So the dog — a fairly big black Lab — threw up in the lobby five minutes before the potential buyers were supposed to show up. I swear I was nice about it. "I’m a real estate agent and I’ve got someone coming to see the apartment," I said to the dog’s walker, a girl of about 16 who looked like she’d never seen dog vomit before.
"Do you mind if I just fold the rug over a little bit before they come in?" I asked, adding, "I don’t think it’ll make it harder to clean up."
The response I got five minutes later from an older woman who came down with a roll of paper towels: "I don’t appreciate you being rude to my granddaughter!"
I couldn’t even figure out what got marked as rude — not saying "please" before I folded the rug? Not offering to take off my Hermes scarf and lay it in the puddle of muck? Not petting the dog and pretending the whole thing hadn’t happened?
"I’m sorry, I didn’t intend to be rude," I said to the older lady, thinking since I was in the, um, doghouse, anyway I really wished I’d let loose on the kid with a "look-what-your-darned-mutt-did-now" tirade. "I’m a real estate agent …"
"Well, so am I," she snapped.
"And I’ve got clients coming," I added, trying to smile and figure out what the heck I had actually done. I decided that the 16-year-old had gotten manipulative and blamed the mean scarf lady in the lobby to get out of cleaning up (which worked, since her grandma did it — I don’t remember that my grandma Lillian, God rest her soul, would have fallen for such a trick).
The clients came, and they were fairly nice, though it was tough to read how much they were put off by the smelly entrance and how much they liked the apartment. I need to point out that, for about a week, the weather has been weird in a global-warming sort of way. Today’s freakishness was that we got a pelting thunderstorm one minute after the potential buyers stepped in. As a result, I think they were more worried about whether they were going to be trapped in the loft that I was showing than about how gorgeously high-ceilinged it was. Not that I didn’t tell them about the chef’s kitchen and the four different HVAC zones — I just don’t think that they were listening.
It was just, in many ways, that kind of sultry, annoying week. I got a hot referral (thank you for that) but nothing is going to happen on it for awhile, as the client must find someone to tear out the shag carpet. Lots of appointments got cancelled at the last minute, leaving me stranded in the office for hours when I would rather have been home or at least getting a haircut, since in this humidity I look like one of the Monkees. My one really immediate prospect for the week, a renter whose lease is up Aug. 31, ended up traveling a lot for work, so some things I wanted to show her got rented when she was in Los Angeles. Then I rearranged my schedule to stay late in the office and see something else with her, and her company sent her to Pittsburgh.
I’ll spare you the question of whether I’m handling my weekends correctly — that’s a whole other column. Right now, I’m just trying to trudge through the swampy weeks till Labor Day, when maybe market psychology and everyone’s temper — mine included — will get a little better. Though I swear I’m being nice about it, some days the sun comes out like you’re in a Windex commercial, and some days it just doesn’t. In the grand scheme of things, that’s small stuff. All you can do is hope that the customers don’t notice.
Alison Rogers is a licensed salesperson and author of "Diary of a Real Estate Rookie."
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