Every once in a while, I find reviews of storage facilities just like this:
... lost everything I owned. Can you imagine losing pics, videos of
your children being born and their life, blankets and furniture that
was handed down for years, all your kids clothes, toys, movies,
memories, all my clothes, dishes, jewelry, very nice stuff. I fell a little
behind on payment. I think when they auctioned my unit I owed not even
$300 it was like $250. Totally heartless!!! I was trying -- it wasn't like the
unit was abandoned!....
(NOTE: I edited this so as not to post personal identifying information, and also because the spelling was so bad.)
This was an actual review of a facility managed by someone I know and respect. If they knew this was posted about their place they would probably be saddened.... But then again, this particular reviewer also stated this happened years ago, and was probably even before the person I know is the manager there was placed at that facility.
Still. I find postings like this everywhere for storage facilities. In light of all the television programs about self-storage units going to auction, you would think it was something that happened all the time and that it was a lot of fun. As is terribly apparent in this reviewers post about my friend's property, there's a very sad element.
Here's the actual lowdown on how a unit falls to this fate:
1. I haven't found anywhere in this industry where someone's storage rent isn't due on the first. It's just like rent on an apartment. Due every month, like clockwork.
2. A storage facility manager that believes in customer service will try to reach you before any late fees happen, as the charges are adding up, more insistently as the auction day draws near.
Unbelievably, though, I find people have a careless attitude toward maintaining contact with me. Often the information I have on my tenant's expires, they move, change the cell numbers, don't check that e-mail anymore, etc. and the avenues I have for contacting them evaporate.
Part of their attitude is to treat this as another bill. It doesn't really apply that way, though, because most cost-of-living expenses are necessary and can legally be negotiated. As an example: A customer service representative for the Power Company has the ability to work with folks when they are having a hard time. Credit and loan companies also can work with their customers.
The luxury of being an American is the ability to acquire. Buy more! When you can't get around your house, put it in storage! That works until you don't have the income to pay for a dozen garage size units and your mortgage anymore.
There are probably folks who hate me or drive past my property, throwing hexes in my direction, because they lost stuff they've stored here. Cherished memories or collected articles from generations passed. I can show that person that the attempt was made (literally) a thousand times to reach them by every phone number, address, e-mail, researched them on google or Facebook trying to figure out where they could have disappeared to...
... and in the end I have to just let it go. It breaks my heart every time that it ever got out of hand and fell through the cracks that way. In the end, I have to hope that that person 'threw off every weight that entangles' so that they could keep running, with their head held up, not burdened by this load anymore.
~ I have a relative who doesn't speak to me anymore, since I started in this field. The person had lost a storage unit about 20 years ago. I do take this subject a little too personally, I know. When it comes to losing someone you love, you just do. ~