I walked into a door
Have you ever gotten that call from a resident with something broken but
they won’t tell you what happened or why it’s now busted? I know why. First hand.
I have moments in my life where what little senses of grace and poise I usually have abandon me fully. One such moment was about two weeks ago, when, while hosting a surprise birthday party for a dear friend, I made my way to the grill on the back balcony and didn’t realize that the screen door was closed. I was walking at full speed and thinking, and when I think and walk at the same time I often close my eyes to focus on my thoughts. I am aware of how weird it is. It’s just something I’ve always done.
One moment we had a fully functional screen door. The next…not so much.
In my defense, it was dark out, and I thought the door was open when I started towards it. The embarrassment in the moment was quite cringe-worthy, but in the light of the next day, when it became apparent that we would not be able to fix the mangled frame of mesh and aluminum ourselves, I had to face the additional humiliation of calling the office and putting in the work order.
Me: I’d like to put in a work order, please
Office person: Okay, what can we help you with?
Me: I need a new screen door for my back balcony.
Office: May I ask why?
Me: It’s broken. And I’m pretty positive this can’t be fixed.
Office: Mmm-hmm and what is the nature of the damage?
Me: It’s bent …and um… off the track… and uh…look, it’s just broken.
Office: (Long Silent Pause and then…) And how did this happen?
Me: (Deep sigh, because under direct questioning, I’m not going to lie) I sort of…walked into it.
Office: Hold please.
Me: You’re putting me on hold to laugh at me, aren’t you?
(I know it’s tempting to laugh at your residents when they do incredibly ungraceful and stupid things, but resist the urge while you’re still on the phone with them.)
Office: (Returning to the line) Okay, we’ll have someone there on Monday or Tuesday. They might have to order parts, so it might not get fixed until Thursday, but we’ll get it taken care of for you.
That was almost two weeks ago and my screen door isn’t fixed yet. I’m irritated mostly because of the fact that it’s still sitting there, a wide gaping bug access hole on my back porch. I’m fully aware that I am the one who broke it, but I live in an apartment, which means I pay for my problems to be someone else’s problems. Since that Sunday morning conversation, I have called the office three times to check on the status of my work order, and each time, I have been told a new time line that postpones it by a few more days.
I was already looking for houses, but everyday I look at this bent screen door, I want to move out more. Before my lease is up. Satisfacts is right: this work order has only been outstanding for two weeks and I’m so annoyed I can hardly stand it. It’s a daily reminder of three things:
1. I was a clumsy moron
2. The office told me it would be done a week ago
3. (and this is my resident perception glasses here since I have yet to see a maintenance tech enter my apartment) The office lied to me and doesn’t care about me. And I am paying them $1600 a month for this treatment.
Don’t give residents false time lines. Before you promise a time that a work order will be completed, chat with your maintenance team. Because a resident will always remember that you didn’t deliver on what you promised…even if they somehow manage to suppress the memory that they broke the screen door in the first place.