Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Scavanger Instinct Revisited

From time to time, it's good to take a look at the works and see how effective it all is. Reading some of the early posts regarding treasure are interesting. That just ain't me no more, dog! I walk away from lamps and old textbooks. I've been burned on the "OHIO ROAD TRIP MIX" CDs too many times for me to start digging through that old shoebox they left in 302. I think one comes to a point where no lamp is better than the wrong lamp. I am still shocked SHOCKED at what ends up the dumpsters. I just don't feel the need to haul it out, dust it off, and use it as a bedside table anymore. Especially when it's an old pillow with yellow stains.


Monday, July 03, 2006

What's that noise/smell/thing moving in the dumpster?

Part of being a good manager is having a healthy sense of curiosity.  You have to want to figure things out, get to the bottom of the mystery.  But one of the hard lessons I've learned in this job is sometimes, things just are.  There is no why.  It just is.  Like phone calls in the middle of the night, people thinking I'm supposed to changed their light bulbs and incompetence in the corporate office, some things just are.

Like the fact that I started this entry with less of an idea than I thought I had.  

Things happen.  

Friday, June 16, 2006

Meat Shoes

Part of the job of the manager is to prepare vacant units for rental. This involves scheduling the maintenance crews, painters, carpet replacement, etc. Usually, it's pretty routine and only a matter of making phone calls and directing traffic. But every now and then we have what we in the managing businnes like to call "a situation."
With college kids, the first thing you do after someone moves out is go in and look for treasure. This is dumpster diving all dressed up. I'll write about the joys of wasteful rich kids another time because that can only come after a quick check of the fridge. If the fridge is empty, then on to treasure island. If the fridge has any food in it, you must empty it right then and there. While there's still power keeping it cold.

This is a happy fridge. Cold waffles all set for the landfill. That little bag of stuff is cool and not stinky. You must jump on this immediately.


Had a bad day at the office? Me too.

My first fridge situation was apartment #6. What nice guys they were. A couple of stoners who accidentally left their firearms out during inspections. And apparently their idea of taking a shower involved removing the tiles ( I wish I'd taken pictures of that). Not too sorry to see them go.

They moved out three weeks early and didn't tell anybody. A lot of students don't remember to turn the power off when they move but these guys were diligent. They killed their power immediately. But only after going to Ralph's and filling the fridge with cheese, milk, hot dogs, ground beef, and sausage.

By the time I showed up it was early July and hot as balls.

Being new to the Management Game, I walked in to do the inspection, noticed a little dribble coming from the fridge, opened it up and was introduced to a whole new world of odor. Baby roaches scampered. Little black gnats flew out. How did they get in there? And the smell...the smell...

(Pause as he stares off into the distance).

The horror.
The horror.

As I hauled the first garbage bag to the dumpster, I had the brain twisting sensation of liquefied meat running out of a tear, down my leg and into my shoe. By the time I was done, I had Meat Shoes.

I washed them. I bleached them. I did everything short of burning them but there was no reversing the effect: My shoes took on the personality of a puddle of rotted flesh. These became my dirty job shoes but we will always remember them fondly as meat shoes.

Friday, June 09, 2006


You’ve always wondered "What the Hell is my apartment manager doing when he's not hounding me about rent, telling me to turn down my music or watching my girlfriend shower through that little hole in the wall?” Well, I am here to tell you. I‘m a manager for a big rental company in South Central LA. I was lured by the free rent, the work from home-ness, and the sheer unadulterated power.

Oh, and the treasure.

I just came from one of our properties where we are doing major renovations. The demo guys cleared the apartments and filled the courtyard with everything the tenants left behind. And what a haul. I just scored two banker’s lamps, three miles of DSL cable and enough shampoo to last me ‘til Christmas.

Different jobs reward different aspects of our humanity. Cops and firemen thrive on the thrill of high risk. Doctors get off on the rush of helping people (and cashing checks). Managing apartments rewards the scavenger instinct. Since most of my tenants are USC students and don’t really understand the value of anything, I clean up. It’s shocking really. I’ve found printers, monitors, televisions, microwaves, telephones and every kind of furniture you can image. IKEA is nice when it’s cheap. It’s the greatest furniture ever when it’s free.

By the way, I found the same kind of shampoo your girlfriend uses. Maybe I’ll stop by when you’re not around.