Unhelpful Building Guard (Venting)

I have a guard at my apartment building who is completely, willfully, consistently useless.

First of all, he refuses to call me a taxi (I live in a Taipei suburb) which means that I have to walk several minutes to a main road to flag on down. This is not that big of a deal but it’s very inconvenient if I am carrying luggage and the lack of courtesy there I find rather off putting.

Other major problem? The garbage truck comes by my building at 8:40 each weeknight. Unfortunately, the past couple of months (starting tonight I have two days each week where I can meet the truck) I’ve had no choice but to work (I teach in a buxiban) til 9 each weeknight, am often out on Saturday nights at that time, and the truck doesn’t come on Sundays. Result? Getting my garbage out of my apartment was difficult. I had a neighbor who could sometimes help me, but not always. So, she offered to write a note in Chinese to the guard explaining my situation (that I work late every evening, don’t have time to meet the truck, and letting garbage sit in my apartment is a health and hygiene issue, and could he please please please help me by throwing my bag in the truck once or twice a week). I accepted, gave it to him…and he flat out said no! As far as I can see, the old fat fart’s duties consist entirely of sitting on his expanding ass, chain smoking cigarettes, shooting the shit with his buddies and sometimes telling people when they have packages.

Most infurating part? This evening, when I went down to take out the garbage, I had a LOT of bags (gross, I know, but I have literally had no other option for a while now). He seemed to find me ferrying back and forth from my 10th floor apartment to the ground floor with garbage absolutely fucking hilarious, and appeared to be cracking jokes about it in Chinese without lifting a finger to help. At least getting my trash out won’t be a problem anymore, but his callousness is infuriating.

Is this a common thing? I know it’s not a Taiwanese thing, because I’ve visited other foreign friends in their apartments and their guards are always very helpful- they will call taxis, that kind of thing. Heck, even when walking into the building that contained my hostel in Tainan, the guard was kind enough to tell me which floor to push for on the elevator and held the door and assisted me when I came in with a bicycle- and that was without me asking! I’m not expecting this guard to be my personal concierge/manservant, but is calling a taxi or throwing a bag of garbage in a truck for a tenant who works late once a week that much to ask?

You mean building guards are suppose to run errands for us? I’m gonna have to get me one of those :slight_smile: As much of a lazy, unhelpful guy he is i don’t think taking out your garbage and making phone calls for you is part of his job description. Just remember - without him you would never get your packages and the building would get overrun by looters. Be sure to buy him a bag of beetle nuts for Xmas

It’s been a long time since I lived where there were building guards, but if one refused to call me a taxi, I would take great umbrage, and make sure to give short shift on any contributions made to the guard fee.

+1

To call a taxi yourself, call 0800-055-850 (or 55850 on a mobile phone) then press 2 for English (sort of). Also, if you have an iphone or ipad, you may find the Taiwanease taxi app (free) useful.

+1

To call a taxi yourself, call 0800-055-850 (or 55850 on a mobile phone) then press 2 for English (sort of). Also, if you have an iphone or ipad, you may find the Taiwanease taxi app (free) useful.[/quote]

Thanks for the tip- I am aware of English service but I tried one time and found it pretty difficult to communicate (I’m fairly used to communicating across language barriers and the person on the other end seemed totally bewildered). I will try again soon though!

Re: errands, I specified in my original post that I am certainly NOT expecting him to be my personal concierge or assistant. In some parts of Taiwan (the south mainly, it seems) it’s part of customer service to call someone a taxi if they ask. Maybe not so much here? Re: the garbage thing, this isn’t a “I’m too lazy and want someone else to take it out for me” thing, it’s a “I’m really in a bind and it would make a world of difference if you could offer 30 seconds of your time to help me once per week” thing. I also found his amusement at my predicament- he knew exactly what it was about- very annoying given the circumstances.

Building guards…Fuck, they are just glorified doorbells.

711 theyll call a taxi forya.

I do think the OP is wrong with the garbage thing, if you saw the guard would YOU help him with his garbage, especially if you were being paid 75nt/hr?

But he should call you a taxi. Complain to the company, theyll transfer him.

Yes I would. But I would always try to help somebody if I see that he/she obviously needs help if it is in my power. And if I won’t help (for whatever reason) than I would at least not laugh at him/her.

