update: car alarm keeps disrupting our office

Remember the letter-writer who was being constantly disrupted by a car alarm outside her office? Here’s the rather magnificent update.

Thanks so much for helping me with this. Glad to know I wasn’t the only person thinking this situation was beyond illogical.

Just a clarification of why certain actions could not be taken. I mentioned in the original letter that my boss did not want to go over and let the other employee know that her car was disruptive because of his fear it would raise tensions between us and their company. Both of our companies are having to work together to address an issue on the street and my boss thought bringing it up to her was going to cause more harm than good. This, originally, did not make sense to me, because surely just letting her know her car was a nuisance couldn’t cause any issues. However I have come to find out that they tried that path before I started, and the woman that owns the car was hostile and easily offended. She raged a war against my company and it ended up in one of those “well, if you have a problem with this, I suddenly have a problem with that” type of deal, and she was making our work difficult. With this context, I now understand why that action was not used again, especially since we have to be friendly with them to eradicate a common foe.

Some readers wondered why the alarm only bothered me. Two reasons, I am only one of three in the office and the other two wear headphones. I couldn’t just wear headphones because I answer the door and phones and was having a hard time hearing either of them with headphones on. I’m also closer to the side of the building that the car is parked, so it is significantly louder where I am than elsewhere in the office.

The day you posted my letter I spoke to my boss again, this time letting him know that the constant car alarms were causing me daily headaches, and that my clients won’t meet in our conference room, forcing me to spend company money on meetings at Starbucks (which is horrible in my business for so many different reasons) and lunches. Silly me, but I had never mentioned the headaches to him before. This caught his attention and he told me that I could start doing office work at home and that he planned to talk to the other company’s owner when he came to our office for a meeting about an unrelated issue at the end of this month. This was great because I could leave the office earlier in the day and work remotely for administrative work. However, this became a nuisance quickly because I have a specific program on my work computer that I can’t put on my laptop.

The week following your answer, I spent a lot of time being frustrated that I couldn’t work as efficiently at home as I could in my office, and grew resentful. At this point, with yours and your readers’ advice, I decided to just file a noise complaint with the city (I kicked myself in the bum for not thinking of that myself, especially since I work frequently with the city) and beg forgiveness later if it bit me in the butt later on. I was worried abut going behind my boss’ back on this, but something had to be done.

Thankfully, someone above heard my cries and blessed me with the best possible solution to my problem. While I was venting to my significant other, I mentioned that I was going to file a noise complaint to the city. The next words out of his mouth nearly made me sob with joy. “You know that the guy across the hall that moved in last month is the son of the [City]’s Chief of Police right? You should talk to him.”

Hallelujah. I immediately made him some sweets for bribing purposes and walked across the hall. We chatted and he got his father on the phone within minutes. His dad was extremely kind, and told me he would “casually drive around the neighborhood” the following Monday so we could avoid filling a formal complaint, thus keeping me entirely out of it.

Yesterday when I arrived to work, there was a police car parked in the street and the car alarm was already going off when I arrived. After about half an hour, the alarms had stopped completely and the cruiser was gone. Last night my neighbor, we shall call him Shane, said that his dad had gone by in the afternoon and was shocked at the amount of times it had gone off in just the first 10 minutes. After the fourth time, he walked to the company himself, asked to speak with the owner and told her that she either needed to remove the after market alarm she had on, or park in an area where the car would not be triggered. His dad said she originally gave him some attitude and he told her if she did not comply he would be forced to escalate the matter further, which would likely result in fines for her and possibly her company. (Funnily enough, while he was talking to her, she said the car alarm was not that obnoxious and he was exaggerating. Even though she had to turn off the car alarm numerous times during the convo.) If she does not comply, then I will actually have to file a complaint, but I will cross that bridge when we get there.

That was yesterday afternoon and today she parked across the street. We have not heard anything from her car all day. I can already feel my sanity starting to restore itself. Thank you to you and your readers for the advice and sorry for the long letter!

{ 407 comments… read them below }

    1. Also Curly Girly*

      This update just made my day! week! month! I am so happy for the OP and couldn’t believe how inconsiderate the car owner was about this. IMO, pretending that something so obvious isn’t happening, or pretending that it’s not really an issue when it is…is gaslighting to those who say it is. My heart really went out to the OP for that reason.
      My advice to others being gaslighted about whatever: don’t lose your focus. Get out when it just doesn’t stop.

  1. Cam*

    That is such a bizarre situation, but I’m glad there have been positive developments. Why would it not drive the owner insane to have the car alarm go off every few minutes?!

    1. OP*

      That is truly the one thing I don’t understand. My office is not located in the best area, and my cousin has even had her car stolen a block away, so I assume she thought the annoyance to the alarm was better than getting a new car.

        1. RJ the Newbie*

          Exactly what I was thinking. That and how OP has so much more patience than I do. I’m so happy that you were able to resolve the situation with a little help!

    2. CoveredInBees*

      The same way my super noise sensitive self could live on a street that was a major thoroughfare for public transit and emergency vehicles…you get used to it and start to tune it out.

      1. Peggy*

        But even if she can tune out the noise, she can’t tune out having to leave her desk every ten minutes to turn it off. That’s what confuses me!

          1. SignalLost*

            And not do any work. Multiple times an hour.

            I’d be very curious what her productivity is like. I do believe you can learn a lot about how people work by totally unrelated behaviour, and were I this woman’s boss, I’d be looking at her work more closely. My belief is that her productivity city doesn’t justify her salary given how much she’s dealing with the alarm.

            1. Liane*

              I don’t think Car Alarm Lady has a boss; it reads like she IS the owner. OP says the police chief talked to the owner and she said it “wasn’t that obnoxious,” she had an “attitude,” and “she had to turn off the car alarm numerous times.”

              1. Janie*

                Owner of the CAR, not of the company. LW also said, “This caught his attention and he told me that I could start doing office work at home and that he planned to talk to the other company’s owner when he came to our office for a meeting about an unrelated issue at the end of this month.”

                1. Michaela Westen*

                  It sounds like the company owner isn’t there all the time, only visiting now and then.

            2. the corner ficus*

              That was my thought as well. She’s not fixing it so she can get out of work.

        1. BadWolf*

          I guess then she knows no one has stolen it in the last 10 minutes????

          Like small children, when it gets quiet, there’s trouble!

      2. Phrunicus*

        Yeah, you can definitely get used to those sounds. In fact, in my college dorm, I was so used to it, that I actually registered when the ambulance sirens *stopped* instead of Dopplering away. It was actually almost subconsciously, like shortly after my brain went “…wait, I don’t think that last one [which I hadn’t even paid attention to in the first place] faded away, I think it stopped!”. (Sure enough, it was parked up the street.)

    3. Blunt Bunny*

      From the letter it sound like the owner is a very petty person and the fact it’s annoying other people over rules how much it bothers her.

        1. Ice and Indigo*

          But with someone really petty, it could go like this:

          1. Huh, my car alarm keeps going off. Should I do something about that?

          2. OMG other people have the NERVE to COMPLAIN about MY THING that belongs to ME! HOW DARE THEY! They are clearly criticising ME PERSONALLY!

          3. And WRONGLY! Because I’m NOT THE KIND OF PERSON who’d do an annoying thing!

          4. My car alarm isn’t annoying. It’s fine.

          And once that cycle starts, it tends to get endlessly reinforced.

      1. Artemesia*

        Some people like to inflict pain on others or make big noise. Look at the guys who like to rev their engines or ride bikes with glass packs or ‘roll coal’ — making a big fuss or mess that annoys people is a plus for people like this. She knows it bugs people and this is something she obviously enjoys.

        1. NotTheSameAaron*

          I’m wondering if this isn’t really a car alarm, but some kind of noisemaker.

    4. Strawmeatloaf*

      I don’t get it either.

      My brother’s car, I work at the same office as him, goes off randomly. It doesn’t go off much, but the few times it does within 2 honks we’re all tired of it and want it turned off immediately. He’s had it in the shop numerous times trying to figure out why it goes off randomly (at this point it could just be the wind, we don’t know) and they still haven’t been able to fix it.

      I cannot imagine that this was in no way annoying to the owner of the car. Or others in her workplace. Though for the latter I would assume they just didn’t want to deal with her (missing stair perhaps?) and for her maybe she was hard of hearing/embarrassed/lazy.

    5. Lucille2*

      I think Alison answers this question in her response to the original letter…”this is not someone who is governed by logic, so the note may make no difference.” This will never make sense to the rest of us.

    6. ThatGirl*

      My husband’s last car had some weird electrical issue that caused it the alarm to occasionally go off randomly in our driveway, and for about a week (before he had it disconnected) we were constantly on edge when we heard an alarm, afraid it would go off in the middle of the night and wake up half the neighborhood. I can’t imagine every few minutes. But, this person is clearly not ruled by logic.

    7. annab53*

      And what kind of position does the owner have where it’s fine to leave your office every two minutes? And how does HER boss let her get away with it?

    1. BeautifulVoid*

      When I saw the headline and then the words “magnificent update” underneath, I went to get a snack, because I knew this was going to be gooooood.

