Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
Challenging a Store in Ward 14 to Clean Up the Area
Submitted by ANGELnWard14 on Mon, 07/20/2009 - 01:14.
I pulled into a local store parking lot with weeds that were like 3 feet tall right next to the sidewalk, looking like tumbleweed and large enough to hide a person... kind of dangerous is what I thought... So, I made it my mission to ask the store manager to come outside for a brief discussion-out of the listening distance of others.
Although I've been a patron of the establishment throughout my life, I have never seen it in such disgrace. I told the guy that there was about an hour worth of labor needed to clean up the weeds, sweep the parking lot and do some very basic cleaning that would make the store more presentable...and asked if he could get it done?
Immediately he deferred it.... I am the manager, not the owner of the store. Yet, it's not our store's job to clean up the parking lot-it's the owner's job... So, we don't clean up these parts that are a mess...it's not in our contract. We let him know, but he doesn't do it. He gets cited, it's not our problem.
I asked him how he thought he sounded making this the owner's problem when they are actively operating a store 7 days a week and have staff that could get off their behinds and spent just a few minutes making the difference? I asked for the business owner's name & number and the landlord's name & number? Of course he refused to provide those items....
Then I explained the technical procedures for getting inspectors out to the property, issuing citations, and the wasted time that will be exhausted to complete a few simple tasks of simply pulling weeds and sweeping the lot. I reminded him of all the folks who come in that store begging for a break, needing some help with basic necessities.... and asked him how many folks owed him money on tabs?
I said, why don't you just offer one of those folks some credit towards improving your outward appearance in our community? Why don't you prevent the 3 ring circus from occurring, creating headaches for everyone? Why don't you just clean up the stuff and be done with it?
He said that was a good idea and he'd speak to the people....we shall see this week.
Initially, he refused to unglue the cell phone from his ear and get up off his behind long enough to talk to me. Then, I had to ask him at least 3 times to make a few minutes without his cell phone in his ear, talking to his pal about their fun and excitement so that we could speak professionally.
Ultimately, he got the picture that I was serious when I let him know that, as a citizen, I could make this a very complicated, drawn out, citations & fines kind of nightmare for him... but was not about creating more problems, yet finding simple amicable solutions because they work best.
At that point, he got the simplicity of my point...We live in these neighborhoods, you make money from our residents, and you don't have enough respect for your own business to clean up a parking lot in a matter of less than an hour??? Come on, that's just not cutting the cheese...
I cannot wait to see if the establishment makes a difference in the days ahead...
But, I wonder if each of us addressed a common concern directly and expeditiously-what the results would be locally.