Embarrassing moments are a part of life—there’s no getting around that. You could fall down an entire set of bleachers at a basketball game (yes, that actually happened) or walk in on someone who forgot how to lock a bathroom door.
Unfortunately those most embarrassing moments don’t stop when you get your first apartment. Rent.com surveyed 1,000 US renters to learn the three most embarrassing reasons that they had to call their apartment maintenance staff. Here are the results and what you can do to avoid the situations.
#1 Most Embarrassing Moment: Clogged Toilet
Ah, the nightmare of the clogged toilet. It happens to the best of us and 38% of renters said it was the most embarrassing moment they’ve had with a landlord. It’s also the #1 reason renters have had to call their landlord for maintenance.
There’s nothing quite like the moment of sheer panic when you see the water rising instead of being flushed down. Unfortunately no amount of praying or wishing will make your toilet unclog itself. You have to swallow your pride and call the apartment maintenance staff. But don’t sweat it—they get these calls all the time.
Don’t believe me? Here are a few of my personal awkward clogged toilet stories to indulge yourself in:
Story #1: The Blame Game
My apartment in college had a really old plumbing system, so we had to call the landlord pretty frequently to unclog the toilet. But whenever we did, we would always blame it on my roommate’s boyfriend. Sorry, we’re not sorry.
Story #2: The Breakup
Yes, clogged toilets can even be the cause of breakups. My good friend clogged the toilet, and wanted her boyfriend to take the fall for it. Unfortunately for her, he did the opposite of that, and broadcasted it to the entire party. C’mon, man.
Tips For Unclogging a Toilet
If you do happen to live the nightmare of clogging a toilet, take a deep breath. You can fix this. Always, always, always have a plunger on-hand. When you move into your apartment, a plunger is as essential as hand soap and a toothbrush. Sure, it’s not the most attractive accessory, but neither is that clogged toilet, am I right?
You can also use dishwashing liquid. Squirt a bit of dishwashing liquid into the toilet before plunging—the soap makes the plunging process a bit easier. If you’re at a party, however, asking for dishwashing soap is going to be just as embarrassing as actually admitting that you clogged the toilet. In this case, reach for the shampoo that’s in the shower.
#2 Most Embarrassing Moment: Getting Locked Out
Not surprisingly, the millennial generation are pros at locking themselves out. In fact, 46 percent of millennials (ages 18-32) have locked themselves out of their apartments at some point. I’ll admit I’m sometimes more worried about responding to a text as I’m walking out the door than actually checking to see if I have my keys with me. And it turns out, I’m not the only one:
Story #1: Forgetful Roommates
My college roommates used to lose their keys to the apartment on a weekly basis. They would then proceed to change the locks on the door (without telling me, of course). They did this so often that I eventually invested in a set of lockpicks. Problem solved.
Story #2: Locked In … The Bedroom
Sometimes you don’t get locked out of your apartment, you get locked in. At about 6 a.m. one morning, my door handle decided to fall off, leaving me trapped in my bedroom. Thankfully when I called my landlord, he picked up and came to rescue me.
Tips For Not Getting Locked Out
Here’s what to do if you’re locked out of your apartment, and how to prevent it from happening again. Start with your roommate. If you live with someone else, call them to find out if they’re nearby so they can let you in. If you live alone, you’ll have to call your landlord. Don’t be embarrassed—it happens to all of us, and this is part of their job.
To avoid this situation in the future, designate someone as key master. Make a copy of your apartment key, and give it to someone who lives nearby, like a family member or a close friend. Next time you’re locked out, you’ll have a backup plan.
#3 Most Embarrassing Moment: Changing a Light Bulb
Changing a light bulb is pretty simple, right? Well, normally yes. In fact, 25 percent of female renters said they’ve never had to call maintenance to change their light bulb. But there are some light bulbs in your apartment that might be a bit trickier to change than others.
For instance, if you have really tall ceilings (and you don’t have a ladder) and there’s a bulb you can’t reach, call your landlord and they can take care of it for you. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I don’t have any “most embarrassing moments” to share about light bulbs (feel free to share if you do), but I do have some tips for changing them:
Tips for Changing Light Bulbs
Don’t use your hands: Instead of grabbing the new light bulb with your bare hands, use a paper towel or gloves to install it. Putting fingerprints on the surface of the bulb can form hot spots, which actually shorten the lifespan of the bulb.