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Redditor Called Out For Sending Joke Ransom Note After Accidentally Stealing Neighbor’s Trash Can

A person throws a bag of garbage away
Nattapong Wongloungud / EyeEm/GettyImages

Being a good neighbor is not easy.

And everyone’s idea of comedy is not universal.

So maybe thinking about how to deal with neighbors is more dramatic than we thought.

Case in point…

Redditor OhSh*tIdid wanted to discuss their experience and get some feedback. So naturally, they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for sending my neighbor a ransom note?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“A couple weeks ago, my next-door neighbor left a note in my mailbox.”

“Apparently, our trash carts were mixed up and he wanted his back.”

“Which is fine.”

“But he wasn’t exactly polite.”

“The note read:”

“‘You have my trash cart. The city assigns everyone a specific trash cart for a reason. I expect it returned in good condition.'”

“For reference, my neighbor is older.”

“Probably in his 70s.”

Things weren’t always so tense.

“We got along fine when we moved in.”

“We saw him and his wife almost every day.”

“We would say hi and chat, and they always got our son something for his birthday.”

“Things kind of went south about two years ago.”

“Our house was built in the early 90s and was starting to look its age.”

“We did new stucco, windows, and doors.”

“So now we have what looks like a new, contemporary home next to their home, which now looks worse than it did by comparison.”

“I think this bothered them.”

“Before the remodel, they would come out and say hi just about every time they saw us.”

“After the remodel, the only time we spoke was when they happened to be coming or going at the same time.”

“Maybe once a month, if that.”

The OP got back to trash talk.

“So, back to the story.”

“After getting his note, I made a ransom note.”

“I cut letters and words out of my wife’s magazines to write this:”

“‘I have your trash cart.'”

“‘If you want to see it alive again, you’ll do exactly as I say. Meet me at the arroyo bridge at midnight.'”

“‘No funny business.'”

‘”If I so much as smell a cop, you’ll find your cart floating in the river.'”

“‘– Anonymous…'”

“I thought it was funny.”

“I thought he might even think it was funny.”

“But the next day, when I was leaving for the gym, he comes out and says, ‘You’re a real a**hole, you know.'”

“I was a little surprised, so I laughed.”

“Which I think made him madder.”

“I just replied, ‘Sorry, man. Just making a joke. Let me get your trash can.'”

“They’re identical, as best I can tell. But apparently, he was pretty attached to his.”

“So AITA?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Reddit had mixed reactions to the ransom note.

“NTA. I think it’s funny AF.”

“However, you should know that the Venn diagram of things I think are funny and things that are in poor taste is just one big circle.” ~ IAmHerdingCatz

“Maybe he was actually pissed because he waited for hours at the Arroyo Bridge at midnight, and you never showed. NTA.” ~ LookAwayPlease510

“YTA-A creative, thoughtful, and clever a**hole.” ~ Dicecoldkilla

“This is it.”

“OP knows their neighbor isn’t very friendly anymore, so the chance they would think it’s funny is very low.”

“Having a neighbor that all a sudden turned on me and called me a psycho because it took me a while to be able to let their Comcast guy into my backyard, I understand OP’s scenario.”

“I tried the levity, and it didn’t work.”

“OP is TA, but if I was OP’s neighbor, I’d be bin-napping their recycling canister as retaliation.” ~ Flukie42

“Maybe the neighbors became less friendly because OP kept doing weird pranks on them.”

“I used to talk to my neighbors a lot when I moved in, but it’s lessened.”

“I think it’s weird to antagonize (and plans to do it further from the comments) because you think they’re mad about a remodel.”

“OP says himself that they still greet him.”

“Also, taking someone’s trash can is annoying. The times it’s happened to my family is because we clean ours and keep it in good condition.”

“As a kid, we’d see our trash can at another neighbor’s house until my mum put ugly paint on it.”  ~ Medium_Sense4354

“I would like to throw out something else.”

“Your neighbors are getting to the age where dementia could set in.”

“My mom has dementia and is very grumpy and would look at her neighbors in a distrusting way.”

“Loss of humor and more black and white thinking.”

