business decisions

What’s a Self-Storage Manager To Do With a Customer Using The Place to Change Into His Drag Clothes?

Two phrases I never thought I’d string together: “cross-dressing” and “self-storage units.” The manager of a self-storage company posted a query on a forum for, uh, self-storage types about what to do with a customer who walks into his storage unit as a man and walks out as a woman. Refuse to do business with him? Or go to his drag show?

“I have a very bizarre problem,” writes hurlco in a thread he started titled “Here comes a drag queen?,” Hurlco “rented to a guy who now visits his space as a man, changes clothes and emerges as a woman. He does not look very convincing, in fact, he’s quite ugly as a woman. I now have other customers complaining about the freakishness of this guy. Two other customers have now told me that if he doesn’t leave, they are moving out. Has anyone encountered this before? Can I kick him out? Can we be sued for asking him to leave or stop his drag queening?”

When the first person (Lisa T) to respond asked hurlco “If he emerged as a good-looking shapely woman, would you still want to kick him out?,” hurlco responed: “Well, I know that, that would make the situation more palatable, however, my concern is for the tenants that feel squeemish about his antics. My boss thinks I should kick his “gay butt” out of here! (Not my words).”

Here’s another suggestion from user ssmgr: “You don’t kick him out – you don’t renew his lease. Send him the required notice of lease termination according to your lease agreement. Usually cross dressers are harmless but if you are going to lose customers then do not renew his monthly lease.”

Some more reasonable, albeit imperfect responses follow:

• Wow. I have never heard of this being a problem. Personally, I wouldn’t kick him out. Just get to know him a little and then explain to your concerned tenants that he is ok. Your tenants trust you…..why should you lose any customers?? He is not a criminal….

• I wouldn’t kick him out, I’d just let him know that using the unit for the purposes other than storage ( such as changing ) is not allowed. Be polite, be understanding, but just let him know that it’s nor acceptable.

• hmmm. this is 2010. I would say you should get to know him/her and just let him know not everyone is as accepting as some people and that maybe he should not change in the unit, If this happened here I would not “kick him out” But I would tell him he really shouldnt change in his unit, and tell the other people he is harmless as I am sure he is. THat is ONE weird situation you have there, keep us posted.

• Tread very carefully, or you could be facing a lawsuit.

Well that depends: His city or state would need a law barring LGBT discrimination. So where is hurlco’s company located? Hard to tell, but perhaps Texas or Arizona. As we learn from another thread hurlco started, titled “Should I have accepted Mexican pesos?,” (where he asks “Can I legally refuse mexican money?” from a non-Mexican customer), his “facility is very near the mexican border.”

Leave it to user Jughead to offer the most reasonable comment:

Hurlco, Lisa T is right, there is a difference between a crossdresser and a transsexual. But that being said, I have two cross dressers, one a biker and the other just an average looking guy. They keep their dresses here and I don’t mind them changing in their space as long as they close the door. I have asked them NOT to come into the office in drag as it always startles my tenants. The one guy named Steve/Stephanie looks better in drag, the other guy, yikes! Actually, my biker guy referred us to Steve/Stephanie.

Maybe you should post an ad on advertising that you cater to alternative lifestyles. There may be a market here!

Except then this post took the ultimate of twists! hurlco tells the thread:

I want to thank everyone for your input on this rather unusual situation. The tenant came into the office this morning dressed normally and asked me to attend his drag show at a local bar on Friday night. By the way, I am not gay and I have references. Anyway, I am curious to attend the drag show since I have never been to one. But, it just seems freaky to attend anything that a tenant appears in, much less a drag show. If I attend, he will see that as my acceptance of his unconventional lifestyle. My boss says that if he makes a spectacle of himself on the property that he must leave. I want to be fair as I don’t really see anything wrong with what he is doing. I guess the question is, if he offends other tenants or makes them view the facility in an unfavorable light, should I ask him to move to Public Storage?

As this readership knows, a man walking around dressed as a woman — in “drag” costume or simply because he identifies, at least part time, as a woman — is not grounds to be “offended.” And when I first started reading this thread I assumed the customer might be using his storage unit as his secret hiding place for his cross-dressing life, away from his wife and kids, and he simply happens to change in the same place he stores his women’s clothes. But now it’s clear the dude really is a drag performer, and maybe he doesn’t have enough closet space for all those sequins, so really, who gives a shit?

The storage unit’s owners, that’s who — they don’t want to lose “offended” customers.

So I say go with the above idea about he Craigslist ad, only go one step further: Start giving this guy free storage space if he name drops your self-storage company when he’s on stage.

[via Inside Self Storage]