Rosemont at Patwood – Where Service Quickly Ends! A Greenville, SC Customer Service disaster…at least that’s my opinion!

October 7, 2010

Sometimes we find the “Devil in the Details”.  I recall when I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer that it took a little time to understand just what I was facing and understand the “rules of the game” so to speak and how to deal with what was ahead.  Well…not that renting a temporary apartment while away from home is “Prostate Cancer”, but for sure when the ink is dry you do begin to find out truly what you are facing and the quality of the folks you’re dealing with.

Now, first things first, as a business ethics speaker I often write about experiences both good and bad.  My readers (which vary from time to time) know that I am willing to be transparent.  I make mistakes and find that accepting responsibility for them is healthy and beneficial.  But, there are times when I find that business organizations – like Rosemont at Patewood – create an environment that is customer friendly or intolerant and insensitive.  Those who fall into the latter categories challenge the very definition of customer friendly and customer service environments.


As Chief Operating Officer of a national company and international speaker, I travel alot.   In September (sometime toward the middle of the month) I rented a simple one bedroom apartment from the (what seemed to be) fine folks at Rosemont at Patewood in Greenville, SC.  The process seemed to be fairly easy.  To pay my first months rent I had to provide a certified check (which I admit made sense).  The lease paperwork was presented to me and within 10 minutes I had signed more papers than it took to buy my last home – actually my last two homes.  And like most people, I did not take the time to read every page.  BIG MISTAKE!!!   I readily admit my mistakes.  And as I started this – I said – THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS.

The move in was easy.  The apartment was old and certainly not up to what I would consider modern standards, but it was acceptable and clean.  There are some issues, like hearing the folks above me start their bath water at 5:30 a.m. each day and walk with some real heavy feet, but that’s apartment living (I guess).

Month two… (Now here’s where it get’s interesting)… I am out of town more than I’m in town – which I told the folks at the apartment complex when I moved in).  So, at the first of the month I am out of town – back on Sunday October 3rd and back out on the 4th.  I go by to pay my rent (because they can’t just draft it from my account – which would make sense in this digital age) and find that there is no DROP BOX.  “Wow,” I think to myself, “this is really inconvenient.  If there is no drop box and you are not here at the first of the month – how do you pay your rent?”

Wednesday evening the 6th I return at 9:45 p.m. – thinking, I’ve got to get them their check tomorrow – knowing that they open their office at 9:00 a.m. – typically long after I’ve gone to work.  AGAIN INCONVENIENT.  So, doing the right thing (I think) I defer an early morning appointment to bring by my check.  Again, thinking – “This is not very customer friendly.”  Well…THAT’S NOT THE HALF OF IT…

9:00 a.m.  I was greeted at the door by a smiling face telling me as I handed her the check – “We can’t accept that.  You’re late and we have to now have a certified check.”  Shocked at my initial greeting she proceeded to say, “The cut off is the 5th and today is the 7th.”  What she said was true.  Today is the 7th and the only day I was here to pay my rent was Sunday the 3rd and guess what – no one was there to collect it and there was NO DROP BOX within which I could leave it.  To add insult to injury – I was told that I must pay $145 in penalties for the two day delay.

“So let me get this straight – You don’t provide a way for me to leave my check (NO DROP BOX) when the payment is due and since I’m out of town and just back last night – I bring it by today and now not only am I late, but I must pay a penalty?”

Her response kindly stated was, “That’s right.  And I need a certified check – we won’t accept your personal check.”


We’ll, again getting ready to head out of town, I go get cash and, take time away from work in order to take care of personal business.  I bring it by there office.  TO MY UTTER SURPRISE – I am greeted with, as I count out cash including my additional $145 fee, WE CAN’T TAKE CASH!  If I had false teeth I am sure at that moment they would have fallen out!  Talking about feeling a mind wabble – I am bringing by US Legal Tender and am told that cash is not acceptable.


  1. NO DROP BOX for rent collection
  2. NO BANK DRAFT OPTION which I would be the first to sign up for so that it is just “sucked” from my account
  3. NO WILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT CASH for the payment of one’s rent

Perhaps many will disagree, but THIS IS A CUSTOMER SERVICE DISASTER and a business that, now given a choice, I would avoid like the plague.  I have no choice, but to again be inconvenienced, and work within their limited guidelines.   In fairness, I was told today I could pay my rent at their web site, but telling me today isn’t helping with the lack of convenience above and lack of communication on the front end when I could have been given that as a clear payment option.

