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AIBU to never have this workman back for any other jobs because he let himself into my home silently when I was actually in?

(35 Posts)
MargeSimpson Sun 30-Jun-13 17:00:35

I am still reeling from this incident on Friday and wondered how other would have reacted:
We are having a bedroom re-plastered and decorated by a painter and decorator, Mark, who was recommended to us. As there are various coats that have to dry, he has been coming and going between our house and his other jobs. I work part time and gave him a key on Tuesday as I work Wednesday and Thursday, so he could let himself in when I was at work. On Friday I was having coffee at home with a friend. Both our cars were on the drive. Mid-morning I stayed in the siting room whilst she went to the loo and as she came out of the bathroom she screamed because Mark was standing outside. Obviously this gave her a terrible shock. I ran upstairs. Mark had let himself in without ringing the door bell or shouting out hello, and walked quietly upstairs.

I was aghast and said to him "Why didn't you ring the bell, you've given us a fright?"
He replied crossly"Well that's why you gave me a key.... ok -I'll go and ring it now!"
He started to go downstairs!
Seething at this, I said as calmly as I could" You don't have to ring the bell now, but please ring the bell next time you come, in case someone is in"
He then said petulantly " Well I'll give you your key back then"
I said "No, I want you to finish the job but I would prefer to know who is in the house. You could have caught me naked or in an embarrassing situation, didn't you see the cars outside?"
Mark"No I didn't look!, none of my other clients mind if I let myself in"
Me " Well. I do so please don't give me any more scares"

(NB he must have seen the cars as he has been parking on the drive but had to park on the road on Friday)

My friend was horrified and said she thought he was very rude.
Anyway he stayed and did the paint priming. I took him up a cup of tea about half an hour later when we had a normal conversation about paint colours.
Hopefully he will finish in the next couple of days, so I shall get the key back and have vowed never to have him back. My husband think I am over reacting.

Innacorner Mon 01-Jul-13 07:50:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lovelygoldboots Mon 01-Jul-13 07:07:47

Ffs, you gave him the bloody key! There was a thread on here not long ago where everyone decided the op was nbu because she had not answered the door to an electrician who had rung the bell when he had the key. Trades just want to get on with the bloody job. YABVU. And making a fuss about nothing.

happyoverhere Mon 01-Jul-13 07:07:18

It really upset me and has haunted me for the last 2 days as I felt, and still feel so vulnerable.

You ARE over-reacting, YOU gave HIM a key! If he had broken in then its a different matter but by giving him a key you have given him free access to your home. Silly girl!

GilmoursPillow Mon 01-Jul-13 06:51:36

I sort of snorted a bit at his comment of going back down to knock blush

I think he was inconsiderate but I doubt there was any malice in it and he was probably scratching his head thinking 'WTF just happened" in his oblivion.

lottiegarbanzo Mon 01-Jul-13 05:59:22

My experience with builders is the opposite, always knocking to let me know they were there and asking if it's ok to come in and use the toilet when I've already shown them where things are and would rather they just got on with it.

I think most tradespeople are keen to be visible and wary of awkward situations. He sounds socially inept at least. His reaction was rude and odd. It's just not a good idea to argue with your client.

He seems not to have understood 'key for the days I'm not here', had you stated that clearly? But no, don't use someone you're not comfortable with.

TinaSurrey Mon 01-Jul-13 05:57:42

I always wonder with window cleaners what is "normal" - the first I ever know of ours arriving is when I hear a noise and then realise he's there half way through cleaning a window. I don't know in advance when he's coming and he doesn't knock first to warn me.

With regards to the decorator YANBU because whilst he may genuinely have thought it was appropriate not to disturb you and your friend his reaction to you speaking to him about it was rude and sarcastic.

Swallowingmywords Mon 01-Jul-13 05:50:19

Ha ha, yes it really has the language of a badly written novel.
I clearly don't have the same level of outrage as the OP, when we moved to a new village our lovely new neighbour came over unannounced (it was one of those places where people just walk in) and came across me naked. He was gorgeous, I just don't think it was really appropriate for the many children he had with him!

TheRealFellatio Mon 01-Jul-13 05:35:49

Why on earth are some of you so suspicious and accusing the oOP of writing a book? confused there is nothing remotely unbelievable or sensationalist about this event.

OP, I think he was in the wrong to just walk in without knocking - common sense would have told him he should try knocking first, especially as he could hardly have missed the two cars on the drive.

But perhaps in hindsight you should have had that conversation with him at the point you gave him the key, and explained that it was a just in case' measure, leaving no room for awkward misunderstandings.

I have had a very similar thing happen to me, BTW, a couple of times, and I have thought it was rude and inappropriate.

JessieMcJessie Mon 01-Jul-13 05:26:43

Get a grip.

ReadytoOrderSir Mon 01-Jul-13 01:22:45

I read the descriptions of him and his actions and wondered whether he was on the autistic spectrum? To take your instructions so literally just strikes a chord.

megsmouse Sun 30-Jun-13 23:24:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Sun 30-Jun-13 23:06:57

MN is a weird place at times.

YANBU what he did was weird and his reaction to being called on it even more weird. I would have taken his key off him and told him to take his stuff with him - he's creepy.

That coming from someone who has had a lot of workmen in and out and doesn't mind them having a key - at all.

If you are writing a book - make it a good one smile

Pilgit Sun 30-Jun-13 23:00:54

Yanbu. I don't let myself in to my mothers house if I know or suspect she'll be in. Letting himself in is one thing that could be forgivable but not letting you know he was there -totally inappropriate!

