Under New Management

These are the words you see cobbled together on cheap marquees outside pizza parlors, rental and retail stores, and service shops everywhere. It's a phrase that leaves a lot to interpretation. Another euphemism for George Carlin's comedy routine on American Bullshit, the phrase is just a cleverly thrown together jumble of jargon intended to conceal the truth. Once upon a time I couldn't have cared less if a place was "under new management". Most of the time I had never been there to begin with, so why should I care?

Under New ManagementLet's take the concept a little further even. If being "under new management" is such a great thing now, then are they admitting that their service previously stunk? All of a sudden there's a new sheriff in town and either the service or the products are so much better just for that fact alone. Now don't get me wrong, I'm fully aware of a really good manager's ability to make effective changes at a company. Corporations hire CEOs for absurd amounts of money because they can effect changes, but the Board of Directors at every one of those corporations is aware that those changes take time. Still, for some reason when the press release comes out that Company XYZ just hired overpriced ABC to be its CEO, the stock jumps a little bit because people are happy that it's "under new management".

That doesn't mean being "under new management" is some kind of panacea for enterprise. It just means that the possibility of correction exists. Installment of a new regime, however, isn't going to be immediately felt. It takes time for any kind of management attitude to propogate down to the service levels that affect a customer. A customer being, you know, the one actually feeling the effects of the previous management.

Even beyond that fact, applying new management to a situation, in my observation, only helps the situation when it was so bad to begin with that it had no where to go but up. Every other time, the new management struggles with ingrained attitudes, resident corporate dogma, and lack of product and service knowledge to the point that the quality of those things actually diminishes. The only upward trend ex post facto is derived from very good managers. I use the term "very" here because even a good manager can become overwhelmed in a new situation, especially when battling a previously bruised company reputation.

Why does any of this matter? A few months ago, while I wasn't specifically paying attention, my apartment complex came under new management. I noticed that two of the girls who worked in the leasing office had just mysteriously stopped being there when I went into the office. Being none of my business, I didn't think too much about it. Besides, I knew one of them had just gotten her real estate license and was looking forward to moving on anyway. I went into the office in February when only one of the originals was still there and asked about my renewal lease that was upcoming. My lease is up at the end of this month, so at the time it was a little under 90 days or so away. I was told the renewal was usually typed up at 60 days and then offered at 30.

Shortly afterward, I received a pseudo-application on my door requesting updated information. I filled it out and took it to the office, and while I was there I asked about my renewal lease (since by this time it was less than 60 days) just to make sure that things were going smoothly. I wanted to have plenty of time to look for a new place if I was going to be losing my rental concessions completely (basically about $120 off my rent per month). I was assured everything was normal, and so I left.

It's been a rather hectic month or so, so I forgot to ask on the 1st of April when I didn't get the renewal lease to sign as promised. A guy called me yesterday to inform me that my lease was expiring in 2 weeks and that I needed to sign the renewal lease (which wasn't even typed yet) since I hadn't provided 30 days notice to moving out. On the phone with this guy I asked about the renewal, I asked how come I hadn't gotten it 30 days prior as promised, I mentioned that I'd been in repeatedly with nothing but reassurances for my efforts, and I asked what my increase in rent was going to be. This is when I learned that my complex was "under new management". Just hearing that phrase put a lump in my stomach.

The people who'd been so nice to me over the last 11 or so months, had helped me out when they didn't have to, chatted with me when I picked up my packages, even flirted with me shamelessly for a few minutes each month (thanks for the ego boost, Tricia, it didn't go unnoticed) were all gone. So this fell, in my mind, under the auspices of "if it's not broken, don't fix it". It wasn't broken, but someone saw fit to fix it anyway. The guy was courteous on the phone, but not even close to the level of the Tricia, Amy and Jen. The new girl that has been there since Jen departed is basically as sharp as a bowling ball. The new girl that replaced Tricia is all smiles, and she seems nice. The new manager I don't really have anything nice to say about her. I haven't met her directly. I've only seen her interact with the people in the office.

I wouldn't work for her by any stretch.

So the guy on the phone tells me my rent will be going up $40 per month. That's a little steeper than I'm used to, but I have to face the fact that my concessions have to start dwindling and the rent of the apartment has to begin approaching "fair market value" again. That's just reality. However, I also live fairly far away from where I work, so that is also a factor. Costs of gas and increased rent are eating deeper and deeper into my wallet. They said they'd type it out and call me back. I went into the office when I got home from work to see where they were at with the new lease. I wasn't there to be a jackass, I just wanted to keep on top of it since I'd forgotten previously.

It was typed already, and they hadn't called me. Strike one.

They were courteous, the manager barked something from the other room, the nice girl was all smiles, and the other one was doing her best to portray a blonde from a blonde joke even though she has brown hair. We spoke a bit about when I would bring it back, and then I went home. I opened the envelope to read through the lease and the rent amount was $79 more than my current rent. The rent isn't going up $40, the concessions are going to be $39.

Incompetence or misleading, either way it's strike two.

So I immediately got out the rent books, hit Craig's List for Columbus and found that house rentals and apartments just a few blocks from where I work are less than what I pay now commuting from Egypt.

Strike three.

So I'll be moving in the next coming month, and I anticipate some fireworks from the "new management" when we haggle over what the next 30 days will entail. As for me, I have a lot of footwork to do to find a suitable place that is clean, reasonably priced, not in the 'hood, and at least reasonably near my work and extra-curricular activities. If I can get close enough to work I might buy a bicycle to get to and from the office.

» Posted on 28 Jun, 2012 at 8:15 AM.
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This is a playground where I test new toys, ideas, and technologies. The articles published here are random excerpts from an otherwise organized brain. I only have a singular system to test things with, so if something isn’t behaving or doesn’t look right to you, by all means let me know about it.