You Can't Please Everyone: FM Complaints

I don't want to say these facility occupants are lying. Clearly, there is a concern they are upset about. But the nature of the concern makes it appear imaginary, let's say. Or only occurring in the occupant's mind with no anomaly in the perceivable world to make anyone else think anything is wrong. At any rate, not much any facility manager could do about it, except perhaps lend a sympathetic ear and rack up good karma points. Enjoy!

Goldilocks Syndrome

"Last year we opened a new building on campus which necessitated moving an entire department from one building to the newly opened building.  Most of the staff and faculty were generally happy with their new building, with the exception of one faculty member known to complain unnecessarily.

He called the facilities office and regaled us with a 45-minute tale about the paper toilet seat covers being used in the new building. Our janitorial staff, who stock all the bathrooms on our campus, had switched paper products for the new building — this according to the complainant.   This faculty member insisted that the paper toilet seat covers were extraordinarily rough and had some type of irritant in them so much so that he was forced to return to his old building, were the covers were softer, each time he needed to use the facilities.  He would ‘high-tail’— pun intended, across campus to use the bathroom because 'the seat covers in the new building were entirely too rough.'

I attempted to explain that the paper products used by the janitorial staff which services our campus did not change from one building to the next.  In short, the same covers were placed in every bathroom on campus. The same covers he was using in the new building were the same brand and type being used in the building he fled to each time he need to use the bathroom. However, nothing I said could convince him that there was no difference in the paper products save the new facility in which they were being used." 


Wet Paint

"Shortly after opening a new 640,00 sq./ft. facility, we received our first complaint. The very vocal and obviously upset employee stated that she had gotten wet paint on her new scrubs and expected them to be replaced. She also stated that there were no 'wet paint' signs to warn anyone to its presence.  When I investigated the complaint, not only was she incorrect as to where my staff was painting in the new building but she had been working in another building on campus that day anyway. I referred her complaint to the appropriate manager.  (By the way, there were wet paint signs posted in my building.)"


City Lights

"A few years ago had a just-retired real estate broker move into the first apartment she had ever lived in.  Our building was on a hill overlooking the city of Portland to include the football/soccer stadium three blocks below.  She called the front desk and demanded I immediately come investigate her complaint.   She called me over to the large living room picture windows and pointed down towards the stadium.  'See, that’s what I am talking about!'  I didn’t see what was her target of interest was  so I inquired further.  Exasperated she again pointed out the window, 'See, down there at the stadium, those bright field lights.'  O.K., I see the field lights mounted  high up on poles.  What seems to be the problem? Now really exasperated with me not understanding, she exclaimed, 'They are turning them on every night when there is an event in the stadium and I don’t like it that bright.'  O.K., now I understood the problem and I assured her I would point this out to the mayor the next time we had lunch together!  'Fine, I appreciate your coming up to look at the problem and be sure the Mayor understands this is my first time to live in the city!'

No problem, I assured her and then went on to real problems in this 257 unit residential high rise.  Sometimes just letting people vent a bit can solve the problem and besides, I just pushed the monkey onto the mayor’s back! As per usual, the mayor was slow to respond but hey, that’s life in the big city!"


Really, some coursework in psychology might not be such a bad idea for someone considering entering facility management! What do you think? If you have occupant complaint stories you want to share, feel free to start your own thread in this forum or send me an email at



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