Sunday, August 17, 2014

Oh, I have to pay you NOW??

Hello and welcome to Storage Station of Wayne, located at 2354 Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne, NJ, 07470,  conveniently located South of Terhune Dr. Make a left at the light by the CVS, pass the Dunkin Donuts on the right and we are on the left side of the road just after Commercial Kitchen Cleaning. If you’re coming North from Black Oak Ridge Rd., you will pass Wayne Suburu, then STS Auto & Tire Center both on the right side of Hamburg Turnpike.

Storage Station is the driveway on the right, directly after passing

St. Moritz PL. You can call us on our main telephone number, 862-377-6593 or visit us during office hours. Storage Station of Wayne office hours are Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturdays. We are closed on Sundays. As a tenant of the facility, you have access to the belongings you store here 24 hours a day, seven days a week!
My name is Jerry Timmons and I’ve worked for Storage Station for multiple years and have been witness to my share of first time storage users who don’t understand how the business of self storage works.  It’s not their fault and I’m not here to judge, but let me tell you of a funny experience I had recently.

I was in the main office taking a payment from a tenant when a customer walked in.  I greeted them with a “Good morning, I’ll be right with you!”, and offered them a seat while they waited.  I completed my first customer’s transaction, they left and I introduced myself to the waiting customer and she introduced herself as Carolyn, and I proceeded to ask how I could help her.

She explained about her situation and let me know she lived 4 homes away, so she was a neighbor.

In this business, there is always something nice about one of the neighbors renting from you.

I always ask the perspective tenant what they’ll be storing so I can get a feel of what size unit they need and what unit sizes I need to show them.  Carolyn stated she was moving and self storage was new to her.  I let her know it would be an easy experience and I was here to help.

She let me know about her furniture, clothes and other household items that were to be stored.  Nothing too big on her list, so I chose to show her a five by ten foot climate controlled unit on our second floor.  I gave her instructions on how to get her items on the cargo lift, how to get the lift to the second floor, where the stairwell was so she could get upstairs, how to unload the elevator lift and use the carts and dollies to get her belongings to her unit.  I also showed her a five by fifteen foot sized climate controlled storage unit in case she did need something larger.

Carolyn was thrilled.

She kept thanking me for being so nice and accommodating and I assured her that the staff here at Storage Station of Wayne, treat everybody that way.

We made our way back to the main office, sat down and I asked for her driver’s license so I could start the I could begin her move-in process and print out her month to month lease.   The paperwork involved in renting a self storage unit can be overwhelming.  Some even compare it the paperwork involved with securing a mortgage when buying a home, which Carolyn did.
I gave her the closest available five by ten foot storage unit to the elevator lift.  She had looked at the Storage Station website and she saw we were running an internet special, so she received that for mentioning it.  It was two weeks in to the month so she was prorated in from that day to the end of the month.  There was tax, a one-time administration fee, the required insurance and other forms and documents she needed to sign to validate her lease.

After all the signing and paperwork strewn across the desk, I asked Carolyn, “How are you going to be paying today?”  She looked at me with a surprised look and said, “Oh, I have to pay you now?”

I wanted to laugh.  First because I thought she was joking, second because of the look on her face, but I held back.  I explained she needed to pay the rent for the remainder of the month, the admin fee, etc. etc.  She thought she could pay at the end of the month.  I let her know that would be impossible.

Carolyn was embarrassed and she let me know she didn’t have the money to pay right now.  I told her we’d take any credit card but she didn’t have one to use.  I gave her an option for an even smaller five by five storage unit, but after calculating the cost, she would have to come back at a later date.  I told her I wished I could help her, but payment upon move-in was company policy.

She apologized to me for wasting my time and I assured her she did not waste my time.  I let her know I was happy to have met her and she was welcome to come back when she could.

I have not seen Carolyn since that day.

I don’t know if it was the embarrassment she felt or if she found an alternative to self storage for her belongings for her move.  I really do wish I could have helped her.

Carolyn’s story was not unique by any means.  She had to move back to her childhood home to take care of her ill mother.  It was a voluntary move as well as involuntary and it was sudden.

I hear this kind of story from customers all the time when they sit in the Storage Station of Wayne’s rental office.   Once in a while, I get to hear a good story.   Bad or good though, they all end with the first month’s payment.

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