    1. Armchair Analyst*

      This! I physically relaxed my shoulders and jaw at the last paragraphs – I didn’t realize how much tension just the *story* caused in me and my body – so glad it worked out (finally!) for the LW!!

    1. OP*

      I actually gave him an assortment of mini cupcakes. I bake occasionally on the side and used left over batters from other order that week. He got like 24 cupcakes in 4 different flavors lmao

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        He must have been so weirded out by suddenly getting 24 awesome cupcakes and a strange person on his doorstep.

        I love it!

      2. No Mas Pantalones*

        I mean, it’s kinda beautiful that you “bribed” a police officer’s kid with baked goods. I’ve long thought cake should be a form of currency. I WANT CAKE MONEY.

        1. No Mas Pantalones*

          And having read further down, I hope you can hear the smile in my typing. If not, it’s cos I was distracted by the mention of cake, but I swear, I was smiling. A little bit of drooling too, but also smiling.

    2. A Minor Objection*

      I’m glad OP’s problem got solved.

      However, stating that “I bribed the police chief’s son with a plate of cookies and he called his father within minutes to fix the problem” is a problem in and of itself. And if, God forbid, this car alarm owner can identify herself based on your article, you’ve exposed yourself (and the police chief) to a charge of bribery, particularly since she sounds so vindictive.

      We’re not a banana republic. The availability of police services isn’t meant to hinge on the fact the police chief’s son is your neighbor.

      1. Former Employee*

        Apparently, we are a cupcake republic.

        Considering what POTUS has done to turn us into a banana republic, I am so not concerned about this OP and her treats maneuver.

        1. OP*

          There’s always someone with an issue lol I would’ve had to call the authorities regardless from what it sounds like.

          1. Meyers and Briggs are not real doctors*

            It’s not what you know but who you know. When has this ever not been true?

            1. Khlovia*

              Off-topic: I adore and support your name. They’ve been pretty thoroughly debunked, last I heard.

          2. Mel*

            The cupcakes also served as a great introduction/welcome to the building gift as well. I typically use a lot of hyperbole in my speech, so I interpreted the “bribe” as just that – a funny way to talk about doing something nice. And I’m sure the overture of friendship helped your new neighbor feel welcomed and happy to help, rather than feeling put out by a request for a favor from a complete stranger.

      2. Belle8bete*

        The LW could have called the police before, but preferred this more casual route.

      3. bookartist*

        THANK YOU.

        You stated in your original letter that you were hesitant to call the cops to come out because of the way they treat the locals – well now you owe those guys, the cops, a favor.

        1. Observer*

          Except that by doing it this way, OP kept it lower key. Here is the thing – the OP had been hesitant, but was at a point where she was definitely going to get the police involved anyway. This way there it’s low key, which means that there is nothing on the record against the car owner. Which, to be honest, is more that she deserves but an even bigger favor. Could you imagine how things would go down if the police had officially come down in response to a noise complaint and she’d given them an attitude?

      4. Venus*

        I think it’s a shame that the situation was most easily resolved by the OP having a beneficial neighbour, but this is far from a bribe – the police were acting in a way which was legal, not illegal or immoral (the most immoral part of this story is the person who owned the car alarm who has serious asshole-type behaviours). The OP’s preferred route was to be very moral and legal, by calling the police directly, however the vindictiveness of the alarm-owner made this more problematic.

      5. Ask a Manager* Post author

        There’s nothing indicating that the OP wouldn’t have received police services had she called up and asked for them. Certainly if she had tried that and been ignored, and then succeeded this way, that would be a flag for responsiveness problems on their police force. That didn’t happen here. She took a more casual approach — probably in part because of the concerns she mentioned in the comments on the first post about *not* wanting to call the police about the situation, because of potential unintended consequences.

      6. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

        Oh good grief… really?

        If you are worried… then I’m sure the cupcakes can easily be explained by having left over batter and wanting to be a good neighbor… While the neighbors were talking the OP happens to mention a severe headache caused by the excessive car alarm.

        During the conversation the neighbor remembers he has to call his dad to change their fishing date time for that weekend. While doing that he mentions that he met the really nice people that live across the hall and what a shame it is that one of them has been dealing with a noise problem at work.

        The dad, being the police chief, is out driving through his city and stops at a random place to safely take a phone call, where he’s rudely interrupted by multiple car alarms going off during his 10 minute call. He, being an observant cop, watches the owner come out multiple times to turn it off and notes which door that she’s coming in and out of and at the end of his call goes in to take care of the problem like any good officer would do.

        Feel better?

        1. EPLawyer*

          Don’t even have to go that far. IF the OP had called the cops, they probably would have taken this approach anyway. They would have checked the situation and hoped to solve it without making a big deal. It’s called community policing.

          The fact she got the police chief to do it instead of a patrol officer is just a matter of luck. The kid across the street could have been the precinct sergeant’s kid. The cupcakes were just a nice gesture. She could have just gone to her neighbor without them.

      7. wittyrepartee*

        Sounds like a small town and an exaggeration. It’s not a bribe so much as a social lubricant, because you’re anxious about asking for advice/help.

        1. Mayor of Llamatown*

          This is exactly it. LW brought the cupcakes to make the request less weird, not as a bribe. If she had called the police and left an anonymous message, they would have likely done the exact same thing – it’s not illegal to ask for help, or to give cupcakes as a thanks for that help.

          1. fposte*

            Yeah, even mired as I am in state ethics regs, I would absolutely have been allowed to accept cupcakes without even declaring their existence.

            1. Annisele*

              Technically I would be required to declare cupcakes. (I work in the public sector, but not in the US). However, if I were to attempt to declare cupcakes, my boss would laugh himself silly. He’d then refuse to authorise my keeping the cupcakes unless I gave him one. I’d be unable to comply, because my team are gannets – they’d have eaten all the cupcakes long before I got to speak to my boss.

              But even in my world, nobody would be required to declare cupcakes given to my son – especially not cupcakes given to his new neighbour! OP did a nice thing and applied some social glue; I see no problem with that at all.

              1. wittyrepartee*

                Lol. When I worked in the hospital the rule was that the food needed to be located and in sufficient quantity that it wasn’t just for one person.

              2. Telmereth*

                I’m also a non-US public sector worker, and the same is true here – in principle any gifts, whatever their value, should be declared as it is the organisation and not the individual who gets to decide how best to use them! Luckily, when it comes to comestibles the people in the enforcement office have made it clear that they’d rather we didn’t declare them (who wants to be responsible for deciding the monetary value of two dozen cupcakes, after all?) and funnily enough we never have any problems removing all evidence of our “crimes”!

                1. No Mas Pantalones*

                  I’m in compliance in the US (global company) and we report by value as well, but they’d have to be reeeeeeally expensive cupcakes to require a declaration. If they were expensive enough to declare, we’d then have to share them in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. This has worked in my favour when my boss recieves expensive wine and champagne bottles for the winter holidays. This would work against me for cupcakes and would really make me bitter. I don’t like to share cupcakes.

              3. TardyTardis*

                When I was in Air Force procurement, we were all taught it was Bad Form to accept bribes.

                But that pizza disappeared so far, it didn’t really count! Honest!

          2. JessaB*

            Exactly but it would have left an official record, which OP was trying to avoid because at some point the alarm owner if it gets to involving a lawyer to find out who made the complaint. And that OP wanted to avoid an official record of OP being the one to call the cops.

        2. RUKiddingMe*

          Years ago one of my neighbors was a cop. Another neighbor was a creepy old man who wouldnt leave me alone. One night he kept coming to my house. I was legit scared.

          I really didn’t know anyone other than cop neighbor yet. I called him…as a neighbor for help. He, of his own volition put on his uniform and had a talk with creepy old guy. I “owed” him as a neighbor but certainly not as a cop.

          1. Dr Wizard, PhD*

            Similarly, an acquaintance of mine (not in the US) is a police officer attached to my nearby station. He gave me his personal number in case I had any issues/questions.

            Turned out useful when my ex-boyfriend (I’m also male) was being subjected to anonymous homophobic harassment from someone in our apartment building. Even getting someone’s perspective on what’s reasonable to report, what practical outcomes are likely, and how these kinds of things generally go was very useful.

            Would we have got that support through regular channels? Probably, yes. We were just both more anxious at the idea of going ‘official’ as a first resort, and his low key approach made our lives much easier.

      8. Eukomos*

        Maybe if she’d brought the chief of police the cupcakes, but his son doesn’t seem to be a cop. The exchange of sugary goods happened between neighbors, which is a normal thing to do, especially with a new neighbor. And given that being the son of the chief of police probably means people are constantly bugging you with this kind of thing, doing something nice for him when you come over with a request like that is the only way to make it polite.

      9. Tequila Mockingbird*

        “you’ve exposed yourself (and the police chief) to a charge of bribery” ? Are you serious?

        There is no city in the U.S. that will “charge” a citizen with baking cupcakes for a neighbor, in exchange for that neighbor’s relative performing a routine task that is entirely within their job description. This doesn’t meet the criminal standard for bribery in any state. And yes, IAAAL. (I am actually a lawyer.)

