Photo by PoPville flickr user Bossi

“Dear PoPville,

This morning, when my father in law was taking out our trash cans, the trash man said something to him to the effect of “why don’t you ever take care of us at Christmas?” My FIL took this as an insinuation that we should be tipping them at Christmas, like you would a doorman. Is this a reasonable expectation? How would one even go about tipping the trash collectors and how much would you tip? If you don’t tip, will your trash not be picked up?

I’m curious if this enterprising trash collector took my FIL for a fool or if I’ve been a fool for the last ten years and owe some serious back-bonus pay to the trash collectors.”

Ed. Note: I was always that you should tip postal workers and trash collectors. You guys?

Photo by PoPville flickr user bajidc

“Dear PoPville,

I would like to thank the stranger who helped make a 911 call on V Street yesterday [Saturday]. I rushed out of my house around 6pm yesterday like a crazy lady not knowing what to do with my unresponsive 9month old baby and grabbed the first person I saw and asked him to dial 911. He was so helpful talking to the operator and waiting for help to come. I was so caught up in the moment and only realized much later when we were sitting in the ER that I forgot to ask for his name and thank him properly. Definitely the scariest halloween to date, but we are now all healthy and happy.”

4th and H Street, NW

Ed. Note: I am a native New Yorker and a huge pizza lover. I have never heard of Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza. Admittedly I haven’t lived in New York in over 18 years. Though I too consider Wiseguy New York Pizza the best pizza in DC. In fact, Wiseguy NY Pizza could smack me in the face and make me eat mayonaise and I’d still return for their pizza.

“Dear PoPville,

I moved here last year with fairly low expectations for DC pizza. No big deal — I can eat it when I’m home. However, I found a place that totally surprised and impressed me: Wiseguy New York Pizza in Chinatown.

Hands down, Wiseguy is the best DC pizza I’ve had in my two years here, and is nearly as good as real New York pizza. I stumbled into it accidentally and was shocked at how good their pizza was, but not just any pizza — Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza, which every New Yorker knows is the BEST kind. There was a point last year when I regularly walked out of my way just to get it. It’s great.

Recently, after quite some time of not having Wiseguy, I went back and brought a group of friends, telling them how great the Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza is. I got there, they didn’t have it on the shelf, I asked for it, they said they didn’t have it, I got something else (begrudgingly) and I moved on.

Last night, I called ahead of time. I said I was coming in in about an hour and would like to get a couple of slices of chicken bacon ranch. I hung up the phone and grabbed my friend and took him to Wiseguy.

They had Chicken Ranch pizza on the shelf — but with NO BACON. I asked for two slices of that but with bacon on it and he said no because they “don’t alter their pizzas.” So I told him I had called ahead to request it, and he says, “Oh, are you (my first name)?” And he takes out a whole Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza from the oven and says, “you ordered this.” And I told him that I didn’t want an entire pizza, I just wanted two slices. I asked him if I could just have two slices of that, and he said no, I can only buy the whole thing. So, I asked what he was going to do with it if I didn’t buy it, and he said he was going to let it go to waste.

So I asked him again for two slices of Chicken Bacon Ranch, and he again said I could only buy two slices of Chicken Ranch (no bacon). And I told him that’s not how it works in New York, which he obviously replied “this isn’t New York,” and then I pointed out that they call themselves Wiseguy NEW YORK Pizza, which he didn’t have much to say to. I think I won that round. I left without buying the Chicken Ranch.

I even contacted the manager and he stood by the policy that they don’t alter the pizza and said they no longer put bacon on their chicken/ranch pizza — which is insulting to CBR lovers everywhere. Anyway, I’m upset. And now I need a new pizza place because they clearly aren’t as great as I thought they were. Such terrible service. I even offered to pay extra for the bacon but to no avail!

Anyone in PoPville wanna make a recommendation?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Phil

“Dear PoPville,

For the past month or so, there has been a terrible odor coming from the fridge and freezer in the house I rent. My housemates and I have done everything we can think of to solve this issue- We have cleaned regularly and aggressively with bleach-based cleaners, used baking soda and fresh coffee grounds, used commercial odor eaters. All of these make the issue slightly better for some time, but the smell still persists in varying levels. We have checked for dead animals, that that water filter is properly draining, and there is no water collecting. The smell seems to be coming from the back of the fridge/freezer, but we do not have the tools to pull off the paneling. The smell has permeated our food such that we’re not using the fridge for much food storage anymore. Unsurprisingly, it’s also highly disgusting.

A few weeks ago, we reached out to the landlord for assistance with this issue. They sent a repair person, who said the fridge was working “perfectly” (…) and thus they had no further obligation to assist.

My question is: Are they right? My understanding is that the fridge is a fixture, and they are responsible for making sure the fixtures are in working condition. A smell that’s preventing us from using it seems like it’s not in working condition. But I’d like to have a better sense of my rights/obligations before I throw down the gauntlet with them. Who’s in the right here?”


“Dear PoPville,

I recently moved to the country and am not quite sure how to proceed with issues like this….

I called Pepco in May to turn on electric service in my apartment, which is B102. Somehow, someone at Pepco ended up putting two apartments worth of service in my name- B102 and C102. I do not live in C102, and I never indicated that I did. I think it was probably just a mistype or other issue on their end.

