Empty Chairs at Empty Tables
Originally uploaded by Fixed Image.
The apartment hunt steamrolls on and today I found myself at another leasing company who - yet again - told me that my budget is too strict, and my list of wants is just too stringent - to possibly afford the type of place I want, in the area that I want. I swear, it's getting to the stage where I know what they're gonna say before they say it. And yet I'm an optimist, so I keep going to these companies, and I know that soon enough, one of them will have what I want.
What I could have done without was the encounter with the crazy lady who was also there to chat to someone about an apartment. She arrived a little after me, and sat down in the empty chair next to me. I could feel her staring at me intently, so I become suddenly absorbed in the intricate designs on my coffee cup and tried to ignore her eyeballs drilling into me.
But then she launched into question after question, a la Barbara Walters, quizzing me about the best areas in Chicago to live, what was this area like, just how many reported rapes had there been in the 18 months I've lived here, and how noisy do I really think it would be to live right by the train line?
[I swear, I am a magnet for these people.]
But as if hearing my silent prayers for rescue, my leasing agent appeared in the doorway and called me in. My interview was all over in 3 minutes. The apartment I was there to talk about got leased yesterday - and no one thought to call me. This is a practice I have come to expect.
So I seized the opportunity to ask the lady why her company bothers to advertise apartments on their website with such large price range differences. I mean, if an apartment is $1080 per month, advertise it as such. Don't tease people (ie. Me) by saying it's $895-1080 per month. That just prompts people like me, who are on a particular budget, to come all the way to meet them thinking that there is a chance - even a slim one - that the apartment could go for $895. Does the company derive some sort of perverse pleasure from disappointing these people (ie. Me) to their faces? Do you really think that I'm going to turn around to you and say, "Oh really? The apartment is now $300 more per month than what I had originally anticipated? Hey, that's no big deal - here's $300 from my money tree just for you." What a crock.
I mean, it's the classic 'bait & switch' routine. Naturally the woman had no answer for her company's practice, and really I wasn't having a go at her anyway, and all I wanted to do was leave. So we just agreed that life generally sucked, she referred me to yet ANOTHER leasing company, wished me luck on my search (that I chose to take as sincere), and I went on my way.
And as I left, I wished the crazy lady in the waiting room good luck too. But if she finds a one-bedroom place with floorboards for under $1000 per month in this area before me, I will be severely put out.