apologetic neighborly gift
November 6, 2011 11:10 AM   Subscribe

I accidentally neglected to pick up my dog's poop in a shared yard, which my neighbor subsequently stepped in and got on their porch! I am mortified. In addition to assuring them that it will never happen again, I want to offer an apologetic gift. What would be appropriate in this situation? Flowers? Food? Help!
posted by shotgunbooty to Pets & Animals (19 answers total)
First off, kudos to you for caring. I wish my neighbors did. Just letting them know that it really is a big deal to you is huge.

Cyclamens are out now. For under $5.00 you can give them a beautiful, flowering potted plant. They are even sold at some grocery stores this time of year.
posted by myselfasme at 11:18 AM on November 6, 2011

honestly, i wouldn't even worry about it this much. it's incredibly kind of you, but a gift is very unnecessary based on the circumstances. in fact, it can come across as awkward. instead, apologize in person which you already intend on doing. your neighbour will be appreciative of your honesty and then you two will probably laugh at the situation itself. then, promise your neighbour that you'll get a pooper scooper.
posted by sincerely-s at 11:18 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'd recommend a bottle of wine (unless there's reason to think they don't drink). Maybe one with a dog on the label?
posted by argonauta at 11:20 AM on November 6, 2011 [11 favorites]

Maybe a little plate of homemade cookies? I also think myselfasme's idea of cyclamens or artonauta's idea of wine would be lovely. Any kind of small gift, that doesn't look like you went to disproportionate effort, would be a lovely gesture. Really, the most important thing is that you have acknowledged the problem and will take care about it not happening again - you've shown you are a responsible dog owner and a good neighbor, and I wish more people were like you.
posted by asynchronous at 11:37 AM on November 6, 2011

Look, all things considered, people do not want to be reminded of stepping in dog shit and tracking it around. So flowers? Ugh. Bottle of wine with dog on it? Ugh.

Why not gift certificates to a local bookstore or a movie theater or Starbucks of something. By the time they get around to using them, they will have most likely forgotten about stepping in dog turds.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:39 AM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]

Baked goods. Not brownies.
posted by miyabo at 11:55 AM on November 6, 2011 [14 favorites]

I don't see anything wrong with a small gift. It's not like they aren't going to be reminded of stepping in dog turds every time they step on their porch, see your dog, or perhaps even look out their window into your shared yard. It's just dog poop, not nuclear waste. (But I am a dog owner who picks up poop on a daily basis. Maybe folks who've never had a dog or changed a diaper will be more skeeved out.)

Anyway, if it hasn't already been taken care of, you could offer to rinse off their porch for them. Maybe use some kind of disinfectant (even just vinegar.) And then a plate of cookies or anything small would be a nice gesture.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 12:03 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

how about an award for being such a good neighbor? ;)
posted by sexyrobot at 12:05 PM on November 6, 2011

I like the idea of a coffee gift card. Buying someone a coffee is just super nice, and really much more casual than wine/flowers, or homemade baked goods. And this seems like a pretty minor offense, so a very casual gift with a sincere apology should do the trick nicely.
posted by emilycardigan at 12:08 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Shoe Cleaner, a note and a the gift card idea noted above.
posted by lampshade at 12:16 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't give someone a living plant unless you know they enjoy tending to plants. A bottle of wine (if they drink wine) or a small box of chocolates should do the trick here.
posted by yoink at 12:27 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

I agree with Yoink, plants = responsibility and not everybody is down for that. A bottle of wine is a standard token gift. Doesn't really matter if they drink or not, if they don't then presumably they'll eventually have guests over or a party to go to and they'll just happily regift it. Chocolates are safer, but I think most people would prefer the wine.

Either way you don't have to go whole hog here, an apology is really all that is necessary. A gift of any sort would really take things to the next level and really make your neighbor think well of you, I imagine. Which of course is a very desirable outcome for this situation.
posted by Scientist at 12:43 PM on November 6, 2011

I vote for an experience gift, if anything. Maybe a small fall wreath if they seem into that kind of thing.
posted by rhizome at 1:19 PM on November 6, 2011

I think an apology and letting them know it won't happen again (and cleaning their porch if it's still soiled) is enough. It's just dog poop. It happens and I don't think it's that big of a deal. (Unless this has happened before, or your neighbors are extremely pissed about this. Or it was a LOT of poop on something that would need powerwashing or something special to clean.)

Or upon further consideration, you could offer to take them to coffee or something sometime when you go over to apologise. Which is a nice mea culpa/neighborly gesture that they don't have to accept but still shows that you both apologetic and a cool human being.

(for the record I would be a little weirded out by a gift. but maybe it's just me.)
posted by sm1tten at 1:52 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I definitely wouldn't spend more than like $10 tops, otherwise it's overdoing it. I like the idea of a nice-smelling plant (if they are plant people) or flowers along with some mild hilarity (if they would think this was amusing) about providing something nice-smelling after their stinky experience courtesy of your dog. I like the shoe cleaner thing too.
posted by pupstocks at 1:57 PM on November 6, 2011

posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:27 PM on November 6, 2011

A thank-you card is sufficient to convey your feelings in an elegant and convincing manner.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:21 PM on November 6, 2011

OP, I'm not trying to make you feel worse, I think your reaction to this is awesome and totally right, and y'know, shit happens. However, to everyone saying you've done enough already, or it's no big deal - as a non-dog person, I would absolutely find this a big deal and also completely disgusting.

Bottle of wine, chocolates, or really nice store-bought baked goods (just on a gut level I would prefer something sealed), it really is the thought that counts. It doesn't need to be big, but don't make it a joke present either (like the wine with the dog on the label).
posted by crabintheocean at 5:41 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

This sounds like a greeting card emergency to me. (Custom-made greeting cards for unusual situations, discussed here previously on the blue).
posted by yawper at 8:45 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

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