends in "your" home, to watch "your" pet(s).  If she has other clients to take care of on the same days, she can make her arrangements with them either beforehand or afterward.

There is no reason she would need your computer for anything.  And her previous hints at being paid "double", etc. (in addition to her assurances that she would only be using email)
seem a tad suspicious.  Why is she going out of her way to make you agree to something you're obviously not comfortable agreeing to?

You may be "stuck" using this person on this occasion, but it's probably best to find another "service provider" for future needs.