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Teri Lanza

Teri Lanza
Editorial Director
tlanza@vpico.com

Self-Storage Encounters of the Excrement Kind

By Teri Lanza Comments
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Warning: This blog post contains potentially vulgar references. If toilet talk is not to your amusement, perhaps decline this reading opportunity.

It’s after 5 on a Friday, and I’ve had one of those work weeks, the kind that must’ve inspired the popular Calgon ad campaign, “Take me away!” But whenever I have a particularly taxing day at the office, perhaps feeling a bit dispirited by the trials corporate life, I think back to my years of waiting tables during college, and about the types of unexpected challenges faced every day by self-storage managers. I’m talking about the inane nonsense you can encounter when you interact closely with the public; you just never know what’s going to come at you.

Being a restaurant server wasn’t bad way to earn a living, but there were moments when the urge to tip a hot plate of pasta into someone’s lap was tantalizingly intense. I was called every pet name in the book by members of the male persuasion (honey, sweetie, darlin’, and my ubiquitous favorite, “toots”). I experienced instances of being snapped at (literally and figuratively), waved at, yelled at ... And I once had a guy throw a piece of bread at me. But I never had someone “relieve himself” at my table or had to clean up the remnants of a posterior bodily function.

Some self-storage managers, on the other hand, have had that experience, and I read some of their stories this evening on Self-Storage Talk.

I like hanging out in the “Tales From the Trenches” forum, where community members share some of the most outrageous, hilarious and outright shocking accounts about life as a facility operator. Today, needing a laugh, I was perusing forum threads when the title “Tenant full of ****” caught my eye; but it wasn’t what I expected.

Anticipating a story about a self-storage customer’s tall tales (usually spun in regard to late rent), I was stunned by what I read. I won’t give the punchline away, but let’s say it recalls to mind a little ditty I learned in grade school, something about “floating down the gutter...” The thread initiator, a facility manager, had a rather unpleasant surprise while conducting a daily site inspection last week.

Other operators have jumped in the mix to share some of their own fecal frights. They range from the common, such as finding used baby diapers, to the highly unusual, such as discovering someone has left a bag of goodness on your doorstep. One manager had a tenant who would defecate in a bucket and leave it by the dumpster at night. Another found a shoe box full of urine in an empty unit. One actually had a tenant poop against one of his unit doors. (Revolting as that is, one has to wonder at the logistics of pulling it off.)

Well, I warned you at the beginning. If you’re still reading, perhaps you had a day like mine and really needed something to distract your mind. I bet it worked! This topic is like a train wreck―awful, but you can’t turn away.

If you’re a self-storage manager with a story or comment to share, please post it to the blog. You all deserve medals for the brave work you do. I hope your weekend is wonderful and waste-free.

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