I started getting bills for both apartments, and called Pepco many, many, many times to let them know that they had the wrong person for apartment C102. Each time a rep told me the problem was fixed, but I kept getting bills. Meanwhile, I continued to make on time payments for my apartment’s electric service.

When I called in August, after getting 4 months of bills for this wrong apartment, the rep let me know that there was “an investigation open in my name regarding this apartment”. This was crazy to me, since I don’t live in apartment C102 (although I’m sure whoever does has been enjoying months of free electric). I had to fax them a copy of my lease to prove that I did not live there and I have never lived there. I faxed the lease in August and was told everything would be taken care of.

Yesterday, I got a letter in the mail from Penn Credit Corporation- a debt collection service- claiming that I had 30 days to pay my outstanding debt to Pepco. For the apartment that I don’t live in. I cannot believe this is still going on and now am genuinely concerned it is going to affect my credit. The mistake was wholly on Pepco’s end- someone incorrectly put an account in my name and now refuses to take my name off that account. No one at customer service seems to be able to help, and I’m not sure where to go from here. Is there something I can do besides keep calling and file a formal complaint? Has anyone been in a similar situation in the past? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you kindly in advance!!”

getting high
Photo by PoPville flickr user Brett Bowers

“Dear PoPville,

We just discovered that our relatively new basement rental tenants are growing weed in their bedroom. We’ve been getting headaches from a smell from the basement since the day they moved in and when we asked what the heck the smell was they’ve claimed it was incense (which technically it was). They are using it it seems to cover up some type of smell from the weed but we are not sure exactly what. The smell occurs often during the day so we think it may be something that they are doing to the weed.

Needless to say – discovering the presence of the weed growing during an inspection of the unit (which we did alert them to) has us really pissed and we are wondering what we can do between now and when the lease expires? The lease they signed with a rental company prohibits smoking of any kind in the unit as well as conduct of any illegal activities. It also prohibits use of the unit for anything other than residential purposes (e.g. no business activities). We have a small kid and don’t want any of this on our property (legal or not). Would appreciate any advice of what we can do/request until such time as we can cancel the lease.”

domestic violence
Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe Flood

“Dear PoPville,

I’ve recently been a victim of domestic violence, and I spent weeks trying to figure out what I needed to do to help myself and where I could go to do just that. Trying to navigate uncharted legal territory when you’re confused and scared for your own safety is NOT fun. There are plenty of great resources and options for domestic violence victims in DC, but it took a lot of work and dedication to figure out what they are. I decided to compile a list of the resources and information that I found throughout my process in hopes that it might help someone else in the future. There are probably more resources out there, but these are the ones I know of:

Some awesome resources

DC Safe: If you need to get a restraining order (see below on this) the Domestic Violence Unit at the DC Courthouse SHOULD refer you to a group called DC Safe. If they don’t, contact them yourself (walk-in office hours 8:30am-4pm M-F; DC Superior Courthouse: 500 Indiana Avenue NW, Suite 4550 and United Medical Center: 1320 Southern Ave SE, Room 311). They will provide you with information about other resources, assign you an advocate to help you with your case, and answer any questions you might have. They can’t provide legal advice, but they will try to put you in touch with a pro-bono lawyer if you want them to.

DCVLP: The D.C. Volunteer Lawyers Project . This is an AMAZING resource for many reasons. They represent domestic violence victims pro-bono. They offer a free legal clinic for domestic violence victims every week. They are super serious and dedicated to helping victims.

The Women’s Center: The Women’s Center has locations in Vienna, VA and downtown DC. They provide counseling to abuse and assault victims, educational programs, group therapy sessions, and much more.

DASH: District Alliance for Safe Housing provides safe housing for domestic violence victims in DC.

MSP: My Sister’s Place also provides safe housing for domestic violence victims

Crime Victims Compensation Fund: If you have incurred expenses because you’ve been a victim of a crime (hospital bills, changing your locks, relocating, theft, etc.), you can apply to this fund for reimbursement or direct payment of your expenses. They’ll cover up to a certain amount depending on the expense type, but they will pay for a LOT of various things.

Doorways (In Arlington, VA):
Doorways helps with homelessness, domestic violence, and sexual assault. They have a 24 hour hotline, should you have any questions or concerns. They have 2 safe houses, offer court advocacy assistance, financial planning assistance, and more.

LawHelp.org info: Website with a lot of good, general information on domestic violence, getting help, and preparing for court.

Civil Protection Orders (Restraining Orders) (more…)

Photo by PoPville flickr user Miki J.

“Dear PoPville,

I was the victim of a recent robbery (one of a number you’ve blogged about). As if dealing with authorities and insurance in the aftermath wasn’t enough, we keep getting recent visits from a woman who has been coming by a few times a day, unannounced. Not knowing who she was and not expecting anyone (especially at the hour she was here) we did not answer. After incessantly ringing the doorbell on her 4th or 5th visit in the last 24 hours, I finally answered it. She asked to speak with one of the people I live with, and then the other. She acted like they were already familiar, when in fact I knew she did not know them. When I explained I was the homeowner and invited her to introduce herself, she refused, and would not discuss ‘confidential’ matters with me. She said she would keep returning until she reached them. (more…)