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Penned Out Frustration

You know that suggested coping mechanism of writing a letter to someone who’s slighted you, then burning it?

So you don’t look back and regret it.

So you realize that it doesn’t really matter that much.

So you can just let unbridled anger scribble out through your pen’s tip onto paper rather than through your key’s jagged edge into the side of their car.

Well, here at Yellow Brick Missives, I’m all about setting the missives free. Because some people need to know that their antics haven’t gone unnoticed.

That there’s at least one person who can see right through their thinly-veiled bullshit, and have no problem calling them out on it.

***

Now, y’all know that I’m pretty good about letting people know that they’ve been asshats. Like McNutterpants. Or that dynamic duo, Precious and Sir-Drinks-a-Lot.

But since moving to California, I’ve been trying to let that whole zen, let-it-go mentality sink in–coat my neurotic mind like a cucumber mask.

Recently, though, that mask is cracking. And it’s not because of the California sun.

A little fissure broke through when we went to buy new sheets, which ended with me penning this little epistle:

Hello,

My partner and I visited the Restoration Hardware location at 8772 Beverly Blvd West Hollywood, CA 90048 on 5/11/13 to purchase bedding.

Not only were most members of the floor/sales staff rude and dismissive, but it took us nearly an hour and a half from start to finish due to lack of assistance and faulty registers (I was told my card was declined–and was given that “Oh, you’ve reached your limit” look from other staffers–despite the fact that my partner and I heard another member of the sales staff tell our sales staffer that we would have to go downstairs to process card payments, because the machine upstairs did not work).

My partner and I knew exactly what we wanted when we got there, and couldn’t believe how dismissive the sales staff acted–perhaps because we were wearing tee shirts and jeans and we didn’t present as money-makers to them? The service was so horrendous that my partner had to corner a sales associate (after being repeatedly dismissed by others, each of whom called into their headset for someone else), and told her that if we were not helped, we would take our money elsewhere.

Despite the fact that we had to wait for so long, the newly-hired associate who helped us was very polite and tried her best to work within an obviously flawed system to assist us. Her name was — and her employee number is —. She was incredibly apologetic for our wait and the nicest associate with whom we dealt. If the sales associates who snubbed us–four of whom we passed by on our way to the register downstairs–acted as professionally as she did, our experience would have been quite different. Since the four were carousing around the iced-tea counter, I can only assume they had *just* finished with all of their more important “clients.”

On another note, I have never seen such inefficient payment areas in my life: closet-sized register checkouts where patrons have to cram in alongside the associates? Ridiculous.

I am a very easy-going person, as is my partner. We usually go with the flow; but this was the worst shopping experience I have had since moving to Los Angeles. I advise some serious sales associate review if you hope to retain a customer base. In the future, my partner and I will not revisit this particular location, and will think twice about returning to Restoration Hardware for our household needs.

Good day.

And the rest of what remained of that flaky mask blew off yesterday, after I read an email from my former slumlord–we’ll call him Prick. Prick informed me that JackOff, the closeted resident manager who lives in the disgusting basement unit, informed him that I left the apartment in complete disarray. Not only that, but my apparent lack of care for the property would cost Prick nearly $1100 to repair. But out of the kindness of his heart, Prick just plans to withhold my entire security deposit and “call it even.”

Now, I’m all about transparency. Which is why I sent this back to the both of them:

Hi Prick and JackOff, 

To write that I’m floored by this apartment assessment would be a vast understatement; however, I appreciate your straight-forwardness. Clearly, I never would have entertained the idea of receiving or requesting a partial security deposit reimbursement if I felt I’d left the apartment in worse shape than that in which I found it. (And since I’m a Historic Preservationist by profession, I think I have enough background to support my position.)  While I don’t expect anything in return, I’d like to address a few points JackOff made.

(1) Paint/Re-painting. While I do not deny having “spot-removed” paint that had been flaking off (probably heat-induced, especially during the summer when the apartment inside often exceeded 80 degrees even with the A/C units on), I did not do this to intentionally deface the
apartment–merely to stave-off constantly sweeping up paint chips. While this unintentional “antique” treatment may not be desired by future tenants, the current tenant actually mentioned that he liked it, as did others touring the apartment. Moreover, a professional paint job would entail stripping off these layers of paint for the new paint to better adhere to the trim, making the temporary appearance–especially since there’s a locked-in tenant now–a moot point. I think the fact that I re-painted the balcony and replaced and painted the front railing collectively speak to the fact that, during my time on Park Ave, I was interested in the longitudinal longevity of the entire home.
Upon my move-in, the interior walls and trim of the apartment were pock-marked with nail holes, former (discolored) patches, badly patched plaster cracks, gouged-out plaster (which I in-filled), and plywood patches over exposed lathe. I patched all holes I could–including those that were not of my making–and inquired about
re-painting the interior in 2011, but was told not to. Additionally, since we agreed with the current tenant that the apartment was being rented “as-is,” I assumed all parties involved knew what that meant apartment-wise.