        1. Harvey 6-3.5*

          If giving small value baked goods to cops for doing their jobs represented an illegal bribe, virtually every coffee/donut shop in the country would be in jeopardy. Sure, if she’d given him a free three tier wedding cake that costs $1,000 retail, maybe there would be some issue.

          But de minimis gifts are generally allowed (see Fedweek.com/federal-government-policies/rules-gifts/ (A “gift” under these policies generally does not include items such as publicly available discounts and prizes, commercial loans, food not part of a meal such as coffee and donuts, and items of little value such as plaques and greeting cards.)

          1. SusanIvanova*

            I got dinged on my company’s ethics test app once: while I correctly ID’d a $200 bottle of champagne as a bribe, I thought accepting moon cakes when you’re in China during the Moon Cake Festival was fine. The app disagreed.

            Everyone I’ve ever told that story to has been boggled :)

            1. Kaffeekocherin*

              I wonder if that same test is used by different companies? I had the exact same question on our compliance/ethics test, too – and answered incorrectly as well.

          2. ZK*

            I managed a small town convenience store and every night the local cops, county sheriffs and/or state troopers on duty would swing by at closing time. While I counted drawers and got our deposit ready, they’d get our leftover donuts and coffee. As a result, I felt safer. They would also pop by and check on us if anything happened, like a power outage. But it was never a bribe, and it certainly never stopped them from trying to send under age kids in to buy beer to catch us out. We all just did our jobs a little happier.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Yeah. I don’t want to be unkind, but there is no DA in the world who would prosecute OP for giving her new neighbor (who is also the police chief’s son) cupcakes and asking his advice. It literally meets none of the elements for bribery or honest services fraud.

      10. Brett*

        To take this a different route, this is one of the reasons cities want their officers to live inside the city limits.
        This is a very common way for an issue to be resolve: someone affected knows a police officer (or even someone related to a police officer) on a casual basis and comes to them as a neighbor or friend and asks for advice.

        This seems like a petty issue, but take this up a notch to someone who has knowledge of a violent crime or a string of property crimes who does not know where to turn without risking retaliation. They can get the advice they need to move the case forward, when, without the personal contact, the police might never get that information and the case would be unresolved (or never be a case at all).

      11. anon for this one*

        As the daughter of a police chief in a medium sized town, I’d be on my guard if someone did this. My father would never let me ask a favor for someone else, even one as benign as this one, and especially if there’s some sort of “bribery” involved. Sure, it’s just cupcakes, but people talk and people are more than willing to callout police for bribery, however small it is.

        One of the guys on my dad’s force got in serious trouble with the union when someone came to him bearing baked goods and a request to ask for their neighbors to be called out on early morning lawn mowing.

        I know everyone thinks your comment is extreme, but coming at it from the other end, I’d never do such a thing because it could open my father up to suspicion. It’s unfortunate that’s the way it is. You have no idea how many times someone will try to sweet talk you or be all “look cookies, solve my problem!” when they find out your father is a cop.

        1. OP*

          I think its safe to say you don’t have necessary community context. His father was happy to have spoken to me about it and handling it himself since the community/police relationship is not great and escalating it would probably lead to wasted resources and/or something worse. He stopped by while he was already in the area and handled it peacefully without incident. However, I’m sure your take on it is relevant where you live and I’m even more sure that his son wouldn’t have done anything he knew that would jeopardize his fathers 14 year tenure in that position.

          1. eleanor rigby*

            Your experience, OP, is different to the police’s daughter’s one which is different to someone else’s as well. Don’t be patrionising re: “community context”…

            1. Observer*

              Of course their experiences are different – a fact that the OP acknowledges but that the police chief’s daughter doesn’t. Combine that with her “tsk, tsking” and I think that you’ve mis-aimed the accusation of being condescending.

            2. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Of course their experiences are different. The OP is speaking only to her own, which she explicitly acknowledges.

              This kind of thing makes it really unpleasant for people to take the time to send in updates. Please move on.

            3. darsynia*

              Honestly the only touchy comment I’ve read out of the two above your comment is this one. The other comments are about their own experiences, but yours is accusatory.

          2. MJ*

            I would occasionally give the neighbour “spare” cupcakes, just so he doesn’t feel like the OP was using him.

            Not good:
            “She only gives me cupcakes when she wants something”.

            “She’s a lovely neighbour who often pops by to give me cupcakes.”

        2. facepalm*

          She didn’t bribe an officer with baked goods or even offer him any. She gave baked goods to her new neighbor, who didn’t give him any either.

      12. Health Insurance Nerd*

        This comment and POV is absolutely ridiculous. She baked her neighbor cupcakes. End of story.

        1. AFPM*

          She was greeting her new neighbor for the first time, and it’s customary to bring a welcome gift. The bribery discussion is completely ridiculous!

      13. anon for this comment*

        Just stop. That’s not what OP did and it’s not bribery. She used a figure of speech.

      14. Temperance*

        Meh. My uncle-in-law is in law enforcement, and I might reach out to him if I had a question, too. That’s not forbidden, nor is it illegal to give someone a dessert.

      15. Lucille2*

        I wouldn’t call it a bribe. More like introducing one’s self to a new neighbor with baked goods – a common courtesy. A lot of people would consider meeting someone for the first time and immediately asking them for a favor would be in poor taste. I think the baked goods are more intended to build a positive relationship with a new neighbor than bribe a police officer. The comment is taken too literally here.

        1. OP*

          I am not even worried about that comment lol I find it so silly. I have a history of baking stuff for neighbors, so if it was escalated I have a lot of people in my corner that could attest I do it for everyone. The only reason I hadn’t done it prior to this is I hadn’t met him yet, and I usually like to see if they have any preferences or allergies before bringing them over (hence the assortment he received). Ive even done pastries and breads!

        2. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

          I bought Christmas wreaths from a random boy scout selling door to door in the neighborhood.

          A few months later when my husband and I were home he looks out the window and says “Why are the cops here?” I replied I had no idea. A couple of minutes later a knock on our door by the dad holding our wreaths and my husband and him start chatting like long lost friends. Turns out he is a local police officer that my husband knows through work and who we didn’t know lives a couple of blocks from us. After he left I laughed and said… “Great, why do I get the feeling I’ve just signed us up to by wreaths every year from the cop’s kid until he goes to college*”

          I tell this story, because this is how people live normal lives when they are cops or children of cops. I don’t think I was seriously opening up the officer to bribery charges if he ever responds to a call at my house or when we let him know anyone on our block will be on vacation so the local department can keep an eye out.

          *Luckily the kid got bored with scouting so I wasn’t on the hook from him after that first year- Unluckily I had to find a new source for my decorations.

      16. Sharrbe*

        Did the cop REALLY feel indebted to the lady because she gave his kid the gift of fat and sugar which probably did little more than make him gain a couple of pounds? A plate of cupcakes don’t pay the rent. And if the crazy car alarm lady decided to pursue a case for “bribery”, I’m pretty sure she’d be laughed out of whatever hearing they’re in when the judge learns the payoff was in cupcakes.

      17. Arctic*

        Calling this bribery is absurd.
        But those pretending she would have received personalized service like this if she had just made a complaint are pretty naive.

        1. Elspeth*

          Having lived in small towns and cities my entire life, I can tell you that this just isn’t true.

      18. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I’m worried that you’ve taken this out of context and are now extrapolating an extreme outcome?

        It seems clear from the context that OP is using “bribe” as a tongue-in-cheek comment. Nothing OP has written would substantiate a “charge of bribery”—it means none of the elements, and even if the woman with the obnoxious alarm could identify OP, there’s no way she could prosecute a bribery claim, anyway.This is just an example of how conversations happen in small towns. It’s an informal conversation instead of an official noise complaint, but the informality does not transform the conduct into corruption.

      19. Sandman*

        This is a little much. We’re certainly aware that we have problems with policing in a lot of places, but at least in my town you’d get exactly the same response by calling the station and I’m not even sure you’d have to file a formal complaint. The “I’ll just stop in there and talk to them/drive by around that time” MO is pretty normal in my experience.

      20. Seeking Second Childhood*

        The request to his dad was something completely reasonable a good officer would do without the sweets, so I think in this case a logical person would see it’s a joke on a “welcome to the neighborhood.” And since yes we’ve decided that this car owner isn’t logical, the joke was probably in bad taste. The cupcakes themselves just tasted good I’m sure.

      21. Batgirl*

        Oh come on now. You must be a stranger to cake bribery.

        Cake simply gets the door open. It’s a way of saying ‘sorry to bother you’. It gets you ‘hi’. It doesn’t get you the free professional services of all your neighbour’s relatives. Or a pet police chief. Those are expensive.

        The OP’s story is the real honey pot. That’s the pay day in itself. How can you hear that story and not use your powers to help? It’s an easy win and a good time all round. Cops like that, cake or no cake.

      22. TardyTardis*

        “Whether you’re high
        Or whether you’re low
        It’s blat and na levo
        Wherever you go.”

        A pome.
        (note: Blat is ‘knowing someone’ though current Russian slang use means something close, but a bit more salacious, while na levo means arranging something on the side, sometimes with a bottle of vodka that would just go bad if not donated to the plumber you’d like to have show up this week).

