How You're Horribly Mistreating Your Super
If you’ve ever called your super or landlord late at night to ask them to change a lightbulb for you, you’re a lazy S.O.B. You’re also the reason that joke about light bulbs and stupidity still exists. And so does the cliche of being a total dick to the person who keeps your home standing.
In the interest of making you a nicer person, a better tenant, and someone who your super doesn’t hate helping out, we spoke to Peter Grech, director of education at the Superintendents Technical Association (and a building super for exactly 39 years, six months, and four days, at press time), to find out the ways you’re being a real d-bag to your super.
Not tipping them around the holidays
Grech says that while 80% of the tenants are pleasant, 20% of them act entitled -- and that same 20% often pester him for favors. And while he’s happy to help out, it’s the tenant's job to repay the favor around the holidays. “Anywhere between $75-$100, or more, depending on how much they do for you,” is a suitable amount, he says. If they’re changing your lightbulbs all the time, we recommend giving them enough money to never tell a soul about your laziness.
Not respecting that they have a life
If you ever ran into your teacher outside of school when you were growing up, it was almost like running into a celebrity. “That history teacher does things other than teach me about the National Banking Act of 1863?!” Why yes, yes she does. So when you see your super in the real world, definitely say hi! But don’t corner them when they’re trying to get takeout and complain about something.
Acting entitled when dealing with them
The people who start a complaint with the words, “With the money I pay for rent...” are part of the problem. And they probably don’t even end the sentence with something cool like, “... the building should buy a pony we can ride around the lobby for fun.” Instead it’s like, “With the money I pay for rent, the hallway shouldn’t be dirty.” Grech says he tries to help out all the tenants as best he can. The attitude is completely unnecessary.
Calling them for non-apartment-related issues
Your super fixes stuff that goes wrong with your apartment. Not people. And yet Grech says residents will call him with medical emergencies. For the record, the proper way to treat a medical emergency is to go on WebMD, stare at it until you’re convinced you having something incurable, and then never actually see a doctor. Another dumb reason to call your super is to get them to change your lightbulb. “Sometimes the new, fancy light fixtures get complicated, and people don’t know how to do it,” he says. “But a lot of the time it’s just laziness.”
Thinking you're always priority #1
You’re not the only person living in your building. If you are, you probably don’t have a super, as you are likely catered to by a fleet of sexy robot butlers. But despite living in a place with other humans, some tenants expect their needs to be fulfilled immediately. Keep in mind that the super has to deal with everyone’s issues. Like when you get an email saying your package has arrived to the building, the super or doorman probably has a ton more they’ve gotta get to before they can hand-deliver yours. Grech’s building deals with about 200 per day.
Not cleaning up after your dog
If your dog had opposable thumbs, you could count on it to pick up its own poop (probably more reliably than its owner). Hell, maybe it’d even use a toilet. But since it can’t, that’s on you. And when it has accidents in the building, the super or someone on his team’s gotta clean it up. They’ll even happily do it if you admit to the accident instead of being a little bitch (that’s your dog’s job) and running away from the problem.
Lying about emergencies
It’s not an emergency if your sink’s leaky, or if you’re out of beer. OK, the beer thing is an emergency, but your super can’t fix that regardless. But if your heat goes out? That qualifies. “We prioritize [jobs] in my building,” Grech says. “If your drain is draining slowly, or not at all, it’s not going to be high on the list.”
Not getting that some problems are out of their hands
The super can’t fix everything, especially when you’re out of IPAs. We've been over this! But it’s also out of their control if a contractor is supposed to come and fix something in your place, and then they don’t show up. Screaming at the super for something that isn’t their fault is misplacing your energy. Energy that can be spent getting more beer, or cleaning up after your dog.
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Lee Bresloueris a senior writer for Thrillist, and thinks supers are super... b. Follow him to horrible wordplay: @LeeBreslouer.