I knew it was going to happen. It was Christmas Eve, and I went into the office to get caught up.
Something also told me we’d be getting a call (or several) from a client facility, where there’d be an anxious renter facing a lockout situation. It happens frequently: Someone forgets to pay rent, the manager eventually locks the delinquent unit, and then the tenant is desperate to retrieve Christmas presents out of storage.
People ask me, “Why do you work on Christmas Eve?” The answer is easy: That’s what the staff of a call center does. We answer the phones when our client stores are off on their holidays.
Holiday time is particularly troublesome. There’s always someone calling after the store is closed who can’t get to the kids’ presents and is freaking out. I’d freak out too if I couldn’t get my holiday gifts out of hiding.
Unless we’re specifically directed to do otherwise, the policy at our call center is not to contact store managers after hours on holidays about past-due renters or non-emergency issues. Christmas Eve is when we break the rules.
On Christmas Eve 2006, one regional manger spent three hours traveling to and from his facility so a frantic tenant could get his kids’ presents. This past Christmas, my instincts were right on. I received a call from a lady in Michigan who couldn’t access her unit. She had forgotten to pay rent and was locked out. We tracked down the manager on her cell phone to see if she could help.
We usually handle three or four similar calls on such holidays. And we’ll track down the manager or regional manager if we can. Some will be peeved that we’re bothering them. Some will try their hardest to make sure the kids get their gifts.