Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Throwing Rocks

Dear Jocelyn,
The apartment complex across the street constantly lets debris from their property fall onto the sidewalk. Over the months there have been limbs, rocks, garbage, sand. This time it's a 3'x3'x4" pile of golf-ball-sized stones that has been sitting there for a month, obstructing the sidewalk. I finally had time to go to their leasing office and complain about it the other day. The employee at the front desk claimed to be unaware of the rock pile (seriously) and said maintenance would take care of it. The next day I discovered the rocks were still there and I went to follow up. The employee was really rude to me and seemed gleeful to tell me that she knows the rocks are still there but maintenance won't be taking care of it. She then lied to me by saying it's the City's responsibility to take care of sidewalks. I think this is ridiculous because people can't just throw trash in the street and expect the government to clean up their mess. Anyway, I found the whole exchange infuriating. My proposed solution is to remove the rocks myself, bring them into the leasing office and dump them on the floor, and then inform the staff that they should take care of their debris problems in a more timely manner. Am I over-reacting?
- Potential Rock Thrower


Dear Rock,
Breathe in - breathe out. Breathe in - breathe out. Feel better? While this situation does seem frustrating, you are getting worked up over something that ultimately does not matter. So when you find yourself becoming enraged and gravitating towards a pile of rocks to throw, do some deep breathing and go to your happy place. That being said, there are ways to address this situation without possibly commiting a misdemeanor. Contact this employee's manager and share the exchange. This should not be done out of spite, but because a manager needs to know when an employee is treating others rudely. If, heaven forbid, she is the manager, contact the owner, or the company that owns the apartments. In other words, find her boss. Then contact the city—after all, if this apartment complex is abusing the city's funds, they should be notified so they can address the issue. It might be helpful to remember that this employee that angered you probably represents a type of people you do not like—perhaps those who are lazy, or who lie. So in a sense, you are over-reacting by focusing your anger towards that group of people onto this one example. Be satisfied in your ability to report the problem, and let the authorities take it from here.
-Jocelyn

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