I live in a doorman building. And contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean I’m rich… or even close. You tell people you live in a doorman building and they get this image of snooty old ladies with poodles wearing Chanel on the Upper East Side. At least, I did back in the day when I was living in a 150 square foot studio on Avenue C. But actually doormen are very common in NYC, even in moderately priced buildings – which ours is.
I love our doormen. They are some of the most wonderful people ever. They are funny and kind and helpful. My favorite doorman gives me a fist bump whenever I leave the building. And starting at midnight we may be without our doormen for quite a while. Our doormen are part of a citywide doorman’s union, and if their demands for a better contract are not met sometime today… they’re going on strike at midnight.
The common reaction I’ve seen from people in non-doorman buildings has been, “Oh, sad little residents will have to open the door themselves for a few weeks. Wah wah wah.” I can open the door myself, asshole. That’s not why I love my doormen or need them. They keep the building clean, they sign for packages, they make sure no one unsavory comes into the building, they take out the trash, they make repairs… they’re amazing, and we are so grateful to have them. When you live in a huge building with roughly 500 units (as we do), they’re a necessity. They keep this building running 24 hours a day. They even rescued me when the elevator I was riding in got stuck between the 50th and 51st floors. That happened at 11pm one night, so if we didn’t have doormen, I would have been in that elevator a lot longer, waiting for the fire department. And freaking out. So yeah, this isn’t about having someone open the door.
If they do walk out tonight, that means a lot of things will change until this is over. Obviously we’ll have to take out our own trash, but that isn’t too huge of a deal. The bigger problem is receiving deliveries. UPS, Fedex, Fresh Direct… these companies won’t cross the picket line. Restaurants won’t send deliveries either, so no ordering out for a while. If something breaks… it won’t get fixed until after the strike. We could call a repairman not related to the building… but I’m not sure if they’ll cross the picket line either. These things aren’t the end of the world, but they are kind of a pain in the ass. So I’m hoping they work out an agreement here in the next couple of hours, but I’m skeptical.
And for the record, I support our doormen. NYC rent is outrageous, and as the economy starts to improve, rents are rising again. So if they want a little bigger piece of the pie, I think they deserve it. They work really really hard, and they deserve better benefits. They have to take a lot of shit from some residents and keep on smiling. And although it seems like most people who live here are nice to them, I’ve certainly seen some people treat them like crap.
As an aside… one thing that’s happened since I moved into a doorman building is I’ve started shopping online a lot more. When we lived in walk ups, I couldn’t really shop online unless I had packages sent to work because no one was home during the day to accept them. I shop a lot more now, and it’s generally all unnecessary. Clothes, shoes, apartment stuff… whatever. Honestly it’s kind of gotten out of hand, because it’s so convenient now. So since I can’t receive packages for the duration of the strike, I thought now might be a good time to start one of my Life List tasks: Go three months without shopping for unnecessary things.
I know what you’re thinking… three months? That’s not really very long. But it kind of is. Because my shopping is kind of out of control right now. I figure I start with three months, and see what happens. So what are the rules for this little experiment in restraint?
- Unnecessary things are defined as: clothes, shoes, accessories, apartment accessories, books, coffee when I am fully capable of making it at home and am just being lazy, getting my hair done, make up, music, iPhone apps… etc. Basically anything that I literally do not need at this moment. I’m going to just say no.
- I am still permitted to shop for necessary things, such as: groceries, toiletries, necessary things for my business, necessary things for my wedding, birthday gifts, etc. Necessary things for my business do not include new camera lenses, camera bags, photography books… I’m talking more along the lines of packaging, DVDs for storage, business cards… etc. Wedding stuff refers to some payments that we have to make in the next couple of months. I have to pay off my dress, the photographer, buy our invitations… these things kind of have to get done, so I can’t count them. But I won’t buy accessories for my dress or “pretty things” for the wedding for the next three months. That stuff can wait.
- The three months begins tomorrow (4/21/10) and ends Wednesday, July 21st.
That really seems like a long time. I can’t shop again until July. Okay, I can do this. This is not a big deal at all. My credit card will thank me, my savings account will thank me. I can’t wait to see how much money I have left over. Must be strong. Right now I’m super motivated, and ready to stick to my guns. I can’t tell if this is going to be harder or easier than I thought. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Thanks, doormen, for finally getting me motivated to start this Life List task. I still hope you don’t go on strike, but if you do, it will make this no shopping thing a lot easier.
(I kind of just realized that this post might sound ridiculously vapid. Girl who lives in doorman building forced to give up shopping: THE HORROR. I don’t actually mean to come off like that. And I’m not that person. So hopefully you won’t get all judgmental up in here. If anyone is even reading this.)