Inside your doorman's brain

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If you’ve ever wondered what your doorman's thinking, you may be interested in hearing from one of Manhattan's liveried, who requested anonymity to protect his job:

• “We don’t like it when the residents pull up when they come back from the weekend and blow the horn and whistle at us to come help them. It makes us feel like a pet.”

• “We get complimentary newspapers from the delivery people and some of the residents kind of know that we get it so they come down and borrow it and never return it. That’s annoying.”

• “I’m tired of hearing complaints of the food delivery guys as they’re leaving. They say this is a cheap building. They expect $5 and the residents give them two or three.”

• “We get Christmas tips—like $25 to $300 per doorman—and we don’t really expect tips otherwise from the residents. But a lot of times out-of-towners will tip for getting them a cab—it’s a little embarrassing.”

• “I like Thanksgiving when I work it. A few residents will bring down a Thanksgiving dinner plate—a real nice plate, not just a plastic one. I ate three meals last year. Sometimes they bring wine but I don’t drink it.”

• “It does bug me when people put their fingers on the mirrors and the glass. Kids are always dragging their hands across the mirrors.” 

• “When the residents argue or have too much to drink, we just totally try to ignore it. We’re hearing everything they’re saying and we just act like nothing is happening. We see a lot of stuff.”

• “We have a suggestion box in the mailroom and the worst way for a resident to handle a problem is to throw it in there rather than coming up and telling you something themselves. That annoys us a little bit. And we also like when they throw in notes that say you’re doing a good job.”

If this piques your inner anthropologist, you may want to check out the definitive study of NYC doormen—aptly titled Doormen—by Columbia University sociology professor Peter Bearman. 

What do you think of your doorman?  What does he (or she?) do well and how could he do better? 


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