I see now that I was really lucky last year when I still lived in a place with a guard. He was an absolute gem, always helped with whatever we needed. In return, we periodically gave him little presents and baked him cakes and cookies, which he liked. Win-win. :slight_smile:

I’m with Lisi- generally if I see someone struggling I’ll help if I can. I’ll help people at the airport with bags, give up my seat on the bus/train for elderly or people with heavy bags/children, etc. No, I don’t want a cookie for this. I don’t view any of the above as arduous or special, it’s just something I do…make sense? So…yes, if for whatever reason he needed help with it I would. Plus, for him to stand there and guffaw about the fact that I had a lot to get rid of this evening was a dick move. I politely asked for help so that that wouldn’t happen, he refused, and I took no for an answer…so he shouldn’t find it so funny.

Good point about the cakes/cookies/little treats thing though…hadn’t thought of that I guess. Will pick up a couple things since it’s Christmas time. Sidenote (won’t derail the thread with this, but might start another to discuss this): the Taiwanese seem REALLY into little gifts- chocolates, cookies, chips, drinks, etc- even if it’s just one. I periodically bring in little treats (especially if they’re things someone sent to me from the states) and pass them around at work just as a friendly gesture, and my Taiwanese coworkers are always SO excited and appreciative- which is very sweet, but it’s just a little cookie! Is there some sort of “gift code” I should be aware of?

Finally: No, I don’t think I’m entitled to help with my garbage. Honestly, if he had been nice like “I’m sorry, I can’t” I wouldn’t be so upset. But to respond callously like that to a person who needed help and then laugh at them later when they’re trying to deal with it themselves isn’t very nice, sorry. Finally, it was my Taiwanese neighbor’s idea to write the note to the guard, to ask for help, not mine- so obviously she or at least some locals didn’t think it was too outlandish to ask. Make sense?

Start taking one guy’s trash out and pretty soon the whole building will have to “work late”. One of the neighbors must have a child you can offer a pittance to help you out a couple of times a week. I did that for a while when I lived in the city. Not sure how long you’ve been around Taiwan, but to think that the security guy is obliged to do you any favours is way out there. You are on track with the gifts thing but in this case you might be too late, you need to give the gift before you start asking for favours.

+1

To call a taxi yourself, call 0800-055-850 (or 55850 on a mobile phone) then press 2 for English (sort of). Also, if you have an iphone or ipad, you may find the Taiwanease taxi app (free) useful.[/quote]

Thanks for the tip- I am aware of English service but I tried one time and found it pretty difficult to communicate (I’m fairly used to communicating across language barriers and the person on the other end seemed totally bewildered). I will try again soon though!

Re: errands, I specified in my original post that I am certainly NOT expecting him to be my personal concierge or assistant. In some parts of Taiwan (the south mainly, it seems) it’s part of customer service to call someone a taxi if they ask. Maybe not so much here? Re: the garbage thing, this isn’t a “I’m too lazy and want someone else to take it out for me” thing, it’s a “I’m really in a bind and it would make a world of difference if you could offer 30 seconds of your time to help me once per week” thing. I also found his amusement at my predicament- he knew exactly what it was about- very annoying given the circumstances.[/quote]

I’m sorry to say this and I reallt feel for you (I am often in a similar situation), but the reason behinf your inability to deal with your garbage is irrelevant to the building guard. As someone stated before, helping you with that is not part of his job. Frankly I would be reluctant to deal with a stranger’s garbage at any time.

He’s a dick for making fun of you, that’s for sure.

Other major problem? The English review class by my building is at 8:40 each weeknight. Unfortunately, the past couple of months I’ve had no choice but to work til 9 each weeknight, am often out on Saturday nights at that time, and the class isn’t held on Sundays. Result? Getting my English good enough to pass the test was difficult. I had a neighbor who could sometimes help me, but not always. So, she offered to write a note in English to the teacher at the buxiban explaining my situation (that I work late every evening, don’t have time to take the class, and not learning English is an advancement issue, and could he please please please help me by holding a ten-minute review session outside of hours a couple of times a week). I accepted, gave it to him…and he flat out said no! As far as I can see, the old fat fart’s duties consist entirely of posting on some English web site, shooting the shit with his foreign buddies and sometimes having a conversation with a few kids.

Hmmm.

