MY BATTLE WITH BED BUGS: PART SEVEN

As mentioned in part six, things settled into a holding pattern. I’d still get random bites every once in a while but certainly not like in the beginning when I was covered in them. Mike the pest control guy would come by and continue to do spot treatments. Mary from UBC Housekeeping would sometimes call to find out how things were going. Then one week, Mary called to say they were going to try something new. She informed me they weren’t going to use Mike’s services any more and that UBC Housing had contracted another pest control company. She wanted the new guys to drop by apartment and talk to me about my situation and formulate a plan going forward. I thought Mike was a nice guy but since I wasn’t paying for the pest control, there wasn’t much I could do. I agreed to let the new guys come by the next day to talk to me.

The next day rolls around and I get a knock on the door at the appointed time. I open the door and some portly dude who looks like a construction worker is on my door step. He asks if I’m me. I tell him I sure am me. He then looks over my shoulder and asks why my fridge hasn’t been pulled out the alcove. The question confuses me as no one has told me why I needed that done. Dude then asks me why my living room hasn’t been cleared of my belongings. I tell him there must be some misunderstanding as no one told me any of this. Dude then asks me why I haven’t prepared for their arrival. I again tell him this is news to me. I try to explain to him where I’m at in the treatment phase but he doesn’t seem to want to listen. He gets in my face and tells me if I want to get rid of bed bugs, I need to be serious about this and that I should comply with all his demands. This gets me angry. I haven’t even known this guy for five minutes, he neglected to even ask me kind of treatments have already been done, and most importantly, he has no clue how serious I am about getting rid of bed bugs. Had he asked, I would have told him about the bagged clothes, my upstairs clothes, my downstairs clothes, and the fact I sleep on a bagged mattress filled with insecticide. How’s that for serious?

I tell him that if he wants to listen to my story and then formulate a plan going forward, that’s fine but I’m not about to let him march in here and spray behind my fridge because there hasn’t been a single bit of evidence there were bed bugs downstairs. He leaves in a huff and I’m still incensed. I almost immediately march off to the UBC Housing office which is thankfully close by. I get to the front desk where I tell the receptionist I need to see Mary immediately. I patiently wait a few minutes and stew before she comes out. She barely finishes her hello before I ask her who were that clown that she had sent me just minutes earlier. I launch into an angry recount of the verbal exchange I had with dude. I tell Mary it was absolutely disrespectful in the way he had talked to me. I say that it was most insulting that he just assumed I wasn’t serious about getting rid of bed bugs. He didn’t even bother to get my story before making assumptions. I finally tell Mary that this was just another failure on UBC Housing’s part, first knowingly giving me a bed bug infested apartment (without full disclosure) and then changing pest control companies with idiots like the one I just met. I briefly look over to the receptionist who appears to not want to be at her desk. I don’t care, I’m angry and Mary needs to hear this. Mary apologizes and says that behaviour was unacceptable. She promised me that she’d phone the new pest control company and pass along my comments. I get her to phone me back with any developments going forward. I also tell her that if this is the way the new company would be handling things, UBC Housing should keep looking.

A day later, I get a phone call from someone at the new pest control company. It’s not the guy from yesterday but someone higher up. He’s very apologetic. I let him know exactly why I thought yesterday’s dude was completely out of line. He agrees. I tell him how everything could have gone way better had dude just asked me a few questions instead of assuming things. Phone dude again agrees with me and asks if I’m willing to let another dude come by and a real assessment this time. I say yes but it better not be the same dude. Phone dude thanks me for giving them another chance. He then tells me in the meantime to go look in my mail box after the phone call.  After we hang up, I go to the common block and my mail box. Inside is a $20 gift certificate good at the UBC Bookstore, courtesy of the pest control company. A nice gesture I suppose.

Some time passes and for some reason, I have to phone Mary to ask her some questions. I phone the UBC Housing office to get transferred to her line. The receptionist replied with an awkward tone, “oh… um, she doesn’t work here anymore”. The way she said it made me think Mary didn’t leave under the most ideal conditions. Sure, she might have quit but usually quitting doesn’t elicit that type of response when you ask for them at their old company. I’d also like to think that if she quit, she would have had the courtesy to let me know she was leaving and that my case would be handled by her successor, whoever that might have been. By then, we’d been trying to rid my apartment of bed bugs for months. I got no such indication from her that she was voluntarily leaving. She was most likely fired. If that was indeed the case, I have mixed feelings about that. She didn’t deserve to be fired just because there were bed bugs infesting various UBC Housing residences. Bed bugs can be brought into a residence in any number ways. Where the area gets a bit murky is if she was the one that decided to assign new residents into apartments and rooms that she knew had previous infestations without confirming the bed bugs had been eliminated. I have no idea if she knew about those previous problems and if she had the power to stop assignments from being made. Whatever the reason Mary left, it didn’t matter, she was now gone and I had to talk to her replacement going forward.

In the next part, the battle draws to a close and I claim my status as a bed bug survivor.

You can find the other posts of this series here.

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