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A rebuffed reader reports:

Last week we had some new neighbors move in across the street and a few houses down.  My husband and I put together a small basket, like we have for every new neighbor, consisting of a box cutter, a small bottle of glass cleaner, paper towels, a roll of toilet paper, a large garbage bad, a box of salt (traditional housewarming gift), a bottle of wine, a corkscrew and small bags of various snacks…all nods to things you need when you first move in.  

We knocked on the door, and when they answered we held out the basket and said “Welcome to the neighborhood!”

The just stared at us.  Then they asked where we lived and we told them, and they said “That’s barely neighbors.”  Then they looked at the basket and said they don’t drink.  We were so taken aback, we just said “Sorry,” and walked back home.  What in the world is wrong with people?  What should we have done?


Drank the wine.

That’s all there is for it.  Assuming the snacks are non-perishable, you can replace the bottle of wine for when the next set of neighbors come and hand it over then.  Put it in a plastic bag in the closet so it doesn’t get dusty.

And don’t let them put you off doing that for someone else next time you have neighbors.  Maybe they’re deeply suspicious people.  Maybe they’re on the run from the law.  Oh, or maybe they’re in the Witness Protection Program.  Whatever it is, and no matter how offensive their behavior was, always smile when you see them, wave if you are in the car, and send them a gift subscription to Wine Spectator or something like that at Christmastime.

They always run specials on magazines around the holidays.


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