Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Storage unit drama

I live and work at storage units...no, I don't live in a storage unit as some have questioned. In exchange for free rent and utilities, I'm required to manage the units half the week, splitting time with Moultons living upstairs. It's a great setup, with the office just down the hall so I can stay home with Hattie all day and not have to go to work. We love it, except for living in the industrial area of town...it's a good thing that the Moultons are upstairs or we'd be lonely. But I've learned a lot about people here, and the type of people who rent units.

Type 1: Pay early...We hardly recognize that they exist. We get a check from them twice a year and that's the end of our interactions with them. Or perhaps they always pay one month early. Either way, we don't hear from them much.

Type 2: Pay on time...Dependable...consistent...we love them.

Type 3: Occasionally late...This is the stay-at-home mom who accidentally forgot that it was the first of the month, or the delivery man who made it to Spanish Fork one day later than planned. They know about the late fee, and, without us having to remind them, include the extra 5 bucks in their check. I like them cuz I don't have to be mean and say, "You forgot the late fee."

Type 4: Perpetually late...Every month they end up paying $20 in late fees. This is sad when the unit only rents for $20 or $40, and they rent two units ($40 in late fees). They're always trying to talk their way out of late fees, or seem surprised that they are late, almost certain that they paid extra last month. After they've been late for the 4th month in a row, I just want to say, "Is it really worth storing all that stuff if you are just going to be late every month?" They go in and out of foreclosure, but always conjure up the money to pay in the end.

Type 5: Those who have All Safe Storage on speed dial...We hear from them weekly, with some story about how their car broke down, how they lost their job, and were hospitalized. They aren't calling to make a payment, just to inform us of their problems and that they'll "be in by the end of the week." Of course, they call the next week with part two of their story, something along the lines of being sued and having twin babies die, saying once again they'll be in by the end of the week. On the third week they call, and you ask them how they're doing since their babies died, and they reply, "What babies?" (I'm not meaning to poke fun at their troubles, but I have heard all of these excuses before in the same month) We know them on a first name basis. When I answer and hear, "Hi, this is Geraldine...(sigh)" I know I'd better gear up for a story.

Type 6: Those who go to their unit on a daily basis...To them I want to say, build a shed. There is one guy in particular whose unit is right outside our bedroom window. I'll often hear him drive up at 6:00 am, as soon as the gate is accessible, and he'll grab something and go. He'll be back at noon, and again at 7:00. There are even oil stains on the pavement in front of his unit from his car being parked there so much.

All in all we love it. On days like today, I have answered the phone once, and helped one customer. More on storage unit life is sure to come.

The view from our bedroom window...I think you can see where the tire
marks end are where our "live-in tenant" rents.


Laura Bernard said...

This is so so funny. I am tenant number three. You pegged me perfectly. I can't believe that weird speed dial tenant. Who lies about dying twins? Sick sick sick.

Hope your trip to Texas was great!

kerri d said...

I suspect you'll be reaping gospel parallels from this experience for the rest of your life!

Brandon and Jenn said...

Sounds like an experience? When do you get to retire from the storage business and make the move to Tejas? Brandon and I are in Houston. We'd love to get together sometime if you settle nearby.

Trulee said...

Mel- That is way funny, I bet you love not having to pay rent, what a great deal.