Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Funny Side of Self Storage

Self Storage is all about storing your household items, business files, vehicles, business inventory and so many other everyday items. Some customers use it for a variety of reasons like they do not have a garage but have a passion for fishing, hiking, canoeing and other outdoor adventures so they need a space they can easily access to keep their items for this purpose or they select not to have the clutter in their home. Customers have used self storage for a variety of reasons personal and Business. Self Storage can be convenient when moving, downsizing, remodeling, hobbies, starting a business in the area or online for your inventory and materials and the list can go on and on.  Through my many years of experience I have been there to help people in a time of need and in a time of happiness. Many of you would think that working in the world of self storage that it must be a very boring job without any rewards. In retrospect I thought it would be a very boring job because it was just renting storage space. I thought I would come to work and answer the phones to provide assistance to customers who already rented at my location or handle inquiries of potential customers. How hard could that be, right? I mean if they needed my help and since I love to help people when they are in need, this was the job for me. All I had to do was learn everything about what my locations in West Milford, Wayne, Toms River and Middletown, NY and what they had to offer so everyone who needed space got the most out of what they were looking for. Next I learned about all the different items that someone might need to move, pack and store so I would have them on hand to make their experience as pleasurable as possible. Then I learned all about the useful tips of moving, packing and storing of household items, business or hobbies so they could experience a pleasurable stay. I am sure you are thinking to yourself at this moment that this sounds fairly easy and how nice it sounds to be able to be so helpful when needed and to get paid for it, right? For the majority of the time it is very rewarding and a pleasure to meet so many nice people in the community and be as helpful as I can be to them with their self storage experience. 

Storage Units 33 - 28  Angle View
Storage Units 33 - 28 Angle View

Now like anything else you would rent there is always paperwork to sign with regards to us asking you to agree to the use of the space and what everyone stores in regard to what I believe is the norm and by most standards is the norm. As in anything in life there is always that person who looks to, Let’s say bend the rules, for their own personal needs.

So with that said here is one of my experiences that I would like to share with you that stuck with me through the years. It was a spring day, where the days were warmed by the sun but the nights were cold and as any other day when I would arrive at my facility I would walk through the hallways of our climate controlled buildings (for those of you who do not know, a climate control building keeps the temperature from becoming extremely cold or extremely warm) and around the grounds making sure that all the units were secure (since at times customers have left without securing their unit when in a hurry) and nothing was out of the normal from any activities from the day before. I entered the building and the lights have sensors so as I entered the lights would come on in that section and as I walked through the hallway more lights would come on. I would walk by a unit and check to make sure it was secure and every unit after that as I continued till I was back at the door then I would exit. The only thing in the hallways was a moving cart located at both entrances to provide to our customer to make moving their contents to their units much easier and large garbage cans for their convenience. So occasionally I would put them back in there original spot if they were not and also the garbage cans before I left.

On this day I did just that, I walked the hallways and placed a cart back to where it usually sat because someone had used it before I came in and knowing that I rented a small unit the day before, I did not find this unusual. As I was leaving I heard a whistle so I stopped as my hand was just reaching for the door knob. I knew no one else was there but I called out anyway saying “Hello, is anyone there?. No one answered so I felt it must have come from outside since there was some gentleman near the area. I continued with my day which ended up being a very quiet day since it was very nice outside as it can be in the spring. I had no reason to enter the building during the day but before I left I again did my normal procedure of making sure everything was secure as I do in the morning.

I was sitting at home enjoying some TV after I had put my sons to bed for the evening as most of us do and I received a call from the local authorities asking me to come to the facility. They began explaining that a customer had been in her unit to rearrange some of her contents. While doing this she heard what she said was a Parrot of some sort since she had been around them before and when it began talking to her she was able to locate the unit it was coming from.

I had to take a moment and I said are you sure? Of course at that point they were not sure because they needed to gain access but I was taken back. I replied, Yes I will be right there. Upon my arrival I met with the local authorities and we proceeded to the area that the customer had referred to and before I knew it coming from behind the door was “Hello” many times but in different tones. After following procedures to gain access to the unit to find out if there was really a bird we opened the door to find a few birds all saying “Hello” to us. Well of course things proceed forward and the birds could not stay and that was an act against the terms and agreement in the paperwork I had to let my customer know I could no longer allow the rental to continue. I returned home and repeated the same steps as I did every day. I entered the building as usual and I instantly was taken back. From one end to the other end the floor was covered in clothing.

Not just a few pieces here and there but an entire (What I believe to be) truck load. I could not believe it! Where did they come from? Who would throw their cloths into the hallway and line it from one side to the other. I mean isn’t someone going to needs these and why did they do this? Instantly the first thing I did was to begin gathering and look around to see if anyone else was there. What else was there to do? Usually if we come upon something left outside of a unit we would secure it right away if possible (as in a lost and found) for a period of time but this was more than a lost and found moment.

After taking care of the situation, I return to my office to take all this in. Within less than 24 hours, I found birds and then a huge amount of clothing and wondering why? This was just not normal in my everyday happy self storage experience. Within time I came to find out the birds did have a home, and the individual who had placed them in the unit, did so because she did not want her significant other to find them after they stated they were separating from each other. The clothes belonged to the spouse who hid the birds in the unit and placed in the hallway by the one who could not find them.

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