Wednesday, December 31, 2014

**ATTACK** of the Chronic Complainers

Several of my friends have been getting on me about writing a book based on stories they've heard from me, while working in the apartment industry. For now, I'll just blog about a few of them. 

Anyone that has ever had the pleasure of working in customer service, has most definitely had his/her fair share of dealing with some downright frightening-ass people. The apartment industry is really no different.

The following is an example of a letter that I sent to someone residing at one of the communities I've worked for. I've always called these types of letters "love letters,"or "nasty grahams." These letters are compiled for a variety of interesting and sometimes entertaining reasons; mostly because of a neighbor's complaint or issue.

Dear {Insert Name Here},

We are receiving complaints at our office regarding your pet.
One of your neighbors came to us this morning and indicated that you are keeping your dog on your balcony and that it urinated on the  head of the resident below you, on at least two different occasions. Our maintenance staff also noticed that there are several piles of dog excrement on your balcony, which this is extremely unsanitary. We have included photos for you to review.

We are asking that you please do not keep your pet on your balcony unattended. Please see the Pet Addendum portion of your lease agreement for information regarding pet privileges.
Further complaints of this nature will result in our asking you to remove the pet from the premises.


CC: Resident File: {I Find It Ridiculous That I Even Have To Address This} Pet Complaint

I wish I could say that people were not really this clueless, and at times, vile, and that I was making this stuff up for the purpose of my blog, but unfortunately, I’m not. I have sent out hundreds - maybe even thousands - of these types letters, ranging anywhere from from pet issues to domestic situations. Many people just don't know how to behave, and I'm stuck being the bad guy - simply because I'm doing my job. Trying to make everyone happy all of the time is hard work, and most of the time, impossible! I've had to call the police on people, both drunk and sober, and physical aggression is never ruled out.

I think the most awkward complaints would be addressing those pertaining to loud sexual encounters. Yikes. Hey, by the way, can you please keep it down when you are having sex at three in the morning? The neighbor below you is complaining that you are being really, really loud and you two weren't the ones that were "up all night," if you catch my drift.

My biggest disappointment in human interaction, though, is coming into contact with people who are blatantly rude. For no reason at all. Maybe they were picked on in school as a child, or maybe they weren't given enough hugs by daddy growing up, but it's especially difficult to experience "attitude" that is thrown in the faces of the people that are trying to help. I see it every single day. I see it at work. I see it in stores, checking out. I see it while commuting to and from work. I see it everywhere. It's senseless and diabolical!

Then comes the complaining. The increasing level of unwarranted complaining and whining that I have endured and/or witnessed over the years is actually mind-bending. Some people can and will complain about things that I would never even think to complain about. This is why there are so many frivolous lawsuits - because people can be petty and ridiculous.
I must say that my favorite instance of verbal, physical, and psychological abuse - while being forced to maintain **superior customer service** - would be while dealing with a woman named Alice.* 

Alice is quite frankly, the nastiest and most hateful woman that I have ever come into contact with, in my entire life. Alice was so mean and so rude, that I would literally have nightmares about the woman at night, and panic attacks while driving in to work. She always reminded me of that one mean person (neighbor, teacher, bully, etc) that everyone was scared to death of as a child, growing up. I've also referred to her as The Wicked Witch on more than one occasion.


Alice would speak to me like I was snotty two-year old, incapable of completing the simplest of tasks. She would stomp into the office wearing an evil scowl so frightening, that it would scare even the evilest of movie villains. Alice would bark out her demands, and then make me repeat them back to her - because, in her mind - I was I was completely and totally incompetent and ridiculous. She would stomp out, and slam the office door, practically shaking it clean off of its hinges.I  don't know, maybe she had some sort of vitamin deficiency.

Alice was also nice enough to continue to refer to me as “new management,” completely oblivious of my seven-year tenure with the company.

One Monday morning, I drove into work. As I pulled in, a car was already parked in our leasing parking lot, waiting for our office to open at 9:00 am.

Shit. It was Alice. My heart freaking stopped.

I gathered my things and got out of my car, and headed into the office. Alice followed me, practically walking on my ankles with each step of her stride. I was SO not ready for her, this early in the morning.

Alice was there to pick up her packages. OK, I thought. Easy enough. Deep breaths.

Her packages, for some reason, usually weighed around 150 lbs. I never understood what in the world she was always ordering that weighed so damn much. Judging be the decor on her balcony, her taste was very similar to what one would see in a funeral home. She was was probably here to pick up one on her funeral home flower arrangements or cast iron cemetery decorations. 

I looked for her packages but could find nothing, and my heart started really pounding when I had to break the news to her. This was a fate worse than death - and I was the unfortunate soul that had to inform her of the bad news. Why did this woman have this affect on me?

Usually, the driver for UPS will make his rounds around the property, drop off notices to the residents that weren't home, and then drop all of packages off at the leasing office afterwards.

Every now and again though, the driver will do his usual song and dance, head to the office, and then find that no one in the office to accept them.This would usually only happen if he attempted to deliver after hours or both of us (there are only two of us in the office) were on a tour or out on the property, during the really busy summer months.

After I gave Alice the bad news that her packages were not at the office, she actually had the audacity to accuse me of stealing her packages. What? Are you fucking kidding me? A federal offense, no less, but hey, I’m the dumb ass.

Alice then proceeded to PUSH ME (yes, apparently physical violence is now OK in the workplace) out of the way so that she could make her way to our copier to photocopy her UPS slip. I secretly snickered as she fumbled with the buttons on the machine, unable to figure out how to use it. You're so smart, I thought, YOU figure it out!

Frustrated, Alice eventually looked at me and screamed, Why the hell are you just standing there, copy this damn slip for me!!

Absolutely, I stated, while I aggressively snatched the slip from her cold, ridged, fingers. I copied the slip, as she continued to berate me and accuse me of stealing her packages.

I calmly - yet shakily - explained that the UPS driver probably still had her packages on the truck and would be delivering them today. Alice continued to scream, and eventually she threatened me, stating that if they didn't than, "I would most certainly pay."


As expected, Alice's packages did arrive that day, and thankfully, maintenance happened to be in her apartment, working on some things when they arrived. They brought the packages in and placed them on her counter for her. When I called her and left her a voicemail to let her know - in addition to an email - she never responded to me, thanked me, or apologized. Nothing. But I was never expecting something like that from her anyway.

Luckily, Alice moved out about a year later. And like all of the other pain in the asses of the world, I never have to deal with her ever again.

Ya know, it really doesn't take any extra effort to be nice to someone, especially someone that you really don't know. It's actually really quite simple: treat others how you want to be treated. That's it!

I understand that everyone has their bad days, but that person - yes, that person who is trying to help you - might also be having a crappy day. It's time that we stick together, love each other, and support each other instead of constantly tearing one another down.

*Name has been changed.