  2. Artemesia*

    It is a tribute to how civilized we all our that people like this don’t end up garroted in a dark alley. So glad you ended up with the magic connection to get this done on the QT. Kudos. Hope it lasts.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I recall a long ago NPR story in which someone with an overexcited car alarm came back to find someone had taken a nail to the side of the car. She was in tears that someone would attack an innocent car, which obviously couldn’t help going off anytime a light breeze blew, and I remember thinking “So you wanted them to go after you, as the responsible party?” (She knew her car was annoying people in the neighborhood because of the notes left on the windshield.)

    2. wittyrepartee*

      Yeah, I’m surprised the car didn’t have it’s windshield smashed in with a bat.

        1. Massmatt*

          I lived in an area where car alarms went off frequently and would frequently just keep blasting for long periods of time with no one responding, begging the question what is the point of the alarm if you ignore or can’t hear it?

          I have also seen cars severely vandalized for just this reason, including one with a bat through the windshield. The universal response of passers by was always “GOOD!”

          I cannot fathom having an alarm going off this many times a day and thinking this is OK. TWICE is a lot. And she argues with the police chief? I would stay well clear of her, she is clearly nuts.

          1. ElspethGC*

            Our across-the-road neighbours have a habit of not turning off their car alarm when it goes off in the middle of the night; we’ve had to go across there multiple times, even when the lights were on and they were clearly awake, to tell them to switch it off. They have three cameras on the front of their house pointing at their fancy convertible, and yet they don’t respond to the alarm?

            Although having read the comments about persistent alarms leading to vandalism, maybe *that’s* why the cameras are there – so people are too scared to retaliate after their alarm goes off at 3am for the third time that week.

      1. spek*

        Yes, so glad she worked it out civilly. My thoughts tended more towards a brick with a note attached….

      2. MatKnifeNinja*

        My old neighborhood would have shot it up full of holes, stole the cat converter and rims plus wheels.

        If it’s going to blare for no reason, give it a reason.

    1. OP*

      I gave him an assortment of mini cupcakes lol you want the carrot cake, chocolate ganache, cheesecake, or french vanilla? Lmao

      1. Danger: GUMPTION AHEAD*

        Ummm, all of them? I’m all about using assorted bribes

        Yay for the good outcome!

      2. OP*

        Rather than listing all the recipes I’ll give you the fillings (because boxed cake is fire). Carrot cake is grandmas recipe so I cant give that cake regardless.

        Cheesecake filling: Just mix 1 box of softened cream cheese with some condensed milk (use as much as you need to get your preferred texture, I like it stiffer so I use about 8-10oz) a little vanilla and sugar, to taste. Simple, since I cant bake it. I usually put it in either a chocolate or vanilla cupcake, add about a table spoon of filling and top it with a strawberry compote and add a vanilla buttercream on top of that. (Just mash strawberries, a little cornstarch slurry, a squeeze of lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan, then reduce on low til thick for the compote)

        Ganache: Warm (must be warm) heavy cream and mix with choice of chocolate, I use a blend of 65% dark and milk chocolate . Mix like hell with a whisk til smooth and keep adding chocolate til you get a thickish consistency (so it doesn’t soak into the cupcake).

        Carrot cake (cream cheese filling): 80z cream cheese, beat with around 1/4 c butter, 2 cups powdered sugar, vanilla, 2 tbsp milk or cream, and a little salt. Always blend the cream cheese and butter with the liquids before adding the powdered sugar. Keep it on low speed the whole time.

        The vanilla cupcake isn’t filled but it has a “special” frosting which is a standard buttercream with real vanilla beans topped with a sprig of whatever i have on hand. Something about those black specks from the real vanilla makes people swoon.

        Enjoy all!

          1. OP*

            Bonus points if you pair it with a citrus or herb flavored cake. I sell a rosemary and earl grey tea cupcake with this frosting to a local tea shop and its a huge hit

                1. No Mas Pantalones*

                  Woo!! And just so you know you’re not hitching up to a mooch, I can fold entire sheet sets into 12″ x 12″ squares and take sick pleasure in doing so. I also went to massage school when I was younger (and I always wear pants when practicing). My superpower is invisibility, but only to automatic bathroom sinks. It’s a pretty crappy superpower, but it’s mine.

                2. Seeking Second Childhood*

                  Best exchange to read with insomnia EVER.
                  (And that superpower is indeed a crazy one, I shudder to think what your Kryptonite would be.)

                3. No Mas Pantalones*

                  Second Seeking Childhood, I’m pretty sure my Kryptonite is cupcakes. :-)

                4. OP*

                  Yess god bless cause I hate folding sheets! I…have no super powers except apparently starting a war on Ask a Manager about whether cupcakes are considered a bribe. A shitty one, but all my own as well!

        1. Wendy Darling*

          The specks definitely make me swoon because for the last like 18 months I have beheld the price of a vanilla bean and just used vanilla extract instead.

          1. OP*

            Bingo! I have to admit I did it once just to make a standard cupcake look cuter, and when I realized everyone’s expression when I said it was real vanilla I decided to make it a staple

          2. DecorativeCacti*

            Look for vanilla paste! Can be used 1:1 like extract but it gives you some bean looking specks!

          3. Janie*

            …not gonna lie, I once made cake with melted ice cream because I didn’t have any milk and it just so happened the ice cream was vanilla with real specks and it sure did look fancy XD

          4. Amethyst*

            You can totally make your own vanilla extract! I’ve been making my own for a couple years now & it’s my most popular extract to date. Everyone I’ve given them to (or who’s bought them off me) has vowed never to go back to store bought, it’s so good.

            I make peppermint, orange, & lemon. I tried making orange mint extract & that was AWFUL. Don’t do that. (It’s a flowery citrus extract for those wondering, btw.)

            Take the leap! They’ll pay for themselves many times over, I swear.

            1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

              Can we give some hints on this over the weekend thread, please??? I bake and a lovely coworker has made it over 25 YEARS with my company, and deserves a gift for devoted effort…. she’s a major baker and would love this.

              1. Janie*

                Vodka and a jar. As you use vanilla beans and scrape the seeds out, pop the empty bean into the jar. It’s super easy.

              2. Amethyst*

                Lol, sure! I’ll pop over to this past weekend’s free for all thread & post a comment on how to make your own extracts.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Seriously. We so rarely get awesome updates like this, and now we get cupcake recipes, too? It’s a truly great day for the commentariat here at AAM.

        2. Cubicle 3*

          These sound wonderful! Now i know why you called it a bribe. :) Never thought about doing a carrot cake one like that. Interesting that you do your ganache like that. I always let mine sit for a little to let the chocolate melt more before i whisk it. Do you ever have an issue with it going a little grainy your way?

      3. EPLawyer*

        MMMMMM. Now what is the value of each of those flavors? If we have cake money we have to agree on the medium of exchange.

        1. OP*

          Depends on the size! I do full tiered cakes, Normal cakes with any amount of layers (within reason), normal cupcakes, and minis.

          Most of the flavors are the same price (around $30 for 12 normal cupcakes) and then for premium fillings its and additional $6 and premium cake + premium filling/icing starts around $50. All of those except the Vanilla are normal and the vanilla buttercream with fresh vanilla is a premium frosting so its just add $6.

          Me thinks I should’ve made this my career lol

          1. So long and thanks for all the fish*

            How did you get into selling them, if you don’t mind my asking?

  3. MommyMD*

    Loved this update! So happy for you. I’ll never understand why people can be so entitled and defensive over trouble THEY are causing: non stop car alarms, barking dogs, etc. I’m glad she was set straight.

  4. Deranged Cubicle Owl*

    It’s –
    *alarm starts* [Clicks it off]
    *alarm starts* [Clicks it off]
    a nuisances.
    *alarm starts* [Clicks it off]
    You’re over-
    *alarm starts* [Clicks it off]
    *Scowles at police officer.*

      1. Meyers and Briggs are not real doctors*

        I imagine the cop digging into this dessert like the Carl’s Jr. commercials. With suggestive music in the background.

        And the OP out for a smoke break, lighting up with delight.

    1. Move Over Thrawn - Florian Munteanu is BIGGER than you!*

      That is some next level denial, right there. I’m in awe.

      1. RunnerGirl77*

        Sure sounds like it. Also, I don’t think it’s wise to argue with a police officer who can enforce the law which will result in fines against your company. Not too swift.

    2. emmelemm*

      Right? I’m in love with this update, but in awe that this woman gave lip to a police officer to his face.

  5. Sloan Kittering*

    Am I the only one who felt like the car alarm was tit-for-tat after the office complained? It sounds like it might have been a feature, not a bug.

    1. Lily Rowan*

      But it’s so much more disruptive for the owner! The whole thing makes no sense.

      1. sloan kittering*

        I was almost picturing her in her office, triggering the alarm button every five minutes and smirking. The noise may be annoying but less annoying if she’s expecting it.

        1. Not A Morning Person*

          I see a car alarm feature on phones for when those SPAM callers get through, or I call them back!

    2. Bilateralrope*

      Sure sounds like it.

