mango_mouse (mango_mouse) wrote in bad_service,

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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.

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