The fact that I wrote about bad concierges last week and now I have this story to tell is nothing more than coincidence….and perfect timing!
When I walked in to a condo at King/Bathurst on Sunday, I had no idea what was about to go down.
This experience was a first! But, aren’t they all?
(Note: This photo is NOT the concierge…..just a pic I pulled off Google Images to make a point)
There’s nothing like taking out a new client for the first time! In this case, two new clients.
Kris & Curt were two young guys looking to rent a condo in downtown Toronto. It seemed to me that they were attempting to consolidate their collective lives and save a ton of money in the process. It’s interesting to note that a typical 1-bedroom condo with a parking space rents for $1500/month in downtown Toronto, but you can find a 2-bedroom for $1800.
There were only a handful of 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom units with parking in the sub-$2000/month price range, so off we went on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.
After seeing two places on opposite sides of downtown, and battling an hour’s worth of traffic due to a Zionist protest, a street fair, the Jays game, and a series of streets that were roped off for unknown reasons, we arrived at our final destination, which shall remain nameless. Let’s just say it’s a condo at King/Bathurst.
I’ve been told I have a very unique way of taking a two minute or thirty word story and stretching it into a short speech or essay. Well, this story will be no different…
We entered the lobby of the building, and there was no concierge at the desk (a friendly and unsuspecting resident let us inside). We waited about five minutes for the concierge to appear, and when I gave him my business card and asked him for the unit key, he declared in broken English, “Unfortunately, my colleague will have to assist you. It is the shift change. I leave now.” And with that, he left! He walked out the front door and left us there.
“How hard is it to hand us a key?” asked Curt.
We waited another ten minutes, and then we heard some commotion and the shuffling of feet. All of a sudden, this tall man with grey hair and crooked teeth sauntered out in a “Security” jacket, and almost tripped over the small door to the security desk.
“Heeeeyyyy-yo!” He said as he moved behind the desk. I couldn’t help but notice that he had an LCBO bag in his hand which he hurriedly stuffed under the desk. Those bags are very durable, and I know that I for one keep them on hand and use them for many instances other than transporting alcohol. So I immediately gave him the benefit of the doubt.
I introduced myself and told him I needed the key for a unit upstairs. He was looking at me, but his mind seemed to be somewhere else. He was jingling his keys all over the place, and Curt, Kris, and I stood there and watched him struggle with his key-chain.
“Goddamit!” he proclaimed. “You know, aaaah…..I just hate keys, don’t you?” He was rambling.
Then, he stood up and took his belt off! Right off! “Just give me a minute here to straighten things out,” he said. The three of us watched in awe as he removed his belt, his keys, and whatever else he had clipped to his pants, and laid it all on the table. He then stood and stared at the items as if he were mounting a plan of attack.
“Okay,” he said aloud, to nobody in particular. “Let me seeeeeee here.”
He then spent two full minutes threading his belt through his pant loops, and clipping on his keys. As if none of this happened, he then turned to us and said with a smile, “Hi there. How can I help you?”
I knew at this point that he was either insane, or drunk.
I told him again that I needed the key for the unit, and he cut me off and said, “SHIFT CHANGE! Hold on a second, I have to get organized. Goddam shift change.”
He then reorganized the phone, binders, pens & paper, and anything else that was on the desk. He was maniacally shifting around every item on the desk, with no order whatsoever.
“Your business card please,” he asked politely.
I gave him my card and he said, “David Fleming? Ha!” He motioned to himself, “Douglas Fletcher….same initials…..D-F!” He put his hand out to shake mine, and he said, “Wow, what are the odds! This is awesome! Are you Scottish? Irish? Jewish? Ever know any Scottish people?” He was completely incoherent, and as he put his chin on his hand to rest, his arm slipped off the table and his head came crashing to the desk.
It was like we were in the middle of an Abbot & Costello routine.
“There are a lot of HOT MAMMAS in this building, he said.” My clients just couldn’t believe what they were seeing. “Are you guys bachelors? We should just go from door to door knocking, you know? Hahaha!”
I stood there with a grin on my face, mentally writing this blog post in my head. I have never experienced anything like this, and I knew this man was drunk. Ironically, as he finally gave me the unit key, he told us, “I was out really late last night….er….this morning! Ha-ha. This is gonna be a looooong day!”
As we rode up in the elevator, Curt said, “You know, I love this location, and I love this building, and I can’t believe this experience—it’s one I’ll tell everybody I know, but I’m not crazy about living in a building with an alcoholic security guard!”
I told him it was probably a one-off, and it couldn’t get any worse.
They told me to “have some more fun with him” when we got downstairs again, so, I did.
We checked out the gym on the top floor, and a nice young lady let us through the door with her key-FOB. Once downstairs, I decided to see just how drunk and inappropriate this “security guard” could be.
“Douggie,” I shouted from down the hall. “Good news! I’m gett-in married!”
“That’s great!” he said. “Who’s the lucky girl?”
“Doug….D.F…..buddy….I just met a lovely young girl in the elevator who let us follow her into the gym. I didn’t get her name, and we really didn’t talk much, but it’s pretty clear we’re gettin’ hitched!”
“Good for you!” he said. I wasn’t sure if he was joking, if he was serious, or if he was just on another planet.
That’s when Kris piped up, “She’s upstairs exercising right now! Can we check her out on the security cams?”
This is where the story gets highly inappropriate, as if it’s not already. Keep in mind, I was only doing this to see just how drunk this security guard was (I’m still not sure if I should inform the property management company), and for a little Sunday fun.
“Hell yeah!” said Doug. “Come over to this side of the desk!” Doug then clicked his mouse a few times, and sure enough, we watched on the monitors as he pulled up the security camera pointed at the gym upstairs. There was this poor, unsuspecting girl running on a treadmill. Doug began to zoom right in, and the feeling of creepiness doubled when he reached over and turned up the volume on Led Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Top.”
This was so inappropriate. I was actually uncomfortable, and it takes a LOT to make me uncomfortable!
“A-haaa!,” said Doug. “So this is the girl you’re going to marry, eh D.F.?”
I had no clue what to say, and I’m not sure I even said anything at all.
“She looks a little fuzzy,” said Curt.
“Actually, somewhat pixelated,” Kris chimed in.
At least they were having fun. I felt so bad for this girl who was being spied on!
Doug stood up from the desk and shook all three of our hands. This is when I smelled the strong stench of cigarettes on his clothes, and that unmistakable smell of vodka on his breath.
“Have a great day guys, almost lunch time!” said Doug.
“Liquid lunch?” said Kris.
Doug smiled and winked at us, and then said nothing. It was pretty clear that he had no qualms about his current state of intoxication.
Curt and Kris liked the location, liked the building, and could easily make due with the unit. But as much fun as that experience was, they were completely turned off by the security guard.
And how did I feel? Well, to be perfectly honest, it was just another day in real estate for me. Nothing surprises me in this business. Perhaps as it’s happening I might be a little taken-aback, but five minutes later I just chalk it up to another day, another person I meet.
This blog and the stories that are written are 100% dependant on my happenings in this industry.
I can’t imagine I’d have such a successful and interesting blog if I were a chemical engineer…