PoP contributor Eric Nuzum wonders what it will take to rent his home for the inauguration.
Several of my friends are aflutter over the inauguration. It has nothing to do with “change,” lack of “change,” or the likelihood that “change” will amount to anything actually changing. They are obsessed with a different kind of “change”: the type that will be jingling in their pockets once they rent their home or apartment to those who find no room at the inn for the Obama coronation on January 20th.
Even though hotels are not completely sold out yet (and that is true, they aren’t), urban tales are spreading through the city of people renting out their homes for tens of thousands of dollars. And my friends and co-workers have dollar signs in their eyes.
Perhaps I’ll eventually eat my words, but I generally operate under the principal that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.
“What could go wrong?” my people ask. Well, let’s not go there. However I’m willing to bet real actual cash (you know, the kind I already have) that people willing to shell out thousands a night aren’t going to be a bunch of old lady spinsters from Iowa who go to bed at 7:30. Call me crazy, but even $20k won’t wash away the vision of some Fortune 500 executive screwing a coked-up hooker in my bed. Continues after the jump.
But let’s not let that stop us from dreaming a little, shall we?
Now, in reviewing the ads on Craig’s List and other “For rent” listings, it seems that location is the first selling point. Living in Petworth is–generally–great, but it is not as good of a selling point as being in Georgetown or Foggy Bottom. (And what the hell is a “Foggy Bottom” anyway? And why would anyone want to live in a place called Foggy Bottom? That’s terrible. It would be like living in a place called Leaky Drawers or Halitosis Alley.)
Since we can’t compete on location, then it becomes a street fight based on perks.
Initially, I was excited about this idea. Many potential sub-letters are offering rides to and from the airport, linens and towels, stocked refrigerators, and guides to local transportation, restaurants, and so on. I started thinking to myself, “Hey, I could do stuff like that! Perhaps there is something to this!”
Then I read about “the competition.” Specifically, the Inauguration Packages offered by the Mandarin Oriental and Omni Shoreham. The Mandarin’s $200,900 package includes a 3,500 sq foot suite, a butler, and the services of a chauffeured Maserati Quattroporte, stocked with snacks and Champagne. For the Omni’s package, your $440k buys you a private jet to come and go from DC, in-suite meals prepared by your personnel servants, a private performance from Mark Russell, and a parting gift of a puppy. Yes, you read that correctly…a puppy. Your choice of breed.
How crushing. Needless to say, I’m at a little bit of a loss as to how
I’m supposed to compete with that.
While I’m not really a caviar kind of guy, my wife does make an amazing maple salmon dish that is crazy good. For entertainment, I guess we could sit around and watch my puppy drag its butt across the rug. There’s always Uno, too.
Beyond that, I think I’m stuck with the basic argument of whether or not I’d want a stranger to rent my home–filled with my stuff and my life. Things that I care about and they don’t.
It kind of reminds me of that old joke: Man asks woman if she’d sleep with him for $10 million dollars. She thinks about it and says, “Sure.” Then he asks if she will sleep with him for $1. She gets upset and replies, “Of course not! What do you think I am–some kind of prostitute?” He replies, “We’ve already determined that. We’re just negotiating price.”
So, dear readers, what do you think? Would you ever allow strangers to rent out your house? Under what conditions?
What perks could you add to the pile to sweeten the deal?