The Picky Tenant

Over the past two years I lived in a basement apartment with my boyfriend. It was a great space for the extraordinary monthly rent ($0) that allowed us to live differently than most 20-somethings fresh out of college.  It was an apartment that helped me follow my career path of choice and pay off some hefty student debt.

As of five days ago I have a new job, a new car and a new apartment.

I found my new place when my mom and I visited Las Vegas in December. We had one day to look at nine apartment properties that were scattered around the Las Vegas area. Luckily, the sixth stop of the day ended our search.  The inviting leasing office, 24-hour workout room, pool areas and an outdoor Ping-Pong table for Mitch were instant selling points. I toured model apartments that featured dark hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances and sunlight (a major selling point since I was coming from a basement unit).  SOLD. In a few weeks I would move into Apartment #1162 and I couldn’t be more excited about those wood floors.

Finally, it was move-in day. I was beaming with excitement until the landlord opened the door to my new apartment. Carpet. The apartment I had been anticipating for weeks was not what I received. Like any picky eater, I didn’t have a problem voicing my opinion when I was handed something I did not order.

A few hours and a stack of paperwork later, I got the unit I committed to in the first place. Throughout the whole process I wondered why wood flooring instead of carpet was such a big deal. Putting up a fuss over a carpeted apartment seemed silly – I should be thankful that I’m able to move into such a beautiful (wood floored or not) new apartment in the first place – and almost downright selfish. The only way I could rationalize my insistence was to relate it to my picky eating habits.

First, the difference between an apartment with wood flooring and one with carpet is like ordering macaroni and cheese without black truffles and receiving macaroni and cheese with black truffles. Picky eaters expect to receive exactly what we order. Excluding black truffles might not seem like a big deal for others – just push them to the side or eat around them – but it is for picky eaters. The inclusion of black truffles not only alters the entire taste of the dish but it is also upsetting when we receive something different than what we ordered. For me, this is especially true when it comes to food (and apparently flooring materials).

Second, picky eaters visit restaurants with a specific dish in mind. I go to Chipotle for their burritos because I can’t get a white rice-chicken-cheese-lettuce burrito anywhere else just like I only dine at Quaker Steak and Lube because their barbeque chicken wings are one-of-a-kind. If it weren’t for these specific and consistent menu items I would not return to these restaurants. There is a cilantro shortage so you only have plain white rice? I’ll come back another day. You’re sold out of bone-in chicken wings? No, boneless won’t work; I’ll take the check. Picky eaters expect our food to be exactly as it was the last time we visited. In fact, we purposely go to certain restaurants over others in anticipation of sought-after food items and it is upsetting when these dishes are anything less than what we were looking forward to. Just like a picky eater will not drive 18 miles for boneless chicken wings, I did not drive 1,800 miles for carpet.