      Especially since it stopped the moment the police got involved and threatened consequences

  6. Wherehouse Politics*

    How does the blaring car owner remain employed if she’s leaving to turn off the alarm every few minutes? She can’t be getting any real work done.

    1. Kwazy Kupcake*

      It was my understanding from comments on the first post that she’s either the manager or the owner.

    2. Rainbow Roses*

      I think the OP said in the comments in the original post that she’s the owner of the company. But even if she has employees doing the grunt work, how does her company stay in business with her running out every 5 minutes? A boss need to keep on top of things.

    1. M&Ms fix lots of Problems*

      Crossing fingers and sending happy thoughts that the week of silence continues to a permanent resolution of the issue.

    2. WhoKnows*

      So, this whole time, she could have just parked across the street and not had to deal with this? Like literally, across the street? It’s INSANE that she chose to park in a place that would set her car alarm off that often.

    3. kittymommy*

      So glad this has worked out for you though I am petty enough to wish she had gotten a ticket for noise violation, disturbing the peace, something!!

    4. Blue*

      Hurray! I was actually just thinking about this letter a couple of days ago when a car alarm went off outside my apartment, so I was excited to see an update. Glad you have silence!

    5. Strawmeatloaf*

      Be on your guard though. A lot of people will comply for a little bit, then start it up again. Don’t be afraid to make an official complaint about it the next time it happens.

      1. M&Ms fix lots of Problems*

        I’m sorry that full backstory on crazy car alarm lady was kept from you. Sounds like boss wasn’t there so didn’t fully appreciate how bad the problem was becoming.
        Also going to wonder if there is even more backstory about this lady/business that still remains to be shared. She sounds kinda crazy and entitled.

    1. Scout Finch*

      It’s a bonus that the contact cannot be traced to the OP.

      Vengeful people are a pain.

        1. Ktelzbeth*

          OP had said in comments on the original post that they were concerned that certain features of the neighborhood made this a possible outcome. I’m willing to presume Val Zephyr’s comment is a callback to that, though phrased very briefly.

    2. Kimmybear*

      It depends…the valets across the street from my office are constantly blocking multiple lanes during rush hour (ignoring the posted signs) and giving attitude. I’ve called parking enforcement at least 20 times because it actually is causing a safety issue and they do nothing.

  7. Foreign Octopus*

    I love this update! From you getting to work from home (shame about the programme though), to your neighbour, and then the ending. This was delightful.

  8. AMT*

    After-market alarm? That’s a thing? I was wondering how this person somehow managed to get two cars with the same alarm issue. Mystery solved, but now I’m wondering what kind of person voluntarily decides to torture themselves with a device that’s so annoying and ineffective that it’s actually not being installed on new cars anymore.

    1. Wherehouse Politics*

      Someone who doesn’t want to sit down and do their work and likes to pace about.

    2. M&Ms fix lots of Problems*

      Yes, after-market alarms are a thing. We have a discretely placed one on a classic sport car we are restoring. In the 70’s car alarms weren’t a thing – this is the only non-original part going into this car. If I remember what I read correctly car alarms didn’t become standard equipment until the mid aughts.

      1. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

        But why would you? Do you really think it deters thieves? It’s a nuisance sound. And no stranger is going to intervene even IF your car is being stolen.

        1. wittyrepartee*

          I think it might deter teens wanting to take a joyride. Not actual car thieves.

            1. KLS*

              Oh, this! In my city a couple of years ago, a guy carjacked someone, discovered it was a manual, tried and failed to drive it away and then got out of the car and ran. Manual transmission is the one reason I never worry about my car being stolen.

        2. Spargle*

          Yeah, the only thing car alarms do these days is make the rest of us angry at the person who owns the car. Why? Because they generally go off for a million reasons that are not “my car is being stolen”.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            I’ve never known ANYONE to say “hey, there’s a car alarm going off, we better call the police.”

        3. Bulbasaur*

          From my experience it’s usually to qualify for a discount on your insurance premium.

          1. TootsNYC*

            my insurance gave us the same discount for an ignition cutoff. Which was more effective, actually.

            1. TootsNYC*

              (someone tried to steal our car at a mall, and they broke the steering column and ignition, and we couldn’t drive it away. My husband said, “I’m going to take it out, that’s annoying.” More annoying that coming out to find the car gone? I mean, if he’d said he wanted to switch to an alarm, or to add an alarm so the guy wouldn’t hang around, fine–and then we can deal with it going off on the street in our nabe. But he just wanted to take the whole thing out. I’m like, “that’s proof it WORKS, becasue we still HAVE a car to deal with.”)

        4. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

          A lot of insurance companies give you discounts if you have safety/anti-theft devices on your car. Even stuff like daytime running lights can give you a bonus.

        5. SL #2*

          I had an after-market alarm installed in my new car (base model Toyota Corolla) when I lived in San Francisco and had to park on the street all the time. I think it came out to about $500 for the alarm and labor? The alarm was triggered twice the whole time I lived there, but one time, I went to the window to look at my car before turning off the alarm, and someone was running down the street, my passenger door was wide open, and my glove compartment had been rifled through.

          I would 100% pay that $500 for the after-market alarm again after that.

          1. teclatrans*

            Yeah, I am not really expecting the alarm to stop a car thief, but we have people who ho through the neighborhood trying to find valuable in cars, and sometimes they are willing to break the windows. Alarms do scare them off.

        6. M&Ms fix lots of Problems*

          My car is a classic that’s going to shows, and at shows security types do tend to pay attention to alarms (at least in my experiences with the ones I have gone to, ymmv).
          And yes, it does also tend to deter the joyriding teens as Witty suggested below.

        7. Former Retail Manager*

          Some after market alarms come with a key fob that will actually alert the owner, via sound and vibration, that the alarm is going off, so if they’re in a store, they can go out to check and see what’s up. It still makes the annoying sound, but the owner may be able to get out to their car quickly enough to run the thief away. My husband had one of these. I personally think that a good thief can get in and disable the alarm quickly enough to not raise too much suspicion, but not all thieves are good, so maybe they work for a small number of people?

          My husband spent many a nights running outside to confront a would-be thief only to find a cat or other animal had jumped onto the car and set it off. I’m glad that car is gone. :)

    3. your favorite person*

      I don’t think the car owner was tortured at all. She seemed to be ok with taking a break every 10 minutes to turn off the alarm. I can’t understand why HER workplace would also be ok with that…

    4. YouGottaThrowtheWholeJobAway*

      Also what kind of massive a-hole gets an after-market alarm for a car that they then park on the street? Car alarms do not prevent theft, if anything it makes people more likely to let something bad happen to your car. I used to work a few floors above one of the turns/routes to the Holland tunnel and I still think nothing is as horrible for working (or just not losing it) as a frequent car alarm.

      1. SL #2*

        I did that, and I’d like to think that I’m not a massive a-hole, but thanks for the vote of confidence. I got the alarm specifically BECAUSE I had to consistently park on the street in my neighborhood and San Francisco was having a major issue with cars getting broken into in residential neighborhoods. It went off twice the whole time I lived there, and one of those times was a legitimate break-in that scared whoever it was off.

        1. Shoes on My Cat*

          I have a friend who had to park on the street in a decent area of San Jose. Same thing!! And her car alarm/LoJack cost more than her car blue book–but a lot less than a reliable replacement car. It rarely went off but when it did, yeah.ore than half the times it was legit.

    5. Massmatt*

      I knew someone with a “radar detector” like this. He had a piece of crap car that could barely get over the speed limit but insisted on using this thing, and it went off CONSTANTLY. It made him feel cool I guess.

      I had the misfortune of doing a long distance drive with him and it was all I could do not to either toss it out the window or commit homicide. I finally just started imitating it, loudly shrieking “DEE dee dee DEE dee dee!” Whenever it went off and he finally turned it off.

        1. AMT*

          Can we use this solution for annoying office noises? Someone plays music all day? Collectively belt out “SHOT THROUGH THE HEEEART” until they turn it off. Finger tapping? Everyone does a finger drum solo. Annoying ringtone? Yell “Bee doo DOO doo, bee doo DOO doo” until it stops.

  9. jiminy_cricket*

    Wow, so glad to hear this (for you) and also highly amused by this tale (for me). Something for everyone!

  10. Tuppence*

    Based on your description of the car owner, I kind of wanted her to get fined. But this is definitely a win and a triumph of sanity.

  11. Lamb of dog*

    What a blessed update. Sounds like the stars really aligned in your favor with Shane moving in. I still have so many questions about how the car owner actually gets any work done (can she even sit through an entire meeting?) and why her supervisor lets this behavior continue.

  12. Utoh!*

    Excellent outcome…! Score one for the good guys…noise is just like any other pollution, not healthy for mind or body!

  13. Rainbow Roses*

    I wonder what she’s doing now that she doesn’t have to run out every few minutes? Actual work? I wonder if she’s wondering why she’s finished with her work in one or two hours when it used to take her fourteen?

    1. MommyMD*

      This kind of person will find another way to stretch three hours of work the entire day.

  14. Lady Phoenix*

    My hooe is that now that there was police activity, the company will do a better job at managing this trouble maker, and even firing her if she continues to act up.

    As far as I am concerned, they are wasting money on an unproductive person.

