I currently live in a room with two closets and a hallway. Nothing else! There is no private bathroom, no kitchen, not even air-conditioning, which is much needed still in this late summer heat. The cost of living in this simple room is $75 a week. Included in that price is Internet service and electricity, and garbage disposal. There is a communal kitchen (no stoves) and communal bathrooms available for the house occupants to use. Paying that much per week for a room in a house with limited features, I do expect that the few features present, e.g. refrigerators, function.
Today the temperature got into the upper 80s, and of course our already nasty communal refrigerator just had to break down. In the heat our food perished. I lost food that I otherwise would not have to lose. When I got back to the house at 5.05 pm to find the refrigerator broken I called security who informed me that Physical Plant is closed. Of course the Housing Office is closed as well. The security officer I spoke to suggested I’d call the Dining Services people and ask them to bring some ice over to the house (like that would do it). Of course Dining Services is closed by five so that did not happen.
What I did now was to sit down and compose an e-mail addressed to the Housing Office people as well as the summer housing list serve. The e-mail reads as follows:
Considering that the kitchen in Cheney House is in use all the time, your request will not work out practically for the residents in Cheney. We would need one more refrigerator in order to accommodate the residents (the fridge that broke down was too small in the first place). I for one do expect some service for the $75.00 per week that I pay to live on campus this summer. A functioning kitchen space is such an expectation. I think that the residents affected should be eligible for a rent deduction, in some way shape or form. For myself, I wouldn't mind some Amazon online gift cards for my troubles.
Nameless Name Person
Nameless Name Person
Little did I know that I would stir up a wave of strong emotions with this e-mail. People who had read it asked if I meant to come off arrogant or if that is just my personality. Someone else sent a reply (to the list serve as well) informing all of us about how much we get for the $75.00 per week that we pay to live in our sparsely equipped rooms. The e-mailer asked why I was dissatisfied and wanted a rent deduction. He thought we got a good value for our money: Internet, electricity, and oh yeah, garbage disposal. Why was I crying over a luxury item (referring to the refrigerator), he asked. Well, firstly, a refrigerator may be a luxury item in rural Tibet. In the USA and Western Europe refrigerators are considered standard household appliances. Kitchens are expected to be equipped with refrigerators that function just as it is expected that kitchens have adequate plumbing. Furthermore: I have lived in an apartment of my own which was considerably more expensive, and I can tell you that electricity, Internet, and, oh yeah, garbage disposal, amounts to perhaps $90 a month for a single person household in the middle of the summer. Dear replier e-mailer, you are wrong, I am right, I expect a rent deduction (never going to happen), and I expect the refrigerator to be fixed or replaced ASAP.