Helping yourself to a better value if a sit is harder than expected

I wonder whether it would be okay if I did not replace eaten food or drunk wine as I usually do, and perhaps cut down a bit on my usual house-cleaning thoroughness before leaving, if a sit turns out much more demanding than originally expected and the HOs themselves don’t offer any (non-financial) reward and perhaps not even a “Thank You” for your going the extra mile?

I am talking about cases where, for example, a pet requires far more care than originally expected because it gets sick or toilets indoors or has severe behavioral issues and the HO has not mentioned any of those, or where the HO did not mention a lot of additional duties until you arrived like hundreds of plants to water, or where the home was left to you without heating or hot water in freezing cold weather, etc. - and where the HO does not offer even a slight sign of gratitude for all your extra efforts.

When I leave such a sit, I don’t want to feel like they have taken unfair advantage of me, and in some cases you can tell upfront, from their communication behaviour during the sit, that they will not even bother giving you a review afterwards. What do you think? Would you reward yourself in such a case while you are still there?

Oh my goodness! If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about replacing food you’ve eaten and I would do normal cleaning. Chalk it up to experience and learn from it is my best advice. Also, please please leave a truthful review of the sit, so other sitters are aware of the situation.

Hi @Romana I can definitely understand your thoughts. And the answer may be ‘maybe’! You have to be able to live with your decision. Perhaps that might be easy: the owner wasn’t generous, so you don’t feel the need to be generous. The owner might not even know you felt this struggle, so then, good on you for standing strong and ignoring the ‘need to please’. We had 1-2 houses that were dirty. I definitely didn’t spend my usual amount of time and energy cleaning at the end. I did just enough to make sure that I feel ‘even’ about it, leaving it a bit better than they did.

Just to reiterate: because standards differ, the owners of those examples might not even be aware there are higher standards that sitters might expect. So they don’t expect anything better in return. I don’t know. It’s all very subjective. My whole life motto is: will I make the same decision again if presented with the same set of circumstances, can I live with my choices.

A very silly example is: one housesit was really lovely. In the end, we stripped the beds and did the laundry and folded it. Just before we departed, the lady texted and asked if we could make the bed if we had time. I really didn’t feel like it, and anyway, it was a guest bed. But then I realised: Look, it will take 5 minutes max. If I don’t do it, that would be the one little niggle in the back of my mind about what I could have done better (thanks voices in my head!). So I sucked it up, made the bed. And voila, I felt so much better when we left. This is of course the positive side. You’re obviously referring to the negative side.

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Hi @Romana, I am not sure if those are off the top of your head examples of what might be or the description of an actual sit? If it is the latter then I am really sorry that you have found yourself in that situation. Thankfully, it is extremely rare to be faced with such conditions.

To answer your question, I would say that we have to accept the good with the bad. Do what you normally do and leave with your head held high knowing that you have kept to your normal standards. Your not replacing food and drink & not cleaning as you normally would because they didn’t tell you the whole truth about the sit feels a bit tit-for-tat vindictive. You would not know if they were grateful for your efforts until you left anyhow.

If this is an actual sit you are describing then be sure to report it to THS whilst you are on-site and leave an honest review when you leave.


Definitely agree with @Colin. If you play the tit for tat game, you are actually being no better than the homeowners as described. Accept that not every, single sit is going to be perfect, take the good with the bad and move on.

I guess we’ve been so lucky with our sits - they’ve mostly gone well. I felt a bit used on the very first sit I did with THS and we really had to consider going forward. Luckily we did and we’ve had great experiences for eight years now. I think if I encountered a bad sit I would still do my usual cleaning, etc. and just chalk it up to a bad experience and hope that you don’t experience that again.

Hi @romana if you are describing a real sit experience then I’m sorry you’ve had to go through that- we’ve been there too and its not nice…
I think one simple way to look at it is- how much are you willing to ‘suck it up’ and ‘please’ to get your 5* review? If you don’t care about the review then you can do whatever feels best for you and risk the consequences- if any!
I can (unfortunately!) understand where you are coming from- the temptation for subtle ‘revenge’ pops up occasionally! I hate it when that happens as its not who we are- we always want to do our best! But no one wants to put in such a situation where they feel used and taken advantage of. Sometimes we’ve had to be fake happy/positive in our daily resports to hosts- for the sake of a well deserved review -rather than be honest during the sit time. After one rather challenging sit we wrote to the hosts (after the sit & after getting our review) to share- as respectfully as possible- about several unpleasant issues that had unexpectedly arisen, rather than writing negative feedback publicly. We wanted to give them the chance to apologize/explain certain things- and perhaps offer compensation (for some damage done by their dog) but they just ignored us, & eventually even told us to complain to THS! They were first timers. In the end we did not leave any feedback as the situation was too complex. But no feedback is a message to future sitters too.
However regardless of our personal feelings and whatever happens we always give the utmost love, care and attention to the pets as they are the innocents here and almost always adorable! And we always leave the home equal to or better than we found it. We always want to leave with our heads held high whatever the circumstances!


Hi @Romana,

I am very sorry to hear you’ve had this experience especially as good sitters give so much of their time, effort and love that when it goes unnoticed and even unappreciated it can leave such a bad taste in your mouth. I think though it says a lot more about the people that don’t give gratitude than it does about those of us that treat our sits with the utmost respect and care.

I would NEVER ever want one of our sitters to feel like they were taken advantage of because I too have had a sit where everything went wrong…dreadfully wrong.

Please do write a review. I truly believe that’s the only way for either HO and sitter to sort out for themselves who is a good fit. Some people just aren’t meant to be on this platform and that’s okay. I know some may advise not to write a review at all however there are a multitude of reasons why some sitters, HO’s don’t leave reviews and a good chunk of them have nothing to do with it being a bad experience. Sure, you might get a retaliatory response but I think most members would still appreciate the honesty especially if it saves them the same fate. Another result of an honest review…is maybe just maybe they hear your well thought out review and actually take the time to reflect on their behavior and choose to be better in the future.

Either way I think you should move on knowing you did the kind and generous thing and didn’t give into pettiness. Life is too short to spend your precious life minutes on people that aren’t grateful.

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I don’t understand why anyone would choose to change their own personal standard of behavior based on the behavior of another or the whims of unfortunate circumstances … I suggest either turning the other cheek or finding a new avocation … i.e. keep Trust-worthiness as a goal in your TrustedHousesitting (and leave an honest review for others to benefit from your experience!)