In today’s environment, the customer is KING.  I believe in playing by the rules.  Likewise, I know that if the rules favor convenience and customer service you will have customers for life.  On the other hand, when the CUSTOMER IS INCONVENIENCED and the RULES BECOME SO RIGID as to make life less than reasonable (I mean there is nothing more reasonable than paying one’s rent with CASH) then it’s time to expose it for what it is.



Another Prostate Cancer Loss – Ross Younkin – A Tribute To His “Big Life”

January 26, 2008

As we walked into Bluebonnet Hills Funeral Home in Colleyville, Texas, my wife asked me to hold some tissues she had picked up. Looking back at her, I asked, “You think you’ll need these?”

“Perhaps,” she replied, as she was connected to him not only from personal visits, but through close friends of ours. She had met Ross during the last months of his life. He was then dying from advanced prostate cancer and all knew that he was facing his last days on earth.

My connection to Ross was quite different. I only knew Ross through the stories of others – we had never met. What we did have in common was prostate cancer. His was caught late and there was no hope of recovery. Mine, caught early, was now not a part of my life. I was free to live my life. Ross’s life, on the other hand, had been cut short from the same disease.


So, as I walked to the register book at the funeral home to sign our attendance, I noticed blue pins for prostate cancer awareness (just like the pink pins that women wear for breast cancer awareness). As I picked one up I felt a rush of emotion realizing, that as I pinned this on my lapel, I was a survivor (by the grace of God) and Ross was with God.

People gathered to remember the joy and the experiences that came from knowing Ross. They gathered in support of his wife, children and extended family. They gathered because he made a difference. One after the other his friends spoke of his “Big Life” and the experiences they had in working and playing with Ross during the time he had on earth. Through their expressions of sorrow and humor, I began to see the enormity of the life Ross lived and the depth at which he touched others.

I was moved. While I have been to many funerals, this one especially touched me. Perhaps it hit too close to home. Perhaps, I thought, “It could have been me.” But the part that rang home with crystal clarity for me was his son’s comments about how his son (Ross’s grandson) would come to know of the man his grandfather was. I feel sure that the room, full of baby boomers, won’t let this little man down – he will know of the life of Ross Younkin.

Not long there after, I heard the drone of bagpipes as one of his best friends (and they all considered themselves his best friend) played tribute to Ross. Choking back tears, Chip honored his friend and touched hearts – mine included.

As we drove away from the graveside, I asked my wife, “Just how did Ross find out he had cancer?” She replied (as best she could recall) that he had a problem that took him to the doctor and something showed up but his doctor didn’t seem to be concerned. He (Ross) was angry about that – the doctor should have been vigilant knowing the impact that advanced prostate cancer can have on one’s life. Likewise, Ross was angry at himself. He felt like something wasn’t right, but didn’t push the doctor to make more tests. “Just like most men,” I thought to myself.

Wake Up Call! As a prostate cancer survivor, more and more, I hear stories of how men find out they are cursed with prostate cancer. Two nights ago I received a call from a man who was exploring treatments (for prostate cancer) and wanted to talk about the treatment I elected. One of my first questions was, “how did you find out?” He replied that he had hurt his foot and so while there his doctor required a full exam including a DRE (digital rectal exam). It was then that something unusual was discovered. He, like me, had no symptoms and would have no practical reason to go to the doctor. However, in both our cases, for other reasons, we had physicians who saw the wisdom and logic of requiring exams that saved our lives.

Prostate cancer, unlike most cancers, can generally be detected through a simple blood test. While that isn’t fool proof, a PSA test required by my doctor, saved my life. If Ross could speak to us today, I am confident that he would shout from his Harley – get tested NOW! While the rule of thumb is that you should have the test certainly by age 50 – I contend that you should start in your early 40’s. Mine was diagnosed at age 47. Prostate cancer is curable if caught early enough. If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, consider reading one of my early blogs related to treatment options – a link is attached: prostate cancer blog

Ross Younkin: How can you measure the life of a man? It was said yesterday that Ross collected music – lots of music. I wonder if he had the song “Season’s of Love” from the musical RENT? In the lyrics it says:

How do you measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.

How can you measure the life of a man? In truths that he learned, or in times that he cried. In bridges he burned, or the way that he died.

It’s time now to sing out, tho the story never ends let’s celebrate remember the life of our friend. Remember
the love! Remember the love! Remember the love! Measure in love. Seasons of love!

Seasons of love.