The Lockout, Part 2

After the previous lockout, I did a much better job of not locking myself out again. But the next time it happened, it was a doozy.

My wife and I were staying in an AirBnB in New Zealand to attend a friend’s wedding. This AirBnB had a particular setup, where the deadbolt key was in a lockbox exterior to the apartment, and when we arrived we could unlock the box and get the key. However, the deadbolt key did not unlock the lock on the doorknob, which was to be kept unlocked at all times.

Given the title of this post, I think you can guess where this is heading.

My wife takes full responsibility for locking the wrong lock, but I could have sworn I checked the knob before leaving and saw that it was unlocked. In any case, we arrived back to find the knob locked and thus us locked out.

We attempted to contact the owner of the AirBnB. To cut a several-hour process short, he was not responsive to phone calls, text messages, or emails. It was getting quite late at night, and we began to worry about having a place to sleep. An even greater concern was that we needed to be at the wedding the next day, and our wedding clothes were in the AirBnB.

I had called the AirBnB help line before our dinner and I spoke to a helpful guy named Jeff. Jeff expressed concern over the situation and said their first approach was to attempt to contact the host. I explained that I had attempted to contact the host via every means provided over the course of a couple of hours, but he seemed inexplicably confident that the host would pick up when he called, as though the guy were ghosting me in a fit of teenage angst.

After dinner, no word from Jeff. I called back and got a much less helpful person (at one point I even asked to be transferred back to the more helpful Jeff, but apparently their phone support is not set up to be able to do that). I eventually ended up speaking to the unhelpful person’s manager, Yashika, who was actually reasonably helpful. Unfortunately, it seems that AirBnB didn’t empower her to actually do anything in this situation.

The baffling thing to me was that everyone I talked to was acting like this was the first time such a thing had ever happened in an AirBnB. I highly doubt that our situation was quite so novel, but in any case, Yashika offered to pay for a hotel for us for the night, which was very helpful because that at least would solve the “not having anywhere to sleep” problem, but there was no way for them to solve the “not having access to our stuff” problem.

(If I were willing to play hardball, I could possibly have gotten reimbursed for renting a suit and dress as well as toiletries and sundries, but neither of us really wanted to add that many errands to an already busy day the next day.)

I ended up calling what I honestly believe were all the 24-hour locksmiths in Auckland. After what was probably about ten or eleven phone calls, I finally got one who would come out. He gave me an estimate of 40 minutes, which turned out to be nearly accurate (it was about 45).

The biggest concern was that he would ask for proof that this was my place, which of course it wasn’t. I was prepared to show him the AirBnB app demonstrating that we were the legal occupants of this place, but as far as springing the lock, we were very much in a legal grey area. Thankfully the locksmith (who was extraordinarily nice) asked no questions.

The after-hours service call was painfully expensive, and I didn’t want to tell AirBnB that we had called a locksmith because when I had suggested it earlier they said they couldn’t do that. They offered me a coupon for the inconvenience, which if we ever use AirBnB again will be nice.

This is one saga where I sincerely hope there is not a Part 3.

2 thoughts on “The Lockout, Part 2

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