Alice, Our House Sitter Killed Our Plants

Alice, Our House Sitter Killed Our Plants

Ask Alice
Aug 31, 2015
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Allard Laban)
Dear Alice,
My girlfriend and I just returned from a two week trip to find that all of our plants (except the cactus and some succulents) have died. Before we left we arranged with a friend to take care of our plants and come check on our apartment while we were gone.

We left him one set of our building and apartment keys, directions to care for the plants, welcomed him to the contents of our pantry and fridge, and let him know he could stay at our apartment and take advantage of our air conditioning.

Halfway through our trip we sent a checkup text and asked him to bring in some packages that we were expecting. He never responded, but that's not out of character for him so we didn't think anything of it. However now that we've returned to find many of our plants dead or sick, it is clear he never came over. We also haven't been able to track him down. Of course we'll be sympathetic if we find out he is sick in the hospital, but how should we proceed? Would it be inappropriate to ask for help purchasing new plants to replace our old ones?

Perturbed Plant Parents

Dear PPP,
It really sucks that your friend dropped the ball and neglected your plants. That is sure jarring to come home to! However, I think you need to suck it up and let it go. It sounds like you weren't paying this friend for his plant watering services (besides fridge and air conditioner access) and, although his disappearing act was NOT okay, it also qualifies this situation as a favor, not a job.

You say that not responding to texts is his MO so I'm a little surprised that you would trust this friend to be your go-to apartment watcher. You also don't sound particularly concerned that he has since disappeared so perhaps that's also a habit. Do you think he's avoiding you because he knows he messed up? I think first order of business is locating this friend. When you do, feel free to express your annoyance, but I don't think asking for plant reimbursement is worth it. Chalk this one up to a lesson learned about choosing trustworthy house sitters.



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