Dear Urban Diplomat: We sold our house and the buyers sent a cleaning bill. Do we have to pay?
We recently sold our 100-year-old house for nearly triple what we paid eight years ago. The buyers visited twice and waived the home inspection, but two weeks after closing, they complained about “major issues,” including a dirty oven and washing machine. They sent us an invoice for some cleaning work, saying we should be able to pay up given we got such a windfall from the sale. Should we tell them to get lost?
—Sell It Like It Is, Upper Beaches
What you have here is the world’s pettiest case of buyers’ remorse. It’s not surprising that, in such an overheated market, mortgage-shackled purchasers are second-guessing their rabid real estate decisions. Lucky for you, their “major issues” are not your problem: unless the sale contract explicitly stipulated that every inch of the place had to be squeaky clean when they moved in, you have no legal obligation to cover this kind of work. Feel free to tell them—in language either polite or profane, depending on your disposition—that you won’t be honouring their unsolicited invoices.
Dear Urban Diplomat,
Six months ago, I bought my boyfriend of three years an expensive Leafs jersey—Auston Matthews, his favourite player. Last month, I found out he’d been cheating on me, and I broke up with him. I’m still furious. I want to ask for the jersey back, because I can’t stand the thought of him keeping something valuable (both monetarily and sentimentally), but my friends say I should let it go. Who’s right?
—Shirt Disturber, Distillery District
A gift, once given, is the recipient’s to keep—even if said recipient repays your generosity with flagrant philandering. It sounds like you think getting the jersey back will help you get over the breakup. But the opposite is probably true: your request will only force you to talk to your cheating ex and relive those ugly emotions all over again. So, listen to your friends and be done with the guy. Time heals all wounds—overpriced sports merchandise doesn’t.
Dear Urban Diplomat,
The start-up I work for throws a lot of office get-togethers. At a recent costume party, my jaw dropped when I saw my (Caucasian) boss’s getup: she was dressed as a geisha, wearing white makeup, a kimono and chopsticks in her hair. I was offended and knew a few of my co-workers were, too. I came this close to saying something, but she’s my superior and, honestly, I’m not sure she’d get why her choice of outfit was wrong. Should I talk to her about it now?
—Memories of a Geisha, Swansea
Whether you’re a self-professed SJW or think the world is too PC, we can all agree your boss would have been wiser to simply not go there. But it’s not your responsibility to set her straight—no one would fault you for avoiding the potential fallout of confronting her. If you truly believe she’s oblivious and want to deter her from making future blunders, frame the chat as a courtesy, not a condemnation. Explain that, while you’re sure she didn’t mean to offend anyone, some people at the office frowned on her costume, and that you wanted to tell her why in private to avoid embarrassing her. Alternatively, you can always ask HR to develop a dress-up policy for your frequent bashes, which would both shift the office culture and convince your boss to keep her chopsticks at the dinner table.
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