[quote=“ironlady”]Other major problem? The English review class by my building is at 8:40 each weeknight. Unfortunately, the past couple of months I’ve had no choice but to work til 9 each weeknight, am often out on Saturday nights at that time, and the class isn’t held on Sundays. Result? Getting my English good enough to pass the test was difficult. I had a neighbor who could sometimes help me, but not always. So, she offered to write a note in English to the teacher at the buxiban explaining my situation (that I work late every evening, don’t have time to take the class, and not learning English is an advancement issue, and could he please please please help me by holding a ten-minute review session outside of hours a couple of times a week). I accepted, gave it to him…and he flat out said no! As far as I can see, the old fat fart’s duties consist entirely of posting on some English web site, shooting the shit with his foreign buddies and sometimes having a conversation with a few kids.

Hmmm.[/quote]

Pulling the Arrogant Johnny E. vs The Pious Taiwanese stereotype, are we? Not cool.

Yeah, um, except that if one of my students asked me to hold a ten minute review session outside class hours once a week I’d say yes.

Sidenote: Not that it’s relevant, but your “he” is a she.

I am hearing where many of you are coming from on the garbage issue. Plus, I had considered the “well, if he does it for one person he might have to do it for others” angle. I think the thing that bugs me the most isn’t so much the “it’s not part of my job description, can’t/won’t do it”. It’s more the “haha, the foreigner is so funny for asking someone for help with her garbage. Oh look, not being able to take it out and not having anyone around to help her means that it really piled up and she’s finally free and look at her go as she takes it all out and puts it on the garbage truck! HAHA, SO FUNNY, LOOK AT THE WAIGUOREN!”

A lot of Taiwanese are lovely, but I have encountered here in the 'burbs a lot of people who find EVERYTHING a foreigner does hilarious, fascinating, or some combination of the above. Look at it order a coffee! Let’s peer into its grocery bag to see what it eats! OMG it just mailed a letter! Let’s stick a camera in its face without asking! And that’s another thread…

Buy them gifts fiRST AND maybe you will get some favors. In one building the guards liked to call the police on me in the middle of the night !! Claiming they saw gangsters come in with me (which was really my gf).

They themselves are the thugs.

AT best they are useless. At worst? You wont want to find out.

They are NOT there to help you in any way. Don’t think they are.

Once in a blue moon you may get a helpful guard.

Building guards (doormen) are a part of the Taiwanese retirement system.
They are not just doorbells, more like doberman with less teeth and more cognitive abilities.

To the OP, why don’t you make the first step and buy him a nice Christmas present or give him a red envelope for Chinese New Year, I guess in January.
Maybe, he’s gone lick your feet after that.

If it makes you feel better, i gave my two lobby guards a bit of a giggle when i asked for the keys to the gym and the swimming pool. Luckily i can still use the gym (just not at 2330 hrs) but the dream of having my own swimming pool will have to wait until “summer” not sure when that officially starts…june maybe.

What have you done for him which would make him want to help you?

[quote=“Novaspes”][quote=“ironlady”]Other major problem? The English review class by my building is at 8:40 each weeknight. Unfortunately, the past couple of months I’ve had no choice but to work til 9 each weeknight, am often out on Saturday nights at that time, and the class isn’t held on Sundays. Result? Getting my English good enough to pass the test was difficult. I had a neighbor who could sometimes help me, but not always. So, she offered to write a note in English to the teacher at the buxiban explaining my situation (that I work late every evening, don’t have time to take the class, and not learning English is an advancement issue, and could he please please please help me by holding a ten-minute review session outside of hours a couple of times a week). I accepted, gave it to him…and he flat out said no! As far as I can see, the old fat fart’s duties consist entirely of posting on some English web site, shooting the shit with his foreign buddies and sometimes having a conversation with a few kids.

Hmmm.[/quote]

Pulling the Arrogant Johnny E. vs The Pious Taiwanese stereotype, are we? Not cool.[/quote]
Not cool?
What does that even mean?
Are you like, totally, almost 17?

I thought it was rockingly classic!
:notworthy:
I would wager that ironlady knows more about education at this point in time than many more of us will ever know.
And this coming from a former foe.

He’s the building guard not your servant. Calling a taxi is easy, they record your address from the first time. Maybe he could help you, but you are better off helping yourself.

Dealing with garbage, no wonder he was laughing at you. They got cleaners in those buildings and even they don’t take out garbage for people.