  15. nnn*

    She has to turn the car alarm off multiple times during a single conversation and she’s just…okay with that? WTF?

    In any case, I’m glad it’s been taken care of!

    1. montecristo1985*

      This is what had me so boggled. Because either this person has to run out and make sure her car isn’t being burgled, or else she ignores the alarm altogether, which makes it pointless. So WTH?

      1. irene adler*

        Me too. Cannot imagine doing this day after day. Even if I were doing so just to bother someone it would only be funny for a day or two at most.

  16. I edit everything*

    Sounds like a second batch of baked goods is called for in celebration and thanks! Make sure Shane’s dad gets some, too.

    1. OP*

      I delivered a birthday cake to his dad free of charge 2 days ago! He also commissioned me for an anniversary cake and I am watching the sons pups this weekend! So the best part is really that we have new friends.

      1. Totally Minnie*

        This update just keeps getting better and better! Enjoy your new friends and your alarm-free workplace!

  17. The Ginger Ginger*

    I’m still astounded over how much time this alarm person wasted continually turning it back off all the live long for…months? years? And it wasn’t a problem? For anyone? Did she have to physically walk outside to do it, or could she just click it off from her desk? How is SHE not annoyed beyond all reason at having to do this all the time?

    I do not understand. But I am happy for you, OP!

  18. Manchmal*

    I still cannot comprehend how the car owner’s office mates weren’t themselves going crazy with the noise, and with having to ask her to shut it off all the time…not to mention how annoying it would be to HER to have to get up multiple times per hour to deal with it. It boggles the mind.

  19. AnonyMouse*

    I think I missed something… why did her car alarm go off so frequently? And why did she want it to? I had an electrical problem with my car a few years ago where the alarm would go off if I locked my car. I was mortified that my car did this and risked leaving it unlocked until I could get it fixed.

    1. LaDeeDa*

      It was set way too sensitive, so just a car driving by it while it was parked in the street was enough to set it off all day, every day for 10 minutes+ at a time.

      1. AnonyMouse*

        That makes sense now. I still don’t see why she was fine with this (as well as her employer), but we’ll probably never know.

  20. Emerald*

    This is a great update. Cupcakes ftw. The car owner will just have to find another way to make up those fitbit steps…

  21. Liz*

    Maybe the car owner is a former smoker who got used to having a bunch of mini breaks spread out through the workday, and going down to silence the alarm filled the void. I mean, that would be ridiculous, but there is no non-ridiculous explanation, so…

  22. JKP*

    I think the fact that she gave the cop attitude proves that your company was right not to want to confront her themselves. Who knows how nasty she would have been to someone who wasn’t a cop.

    1. OhNo*

      Not even that, this was the neighbor’s dad, the Chief of Police! I have a hard time imagining someone would get shirty with a cop at all, let alone the head of the police force, but I guess this is proof that it takes all kinds…

        1. LCL*

          OP didn’t any identifying characteristics of alarm lady, other than she was a she. And I have seen people of every possible group and combination thereof get lippy with the police. The most common factor was alcohol/other drugs.

      1. M&Ms fix lots of Problems*

        I have an uncle who is retiring after 30 years on his town’s police force (25 on their SWAT team). Oh the crazy stories he tells……some of them make me wonder how people that lacking in common sense survive in our modern world.

    2. Oranges*

      That’s what I was thinking. That right there proves that she’s…. not actually in our shared reality but one of her own making.

      Only thing you can do with people like that is work around them or bring in people who have the ability to hand down consequences. They have no “limit” on what they will do to “win” an argument/social interaction. They WILL burn down their own house to get their way on what color to paint the kitchen.

  23. ShwaMan*

    Utterly cuckoo bananas. I can’t imagine the car owner is effective at her job, and I can’t fathom why her boss hasn’t addressed it. Regardless, congrats on the outcome, OP: I guess the police were necessary and appropriate!

    1. OP*

      They were! I was thankful I got to talk to him and explain my concerns about wanting to report it at all, all of which he agreed with (i.e the poor community vs police relationship here).

  24. Chatterby*

    Isn’t it wonderful when other people confirm you aren’t crazy and something really is an issue?
    Congratulations on the new found peace, just be sure to follow up with a police noise complaint when, after a couple of weeks of parking elsewhere, the car owner decides it’s safe to move back to her preferred spot.

  25. TootsNYC*

    I would imagine that if the OP had walked in to her precinct and talked to the community affairs officer, she might have gotten a similar result. Nice that she didn’t have to.

    1. TootsNYC*

      (in the big debate about whether to call 911 or not, this option (the face-to-face convo) was not dwelt on much, if at all. But it’s essentially what our OP did, just with a different introduction)

  26. ThursdaysGeek*

    Thank you so much for the ‘long letter’! It was worth it, and I enjoyed every quiet word in it.

  27. Bookartist*

    Beyond disappointed the comment expressing displeasure over the fact that LW used her unofficial connections to fix this problem was deleted. It’s not cool that handing over baked goods got her problem solved.

    1. This Daydreamer*

      The cupcakes only made for a nice introduction to the neighbor. The problem was solved because the police chief heard about the issue, investigated it, and found that the car owner needed to be confronted.

      1. Frankie*

        Yeah, the only “favor” was looking into an issue that would be a legit legal problem, without requiring a formal complaint with OP’s name attached, because of the blowback OP could experience.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      No comment on this post has been deleted, so I’m not sure what this means, and I’d appreciate you not falsely accusing me of that.

      1. bookartist*

        I could not find it when on mobile. I apologize for my oversight, and for thinking you would remove a comment that expressed a differing opinion. But I truly still can’t find it when looking on my phone.

        1. Researchalator Lady*

          So you’re apologizing for overlooking your post, and for thinking that Alison would delete your post, but you haven’t apologized for actually accusing her of deleting her post…

    3. Arctic*

      It is funny all the people saying baked goods don’t count as bribery. Since I just to take my semi-annual conflict of interest course and quiz and there is a whole thing on baked goods. (If you get them for a general reason and the commercial value would be over a certain amount you have to share them with others. But if you get them in quid pro quo for doing something that’s part of your job it’s a conflict/bribery and never permissible.) So, in my state, it could easily count.
      Of course, the son probably isn’t a public servant.

      1. Arctic*

        Not that I think the OP did anything wrong. It’s just funny because I literally just covered the baked goods thing for civil servants this week.

        1. Arctic*

          It’s probably not the same everywhere! And pretty much no one follows it when it comes to baked goods.
          (And, obviously, I mean shared in the office. Not if your neighbor stops by without a work context.)

      2. Observer*

        From the technical pov, what you are describing is a different issue. For one thing, what you are describing is a particular set of rules that are specific to a single entity, not bribery as defined by most legal systems.

        Secondly, the issue this reg is intended to combat is not bribery per se but the idea that you can expect / demand ANY sort of payment for doing your job is totally not ok. So, even in your state, if someone came over even to the police chief’s house and introduced themselves as a neighbor and said “I’ve baked some cupcakes and I brought some over as a house warming gift.” And then later in the conversation said “I’m so glad to meet you! I’m having the really annoying problem and I wonder it you have any advice. blah blah blah” and then you responded by doing your job, it would be extremely hard to make a case that this was a quid pro quo type of situation. No prosecutor would look twice at this.

        1. Arctic*

          Are you seriously trying to explain to me what my state reg means right now?

          And it didn’t just happen to come up. OP intentionally did this because she was told he was the son of the chief of police. Plus, I literally said this wouldn’t be an example of it.

  28. Mirea*

    OK, glad this worked out and that sanity is restoring itself.

    I gotta ask, though, “eradicate a common foe”? Rats, I hope? Otherwise this sounds like a story arc from The Sopranos – especially with the Carmela Soprano I-brought-a-pie-do-me-a-favor signature move.

    1. Oranges*

      It’s hyperbole. The LW tends to veer that way in their communication style. (So do I… it amuses me).

      If I remember from the original comments it was trying to ensure pot users weren’t toking up by them. Mostly due to a) no one wants an unexpected contact high and b) there were vulnerable people nearby who REALLY shouldn’t have to deal with secondhand pot smoke.

      1. Mirea*

        Yes, I know it’s hyperbole. I didn’t read through the comments on the original letter but I figured the OP wasn’t in charge of calling the heads of the five families together. I just enjoyed the phrasing and was also amusing myself. Should stuck a smiley face in or something, I guess.

  29. This Daydreamer*

    So the “reasoning” for the car alarm harassment was a grudge match? Really? I feel sorry for anyone who has to deal with her on a regular basis.

    So glad you got the problem solved, OP. As someone who has migraines that can be triggered by shrill and loud noises I can’t imagine how I could have lived with that.

  30. Engineer Girl*

    Just a note on the door and headphones-

    You can get visual doorbells. Or even a Ring if your office is willing to spring for it.

    1. OP*

      We have a ring, its set up to our VP’s computer so she can see it. I just cant hear the sound it makes when the bell is rung

      1. Observer*

        You should be able to set it up for more than one computer.If not the ring, then another one – there are DEFINITELY models that allow multiple screens.

