Friday, October 17, 2008

What would Emily Post do?

A few weeks ago we got a notice from someone trying to repo a car belonging to one of the old residents who lived here. We may have a forwarding address, but we're not certain, as the house was bought from that person's parents, and I don't think he lives there. We didn't give that address to the repo company. Maybe we should have, but it's not really our place.

Around that same time, we noticed some sheets nailed right outside our front door. My husband brought them inside, and they basically said that our house was going to be put up for auction in December because we owe over $10,000 for payments. We were furious and confused, because it wasn't written to us. But it also wasn't written to the previous tenants (as far as we could tell) or the previous owners. (We've actually paid more than what is owed on our mortgage payments, because we want to pay the house off sooner if possible.) Then I noticed, upon further inspection (I was looking for a phone number to call to complain), it wasn't meant for us. It was meant for some of our neighbors. Joe took the papers over to their house (and the bowl we'd had since our housewarming party) and spoke briefly for them. I bet they're probably embarrassed about it all, but so are we. We shouldn't know anything about their financial situation. But now we do. And I have no idea what to do about it.

With the economy being what it is, of course there are people struggling all over. But what should be done in this kind of situation as proper etiquette? When financial information is shared with someone that is not any of his/her business, is it best to pretend not to have received that information? I think that's probably the best route to go, but I just don't know.


The Leithead Family said...

Ah. You're dealing with an elephant.

I think that you guys did the right thing. As neighbors you *should* show concern. If you're visiting, I think that its a good thing to ask genuinely how they are and thereby give them an opportunity to connect or vent.

Difficult stuff.

McKnights said...

I would say just contiune being as neighborly as you have been. Dont change the way you treat these people. Dont be rude but dont be overly nice. Nobody likes to feel like a charity case and I am almost sure this is more embarrasing for them then it is for you. As you contiune to treat them with the respect they deserve if and when they need help maybe they will feel they can come to you. In secert you can pray for them and their situation.

Daisy Paige said...

I was pretty much going to say what the McKights said. If it were me, the worst thing would be to become a project, but if a friend asked me sincerely, not pressuring me, but asked sincerely how we were and if there was anything they could do to help and then leave the ball in our court, that would be best.