Tuesday, February 26, 2008


So here’s the situation... On November 7th I gave my 60-day notice to vacate my apartment in Nashville, making my official move-out date January 7th, 2008. However, I moved out of the apartment early on December 3rd and returned the keys to the office. Even though I was physically absent from the apartment after December 3rd, I was legally bound to pay the rent through January 7th, which included extra month-to-month charges outside the expiration of my lease (effective December 1st). I was present for only two of those 37 days, but paid over $1,100 in rent. And I accepted that.

What I've had trouble accepting is the pending charge on my account that I was notified of last month. The balance is $18.11 for a water and sewer charge incurred between Dec. 2, 2007 and Jan. 7, 2008. I was surprised that I'd even been assessed this charge since it covered the 35 days that I didn't and couldn't use the sink or toilet from 887 miles away. Never minding the fact that water charges at The Landings are evenly split amongst each tenant, I called the office to express my objection about the bill. However, after leaving a message, no one returned my call as requested.

The past few weeks went by without incident, and with each passing day I felt more and more that they’d understood my position and cut me a break. So much so that last week, I filed the notice away; a sweet little victory of mine. Here I was, a consumer finally standing up for my rights. Score one for the home team.

Then the other day I received a final notice in the mail about my remaining balance of $18.11, including The Landings' right to take action with a collection agency should I not pay by March 7th.

I understand that by law, The Landings is entitled to this money and technically justified for collecting it because those charges were incurred on my account before I officially moved out. But let's go beyond a black-and-white frame of mind for a minute, and let's look at this situation on principle, because this is not about me being a cheapskate (which I am), or looking for a loophole (which I'm not).

After five-and-a-half years of giving The Landings my business and being a good neighbor, after all 67 months of never being late on a rent payment, and after being physically present for 5% of the time period in which I was charged, THIS IS HOW THEY SAY THANKS? Yes, it's only $18 bucks...but isn't that the point?? Over the years I spent thousands of dollars on rent, and they can’t waive an $18 fee that I was barely there to incur?

All that being said, I’m not exactly sure how to proceed. Here are my options:

a. Pay the bill
b. Don’t pay the bill, or
c. Pay only what I really owe

The good thing is that I can't really go wrong with any of these. But since I have to pick, I think I’ll go with Option C. That would strike a good middle ground between paying and not paying, and it would be the most just outcome of the three. I pay what I rightfully owe and The Landings gets something out of it in return. Everybody wins.

All I need to do is write a check for $0.98 and put it in the mail. Good. I'm glad that's settled.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Worst Album Title of the Year

I know we're only six weeks into 2008, but it's going to be hard to find an album title that's worse than this one. It Is Time For A Love Revolution? Seriously??

It's not like Kravitz hasn't been on this ground before. His first album title, 1989's Let Love Rule, was similar in its amorous declaration but nowhere near this level of frank, hippie uncoolness.

Not the best way to make a comeback, Lenny.

Related: The Worst Song Title of All Time

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

No Tip for You

I hate it when really nice bars have a bathroom attendant. (Do they even have one in the women's restroom??) The thing I can't get over is this: Why should I feel inclined to tip the guy for helping wash my hands? Why should I have to pay to use the restroom? I shouldn't.

But these guys—who won't let you escape without a squirt of soap, a paper towel, and an occasional mint—make you feel bad about not compensating them in some small dollar amount for their services. And it really bothers me.

The irony is this: Instead of making me feel comfortable during my visit to the bathroom, I feel uneasily obligated and slightly guilty for exiting the bathroom without dropping a tip. Yes, I respect the guy for spending his Saturday night in a men's bathroom dealing with increasingly drunk patrons and the likes of cheapskates like me. And I'll even admit that a bathroom attendant and his assortment of amenities contributes to the overall ambiance of the washroom—it's nice.

But unlike other things I may have purchased from the restaurant that night, I didn't choose for him to be there when I entered the bathroom. So there's just no way I can justify spending money in the bathroom for something so everyday as washing my hands.

Nothing personal, dude.