Love in a cold unit: Self storage and adultery

By David on January 9th, 2011 | 4 Comments

Love in a cold unit: Self storage and adultery

People use self storage units for all kinds of purposes. Some build recording studios in them; others create a personal library, or even a shrine to their dead mother. A few actually just store piles of innocuous, everyday items in the way they’re meant to.

However, there are some who push the boundaries much further. For a small minority, self storage provides the unlikely location for romantic trysts.

Sex and the self storage

On the discussion boards at Self Storage Talk (http://www.selfstoragetalk.com/tales-trenches/), 13 separate American self storage facility owners claim to have discovered a client in flagrante behind the shutters of their unit. Several of them admit to knowing that the client in question was married to someone else, and you can see why self storage makes an appealing (if uncomfortable) location for an adulterous encounter – it’s quiet, private and (unlike a hotel) visits are easy to justify with the missus.

Most people don’t find the prospect of a concrete floor sexy, however. This is probably why self storage hasn’t become a more popular venue for this type of thing, as the gloomy, sanitized atmosphere of a modern self storage centre – all exposed brickwork and screeching metallic shutters – doesn’t act for most people as a turn-on.

These 13 owners, however, found to their cost that some people can get around this. Particularly striking incidents include a prostitute working out of a self storage unit, who gave herself away by wandering around the centre undressed while having dozens of male visitors to her unit, and a priest working part-time as a maintenance man who was embarrassed to stumble across two lesbian lovers in the throes of passion.

Self storage: Sex, liens and videotape

All 13 of these owners were the pro-active type; self confessed busybodies who wanted to confront the merest hint of trouble before it became a problem.

This meant they caught out their misbehaving tenants by eavesdropping on them. Signs that give away a unit as a love-nest include a man and a woman regularly arriving soon after oneanother and leaving separately; their spending too long in a unit with the door down when it’s very hot or cold (one couple did this during an Indiana summer when the unit was 32oC), and people keeping little other than a mattress in their unit.

Several of the self storage owners confronted their tenants directly about this, while others behaved more strategically. A number of them used tactics that were almost as furtive as the lovers’ themselves: they sent them a pretend general letter, supposedly for all their clients, reminding them about inappropriate behavior; one even went so far as to surround the offending unit with signs saying ‘Units are Under Surveillance’.

Storage centre managers are able to evict tenants who they think have broken the terms of their lease by inhabiting their unit – the definition of ‘inhabiting’ sometimes being extended to cover sexual activity. This may result in tenants being denied access to their belongings, which may later be sold at lien auctions, potentially causing embarrassment: in one case, this included photos of the tenant in a compromising position.

Self storage: Crimes of Passion

Self storage managers may have a moral objection to adultery occurring on their premises; and many of the managers on Self Storage Talk mention the discomfort of meeting their unfaithful tenants when they have their families with them in public.

There are also some practical reasons for why they don’t want it to happen on their property: it means people stay on-site for too long, which most managers are keen to avoid; it may result in (potentially violent) confrontation between the different parties involved (several self storage shootings have been caused by relationships gone bad), and the storage centre could potentially be asked to give evidence in court during a divorce case, publicity most managers are keen to avoid.

This means self storage managers usually have a keen nose for what happens in their facility, and if you’re conducting an affair in one the odds are they know already, although the same is not necessarily true of customers.

So far, cases of adultery in UK self storage units are virtually unknown. But then you never really know what’s going on behind the shutters next to your unit, do you?

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4 Responses to “Love in a cold unit: Self storage and adultery”

  1. I found this article very amusing. Whilst our units are perfect for their intended use of storing general belongings, the cold floor and steel walls could not be construed in any way as romantic. Also oftentimes the corridors are very quiet so that the trystees could not be at all noisy for fear of being heard.

  2. It is funny how this blog post got spun by the Daily Telegraph and Metro Online saying how self storage offers a low cost option for hard-up Britons having affairs. Self storage it is listed in Metro amongst the “cheap places to have sex.”

  3. 4666 says:

    Can you secure the unit from inside?

    Most have a security guards and I wonder if he comes around and sees your unit unlocked he can open it and find two people inside.. I would think/hope that the security guard won’t get in your business.. afterall you might be in there trying to sell somebody your stuff. I would think they would turn a blind eye.

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