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October 25th, 2006

Bad Apartment Service

A little bit of background:  I live alone in a small one bedroom apartment that has about an 8ft high ceiling (this is important).  The building is owned and maintained by a large and fairly disliked real estate company in Boston.

I arrived home on Monday night around 10pm to find my smoke alarm beeping loudly about every 30 seconds.  I was pretty sure that meant the battery is low so I attempted to take it down using a chair to hoist me up.  I was about a foot short of getting to it so I called a friend to see if he had a short ladder that he could bring over.  He didn't have anything, but suggested I maybe try hitting the reset button.  I used a broom to push it and that seemed to stop the beeping.  I decided I would call the maintenance company in the morning and see if they could check it out for me.  They are usually pretty nice and I had a problem before with hot water that they fixed fairly quickly.

During the middle of the night around 3am, the damn thing starts beeping again.  I try hitting the reset button, but the beeping started up again about 15 minutes later.  I am bleary, groggy and really wanting to get some sleep because I had to get up at 6am for work.  Meanwhile, I have neighbors all around me who I am sure can hear the beeping due to paper thin walls.  I try calling the 24 maintenance line to see if someone there could have any suggestions on what I could do seeing as I cannot reach the smoke detector.  The conversation was as follows:

ME: Sleepy, groggy me.
G: 24-Hour Maintenance Guy


G: Maintenance.

ME: Hi there.  I am having a problem with my smoke detector, it won't stop beeping and I can't quite reach it.  Would you happen to have a ladder that you could bring over so I can disconnect it?

G: *silence*....what?  Your smoke detector?

ME: Yes, it is extremely loud and I am sure it is causing a disturbance to my neighbors.  However, I cannot make it stop beeping as I have no way to get to it.  Can you please help me out?  It shouldn't take long at all! 

G: Uhhhh....well, I would have to put my clothes on and drive to Boston in my car.

ME: *thinking*  "What?  This is the emergency maintenance guy and he doesn't even live remotely close to my building?"

ME: Listen, I am just wondering if there is someone on the maintence crew nearby that can help.

G: Can't you just put a towel around it?  There's lots of guys who can help you tomorrow.  I don't even have a ladder.

ME: Well, I am not sure how I would do that because I can't even reach it.  Please, I just want to get back to sleep.

G: Well, I need my sleep too.  Listen, you want me to come over there or what?  I can be there in probably an hour and a half.

One of my neighbors starts banging on the wall at this point.  I am sure the beeping isn't making them happy either.

ME: What?  How is this at all 24-hour maintenance while you are an hour and a half away?  Look, the neighbors are getting upset.  Is there anything you can do?  Can you call a maintenance person closer?

G: I can be there in an hour and a half, but I need sleep too you know.

ME: Thanks anyways, I'll try not to kill myself trying to take the smoke detector off the ceiling.

G: Okay bye. *Click*


I ended up putting a couple of books and a subwoofer on the chair to make a wobbly and pretty unsafe platform for me to stand on so I could take the damn thing down.  It was the last thing I wanted to do at 4am seeing that if I got hurt, there was no one there to help me.

Was I asking too much?  There is nothing that indicated it was an emergency line or anything, just that it was the number to call for 24-hour maintenance.  I assumed that the guy would live in my building or in one of the surrounding buildings on my block.  Also, I think he was pretty rude to me when I was clearly distressed and the noise was upsetting my neighbors.

Thoughts?  Should I call and complain?  I feel like it won't do any good and I should just go buy a stepladder.

Dear FedEx Guy,
 
I understand that there are several buildings in my apartment complex, numbered evenly from 6002 to 6032 (so that's about 15 buildings, with 155 apartments total, 10 apartments per building approximately).  I understand that means there are 15 apartments numbered "403".  

However, your job (and not mine, nor the apartment complex's, by the way, neither of us has the time to go check all the #403s in the complex to see where you left the package.  It isn't a scavenger hunt) is to deliver that package to the right 403, in the right building.  If you can't distinguish 6002 from 6012 from 6022 from 6032, despite the LARGE numbers on the outside of each building ... that's a problem.   If you don't feel like having to walk up the stairs to more than one 4th level apartment to deliver the package, that is also a problem. This is the SECOND time in 3 days we've encountered this EXACT difficulty.  Your job is to deliver the package to the correct door.  Or to leave it in the office.  Neither of which you are apparently interested in doing.  Nope. You'll just drop it at the first 403 you locate.  Yah. That's a problem. 

I don't pay, and companies don't pay, outrageous amounts of money to have things overnighted only for you to drop the package wherever is easiest for you.  I'm not saying it is easy or fun for you to have to go up four flights of stairs.  I'm sure it is no fun to have to do it more than once if more than one building has a delivery on the 4th floor.  But, alas and alack, it is your job.  And it only makes life more difficult for you, me, the fed ex customer service line who has to put an investigation out as to where you've left the package, the apartment complex, and whoever owns the apartment you left the package at when you don't do your job.   You're testing my patience, and making me seriously consider whether or not I use fedex in the future.  

Disgruntledly yours,
 Me

Arg

I hate the financial aid department at my community college. They screwed up book vouchers at the beginning of the semester. It took me 2 weeks after classes started to get my books paid for.

They were supposed to mail out financial aid refund checks this past Monday. I went to check and see if they had been mailed and guess what. Yup. They can't guarentee they are going to even be mailed this week. They haven't even started the damn paperwork. Checks haven't even been printed.

It freaking sucks. People were counting on this money to make ends meet and now those of us that need it are screwed!

I wish they could get their shit together.

Oct. 25th, 2006

What do you think about restaurants including tipping guidelines on the bill? For those who arne't familiar, some restaurants program their computers to print incriments of 15%, 18% and 20% of your food at the bottom of the check.

I personally love this and wish my own restaurant would adopt it. One of my managers said some customers would be offended by it, though. Do you think it's presumptuous?

There have been customers who told me, who even told the manager, how great a server I was...and then leave only 10% on the table. I think sometimes people just don't do the math right even if they really meant to reward good service. *shrugs* Your thoughts, from the other side of the table?

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