Gransnet forums


goodwill vs exploitation ?

(63 Posts)
MissQuoted Thu 09-Nov-23 11:41:53

we have an elderly neighbour who was really poorly two weeks ago with a contagious flu type thing, her son is not there at the moment, we wondered why she had not been out and about seeing her car is in the same spot.
I phoned her to ask if she was ok, she sounded terrible and hurt to speak. The surgery had bidden her keep warm and drink plenty. She did manage to give me a long list of things she needed.
My OH walked up to Waitrose our nearest shop and bought what she required, leaving it on her doorstep, two bags of food including generic medicine, ibuprofen, honey, Fentimans pink lemonade, (not on offer) ice cream, milk, soups, eggs, cooked chicken, chocolate, came to 32+ quid.
Our neighbour phoned to thank us, we wished her soon be well and have not heard from her since although her car is not there this week since Sunday.
The only thing my OH bought her which wasn’t requested was the chocolate.
He also left the receipt in one of the bags. He paid cash.

When she has collared me in the past, as when her son
had accidently driven off with her car keys, she has handed over cash, said she always has cash in the house, but clearly not this time? as in if we left her shopping in her porch, she could have left the money in the porch?
My OH feels put on although he shopped with my cash,
that now our neighbour is clearly out and about we have not heard from her.

Perhaps we were over generous. Perhaps she has forgotten?
She is back home today.
She is a pleasant lady, who we couldn’t see suffer.

My OH remarked that why isn’t she better stocked at her age,
I said this was beside the point,
now coming around to his way of thinking.
Now I’m feeling ungracious, thinking, why didn’t I mmob.
At the time I imagined how I would feel, being ill with no tissues or fruit juice in the house, in a ‘be done by as you would* rationale.
Because he walked, to ‘stretch his legs’ my OH could only carry two bags and returned for our few bits of shopping, legs well stretched, so I can understand his miffedness although, it was his idea to walk and he is a kind and generous man.

Obviously now I’m prepared to write it off. If indeed we are being taken advantage of, isn’t it a shame that there will be no next time, for her or any other needy neighbour unless money up front.
Should she have forgotten and pays up I will come back and say although it seems unlikey now after two weeks? and her being sharp as a tack.
Has anyone else experienced anything like this? wwyd ?

foxie48 Thu 09-Nov-23 11:58:30

I'd pop round to ask after her health and then remind her that she hasn't paid you. Just ask her for the cash. I don't think there are limits to being "kind" it's a lovely thing to help out a neighbour but if you don't ask and she's forgotten it will end in unpleasantness, which is a great pity.

Ailidh Thu 09-Nov-23 12:04:46

I think I'd have to grit my teeth and go round, ask how she's feeling now and remind her directly (but politely) that she's forgotten to pay. If she doesn't have a history of not paying, it's probably a genuine oversight, and she'd be mortified if she suddenly realized later.

sodapop Thu 09-Nov-23 12:08:59

I agree with foxie48 talk to your neighbour now to save unpleasantness later.

wildswan16 Thu 09-Nov-23 12:10:51

I would give a gentle reminder next time you see her "just wondered if my husband remembered to put the receipt for your shopping in the bag when he dropped it off - he might have forgotten, I think it was about £30?"

We can all totally forget about something and she would probably be very embarrassed to know she had forgotten - kinder to clear it up now.

MissQuoted Thu 09-Nov-23 12:15:23

foxie48, thanks for your reply - my OH who is not mean spirited in any way, speculated that as we had actually asked was there anything she needed? saying that he was walking up to Waitrose, it being the only food shop in our town, whether she assumed we were buying these items for her, ie as a gift? perhaps this is a stretch? we left her tomatoes, fruit, from our garden which we wouldn’t expect payment for, but then she requested the hard shop.
I cannot think we will be unpleasant, but certainly never do it again !
She has come home today so perhaps she will remember.
I/we never pop round. She has visitors at the moment.
Nobody likes to feel taken for granted, or being made a mug of.

Baggs Thu 09-Nov-23 12:21:52

The facts of her being elderly and too ill to venture out could mean she has forgotten to pay you back. You should allow for that.

To say you feel you have been "made mugs of" sounds resentful to me. Could you not be prepared to help this lady out again but tell her you need to be paid back because you can't afford to be out of pocket?