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 30-Jun-13 21:45:43

"AIBU to never have this workman back for any other jobs because he let himself into my home silently when I was actually in?"
YABU for that reason - if he is used to letting himself in to various houses, it was just a lack of thought on his part.

BUT - I wouldn't have him back because of his churlish response to you saying he'd given you and your friend a fright ("He replied crossly "Well that's why you gave me a key.... ok -I'll go and ring it now!" He started to go downstairs!") So YANBU to not use someone who has been rude to you.

BackforGood Sun 30-Jun-13 21:29:33

It really upset me and has haunted me for the last 2 days as I felt, and still feel so vulnerable. I can assure you i have never had any inclination to write a book!


What a complete over reaction.
I give two or three people who I've know for years, and who do jobs around my house my key - oddly enough, to let themselves in.... why else would you give them a key ? confused
If he's not someone you are completely comfortable having in your home, then don't give him a key.
YABVU to be so rude to him, and I don't know about you not employing him, I think if I were him I probably wouldn't accept work from you!

lustybusty Sun 30-Jun-13 21:24:13

I think YANBU. A little OTT, maybe, but not U.
When I visit my mum (I lived in the house with her for a year, but I don't see it as "my" house iyswim?) I call her and let her know roughly what time ill be there (I live 250 miles away). I then call her when I'm 10 mins away (so she can put kettle on grin) and unless I know she's in bed, I arrive, put the key in the lock whilst ringing the doorbell and shout hello... I can't imagine doing less for a stranger!

HotCrossPun Sun 30-Jun-13 20:41:40

OP loves an adjective grin

Swerving Sun 30-Jun-13 20:36:02

My work takes me into peoples homes. I would always ring the doorbell first anyway if I had a key to let myself in.

When I am there and the owner is there I always clip my bunch of keys onto my jeans so that they jangle whenever I move so that they know where I am in their house.

I do think it is well out of order for him to not have made his presence known. But if you were told he was a bit odd like that then try to accept that it is just his way. If you are uncomfortable then do not use him again. Go by your gut instincts every time.

zoobaby Sun 30-Jun-13 20:08:36

The letting himself in is not so bad. The not shouting out is inconsiderate (I would do this even if expecting a property to be vacant, courtesy just in case). But the smart-arse sarcasm of going back down to knock... Grr!

yegodsandlittlefishes Sun 30-Jun-13 20:02:10

No, I wouldn't judge him on this, but I would have another word when I'd calmed down and friend is gone, and say there seems to be some cross wires, and calmly say what I expect. I'd ask if he would be able to do this, and if he gave the impression that he's not bothered, I'd ask for the key back and say that he would have to work when I am available to let him in, and his other jobs would have to fit around mine, not the other way around!

I've had a whole stream of men working in my house fixing things lately, and on the whole, the only one I wouldn't ever invite back for more work was one for the workers' mates, who was just standing around chatting and doing no work and had no reason for being there. He completely ignored me as much as he could and when I asked him pointedly if he was staying and did he want a cup of tea, he couldn't even manage to be friendly, and just said no and pushed past me through the door! If I ever need an electrician, I'd do without electricity altogether sooner than allow him to set foot back in my house!(Yes, he turned up again, unannounced again, the next day, I found him standing in the doorway to the kitchen, in my way... After that I said everyone arriving had to ring the doorbell and speak to me first, as it's not a building site - and even if it were, I'm the owner and I outrank the site manager. No non-workers on site! grin )

maras2 Sun 30-Jun-13 20:01:19

Sounds like an intro to a bad porn movie.Sorry that you're upset OP but sheesh get a grip.

Beatrixpotty Sun 30-Jun-13 19:58:34

I've got builders at the moment,they do have a key and nearly always ring the bell before letting themselves in.I didn't ask them to do that and actually don't care if they don't as they are working in the basement where I don't go.But ringing the bell for these builders is obviously common practice and not an unreasonable expectation so I
can see why you are upset.
I expect if you had asked him to ring the bell before using the key he would have done.
Next time just lay out the rules at the beginning.
Some tradesmen are really professional about everything but I've also had ones who do things I don't like eg using & leaving dirty 20 mugs,sprinkling sugar all over the kitchen and leaving it like that for me to clear up once I came back from holiday.
I didn't think anyone would do that so I hadn't told them not to,but sometimes you have to point out what you think is obvious.

mycatoscar Sun 30-Jun-13 19:40:33


I use a dog walker who has a key to my house. One day I'd stayed home with sick dd and forgot to warn her I was there, she noticed the car and lights and shouted hello loudly when she came in.

He wasn't wrong to use the key but should have called out to check you knew he was there.

Littlefish Sun 30-Jun-13 19:39:12

I think you are completely over reacting. You gave him a key and he used it.

aldiwhore Sun 30-Jun-13 19:34:46

You actually feel haunted by this?

You should not be giving a key to anyone in that case.

In future I guess you could, when handing over keys, say "I don't know when I'm going to be in or out, so do us a favour, just shout hello when you come in, I am liable to beat unexpected guests round the head with a saucepan" Then smile.

Lesson learned, no big deal, he was a bit sarcastic, you spoke to him aghast probably a little too school m'am to be reasonable.

If someone is described to you as "slightly odd but does a good job" I'd probably hire him (I like odd people) but I wouldn't be giving him a key, or I'd make sure I was out and my knicker draw locked.

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