        It’s probably a good idea anyway. There are a lot of situations where it would be convenient to not have to deal with the disruption of the doorbell ringing. This way you can turn it off.

        1. True Story*

          I can verify this! It’s super easy if you follow the instructions online.

          My ex-fiance had me on his Ring doorbell, which was a really dumb move on his part. Like, my friends and their parents make fun of him for being so dumb because I started to see his lies when he added me to the Ring doorbell.

          I got to see firsthand how he invited his “just-a-childhood-friend” over to spend the night after a night of drinking (which he tried to justify because my brother was living with him and technically there while they were hanging out). I watched for about an hour as she flirted with him shamelessly on the front porch of his house (because it continues to record as long as your watching) and played it back for him the next day to prove that it was incredibly inappropriate flirting AND wrong for him to have had her spend the night when I wasn’t there in the first place.

          Needless to say the engagement did not last long after she reappeared in his life. Although I think I might want to bake her some of those cupcakes for taking him off my hands! Sometimes the appearance of “the other woman” is a blessing.

  31. Noah*

    I’m going to withhold my excitement for an update where somebody doesn’t use a personal connection to utilize the chief of police for a largely private purpose. She should have taken the high road and filed the noise complaint. Her work neighbor is a jerk, though. So I don’t feel bad for her, and I’m glad OP got some relief.

    1. OP*

      I have already addressed this numerous times above. I am not going to apologize for having the situation handled in a way that minimizes wasted resources and keeps the peace.

      1. Elspeth*


        You gave the cupcakes to the Police Chief’s son, not the Police Chief himself. Don’t really understand why there are a few people giving you so much grief for this!

        1. An anonymous kind of day*

          I agree and I am surprised I haven’t seen this yet in the responses but the son could have refused to make the call as I imagine the daughter who commented above would have.

          It may be further down though as I am late to this party and not through all the comments yet. No cupcakes for me I guess.

    2. Foreign Octopus*

      Boo. This is how life works, particularly in community services. It’s often a waste of resources to open up an official complaint when a quick drive by and chat can solve the problem.

      Spare your indignation for the nepotism that is running rampant in government and corporations instead of someone who solved a problem by chit-chatting with a neighbour who was happy to help.

    3. SusanDC*

      I have to say that I don’t think it’s a largely private purpose when the car is parked on a public street and annoying anyone who happens to be in the vicinity. The OP just did something about it-and used community policing instead of official channels-and that’s fine.

      1. Frankie*


        This indignation is so weird to me…not like she gave a cop’s son cupcakes so the cop would look the other way on some kind of violation…

        1. Airy*

          If Car Alarm Woman had gone “I’ll see those cupcakes and raise you a banoffee pie to make all this go away, Chief,” we could have had a really interesting escalation.

          1. Ice and Indigo*

            Exactly. Trying to settle a private vendetta through police corruption, or trying to get away with breaking the law through police corruption, is a private purpose. Reporting a public nuisance is a public purpose. By Noah’s logic, it’s a ‘private purpose’ to report any crime or nuisance that directly affects you.

            ‘Officer, I just got mugged!’

            ‘Sorry, ma’am, we’re not allowed to intervene in private grievances.’

    4. Oranges*

      Sick of these comments. Police are just people who deal with community stuff. You know the stuff that crops up when you get a large amount of people living together. This is how community policing works because there are a TON of things (from annoying to life threatening) that police don’t hear about because a lot of people are hesitant to call them in. Because we’ve MILITARIZED THEM.

      Community policing is good. The main problem with our police force is that it’s disconnected from the community it serves. I am enraged by the fact that the term “fight crime” even got into our lexicon.

      End rant,

    5. Batgirl*

      This was a win for the police too. If the chief gets a good job tip from his son; a way to build up good will in a disaffected community – he can’t act on that? No way solving that constant noise can be described as ‘a private purpose’.

      Police officers never build up rapport in communities without an ear to the ground. Sometimes that involves social niceties like cake.

  32. Admin Amber*

    So happy this seems to have come to a quieter solution. It sounds like the alarm car owner has mental problems and needs help. I have worked with strangely behaved persons like her. Sad for her happy for the OP.

  33. Mallory DEN*

    The Chief of Police of your city really responded himself to a noise complaint? Wow. Seems…odd.

    1. Observer*

      It’s a small town in a community where having the Police Chief swing by and handle something less officially takes up less resources than dealing with an official complaint and making sure that it doesn’t turn into a major event.

      1. OhNo*

        Plus, he might be the only one who has the freedom to ‘just stop by’ rather than spending his work hours responding to official complaints or working a specific beat. That’s how it worked in the small town I grew up in.

        1. Batgirl*

          I know a few high level cops who would have adored taking care of this.

          Who among us would not, though.

  34. LKW*

    This is just such a lovely and wonderful update. There’s backstory, drama, intrigue, tension, a difficult choice for our protagonist and then…

    Insert baking montage
    Then sweet sweet relief.

  35. Andrea*

    This all seems like a large and unnecessary amount of drama. If you had called in an anonymous noise complaint at the start, none of the strum and drang would be necessary.

    1. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

      Nor would she have made a new friend in her neighbor.

      I think the only drama is the from the commentators who are convinced the chief is on the take and the OP is running a criminal empire and buying police silence with icing.

    2. Foreign Octopus*

      OP explained in the original post why she didn’t want to do that as there were tensions between the police and community that might be exacerbated by such an act.

        1. Arctic*

          You really think the office next door is going to assume the chief of police took a random interest in this on his own?

          1. Elspeth*

            I’m sure LW would not be the only person in that area complaining about the almost non-stop car alarm.

          2. Johan*

            HOLY HELL, it went off multiple times in the 10 minutes he sat there. YES. YES the police chief could take a random interest in it on his own.

            1. Cupcake Justice*

              Right? He has ears! Noise ordinances are legitimately police issues! OF COURSE he could have noticed and decided to take action by himself– it’s literally part of his job!

      1. Arctic*

        Well, the initial reasons were using resources and problems with community relations. But in this update a cruiser was parked on the street for some time AND the chief of police personally drove by for at least ten minutes and then stopped by. Which is both a waste of resources and increased police presence that poses a potential for conflict with the community.
        So, the reasoning doesn’t 100% add up.
        If the non-emergency line had been called the woman probably would have just been cited and that would be that.

        1. Elspeth*

          How is it a waste of resources, though? I’ve lived in small towns/cities my entire life and the police depts there would do the same thing, whether investigating via “official” complaint or not. They wouldn’t issue a citation unless they heard the noise for themselves.

        2. Kisses*

          You’re within your rights to make a noise complaint. This isn’t a waste of resources.

        3. Cupcake Justice*

          No, the reasoning was that she didn’t want to make an official complaint because she didn’t want it to bite her in the ass after her boss told her not to do anything about it. Reasoning 100% holds up. Why do you even have a problem with this? Do you also park your car where you know you shouldn’t because it disturbs other people? I legitimately have no idea why someone would quibble with the LW for this.

          1. Arctic*

            No. The reasoning is she didn’t want anyone to get shot and waste of resources. Link to follow. But I’ll copy and paste the comment too.

            I agree. I will never call the police about this for 2 main reasons:

            1. I refuse to be that white person wasting emergency services on a non-life threatening situation. It takes necessary resources away from those who need it, and there is a lot of people in need in this area.
            2. There is not a good community vs police relationship where my office is located, and I refuse to be that person that caused anothers tragic death inadvertently. Some people have mentioned that this is not a situation where it could be escalated to that, but any one residing in America should know by now that we can not, with any certainty, assume a situation where a policeman confronts people in a community of minorities will go well. There are alot of homeless people on this street as well and policemen usually remove them, which I do not agree with. I will however be filling a noise complaint with the city.

            I do not want this to turn into a political debate, I am just explaining why that is not a viable option. I have the upmost respect for our policemen and women, however all it takes is one bad apple, and that is not a risk I am willing to take.

            1. Batgirl*

              I can’t follow your reasoning at all. You can’t possibly know what the police’s goals for policing that street are, therefore you can’t know what they would consider how many resources are too much. Citations require admin anyway, which is a resource just as much as …driving by somewhere is?
              Plus police officers sometimes avoid send out faceless paperwork to areas where they are trying to develop a presence and ease tensions. Not to mention that these policing decisions were simply how the chief wanted it. That was out of the OPs hands; she didn’t tell them the play by play at the point of an icing gun.

          2. Arctic*

            No, I would have no problem with someone reporting this through normal channels. But that’s not what happened.

        4. Seeking Second Childhood*

          It’s logical for there to be officer visits given the neighborhood issue with on-street pot smoking… so he’s multitasking if he also listens for the overactive car alarm that violates city noise ordinances.

    3. I Don’t Remember What Name I Used Before*

      Given that Alarm Lady gave an Actual Police Officer attitude WHILE the alarm was going off multiple times, I’d put all my money on it NOT being OP who is the drama queen here.

      As we can read in this blog on almost a daily basis, there are people in this world who are not reasonable, and will respond to reasonable solutions/reactions to their dysfunction with enormous scenes, huge amounts of drama, and even more unreasonable behavior, just like we’ve seen happen here with Alarm Lady.

      OP is not the problem here.

