Some people like to pay for specific services, others like to do things themselves.
If you did not ask for a service, or if someone made a big mistake, people should not expect you to pay.
Redditor m0w3d0v3r encountered this very issue with their neighbors. So they turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for not paying the man who mowed my yard?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“(Names and addresses have been changed)”
“Saturday morning at 9:30 AM, I woke up to the sound of suspiciously close mowing, wondered what kind of monsters the neighbors to my right must be to mow so early (our houses are so close they almost touch), and promptly fell back asleep.”
“I got up again at 11 to go run some errands, and they were still making yard work noises, so I peeked out to see what was going on and there was a man in my yard, weedwacking! I rushed to get dressed, texted my mom to ask her what to do, and within five minutes got her answer: go thank them and ask why they’re there.”
“After a few minutes of confusion, we realize he has been doing the wrong yard for my neighbor Eileen (who I haven’t met yet).”
OP’s neighbor would have to pay for the service.
“The price he’d quoted her was $100. I didn’t have any money to offer him, so I offered him a bottle of water.”
“He apologized for being in my yard (it is gated, but the latch was broken, hence how he was able to get in) and loaded up his truck. With his last load of stuff in hand, he yelled at me. ‘I’m just amazed by how with all your ‘No Soliciting’ and ‘Beware of Dog’ signs you couldn’t come out and get me sooner.'”
“I apologize and tell him I was asleep. And then he tacks on, ‘and you didn’t even offer to pay me either!'”
“At this point, I’m a bit confused.”
“Am I supposed to have paid him? I didn’t order his services and I didn’t knowingly let him do my yard.”
OP asked others for help.
“But I also didn’t have anything to offer him. I consulted my parents and a couple friends and they said I was right not to pay him, that it could have been a scam, and to check with Eileen as soon as I can.”
“There are no cars in Eileen’s driveway until roughly 2:30 PM. I run out to greet her and before I can confirm that she’s Eileen, she says, ‘I see that my lawn guy did your yard instead of mine. Why didn’t you stop him?’ The following conversation ensues, it repeats itself several times, I’ve cut it down to one iteration:”
“Me: I was asleep.”
“Eileen: And you didn’t offer to pay him?”
“Me: No, I couldn’t afford to. I just moved here and I had to pay rent for April and May before my first paycheck gets here, as well as a deposit, car payments, groceries, other bills… I wasn’t expecting this and I didn’t order it, so I didn’t budget for it.”
“Eileen: Right, but like… you didn’t even offer to pay for it.”
“Me: correct, because I can’t afford it. If he’s hurting for money, I will be glad to pay him for his work in May, when I get paid.”
“Eileen: It’s just that you didn’t even offer. And you didn’t stop him from rendering services either. We’ll leave it at that.”
Other people could’ve stopped him.