Friday, July 6, 2012

The Cost Of Kindness

Warning: Angry rant ahoy!

Over a week ago on Monday (not this past Monday, but the Monday before) my husband and I noticed that once again, our apartment's AC was not keeping up with the Georgia summer heat. Last summer our AC was always a few degrees higher than we had it set. It was set at 71, the house was regularly 76 or 77. But after a week or so, the temperature dropped enough outside that it wasn't an issue.

This year it was already having a hard time keeping up, and the hottest part of the summer wasn't even upon us. Plus, we have a four month old. So we called the maintenance people and were promptly ignored. Wednesday we called them again and they sent someone out. They changed the air filters and charged the freon, and sent a guy out to check on us in the morning. We tried to explain that the AC did the same thing last year, but they were sure it was just the air filters. It was 77 degrees in the house.

Thursday morning, someone stops by and checks our unit and says it's fine: it's blowing cold air. We explained that wasn't the issue. Our unit would blow cold air until Judgement Day, but never cool the apartment down enough to make it livable. Plus, over the weekend it was supposed to be over a hundred degrees outside. He said was just hot and we'd have to deal with it.

Friday we stop by the leasing office to talk to the property manager. We explained the issue. We explained that we weren't just being whiny about the AC being off a few degrees; it had reached 80 degrees in the house last night. We have a four month old. Their nervous systems are immature. It takes a baby a lot longer to warm up or cool down than it does an adult. Plus, he's got eczema, and the heat was just making it worse. If your AC is set at 71, and it reaches 82, and doesn't cool off until 3 in the morning, something is wrong.

The manager said she understood. She would have the maintenance men put the portable AC unit in our apartment tomorrow, and have them check out our AC unit again. We went back to the apartment, and by 5 it was already 80 degrees. I decided to take the baby over to my parent's house where the AC lives until Saturday.

Saturday arrives, and they hadn't brought the portable unit before my husband left for work (1 in the afternoon). I try to give them some more time. My parents live one town over, and I didn't want to drive there and back just to have them say the unit was on it's way. I'd called the office a few times, but no one ever called me back. I went back to the apartment around 4 in the afternoon and still nothing. It was 84 degrees in the apartment and 105 outside. I called the maintenance man again, and left. I spent the night at my parent's house again.

Sunday the office is closed so we knew nothing was going to happen. We called the maintenance man anyway. He'd said he went out there Saturday, and no one was home (*eyebrow twitch*), but he checked and the AC was blowing cold air (*tiny stroke*).

By this time, I was furious. FURIOUS. I live in the South, people. I know complaining about the AC seems like a petty, First World problem when people are starving all over the world, but again, this is the South. It's HOT outside. VERY hot. It was 105 on Saturday, and 103 on Sunday, and 99 on Monday. It's still in the high 90's this week, and will be until the end of August. We had a record breaking heat wave this weekend and our AC wasn't working. The inside of the apartment (top floor, by the way) was like an oven. 

I consider myself a nice person. There's a lot of people that before now would have been up at that front office, screaming at the nearest warm body. But that's not me. I don't think screaming at people solves anything. Usually the person you're yelling at simply nods and smiles, and just ignores what you're saying. It's not productive. I try to realize that everyone has their own problems and that I am not, in fact, the center of the universe.

I was pissed we were being ignored, and I was pissed that they had me backed into a corner. Being nice and understanding that they probably had lots of calls about AC that weekend wasn't doing anything but getting us walked all over, and I hate it. I hate that some people refuse to respond unless you're pissed off and complaining.  They never called us back when they said they would, and they didn't follow through with a single thing. I felt sick to my stomach. I knew I would have to go up there, and I knew I would have to be firm. I HATE confrontation. I HATE. I would so much rather sit down and discuss things like the rationale human beings we are then have to complain and be mean.

Which brings us to this past Monday. I drove up to the apartment, and my husband got up early (he had to work that evening) and we went over to the leasing office, once again. We had written a letter, complete with photo evidence, about our complaints. We walked in, and calmly yet firmly explained what was happening and why it was not acceptable. The apartment manager made some sympathetic noises. You might think I am exaggerating because I am ticked off, but I swear you could see her eyes glaze over the minute we started talking. 

She explained that the second unit was being used in another apartment whose AC was completely not working, and that the maintenance people would be looking at our unit today. It would have been REALLY nice to know this on Saturday. The maintenance supervisor came in and explained they would probably have to replace the unit, but in the mean time they would bring us the portable unit they had just ordered. Apparently the apartment complex only had one, and couldn't be bothered to drive to Lowe's, or Home Depot where they are easy to buy and even ON SALE.

You might be wondering why we didn't buy one ourselves. Well, we thought about it, but when we spoke to the property manager on Friday she said that wasn't necessary, and frankly, we don't have the extra couple hundred dollars to spend on one right now. We weren't 100% sure they would reimburse us if we sprang for one, since the manager said they would provide us with one.

Later on in the afternoon they brought the portable unit by and I was able to FINALLY sleep in my own bed. 

Here's where it gets fun. Tuesday morning the maintenance man comes by and takes out our old crappy unit, because I assumed (my bad) that the new unit had come in. The afternoon goes by and they bring us the second portable unit, explaining that the new unit hadn't come in yet.

Of course, Wednesday was the Fourth of July so nothing got done, and yesterday they didn't call or bring by our new unit. 

So once again, today I get to call them and ask where our new unit is, because guess what? It was 84 degrees in the house last night because just the two portable AC units couldn't keep up. Plus, they tripped the circuit breaker a few times.

I hate this so much. I hate being so very angry, I hate feeling like a bad person because I just want to march up there and scream at them for ignoring us, for patronizing us. We're good tenants. We don't complain. We clean up after ourselves. Our rent is always paid on time. Yet, this means nothing. Sometimes the squeaky wheel IS the one that gets the most grease, and I think that's wrong. That just sets up the next time the person has a problem they'll think the only way to solve it is to get pissed off. I've worked in retail and customer service my entire life. It's not fun to have someone yell at you over something you can't control.

But being ignored, being patronized and walked all over just because I haven't screamed at them just is just...wrong. 

Needless to say, we will not be renewing our lease.   


  1. I recommend also posting a review on various sites. So others will know it has been such an issue, and how unresponsive they are.

    Stay cool.

  2. We have done that. People should know what they are getting into, I think. Thanks for the advice, and the problem has finally been fixed.