#9 Real Estate Man
Because the Center City and University City districts in Philadelphia are home to many large educational institutions ,young people gravitate to those two areas. The majority of their housing needs are for leases that start August 1st or September 1st to coincide with the school year. Real Estate Man learned early on that it was efficient to start everyone’s lease August 1st or September 1st. As a notorious bank robber once said about banks “That’s where the money is.” In this bit of real estate marketing, substitute “when” for “where.” The hectic days between June 1st and July 31st were always super busy. Ofttimes there would be 20 or 30 people accompanying an agent to see a single ,well located apartment. Because of the abundance of prospective tenants in those summer months, Real Estate Man always hired additional help to show apartments. Usually a university student. One of their own, so to speak.
In the early 2000’s Real Estate Man was able to hire a 4’ 9”dynamo. whose husband was a postdoctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania. The couple had just arrived in the US on student visas (from Nepal) to enable him to further his studies at the U of P.
Her lack of knowledge in showing apartments was more than compensated by her smarts and enthusiasm. She was an immediate success.
In her 2nd week of employment, she gave Real Estate Man a call mid appointment. A simple question, “A prospect rode his bike to the appointment. Was it safe to leave his bike in the building lobby while we view the apartment?”
Real Estate Man thought that it would be better than have the prospect lug it up 4 flights of stairs and be in a grumpy unreceptive mood when seeing the place. The lobby was behind locked doors. The only key holders should be tenants. 5 minutes, what can happen? After all it’s only a bike Real Estate Man reasoned. he advised her to leave the bike in the lobby.
Real Estate Man’s story:
In approximately 5 minutes, the time it takes to show an apartment, my phone rang.
Young man: “My bike is gone, someone stole it. I’m suing”
Me: “I’m sure there’s an explanation. If ,in fact, it has been stolen, I’ll cover your loss. Just show me your receipt and we’ll knock a few bucks off for used and you can get another bike.”
Thinking, who saves receipts for bikes?Aren’t bikes usually purchased leaped on and peddled away?
It WAS largely my fault I reasoned. How much can a used bike cost?
In about an hour an aggrieved young man ,obviously under stress, burst into my office. Almost unable to string sentences together the former bike owner sat across from me in my one man room. He had his receipt in hand.
Me: “Ok,Ok these things happen. Calm down will you? What did you pay for the bike and when did you buy it.” Thought being; knock a few bucks off for deprecation.
Young man (still flustered beyond speech) shoved a receipt in front of me dated only the week before.
I Jenson USA Exclusive Build
I wasn’t counting on this.
Me(collecting his thoughts): “Give me a day or so, let me look into a few things. I’ll handle it.”
Grudgingly, accepting my word, the young man left my office.
I received a call from the young man’s father’s attorney that afternoon: something about agency and stolen property liability.
I called the 9th police district. Reported the stolen titanium bike. Answering officer laconically filled out a report. Not much hope there.
I’ve always thought genius comes in strokes, it’s not with anyone at all times. Even the greats: Edison, Leonardo Da Vinci, Einstein had their down times.
Acting upon ,possibly my once in a lifetime stroke of genius, I called Bike Shop Tony who owned a loosely run buy and sell, new and used bike shop. Coincidentally Tony’s place was located a couple of blocks away from the scene of the crime.
Me: “If someone brings an almost new Sage Barlow titanium bike for sale, please, please buy it and I’ll pay you back.”
Tony said “ He has and I did”
Me (experiencing brand new stress):“How much did you pay him?”
Tony (God Bless Him*): “$2.50”
I retrieved the two-wheeled, titanium trophy from Tony’s (God Bless Him) Bike Shop that afternoon and returned the bike to the young man, staving off worlds of grief for all parties.
*name changed by Real Estate Man for the savings of $4597.50 on the bike buyback.