Dear Urban Diplomat: Help! My cleaning lady ate my pot edible and freaked out

My cleaning lady helped herself to a chocolate bar from my fridge and ended up in the emergency room. It was a pot edible, which she couldn’t have known. I feel terrible—she had no idea what was wrong with her and was really shaken. I want to make it up to her somehow, but my husband says I’m an idiot and should fire her for taking something without asking. At the very least, he thinks we should dock her pay for the cost of the edibles. What should I do? —Pot Luck, Beaconsfield Village

If there’s any of that chocolate bar left, I suggest you start by offering your husband a piece because he needs to chill. He is right about one thing: you don’t owe your cleaning lady anything, since it was her own unprofessionalism that landed her in this position. But her punishment has already been served—surely the mortification and the anxiety that accompanied what sounds like a pretty terrible trip is far worse than a slightly smaller paycheque. Check in to make sure she’s okay and ask if there’s anything she needs. After that, it’s best to turn the whole thing into a cringeworthy dinner party story and move on.

Dear Urban Diplomat, My next-door neighbour’s house always looks like it got hit by a garbage truck, but this year the debris has spiralled out of control. He leaves bags of festering stuff piled in our shared laneway for days on end. Walking past is like diving into a sea of putrefaction. It’s reached the point where I can’t even open a window without the stench wafting in. How can I get him to clean up his act? —Waste Case, Palmerston

The city doesn’t regulate where garbage is stored on private property, so if he wants his yard to look like something out of a Hoarders episode, there’s not much you can do about the eyesore. The good news is that there’s no need to come face-to-face with a giant flynado every time you leave your house. Next time you bump into him, politely ask him to be more courteous of your shared space. If he won’t, call the city and request an inspection. All trash left for pickup must be stored in sealed containers in accordance with city bylaws, so municipal workers will likely shut down the fledgling landfill before the raccoons take over.

Dear Urban Diplomat, On a recent Uber trip, my driver was playing R Kelly. I requested he change the song, and when he asked why, I told him I didn’t feel like listening to a sex criminal. We got into an argument, and it left us both defensive. It was off-putting, but he never did anything to make me feel threatened so I gave him four stars. My rating, however, plummeted. I don’t think I should be punished for sticking up for my beliefs. Can I appeal it? —Star-Crossed, Koreatown

Your crusade is admirable, but Uber has no formal avenue for appealing ratings, and it’s not worth your time to try to navigate their labyrinthine system to fight one measly driver. There are plenty of ways to boost your rating, from not keeping your drivers waiting to showing basic in-car courtesy. If you really can’t let it go, you can always file a complaint on Uber’s “trip issues” form for rude drivers.

Dear Urban Diplomat, My condo is demanding that every tenant submit a photo of themselves to property management. They claim it’s mandated by the fire department. I don’t necessarily have any objection, but I think it’s weird and I’m also worried about my privacy. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of such a policy, and my friends in condos nearby haven’t had to do this. Can I opt out of their request? —Camera Shy, Dufferin Grove

Whatever your building wants these photos for, it doesn’t have anything to do with the fire department. For the record, fire services do not collect personal data from citizens, and even if they did, a scrapbook of photos would be of little use to emergency responders in the midst of a raging blaze. Feel free to let the property managers know that you will not be submitting your likeness—and report them to the privacy commissioner of Canada while you’re at it.


Dear Urban Diplomat, My husband and I don’t let our daughter eat refined sugar, but with Halloween coming up, we’re butting heads: I think we should make an exception for that one day, and he’s insisting she give away all her candy. To me, his approach seems almost as cruel as not letting her go out in the first place. How can I convince him to change his mind? —Candy Crush, Leaside

Establishing healthy habits early on is commendable, but letting your kid have a little sugar every now and then won’t turn her into a Pixy Stix–guzzling wild child. Encourage your husband to let her keep a small portion of her hard-earned loot and set rules about consuming it in moderation—say, one mini chocolate bar after dinner for a week. As for the rest of the stash, sit down as a family and choose a charity to donate it to. That way, you’ll avoid an Augustus Gloop–like disaster while making someone else’s day a little bit sweeter.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at


Sign up for This City, our free newsletter about everything that matters right now in Toronto politics, sports, business, culture, society and more.

By signing up, you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy.
You may unsubscribe at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

October 23, 2019

An earlier version of this column indicated that Ronald McDonald House accepts candy donations. That information was incorrect and has since been removed.


The Latest

What’s on the menu at Shake Shack’s first Canadian outpost
Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Shake Shack’s first Canadian outpost