My wife left me. My dog ran away. My kids won't talk to me. My truck won't run. These might sound like country western lyrics when, in fact, these are common sob stories self-storage tenants share with operators.
As industry operators are well aware of, self-storage tenants tend to be people who are in stages of transition. Often, they're going through relocations, divorces, foreclosures, and other cataclysmic life events. As a result, they're looking for anyone and everyone to vent to, and because so many self-storage operators and kind, welcoming people, they get more than an earful of these sob stories from customers.
A member of Self-Storage Talk, the official online forum of Inside Self-Storage, started a thread explaining how she often feels like she's bartending at some dingy hole in the wall, that she should pour a stiff drink for the poor sap who's moaning to her. Based on the discussion, it seems several others agree.
Here's the problem, though: If self-storage operators are serving as sounding boards for their customers, where do the operators themselves go to vent? It can be tough to find people who can relate to your struggles because running a self-storage facility is a unique job with sometimes unbelievable and absurd challenges.
If you can't find a place to vent to people who understand your problems, Self-Storage Talk is the solution. Imagine the forum as one big cyberpub that caters specifically to the industry. Of course, it's not all informal bar chat. The numerous expert members participate in some very professional discourse, as well. But a laid-back, I-just-need-to-get-this-off-my-chest atmosphere also pervades, and everyone is welcome to share their struggles and reach out for support.
If you haven't found that reliable Sam Malone on "Cheers"-type bartender, you should try Self-Storage Talk. To participate, you'll need to register, but it's free and only takes a few minutes. Pull up a stool and tell us about yourself. Sometimes you want to go where everybody (or nobody, if you choose to be anonymous) knows your name.