Right after college, I moved into an apartment in Silver Spring with my friend Aguil and her friend Dalia. The rent was low. Really low. In the business, that is what we call a CLUE. Being young and inexperienced in the ways of DC real estate, we didn’t know that low rent means serious issues.
We called our building “Pepto Paradiso” because the hallways were painted this heinous pepto bismol pink. Actually it wasn’t really pink, it was more PANK. And it smelled funny. Anyway, after living there a few weeks we found out why the rent was so low.
Roaches. Roaches. And more roaches.
After innumerable complaints, and having the apartment sprayed several times, we concluded that the building was totally infested and we needed to get OUT. I shudder even now remembering it.
We found some people to take over our lease, and prepared to move. Dalia was moving to Jordan, so Aguil and I found a fabulous apartment on the 20th floor of a brand new building in Ballston. It was really expensive, new, had a fabulous gym, fireplace, Corian countertops, view of the city, etc etc etc. We were so stoked to spend 80% of our take home pay on rent, because we would not have to share our abode with vermin.
We decided to get movers because moving into the apartment with a UHaul had been such a fiasco and who needs one more headache when you’re fleeing the Roach Palace. The movers were to load up our stuff, leave Dalia’s stuff, and take our stuff to the new apartment. They showed up on time. So far so good.
When they knocked at the door, we let them in. They froze, looking at our living room wall. I should mention that Dalia is half Palestinian and grew up in a village outside of Bethlehem, and she had done a very nice decorating thing in our living room with black and white photos of Jerusalem and a black and white checkered keffiyeh sort of draped behind. It was one of the few good things about the apartment. But the movers evidently did not share our artistic sensibilities. They pointed at the keffiyeh. “What is THAT?” they asked.
Thinking that they were annoyed at how part of the living room wasn’t packed up, I assured them that those things belonged to our other roommate, who was not moving out at the same time.
“Who is your roommate,” one of them asked, “Usama Bin Laden?”
This was going bad quickly. Turns out they were Israeli movers and didn’t want to move us since Dalia was Palestinian. Aguil and I smoothed it over. Or so we thought.
After the truck was loaded up, we prepared to lead the movers to our new apartment. I was going to drive the lead car and the truck would follow. I soon realized the truck was not following. In fact, it wasn’t even started. I got out to see what was the matter.
The other movers told me that one of their posse had to leave. I asked if he was going to meet us at the apartment. No, they said, he has to go check on his girlfriend. I asked if we could just leave him. No, they said, he’s the only one who knows how to drive the truck.
Let me interject that we were paying these yahoos by the HOUR here, and we waited 45 minutes for Romeo to get his love life in order so we could get out of the parking lot.
Once we got to our new apartment, the movers demanded payment before they would unload the truck. We said ok, but we’re not paying you for the 45 minutes while we waited in the parking lot. They said fine, we’ll just take all of your stuff and leave. Aguil called the company, and the company took the movers’ side! Argh! Fine! We paid them, because we figured that was cheaper than buying all new stuff.
At long last they left. We relaxed in our new, roach-free digs and smoldered over the egregious behavior of the movers. I vowed never to hire movers again.
Then I did two more moves on my own, which were even worse, and changed my mind again.
The moral of the story is: Do not hire psycho movers, especially if they are psycho Israeli movers and one of your roommates is Palestinian, and check to see if they have personal issues that will need dealing with while they are on the clock, and also check to make sure that the business is legit before allowing your household goods to be loaded. The end.