My dad always taught us to treat other people the way we would like to be treated in return. Clearly this man (who I am going to write about now) did not learn the same lesson when he was a child.
Two summers ago my boyfriend and I met a man at a restaurant in the Hamptons. He was sitting alone at the bar, eating dinner, and struck up a conversation with us. He was an orthopedic surgeon, lived in New Canaan, Connecticut, and also owned a home in Sagaponack. He spoke proudly of his three sons, and clearly there was something amiss with his wife, whom he did not speak of at all, and dodged any questions regarding her.
He mentioned that he was looking for an apartment in the city, and asked if I could help him. So I did. He also mentioned that he wanted to meet women.
First I introduced him to my best friend, who is amazing. We invited him back to the same place where we had met, and he came to have a glass of wine with us. He was rude and left shortly after arriving, leaving me to pay for his wine. I guess I should have realized then that he was not a good guy, but business called, and I figured that it was an investment in selling him an apartment so I let it slide.
For over a year and a half I showed him apartments. I educated him about neighborhoods and pricing. I shlepped around the city with him in rain, snow, sleet and heat. I paid for every single cab for a year and a half. I paid for every meal, drink, cup of coffee, and bottle of water.
After a year and I half I sat down with him and said,
“I don’t think you’re a buyer.”
Buyers buy. This guy was a professional looker. He was more interested in looking at people’s personal belongings when we visited their apartments than he was in making an offer. By the way, he never did make an offer in all that time. Here were some of his reasons:
“Would buy it if it was ten floors higher,”
“One block too far East,”
“One block too far West.”
The guy was a jerk. I explained to him, over and over, that bigger, ten floors higher, better neighborhood meant more money, and he was not going to spend it. Honestly, I don’t think he ever had an intention of buying anyway. This was sport, a way for him to spend his off days from surgery… important surgeon that he is.
And boy did he travel! He has been all over the world since I have met him. He’s an avid surfer and skier, and takes his sons everywhere to find the biggest and best waves and mountains. He goes away for weeks at a time. This is not a poor man.
Finally he agreed that he was not a real buyer, so he decided to rent for a year until the market levelled off. Whatever…
I found him a rental. And, by the way, I showed him a lot of rentals. Once again I paid for cabs, snacks, meals. He picked an apartment right near where I live, for $4,100 a month. And guess what? He now refuses to pay my commission! I charged him $4,100, rather than fifteen percent of the first year’s rent, which is standard. Why did I do this? Because somewhere, deep down, I still hoped that he might become a buyer once his rental ended.
I have emailed him, called him, and texted him. I am supposed to collect the fee at the time of lease signing. He refused to pay then, saying that he would pay once the leases were fully executed. Now he calls me rude and aggressive for asking for the money. He won’t pay.
Sometimes I hate my life.