“There are a lot of steps to remembering the flow of things as we age, so maybe they have to work to remember the bin numbers.”

“They may work to remember what ones are theirs and when to bring them in.”

“Totally unrelated, but I was friendly with someone, and then they started declining my invites.”

“I was hurt.”

“It turns out they have an alcohol issue, and my invites were always to go to a local bar with people for Happy Hour.”

“I actually do not drink that much, but Happy Hour to me is more about the time of day than the alcohol.”

“So I misinterpreted where they were coming from.”

“Your neighbors could be rude because of the updates you did on your house, or they could be getting elderly.”

“Also, if they had Covid it is also possible that increased the aging process for them.”

“I think if they were a bit younger, the joke would be hysterical.” ~ Competitive_Sleep_21

“Soft YTA – Your note was funny, but I think you should apologize for the note.”

“Explain it was a joke and then ask why his behavior changed like an adult.”

“Also, I think it would be nice to ask him if he would be interested in getting a new trash can from the city and then help make it happen (but only if he wants to).”

“Try to make amends and maybe visit them once in a while, even if it’s just to give some conversation. Getting old sucks, and it’s hard and can be frustrating when you can’t do certain things anymore etc.”

“Old people get bored and lonely, and they like having some company over even for just a little bit.”

“It breaks the routine in tiny bits that add up for them.” ~ EconomyFalcon1170

“Light YTA.”

“Seems pretty clear from the situation that you described that your neighbor would not find this funny.”

“If you’re intention was to annoy him further, mission accomplished.”

“If your intention was to extend an olive branch via humor, you simply failed to read the room.”

“Return the cart in pristine condition.”

“Write a simple apology. Move on.” ~ sundayismyjam

“Has no one else in the comment section ever made a ransom note or word collage as an art project or something?”

“This would have been SO MUCH WORK.”

“A completely implausible amount of work.”

“OP, are you seriously trying to claim that you sat down and spent hours of your life very carefully and laboriously cutting some combination of ~50 words or ~200 letters out of your wife’s magazines, ruining the expensive magazines in the process?”

“And then painstakingly, slowly, carefully glued every single one of those 50-200 easily ripped, easily smeared, easily lost teeny tiny scraps of paper onto another page to spell out that giant letter of DOZENS of words or HUNDREDS of characters?”

“If you actually did this incredibly stupid and unlikely and almost certainly made-up thing instead of just giving your neighbor his trash can back, then yes. YTA.” ~ ingeniousmachine

“YTA. Dude sent a pretty standard note, nothing blatantly rude but not berating you either.”

“Was just straightforward and to the point.”

“This isn’t a customer service interaction.”

“The dude just wants his stuff back, undamaged.”

“Which is, surely, fair enough.”

“Rather than just going, well, fair enough, and giving him his stuff back, you send a pithy, smart-arse response back just to amuse yourself.”

“Read the room.”

“Totally unnecessary.”

“Life can be stressful enough without trying to turn an honest mistake into a comedy routine.” ~ HappySisyphus8

“YTA. Basically, because you acknowledged that you knew he didn’t like you guys after your remodel.”

“Not saying it’s justified.”

“But you were aware of it.”

“So why did you think that you were buddy-buddy enough to make a ransom note joke, especially after his tense note?”

“And then surprised that he’s even more annoyed?” ~ Lithogiraffe

“NAH. Trash bins get accidentally swapped all the time.”

“The amount of people who have the original bin assigned to their house is probably closer to 0% than 100%.”

“The joke was funny. If I was your neighbor, I would’ve laughed and continued it on, but I’m not your neighbor.”

“You don’t have a jokey, friendly relationship with your neighbor, so I can understand that he didn’t find it funny or appropriate.”

“There are a lot of older people, especially those part of the ‘silent generation’ who don’t find this type of humor funny and who just wanna follow the rules to a T, even to the point of wanting ‘their’ trash bin back as that’s the ‘rule.'”

“All you can do is apologize and continue to be friendly.” ~ OkPiano8466

Well, OP, Reddit is all over the map with your decision.

Sometimes causing drama with the neighbors is more exhausting than breathing.

Ransom notes may not be the best choice.

Good luck.