artphoto by splunge
artphoto by TheophileEscargot
artphoto by Kronos_to_Earth
artphoto by ethylene





Mecha Wiki

Metachat Eye


IRC Channels



Comment Feed:


01 June 2010

Ask Mecha: Would it be out of line to ask the pet-sitter to bring in my mail while I'm away? The mailbox isn't right by my door; he'd have to walk about 30-40 feet to the end of the driveway to get it.
Is a catbox involved?
posted by Ardiril 01 June | 20:19
In getting the mail? No.
posted by amro 01 June | 20:21
Eh, I should probably just have the post office hold it while I'm away.
posted by amro 01 June | 20:26
In sitting the pet?

On preview: Yeah.
posted by Ardiril 01 June | 20:26
But why does whether or not there's a catbox have anything to do with whether I ask him to take in my mail?
posted by amro 01 June | 20:29
If I were petsitting, I'd want to know about the mail either way, so I think it's fine to ask.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 01 June | 20:32
If someone's is cleaning out the catbox every day, I would think they are doing me enough of a favor. I'm weird that way.
posted by Ardiril 01 June | 20:33
Well, I don't think it's out of line to ask (they can always say no), but of course there is no way of knowing if the pet-sitter will think it's out of line. Ask culture and all that.
posted by gaspode 01 June | 20:36
If someone's is cleaning out the catbox every day, I would think they are doing me enough of a favor. I'm weird that way.

I'm paying him quite a bit of money, so I wouldn't call it a favor.
posted by amro 01 June | 20:38
Oh, that's different.
posted by Ardiril 01 June | 20:41
When we have people check on the cats we have them bring in the mail but we have a mail slot so you sort of trip over it as you come in the door. But in any case, I don't think that bringing in the mail from an outside mailbox is such a big deal.
posted by octothorpe 01 June | 20:48
Oh, that's different.

And just so it's clear, I'm not out to take advantage of the guy. That's why I'm asking. I haven't ever used a pet sitter before and I don't know what's appropriate or inappropriate.

I have, however, stopped my mail delivery before, and it's always a disaster.
posted by amro 01 June | 20:53
Does one tip a paid pet-sitter, or is that included in the quoted price?

I think it's fine to ask them to get the mail. If it is a tipping scenario, then you should include a little extra for that.
posted by mullacc 01 June | 20:55
I stopped mail delivery for our honeymoon- but it all came anyway! Booooooooo!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 01 June | 20:55
I think that's quite a reasonable thing to ask. They're going to be at your place every day anyhow.
posted by nelvana 01 June | 20:59
I stopped mail delivery for our honeymoon- but it all came anyway! Booooooooo!

Yeah, that's happened to me too... Also, once I couldn't get it to start back up again for a while.
posted by amro 01 June | 21:00
You're paying him money to provide a service. It's perfectly within your rights to ask for clarification on what service is to be provided.

But it needn't be the least awkward. Ask him if he'd be willing to provide the "additional service" of mail collection for a nominal fee. If he thinks it deserves more than a nominal fee, he can negotiate the price. Or he can politely decline the extra work. But I don't think someone working in excrement removal could be reasonably offended at having been offered the job.
posted by Joe Beese 01 June | 21:31
Our cat sitter had to put out the garbage for our whole building.
posted by Obscure Reference 01 June | 21:55
My last two cat sitters went and got the mail, which was 30 feet away across a driveway. And in winter, it was icy.

It seems to be very normal. If there were some extra hassle to doing it, I might just stop the mail too, but they both asked me about it during the "meet the pet" interview.

Go ahead and ask.
posted by Miko 01 June | 22:12
I've been a paid pet sitter and I would think the mail would be easy enough to do and if you offered to toss in some cookies or something I'd think it was an even deal. Some people may be really pressed for time or it may otherwise make them feel odd [i.e. additional responsibility and room for screw up] but I'd think it was fairly normal.
posted by jessamyn 01 June | 22:33
I haven't had any issues with hold mail so far, though I have a lockbox and a video camera in the mailroom where I live.

Where I used to live a concierge handled the mail and a crucial piece was opened and returned to me in another envelope after several weeks.

posted by brujita 01 June | 23:51
FWIW, any pet sitters I've ever hired have asked if I'd like them to pick up the mail and bring it in. If he/she doesn't offer, I'd say ask.
posted by faineant 02 June | 00:24
I pet-sat/dog-walked for a little over 4 years (bonded, insured, sole source of income) and bringing the mail in was always assumed. I can't imagine a scenario that it wouldn't be part expected service, along with lights on/off and watering plants (although I never claimed to have a green thumb; priority one was always the fuzzbutts).
posted by ufez 02 June | 00:35
I'm pet-sitting at this very moment and getting the mail is part of what I see as general "house-sitting" procedure. 40 feet is nothing, and won't they pass it on their way in from the street? Or are they sitting in your house 24 hours a day until your return? :)

You know, as I read ufez's comment, I realize that I've always been an ad hoc pet-sitter, helping out friends. If it's a professional job, performed by a stranger whom you've hired specifically for the role of sitting, that may be a different situation.
posted by knile 02 June | 05:42
Whether paid or not, my pet-sitting routine always includes bringing in the mail.

Just out of curiosity, and if you'd rather not say I'd certainly understand, but how much are you paying this dude? The last people who paid me to petsit gave me $40/day, which seemed to me a very large number but is apparently cheaper than boarding.
posted by box 02 June | 08:56
That's a lot. My last sitter charged $15/day for one visit.
posted by Miko 02 June | 09:23
box, that is way out of the range of normal for someone who stops by once a day to take care of one pet. Weren't you staying there overnight or something?

I am paying this guy $20/day, and he says he will probably be there for an hour each time he comes.

posted by amro 02 June | 10:02
Yeah, I was staying there overnight. Which, when you put it that way, maybe it's not such a huge number. Ah, heck, negotiating is complicated.
posted by box 02 June | 10:11
The other thing is that even twenty bucks a day adds up quick. You're going to be gone for, what, eight or nine days or something?
posted by box 02 June | 10:18
Seven days, and he's only coming every other day. But he could theoretically be visiting cats all day long making $20/hour cash. Not a bad living for a high school kid.
posted by amro 02 June | 10:34
If I could visit cats for $20/hour all day long, I might quit my job.
posted by box 02 June | 11:10
Oh, well, overnight, $40, sure. That's more in the "housesitting" category for me. When I used to housesit about 10-15 years ago, I was getting $25 a day-ish. And housesitting definitely includes getting the mail, taking in the newspaper, putting out the trash, walking and feeding animals, and whatever other basic chores keep the place presentable and occupied-looking. $40 is totally reasonable if you're living in.
posted by Miko 02 June | 11:16
He charges $25/visit apparently, not $20. His mom (my cat's groomer) had told me she thought it was $20. So I didn't feel bad asking him to take in the mail.
posted by amro 03 June | 07:06
He's overcharging.
posted by knile 05 June | 07:34
Hard songs || Movies our parents suffered through on our behalves