Table talk

pamela Image
07/20/2013 - 04:04

We bought our current house almost two years ago. The ex-owners, for whom this was a second house, left quite a lot of furniture, all of it nothing special - old or plastic or mildly broken.A few weeks ago the ex-owner, 70 years old, whom we are friends with, came and asked if they could have a little table that is on the terrace. It is old, metal and heavy and perfect there due it its size and that it can be left in the wind and rain and doesn't blow away or fall over etc. The ex-owner said that it would be perfect on their terrace - which is in a house they have owned for 30 years so it is not that have a new need for a table. Our rationale was that they should have taken the table when they sold the house if they wanted it - they did take various other items.To replace the table would be about 90 euros and involve us travelling 50+ miles to get a new one. The ex-owner added that the table had been a gift from a relative who died about a year ago. We felt this was just to guilt trip us. Again if it was such a cherished table they should have taken it in the first place. Further complication is that the ex-owner comes back regularly to tend the vines he planted - not a huge amount, but significant. Our arrangement is that he gets all the produce from this and shares as much as he wants to with us. He wanted to  keep tending the vines, which he planted. As it is more his culture than ours we were happy to continue with him tending them. Prior to this table issue there have been no problems between us. We have not given them the table. The ex-owner now seems ok about this but we are not sure. When we said that we did not want to fall out over a table, he pointedly and somewhat angrily said "exactly". We also don't want to be seen as the stranieri who are easy to take for a ride. I would be interested in others peoples' comments on this. 


I couldn't agree more with the past 2 posts.  The cost of a new table and the trip involved to procure it, is nothing compared to losing his friendship.  You really aren't out any money anyway, as you would have had to purchase one initially if it hadn't been left to you. 

Actually..i'm rather suprised at the replies.Would you feel like this if you had bought this house in the UK,U.S.A.,Germany,France...etc?...if you don't care about the table...let him take it away...if you like it..keep ittoday it's the table..tomorrow maybe he'll fancy something is not a "cultural" story and if your "friendship" depends on the ease with which you can be "blackmailed".. you did yourself point out that if he liked the table why didn't he take it away when he sold you the house.We had a slightly similar situation years ago in Milano when we bought an appartment which contained a few pieces of very interesting furniture which were left.Then, a year later the previous owner had decided he'd quite like them again! we did not give him the furniture.

'Actually..i'm rather suprised at the replies.Would you feel like this if you had bought this house in the UK,U.S.A.,Germany,France...etc?..." Why would it make any difference? Petty squabbles are the same in any language.

Give him the table - I can't understand why you hesitated for a second. I would do the same in any country if the previous owner was coming to do the vines, but especially in Italy. This is rural Italy - personal relationships are everything. And you'll never have to ask him a favour - ever? Need to find some water pipes - oh, let's ask the previous owner who still lives in the area. Think about it.

As a newcomer you'll need all the help and goodwill you can get which is why I've given lifts to the elderly neighbours and brought out presents for other neighbours as I never know when i will need their help!I would give him the table perhaps making a joke out of it and asking for some of his wine/olive oil as an exchange!