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2009-10-16 - 10:16 a.m.

...'the shelf'...

Following K's meeting with Landlord, I received this email from Landlady yesterday:

****

Teranika,

I understand you were quite upset regarding my note about the shelf. Please accept my sincere apologies as I was not told by either Landlord or K that Landlord had offered to take care of it. I thought that K had put it in the alley hoping that someone would want to take it. In fact, I thought for sure that someone would, but there were no takers. Many of our tenants have left things behind in our alley, offering to pay us disposal fees if they donít get picked up because itís more convenient for them, so I was operating on that principal. My request was an innocent one. Sorry it came across as petty. This is the problem with e-mail sometimes is that it lacks the human aspect of communication, which can lead to misunderstanding. Anyway, I can understand how it might have come across now. I apologized to K, but not to you. A simple phone call could have cleared it up, so I should have called to ask you/K in person instead of included it in my e-mail about the cleaning/repairs.

All I can say is, sorry!

Landlady

*****

I know that I have to respond to this email. But I'm not sure how.

This is a classic justification apology in which a person proffers an olive branch in which she apologizes for the icing on the cake, but at the same time makes it clear that she (a) doesn't really believe that what she did was wrong, and (b) demonstrates that she really just doesn't understand the big picture of why her treatment of this situation was inappropriate. She probably never will. (She didn't send an apology to K at all. She sent an even longer and more offensive justification email.)

This apology serves more as a means of reinforcing her notion that she is a kind and giving wonderful person who took the higher road and apologized. Alternatively, whenever one apologizes, there generally is some kind of face-saving rhetoric thrown in there, and so I feel a little bit of empathy for her attempt.

So what do you say in response to this? I think it's a bad idea to burn bridges, so 'Dear Landlady, *&!!%$ you and the horse you rode in on' is probably over the top. But I'm a little at a loss.

I'm thinking something very simple:

"Dear Landlady, Thanks for your email. I appreciate your taking the time to try to clear the air and explain what you meant. -- teranika"

Suggestions welcome.

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