Etiquette School is in session! > "I'm afraid that won't be possible."

"Yes," then "No" -- is this too P/A? Small update reply #17

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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.

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:
I think it's fine if you don't want to let her use your computer.  Otherwise, set up a guest account.

I would take it with me. But, I'm insanely protective of my computer.

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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