Tuesday, July 13, 2004

In further fun news, I finally discovered what the mystery $150 "new" item on my credit report is.

Some of you may remember the Most Horrible Boss I Ever Had: B*tty F*intuch. Asterisked just in case she ever has someone do a search for her--I can't picture her being Google-literate yet. (Really, I'm just afraid to write her name [or speak it aloud] lest she appear in a puff of smoke.) This was the landlady of the boarding house where I was resident manager for a bit less than a year, back in my undergrad days.

When I interviewed with her, she seemed like a normal older business lady in a tight spot: her resident manager had split on her, and she needed someone in a hurry. But once I got in there, I discovered that there was a reason she couldn't keep a manager.

She did only the most cosmetic of maintenence at that house, so it was always a crapheap that was barely kept in check by whoever was managing.

For example, she didn't buy trash cans for the house, which meant that the residents would pile all the trash in a little enclosed porch off the kitchen (henceforth known as the "garbage porch.") You couldn't put the trash outside, because raccoons and dogs would immediately come over and spread it all over the neighborhood. Therefore it waited all week on the porch for garbage night, in hopes that one of the tenants might decide to take it out. Or more likely, me. It bred lots of flies that wafted into the kitchen, and naturally also lots of (ewwww!) maggots.

Or: the sewers were so full of tree roots that they overflowed each autumn, just in time for student move-in. But each time (I came to find out after it happened to me) she expected the manager to stand around in the basement, ankle deep in raw sewage, vainly plunging the downstairs toilet--then mop it all up. (I am unfortunately not kidding about the ankle-deep part.)

Not to mention, the lower rooms were freezing and she couldn't be bothered to get the furnace fixed properly.

To make things worse, she had high rates on the rooms (especially given the cruddy qualities of the place) which meant it was always the very last house on the block to fill up (if it ever did). This meant that the only people who were willing to live there were the desperadoes who hadn't been able to find any other place or hadn't bothered to begin searching before classes began, which meant that there were always a bunch of low-lifes lounging around there creating an atmosphere just creepy enough to scare off the kind of tenants she did want, and that there was a really high tenant turnover (as soon as people found some other place that wasn't so exorbitant.)

To her, this meant that (obviously!) every single manager she had ever had was incredibly lazy and also a bad judge of character, since there were so often vacancies and low-quality drug-using tenants. Now, all this brought out her most undearing quality: she looked like a little old lady in a suit, but she was the most foul-mouthed shrieking beeyotch you ever heard. It was amazing!

After the first couple months of trying to please her, (even going to show her other properties when her other managers bailed!) it got so bad that I would literally get hives around my mouth when the phone rang because I was so freaked out that it might be her calling me up to yell again.

She would also come over and scream at the tenants (and me). She had the most ridiculous expectations of them, given the student population, as though they should all be 45-year-old introverted businessmen with no friends, instead of low-end college freshmen who were just learning to party and couldn't care less about whether their milk was labeled.

For example: "don't eat or drink in the living room." Ha! Like they're really going to warm up some frozen peas and silently creep up to their rooms [after washing up of course] to eat alone, instead of sitting in the living room with piles of take-out Taco Bell where their friends were watching TV?! This all really polarized the tenants against her, and I was mercilessly stuck in the middle.

On top of all this, she had a number of pretty unscrupulous business practices. One of these was that she always had her manager put her rental phone line in their name, since she didn't want to be charged for a business line. But, in order to keep the same number for the ads she ran all the time, she had the managers take over the phone from the last manager (you see where this is heading).

She had made up some kind of (possibly unenforceable) document that I signed when I began, saying I would work there for two years, but as it turned out I couldn't make it that long. I gave her a month's notice (businesslike words, but the subtext was "since you hate me anyway...") before a year was up, and moved out.

Then, about a month later, she called me up and told me that her subesquent manager had bailed overnight (imagine that!) and she needed my information so the new subsequent manager could get the phone in his name. Since, as it turned out, the manager who bailed had failed to ever get the phone in his name as she had instructed. Meaning: all that time, the phone had still been in my name! (I was such an idiot. I should have just had her dang phone turned off when I left anyway, but I thought it would be mean, and possibly might get me in some kind of financial trouble with her.) She assured me that she would pay the remaining bill (apparently $150!), and later when I checked, the phone had indeed been switched out of my name.

I never heard anything more about it, either from the phone company nor from her. But as it turns out, no one ever paid that bill, and no one ever told me about it, either. The bills were still going to that house! This was four years ago, and it just now turned up on my credit.

Well, it's on my credit now, and they've waited four years for the money, so they're going to have to wait until this fall when I get my student loan. (Whenever that happens...) I'd try squeezing her for it, but you don't know how devious and creepy she can be, and willing to liein the most convincing manner! I already know that it would probably end up in some kind of suit against me (she was married to a lawyer), or some other bizarre thing that would bite me in the butt. I just know it. I don't want her to even know where I live now.


argotnaut said...

Funny, her picture looks just as I imagined her.

You should NOT be paying that bill! If your credit is shot already, I'd just leave it.

liz said...

The thing is, there are two things bringing down my credit score right now: that item, and my used up to emtpy credit ratio.

liz said...

Oops...somebody was asking me something here, so I lost track of what I was saying.

But what I was thinking was that there are only two negative things: my credit's *not* shot--I've been working on it the past three years.

I had hoped to pay off as much as possible of my debt with my student loans this year, and then I would have had really good credit. (Well, for my "income" bracket.)

So now I'll have this crappy thing on there...I think I pay it or not.

But it seems like it would look less bad if it said "past due and paid" than if it said "past due and never paid," wouldn't it?

Isn't there some way to have an explanation or comment put on your credit report, or was trhat a myth? (I already challenged it, since I couldn't figure out what the heck it was.)

liz said...

What's really funny to me is that the text-related ads at the top of the page are now advertising "trash cans."

Just in case I still need some!

Nearly as bad as the "vermin trap" ads when I was discussing rats and squirrels in a non-vermin context.

Mark said...

Hmmm... I'm missing out. I've blocked most ads.

Mark said...

For some reason I imagined her to look like Mrs. Botz (aka: Lucille Botzcowski)

liz said...

She may not look like that on the *outside*, but on the *inside*, man, you nailed it.

argotnaut said...

I know you don't want to have anything to do with her again, but I'd send her a goddamned bill. If you have a lawyer-type friend to include a note, that oughta do it.