Bella23 Thu 09-Nov-23 12:26:36

Your situation is exactly why I leave my very elderly next-door neighbour alone. Many incidents have happened but like you with the shopping, she phoned and asked if `I had any things on a list she had, I said no but was going shopping and would get some.
I took them around and was told she would not support the supermarket where I shop and refused them. So I came away unpaid with things I did not need.

MissQuoted Thu 09-Nov-23 12:30:35

Baggs - she hasn’t ‘forgotten’ the way to the Cotswolds this last week, she drives, she isn’t senile, we have made quite a few ‘allowances’ actually.
I didn’t say we have been made mugs of and no we are not resntful and no we will not help out again and no we are not out of pocket more out of human kindness see above.

Baggs Thu 09-Nov-23 12:32:47

Nobody likes to feel taken for granted, or being made a mug of.

Being made a mug of was definitely implied.

Of course, I don't know this person and have no idea how much you spent for her relief when she needed it.

MissQuoted Thu 09-Nov-23 12:44:16

Bella23, what a minx!
our neighbour is late 70’s, drives, is sociable, active in the town
committees etc.,
very popular always having visitors.
My ndn this am informs me, when I asked had she seeen her
to speak to, that she avoids her as always favours being asked without any reciprocation.
Apparently, she has been to a retreat in the Cotswolds,
plenty of enlightenment there I wager!
It was more our time and effort than the money which we
now realise we will not see, given the intelligence received
today, 2 weeks too late.
No good deed goes unpunished tra la

Juliet27 Thu 09-Nov-23 12:44:55

I think I would say that you were a little worried that if she’d left the money in the porch, you hadn’t managed to find it.

Baggs Thu 09-Nov-23 12:46:27

A retreat after a nasty flu bug sounds like a good idea to me.

Why don't you ask her for the money?

Theexwife Thu 09-Nov-23 13:18:26

It is likely that she forgot being unwell and maybe she did not have cash that day or thought she would pay you later and it has slipped her mind.

I cannot think that she would deliberately try to get away with not paying as it would make things awkward, either forget about it or ask for it.

Oreo Thu 09-Nov-23 13:19:32

Def go round soon as others say. The excuse can be asking how she is, then ‘did you get the receipt?’
If she says she’ll pay you when she can, and then doesn’t do, that will determine how you’ll act in future.Annoying ain’t it?
We like to do our best for neighbours but they have to do their best as well.

Smileless2012 Thu 09-Nov-23 13:28:42

Just ask her for the money.

Shelflife Thu 09-Nov-23 13:29:02

Call round and drop a few hints !!! Failing that you may have to accept she is not going to pay!!!! Just remember never to shop for her again - once bitten twice shy!!
It beggers belief that she has behaved in this way.

AreWeThereYet Thu 09-Nov-23 13:30:50

Give her a ring, ask how she is, you're glad to see her up and about and - not to worry, you'll come by tomorrow to pick the money up from the porch for the shopping. Gives her a chance to pay up, maybe apologize, or tell you she didn't think you expected paying without making a big deal of it. Then you'll know where you stand.

Smileless2012 Thu 09-Nov-23 13:30:58

Why assume that she hasn't paid because she has no intention of doing so?

Delila Thu 09-Nov-23 13:34:20

I don’t think you should be embarrassed to ask your neighbour straight out if she’s forgotten she owes you for the shopping you did for her.

welbeck Thu 09-Nov-23 14:17:06

some of this hinting, assuming, etc sounds v english, and can cause more problems.
just be straightforward.
say there is £30 owing for the shopping we brought you.

welbeck Thu 09-Nov-23 14:18:56

i wish i'd been more assertive in the past.
having seen other nationals just say what they mean, i wish i'd had that example earlier.
i hated asking for anything, even what i was owed.

Wenmore Thu 09-Nov-23 14:22:27


Just ask her for the money.


pascal30 Thu 09-Nov-23 15:15:17

Just say.. you still owe us £32, had you forgotten?

Scat Thu 09-Nov-23 15:23:18

A note/card through the door, wishing her well and hoping that she feels better after her retreat. A footnote with your bank details on and a reminder of what's outstanding should do it.