Columns

2006.04.26 Four stars, no rats

on . Posted in By The Way

By DAVID GREEN

As you’ve probably read across the page recently in my wife’s column, our son Ben has accepted a job with a landscape architecture firm in Miami. You might say that Colleen is making the best of that choice.

Crime and cockroaches, hurricanes and humidity—a lot of unpleasant things come to mind for her when she thinks of that city. Most of all, I suppose, is that it’s a long way from Morenci.

I remember driving an old beater to my first job interview after college, and I didn’t get hired. Ben was flown to five interviews and every one of the firms wanted him. Several of his relatives were rooting for Atlanta, but of course it was his choice and there were good reasons for choosing the company in Miami.

Now he’s in search of a place to live before work begins in June. Before he heads down in person, he’s been looking around via the angry, dissatisfied people who make comments at apartmentratings.com. Here’s a sample:

“You cannot have any guest parking so I hope you have about a million in meter change or risk parking across the street where the chance of your car being broken into is 75% and your walk to the building will be accompanied by crack heads.”

Well, I don’t know if that takes it out of the running. Let’s see what another reviewer says.

“The first time you go there you like it, but then start the problems. I’m agree that the smell where really bad. I also had a neighbor that always he opened his door a bad very bad odor came out his aparment. The hallway always smell it like cigarrette smoke blended with past food and dog excrement, a really bad smell.

“Next the Pool. impossible to take a bath there. Well I finally stayed only 4 months before I take my things and Go. Conclusion that apartment is really apartment for people without behave.”

Some of these places have dozens and dozens of ratings that are more like warnings to stay away. Topic headings like these abound: DO NOT MOVE HERE; Run away!; Rudest people in Miami; What a nightmare; You’ll be sorry if you move here; If you like to be abused, this is the place.

Amid these notes is an occasional high rating like this one: “Great location and the apartment quality is not bad; wonderful management and tenants very happy here. I’d recommend it to anyone.”

Other times you get a more puzzling one: “very nice, beouse is like a house, tropical stly, beatiful pol.”

After one of the rare, five-star ratings are posted, someone else will come back with something about how only the management could have written anything like that. Don’t believe a word. Not even “beouse”? I liked that word a lot.

“Ceiling fans are only for decoration.”

“If air conditioning goes, expect a two-week wait for it to be fixed. If the windows are blown out by a hurricane, expect a six-month wait for them to be fixed.”

“Mosquitoes in the elevators.”

“Roach infested garbage bin near the pool.”

“Every floor has its own smell, food on some floors, garbage on others.”

“Elevators smell like dog droppings.”

Maybe these enants are just acting too harsh. What would they say about my house? Ratings are based on seven factors.

Parking: It’s dropped in quality a little since the neighbor’s vacant drive is now often used by a construction crew. I’d give us a three.

Maintenance: Let’s not even go there. Two stars.

Construction: There’s no work going on here, but does that make us five stars or does that reflect back on maintenance?

Noise: Give us a four. The dogs aren’t bad currently, it’s just those darn miniature scooters driving by.

Grounds: I just mowed Friday night and the bleeding heart is blooming. Four stars.

Safety: Five stars. No accidents to report. Just don’t walk around in the dark.

Office Staff: Five stars, and if you don’t like it you can move to Miami.

I give us a rating of four. Not bad at all. Top that, Ben. And to quote that one writer who was discussing Miami’s Design Place, “I have not seen any rats.”

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