A number of weeks back, when we were both in New York, I asked my occasional traveling companion, Ed, if empty Manhattan apartments should perhaps be converted into furnished short terms rentals.
Not so easy – he tells me.
Why not? – I want to know. Hotels n NY are outrageously expensive. Personally, I would rather have a small apartment at a better price, so long as it was clean and in a good and safe enough location.
Not so easy – he repeats.
But we live in the age of the Internet. Couldn’t a landlord list availability there? What could be easier?
Scams. It's a problem. Say you're Internet savvy. You want to make a quick buck. You pick a Craig's listing, you put it up as your own, you collect the money in advance and you disappear, leaving many befuddled renters without a place to drop their bags.
Remember. This was s few weeks back. There is an updated version of this same conversation and it goes something like this:
Sweetie (that’s what you call your occasional traveling companion when you know you're stepping outside his comfort zone) – the landlord for that rental next week? He would like a damage deposit through paypal.
We have already paid this dude up front everything, and now there’s this.
He’ll give it back if we don’t damage anything...
Nina – (that’s what you call your traveling companions when you want to let her know that perhaps her actions aren't of the prudent sort) how do you know this guy’s for real? And not merely a scam?
I do not have an answer to this. I mean, I trust that he’s legitimate. Capitalism would not develop if you didn’t enter the marketplace with a trusting heart.
Now, speed forward to this day – the day before we leave, ready to lay claim to an apartment, rented over the Internet, without any guarantee that the place really exists.
But I can’t worry about that. I have a mountain-load of work to do. And a good half day of work at the little shop. And a tree to purchase and gingerbread cookies to procure for the holidays.
Once again, it is late as I sit down to write here on Ocean. But I think this is the last of the sleepy posts for the year. Tomorrow, I stop the cycle. I’ll be on the road. Or in flight, or actually both.
Until then, good night.