  36. SusanDC*

    I’m not going to say this is the best update ever (that belongs to the guy who was fired over that guy stealing his lunch/finding out it was too hot/finding out that guy was an item with the HR lady/getting his job back after his boss found out the whole story) but it’s right up there. This great-congrats to you, OP.

  37. Mimmy*

    Magnificent update indeed! My highly-sensitive sensory system was fired up just reading the original letter!!

  38. Jen*

    Well done to LW! This woman’s behaviour is so bizarre to me – wouldn’t it be annoying for her too, having to constantly go out there?!

  39. Ginger Ninja*

    Good grief, I cannot fathom the attacks on the OP here for baked goods.

    Outside who happened to look into this, there was no difference in the response. Apart from, amusingly, it benefiting Crazy Car Lady since this wasn’t escalated to a formal complaint and formal punishment.

    The police didn’t do anything out of the norm, they did their jobs by the community in a way that minimised fallout and awkwardness for all parties.

    Sometimes social lubricant is needed. Walking over to your new neighbour and going “Hi, can I take your time and advice over this” as a stranger feels rude. Welcoming a person to the area with baked goods and then saying if you also think it could help, inform the relevant authorities of a legitimate concern? Well, that doesn’t feel so intrusive.

    People aren’t automatons, or fully rational beings that can comply with a purist form of ethics and behaviour at every waking moment of the day. Don’t sweat the small stuff when it worked out in everyone’s favour.

      1. Perpal*

        I think it’s only one or two naysayers and a whole bunch of “nah”
        It’s not like the officer did anything out of line as a result it’s just a causal way of letting them know about a problem that’s within the scope of their duty.
        I am impressed OP pulled it off; I have a hard time asking advice of someone I just met, though those cupcakes sound well worth it if I was the askee XD

    1. McWhadden*

      Yeah police chiefs always have cruisers sit and listen to a car in the morning and follow-up personally with ten minutes of drive by and a personal conversation. Totally normal.

      1. Evil, evil cupcakes*

        It is absolutely what ONE of the cops would have done if she had made a formal complaint. The car owner didn’t get in trouble because the police chief’s son is OP’s neighbor, she got “in trouble” (I mean, a talking-to, but whatever) because she was breaking city noise ordinances. My god, you’d think that OP admitted the cupcakes were laced with cocaine or something.

        1. Arctic*

          You are very naive if you think a cop would invest this much time if the Chief’s son didn’t call. Give me a break.

      2. OhBehave*

        Actually, in order to verify the complaint, they WOULD park and listen. Good heavens, why are so many (or one who changes screen names?) getting panties in a bunch over this? A small town has an active chief who patrols often. Drop it already!

        1. Arctic*

          It was an all day thing. Both morning and afternoon. No way would that happen normally. And justice shouldn’t be dependent on baked goods and neighbors.

          1. Innominate*

            It doesn’t sound like an all day thing though – just a hour (or less) in the morning, and about the same in the afternoon. The police are not going to issue a citation without first hearing the noise themselves.
            “Yesterday when I arrived to work, there was a police car parked in the street and the car alarm was already going off when I arrived. After about half an hour, the alarms had stopped completely and the cruiser was gone. Last night my neighbor, we shall call him Shane, said that his dad had gone by in the afternoon and was shocked at the amount of times it had gone off in just the first 10 minutes. After the fourth time, he walked to the company himself, asked to speak with the owner and told her that she either needed to remove the after market alarm she had on, or park in an area where the car would not be triggered. “

  40. Flash Bristow*


    When I’ve had similar issues it is hard; you don’t want to stand out as the community trouble maker even if most of the community support you. It’s hard to put your head above the parapet.

    Well done OP and may this be an end to it all!

  41. XF1013*

    OP, or anyone else annoyed by car alarms: Check out the movie “Noise.” Tim Robbins plays a man driven to vandalism by incessant car alarms, and then to civil disobedience when the authorities won’t help. The satirical comedy scenes and heavy dramatic scenes don’t mix too well, but you should find the movie sympathetic if you’ve ever felt like the only sane person in a world of absurd rudeness like this.

  42. Kat in VA*

    This story makes me cringe a little WRT the noise issue. I have a sports car with a wildly – I mean WILDLY – loud exhaust. If I start it remotely, it does two little modest beeps and then absolutely ROARS to life. (If I get in and start it, there’s no warning at all.)

    Nothing is aftermarket on it, the pipes are absolutely stock, but it’s ridiculously, embarrassingly, OBNOXIOUSLY loud. Bonus – in winter, not only does it roar but about half the time, there’s a barking *crack* that’s even louder than the roar!

    Fortunately, I live on a decent sized piece of land so I don’t annoy my neighbors at 06:30AM when I start it, but I also park in a parking garage at work. I will literally wait until someone (or often, multiple someones) gets into their own vehicle before firing it up because I have literally seen people throw their coffee in startlement when The Beast™ barks. It’s the subject of jokey comments – and more than a few snarky ones – at work but there’s not really a lot that I can do. TALK TO DODGE, PEOPLE.

    But I also hope that people don’t think I actually invested in Borla catbacks or whatever to make my car even more obnoxious than it already is just rolling off the assembly line. With this story, now I’m even more worried that people will think I’m That Person :(

    1. OhBehave*

      You did drive it before buying so you knew what it sounded like. What was the mfr thinking? Cool that you care about the noise though! It’s got to sound like a jet taking off.

    2. M&Ms fix lots of Problems*

      Its good that you are concerned about the sound. I will also say that there is a difference in sound tone between a powerful engine/exhaust package starting up once and a car alarm (which is normally at a higher pitch to be heard over a louder distance) going off frequently.

      (Spoken by th current owner of a sports car, and the prior owner of other sports cars – they definitely “purr with authority” as my brother once put it.)

    3. Shoes on My Cat*

      Eh, we’ve got a manual Corvette in my family, plus my heavy duty pickup truck. Some engines just purrrr. Sounds like you are a rather thoughtful Purr-engine driver, and as long as you aren’t revving it for attention, which is really obnoxious, you are totally in the clear. Enjoy your Beast! Fun!!!

    4. Observer*

      I’d say that there is a significant difference here. As annoying as this would be, it’s once or twice a day, and it’s short because you are driving away. This car alarm is going off every 10 minutes or so, and it keeps going for several minutes till the owner takes her time getting out there.

  43. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

    Congratulations, OP. So proud of you for doing this. Having grown up in a small town, and basically even my suburb operating like a small town, I’ve got to commend you for handling this well. I have been known to bring in my quadruple chocolate brownies to work to “encourage” and socially lubricate the teams I work with… food is one of the great commonalities that links all (or most) of us in some form. Every new neighbor I get, gets a plate of cookies or brownies as a welcome. It is just the way we roll where I grew up in the Midwest (and I have 4 rolling pins to prove it). Church potlucks, cake walks, bake sales… food is a connection. Looking forward to hearing more of your recipes in the future!

  44. CouldntPickAUsername*

    At a certain point it stops being a car alarm and just starts being a homing beacon. I mean, if it’s going off I guess you’re waiting for it to not make noise to know your car was stolen?

  45. MelRedcap*

    “IT’S FINE!”
    ~alarm goes off~
    ~alarm goes off~
    ~alarm goes off~
    ~alarm goes off~

  46. ScarletInTheBallRoom*

    This is the best update!! I’m so glad things worked out for you, OP. That lady is trouble and I’m surprised her company didn’t preemptively take action on this. Please keep us posted if she or her car start acting up again!

  47. Martha*

    What a bizarre situation. I assume that the car owner was trying to show everyone that she couldn’t be pushed around (“I’m not stopping the alarm and you can’t make me”) and that she liked having a reason to leave work often. Because otherwise this alarm would have driven her bananas also.

  48. calonkat*

    #1, I love this update. I’m glad the situation got handled, that the police haven’t had to do paperwork, and the new neighbor got the traditional welcome of baked goods.

    #2, I guess I used to bribe our city trash collectors by using baked goods (wrapped and bagged for consuming later) as an apology when we had piles of stuff to throw away in particular weeks. And baked goods AND lemonade on a hot summer day led one trash man to use the crusher to destroy a large branch I didn’t have the tools to cut up and bind in neat bundles (I was also 8 months pregnant, so had that going for me too). But life is too short to feel too guilty over cookies given to people who work very hard in rarely appreciated position!

    #3, That said, if someone needed my help (state government here), moved in next to my daughter and in discussion with her over baked goods, mentioned that they were having trouble with something that was within my purview, my daughter would encourage them to call me. She might call me herself, but there wouldn’t be anything weird about “hey, I met these people and they are nervous about calling you but I told them you wouldn’t bite”. The OP didn’t ask for specific actions to be taken by the police chief, she asked about the process. The son then referred the OP to his father, who dealt with the OP directly. I’m failing to see this as any different than ME placing the call for the OP over baked goods because I am the sort who can take action for others (but not for myself…)

  49. motherofdragons*

    Please do not apologize for the length of this letter, as it is chock full of WIN!!!

  50. MCMonkeyBean*

    I have thought about this post a lot since it went up, I’m so glad it seems to be working out!

Comments are closed.