Ask Amy

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 11:45pm

DEAR AMY: A furniture dispute is turning an old friendship upside-down.

During a frenzied 500-mile move for a job, I agreed to lend a sofa to a friend and her roommates.

I was moving to temporary housing, and they worked for a political campaign making very little pay. The couch would allow them extra sleeping space for campaign workers stopping through, and would save me some storage costs. I expected them to take good care of it.

Now that I am moving into a permanent apartment with space for the sofa, I discovered that the household cat has destroyed the couch.

Quotes to repair the sofa came back well above the total cost I paid for it new, so the only option is to replace the couch. This specific couch was purchased as part of a set.

I requested that the roommate pay me full price to replace the couch, but she is objecting, saying that she could buy a couch for half the cost on Craigslist. She is only willing to pay for half of the value of the sofa.

She doesn't seem to understand that it is part of a set and was in, at worst, "like new" condition.

I don't see how I should have to pay for her irresponsible pet ownership when I was doing them a favor to begin with!

I don't want to ruin my relationship with my friend over a petty matter. Or am I being petty?

Can't I get my couch replaced?

— Sofa-less in D.C.

DEAR SOFA-LESS: You aren't fully acknowledging that you parked this couch with your friends during a time when your alternative was to pay to ship and store it while you were in temporary housing and then have it transported again to your new apartment.

You lent the sofa to them with the understanding that it would be used as a crash couch; your expectations about the wear and tear on this piece of furniture should have been realistic.

All the same, they definitely owe you money.

They do not owe you full price of a couch, however. Couches, like new cars, start depreciating as soon as you push them off the lot.

I agree that paying you half the retail price for this couch is reasonable. You should use the money to have a slipcover made for the couch and its matching chair.


DEAR AMY: I am a retired man in my early 80s. My wife passed away last year, and I moved into a senior living residence so I would have some company.

Although I am an "older adult," I still play tennis and keep myself in good shape.

Amy, there are a number of women in my new home who seem to be single and are quite aggressive about finding a man.

Several have invited me over for drinks and dinner, and later suggested that I spend the night.

Now, I have nothing against pretty women and I enjoy their company. However, I just don't want to get into a relationship at this time.

How do I let them know I'm not interested in a serious relationship without hurting their feelings?

— Not Looking

DEAR NOT: Based on your story and other tales I'm hearing from the world of senior housing, I've come to the conclusion that the older generation really puts the "living" into "assisted living."

You may be misinterpreting the motives of the women at your complex.

Just because they come on to you and invite you to spend the night, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are looking for a serious relationship. You will learn this as you go.

If this sort of arrangement isn't to your liking (and it obviously isn't), you should respond with a version of, "Dottie, you're a dear and the casserole was wonderful, but I'm only looking for tennis partners."


DEAR AMY: A woman wrote in, wondering if she could cash in on a lost wedding check — after the marriage ended.

Where I come from, it's called "chutzpah!"

A belated apology and thank-you note for the wedding check is all that's appropriate here.

Losing the check is the bride's fault and she can kiss that money goodbye.

She doesn't deserve — and shouldn't expect — to collect on it.

— Rosanne

DEAR ROSANNE: I agree with you that this bride certainly has a lot of nerve, but chutzpah sometimes nets a tidy profit.

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Filed under: Lifestyles