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Dear Urban Diplomat: what should I do with my back-seat cab-driving boyfriend?

Dear Urban Diplomat,

Every time I take a cab with my boyfriend, he guides our driver using the Waze app, which plots out the fastest route based on real-time traffic updates. He shouts, “Left here! Now right!” and so on, not unlike an English lord addressing his valet, and it makes me extremely uncomfortable. Do passengers have the right to undermine a cabbie with an app?

—Not-So-Set in My Waze, King West

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Dear Urban Diplomat: should I worry about my daycare worker’s outburst?

Dear Urban Diplomat,

Our experience with the staff at my son’s daycare has been very positive. But recently, I went to pick him up during nap time, quietly opened the door and saw one of the caregivers angrily bark, “GO TO SLEEP!” at another toddler. Then she saw me and put on a happy face. This woman has always been super-nice to our family, but I’m alarmed that she’d get so visibly enraged on the job. Should I report her to the higher-ups?

—Toddler Tattler, Brampton

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Dear Urban Diplomat: what should I do after accidentally sexting a co-worker?

Dear Urban Diplomat,

Due to an iPhone autofill snafu, I accidentally sent a sexually explicit text message to a co-worker with the same first name as my intended recipient. I didn’t even realize what I had done for a couple of days, but she never replied. I’ve seen her since and she hasn’t said anything, and HR hasn’t forced me into sensitivity training. A week has passed—should I apologize or pretend it never happened?

—Sextual Deviant, location withheld

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Dear Urban Diplomat: should I have to pay for my neighbour’s tree maintenance?

cut tree branch

(Image: martinak15/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,

There’s a huge maple tree in the backyard next to mine. Its branches spread over my yard, where they get tangled in my clothesline and block all the sun from my herb garden. When I kindly asked the owner to trim the offending branches, he said fine, hired a pro to do it and then dropped a $400 invoice in my mailbox! I shouldn’t pay, should I?

—Branch Manager, Leaside

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Dear Urban Diplomat: do I have to keep paying for my seat at a café?

Latte and laptop

(Image: Steve Harris/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,

At my local café, earbud-sporting caffeine junkies on laptops (of which I’m one) are as much a part of the ambiance as the Alabama Shakes album on repeat. So I was shocked the other day when, three hours into my stay, a server snarkily asked if I’d like to buy something—anything—besides my flat white. Am I a jerk if I don’t drop a king’s ransom on a steel-cut oatmeal muffin every 10 minutes to keep my seat?

—Ugly Americano, West Queen West

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I stop my neighbours from covering my street with posters?

Community posters on a hydro pole

(Image: Tyler Wilson/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,

I live in a neighbourhood with an active homeowners’ association that posts notices for every imaginable picnic/lost kitten/Earth Day event on every light pole within a five-block radius. This perky brigade of community boosters makes me want to scream—I’m this close to telling them that, if they really want to save the planet, they might consider nixing the incessant postering. How can I persuade them without getting branded the neighbourhood crank?

—Anti-Poster Girl, Leslieville

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Dear Urban Diplomat: do I still have to donate to my ex-fiancée’s charity challenge?

Charitable donations box

(Image: Don DeBold/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,

My fiancée’s brother hit me up for his half-marathon charity challenge, and I agreed to donate a couple of hundred bucks. Then, just before the race, she dumped me. The last thing I want to do now is help her brother out. He did the run, and, yes, I signed the donation form, but what happens if I just don’t hand over the money? Will the charity police come after me?

—Welchers Without Borders, Oakridge

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do we keep our neighbours from hogging all the parking spots?

Dear Urban Diplomat,

Cars parked on a residential street

(Image: Chris Hunkeler/Flickr)

My wife and I live in the west end, where street parking is limited. There are two spaces in front of our house; if we don’t get one, we have to park way down the block or pay for a spot around the corner. A new couple to the neighbourhood now park one of their two cars in a way that hogs both spots, to save a place for the other. We chatted, and they said we have “too much time on our hands” if we’re monitoring their parking tactics, and that one of them often gets home late and doesn’t want to hunt for a spot. We have two young children, so parking closer helps us a lot too. Suggestions?

—Circling the Block, Hillcrest

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Dear Urban Diplomat: should I rat out my disability-scamming colleague?

(Image: Todd Petrie/Flickr)

(Image: Todd Petrie/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,

I’m a teacher struggling to find full-time work. I recently got a job at a high school, but it only lasts until the end of the school year. Meanwhile, another teacher at my school has been off work for two years with knee trouble. Recently, I saw pictures on social media of her skating. It’s infuriating that she’s collecting long-term disability while clearly faking, especially with teachers getting slammed in the media over our contract negotiations. Keep her secret, or turn her in?

High School Confidential, Danforth Village

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Dear Urban Diplomat: should we keep our kid away from his unvaccinated cousin?

(Image: NIAID/Flickr)

(Image: NIAID/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,

My wife’s sister is a hard-core anti-vaxxer. We’re expecting in three weeks, and we don’t want her 18-month-old petri dish of a daughter to come over once our son (yes, we found out the sex) arrives. In fact, we’re not so keen on having him play with her, ever. How should we break the news?
—Vax Populi, Riverside

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Dear Urban Diplomat: can I get my money back if my LCBO bag broke along with my booze?

(Image: smkybear/Flickr)

(Image: smkybear/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,

I paid for a couple of large bottles of booze at the LCBO, grabbed the paper bag, and made it as far as the parking lot before the bag broke. Both bottles smashed, and I’m out a hundred bucks. I told the clerk it was the bag’s fault, but he refused to pay up. I want my money back, since I did nothing wrong. Any ideas?
—Can’t Hold My Liquor, Little Portugal

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do we deal with a sneaky real estate agent?

(Image: Alan Cleaver/Flickr)

(Image: Alan Cleaver/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,

We just sold our semi, and our agent pulled a sneaky move. We got two bids, one higher by about $40,000. Then he lied to the leading bidder, saying the two bids were very similar, and asked if they’d go higher. They did, by $6,000, and got the house. Our agent was proud of himself, and I was ecstatic—that’s a vacation for the family—but my wife was horrified. She wants to refund the extra. Should we?
—Over Asking and Then Some, High Park

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Dear Urban Diplomat: can I hate my fellow TTC riders for not giving up seats for me and my toddler?

(Image: Andrew Currie/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,

I’m a young dad, and I take my 16-month-old son to and from daycare on the subway during rush hour. Is it wrong to get annoyed when people don’t give up a seat and I’m stuck carrying a squirming toddler for the entire 10-stop ride?

—Last Man Standing, Bloordale

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how can I convince my racist boss to hire a black sushi chef?

(Image: Ernst Moeksis/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,

I manage a Japanese restaurant, and I recently interviewed a sushi chef who is insanely talented and happens to be black. Unfortunately, the owner has said that our predominantly Asian customers would never buy sushi from someone who’s black. He says he’s not being racist, just realistic. What’s the best way to get him to give in? Shame? Logic? Subpoena? Or should I relent?

—Hire Ground, Richmond Hill

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Dear Urban Diplomat: can I disobey the demands of sidewalk-hogging TV crews?

Dear Urban Diplomat: what can I do about dictatorial TV crews?

(Image: Alan Daly/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,

I work near Victoria and Adelaide, which is almost always occupied by TV crews. I can’t go anywhere without some dictatorial, floppy tuque–wearing third assistant in a headset ordering me to stop—walking, talking, laughing—lest his shoot be interrupted. What would or could he do if I just ignored him and walked right on through?

—Scene Disturber, Downtown

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