It is better to BE secure than FEEL Secure
This past long weekend I spent an emotionally draining weekend seeing two of my daughters off to school, and throughout the weekend countless ideas for postings came up, but this one incident was the most awe inspiringly interesting story for me.
My daughter who goes to school in Waterloo lives off campus, but was changing where she lived this year. Luckily she had signed a lease only until May for last year, so we didn’t have to pay rent on an empty apartment, but it did mean we had to “store” some of her larger belongings (since we didn’t want to schlep them all the way back home). One of her roommates was in the same predicament, and they managed to find a storage place that seemed reasonably priced, so that was where her belongings were stored for the summer.
When we went to this establishment in the spring, it had a fearsome looking front gate with barbed wire on it, and the storage consisted of a group of containers (like those you might see on train flat cars, or on trucks), which had been divided up into “lockers”. Each locker was then locked so this seemed like a fairly safe place to leave some of my daughters larger belongings (a bed, her desk, some winter clothes, etc.,). We didn’t leave anything too valuable in there (i.e. no high tech toys, other than a printer), and we left Waterloo with the sense of security.
As the past weekend approached I pestered my daughter to make sure we had the code to get into the Storage Facility, and we had the key to get into the locker (and the address since I had forgotten that as well). We had all that was needed (we thought), and so moving day arrived (Monday, Labour Day), we got to Waterloo, got access to the new Flat unloaded the things from home she wanted to take to school. My Brother in Law showed up to help move the larger furniture, from the Storage Locker, so he and I went off to the facility (with most of the important info in hand).
This is the fun part
We pulled up to the facility, with security code in hand, but as we got closer I saw a note was taped over the keypad (alarms were going off in my head, envisioning the worst). The note said to call a number to get access to the facility (remember this is Labour Day, a holiday), and it was obvious there was no power in the Automatic Gate either.
I sat there ready to scream Blue Murder and other obscenities, but decided to remain calm, and called the appointed number. Someone actually answered the phone, and then started asking questions about the locker I was attempting to get access to:
- Who is the locker registered to? I hadn’t registered it, and I didn’t know the name of my daughter’s family, so that wasn’t any good
- What locker number are you attempting to get into? Um, the one in the corner, I could see it, but didn’t see the number
- Then who are you sir? From that point on I had little confidence I was getting anywhere near the storage locker
Rightly so the young lady on the phone said she couldn’t give me access to the facility until I had the right answers for her, and for this I applaud her efforts (yes, I was swearing under my breath at the time, but stress does that to you).
As I sat there attempting to find some way around this young lady, a car rolled up to the gate, and a gentleman got out of the car. My Brother in Law got out and asked the gentleman if he was from the Storage Facility, and the gentleman said, “No I am just here to get my boat”. The gentleman walked up to the locked and secure gate and simply pulled it open, and walked back to his car and drove in.
I sat there gob smacked, this alleged secure facility could be breached by someone simply walking up to it and pulling the gate open?
I told the young lady on the phone that I would call back soon with the info so she could give me access to the facility, then my brother in law and I drove in, opened up the locker, took all of my daughter’s stored stuff out of the locker, and the rest of the move went just fine.
Why do I tell you this story? How many things in your life do you assume are secure and safe, are you sure they are safe?
I did in the end call back and leave my name and number in case there was any problems, but I was quite amused/alarmed at the security of this Storage Firm.