(2) The stove. As I have mentioned in our previous correspondence, I had to completely overhaul the stove to make it usable–removing a mouse nest (I’m not kidding), replacing the drip pans, scraping the stove inside and out, treating rust spots inside it, and cleaning underneath the entire unit (where there was broken glass, cardboard, and part of a pizza box)–rather than requesting a replacement. Since the stove appears to be from the 70’s, I cleaned the deep-caked grease stains as best as I could with professional cleaning agents, after move-in and upon move-out. I can’t fathom that a stove from the 70’s could be expected to remain spotless after multiple tenants.

On another note, the refrigerator was lined with black mold, which I also cleaned. The bathroom tile and toilet interior were caked with urine, pubic hair, and general scum, all of which I cleaned at my expense.

I cared for the apartment as I would my own home, as is evidenced by the fact that 117 B was featured on an internationally known design website twice, and I installed (and left) a $200 A/C unit to better regulate the apartment’s temperature to avoid mold growth, paint-flaking, and other problems. Not only that, but I’ve never heard any negative
commentary from any visitors; on the contrary, I always received glowing praise–including from some of the apartment’s past tenants and from you when you visited (the apartment looks exactly as it did when you complemented me on how “nice” it looked). Countless visitors exclaimed that, judging from the neglected facade, they would never have imagined the building to have such a well-maintained, character-rich apartment inside.

While I could send you countless before/after photos of everything I’ve mentioned above (we took plenty of photos), and the improvements I made, and the condition of the apartment when I took over, I’ll refrain–as I will from recommending any of your properties to friends
and colleagues.

JackOff, on a personal note, I’m incredibly disappointed. You know the state the apartment was in when I moved in (unless you never performed a walk-thru), and the state it was in when we left. I’m not sure what your motivation is, but I think–especially considering the good relationship I thought we had–this assessment is a flagrant, hurtful lie.

If I was a landlord, I’d be thrilled to see my property look as good as this.

Good day,

Matt

Honestly, I think letting the asshats have it is even more cathartic than watching a letter’s fiery demise. Of course, strategy is essential, as is wording. Because you have to have some semblance of tact when sealing a note with kisses and bitch sprinkles.

Still, being honest and forthright mean more to me than any note I could ever write, whether sent or not. Because even sour experiences embolden me, give me a little confidence to keep opening my yap whenever someone needs to hear the truth.

Chances are, Prick and JackOff will continue being asshats; after all, it’s worked this long.

But who knows.

They may just learn a little something, too.

Like never cross a scrappy gay.

Because this kitty has claws.

6 thoughts on “Penned Out Frustration

  1. I think you’re right, Matt. You SHOULD let people know when they’ve been asshats. I have become more assertive in these situations lately because even if my complaint doesn’t correct THEIR behavior, I can take comfort in the fact that I’ve let my feelings be known. A similar situation happened to me at a boutique in Southern Pines. I had the distinct feeling that they were looking at me as if my dirty Harnett County money wasn’t as valuable as pristine Moore County money. I called the store and told them about the poor service. They clearly didn’t care but I’m glad I got my frustration off my chest!

    1. Yesssssssss! I totally agree, and I’m glad you let the store know that their service sucked. It’s always laughable the way certain retailers snub those who don’t “fit” a certain preferred clientele type, even when your money translates the same way. Oy!

      And, like I said, if nothing else, the asshats know that you know that they’re cray-cray!

  2. Wow,what a horrible experience with those sorry excuse for landlords. I’m not sure if pursuing it legally would be worth while but social media exposure might warn others about these two. From what you described I would have called the health department! Maybe that apartment contributed to your sinus & other health issues- who knows what sort of toxic mould or lead or God knows what was in there. I hope you haven’t had any issues with your new place.
    Great letter to RH; did they respond? An apology at bare minimum is owed to you & Andy. On a happier note, have a great wknd! The farmers mkt is full of delicious things – apricots,peaches,cherries- an embarrassment of riches. One of the best things IMHO about the Golden State.

    1. Yeah, it sort of sucked. But I did get a surprisingly unexpected, nice response from the landlord, although I don’t plan to respond. As I suspected, he doesn’t care about not refunding me the money–he just doesn’t want his name sullied. Guess he should’ve thought of that before!

      And, yay for the weekend! And the farmers market(s)! We’ve still got to find some good ones around here!

    2. Oh, and RH did respond–a very generic “so sorry” email. Whatever. We’ll definitely avoid that store like the plague!

      1. I don’t blame you, I wouldn’t patronize them either.

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