|Except I would probably call, because they don’t have a website.|
Tom was right. Moving sucked. But Chinese Mover made it suck a lot less because we could move to our new apartment without going broke. At the end of it all, I thought I would write a review for them on Yelp, but I was like, “No, it can be so much more heartfelt than that.” I knew moving was going to be expensive because Tom suggested that we move everything ourselves.
“We could save like over seven hundred dollars,” he said.
I lived on the fifth floor of a walkup with narrow, marble stairs. I imagined myself falling to my death under the weight of a two hundred dollar Ikea dresser. It didn’t seem worth it.
“Fine,” Tom said after a short debate in which Tom maintained his stance that movers were an unnecessary expense while I maintained that future back surgery down the line could also be seen as an unnecessary expense.
“Then we have to use Chinese Mover,” Tom said, pulling out his phone. After a few minutes of scrolling, he showed me a photo of the above truck, which he had screen shot from his Facebook feed several years ago, “They are fast and super cheap.”
I like my people. But in general, I am skeptical about the quality of their work.
Tom shrugged, “They were two hours late last time because they stopped for dumplings. But they didn’t break any of my stuff and were done in less than two hours.”
Because of my inexperience, I was confident I could find a reasonable quote from a company with good reviews, prompt, timely service and all the right equipment. A lot of my friends either moved themselves and vowed they’d never do it again, or used movers that ended up breaking all their stuff. Ikea furniture are like delicate flowers.
“Lemme look around,” I told Tom.
“Suit yourself,” he said, “You won’t get a cheaper quote than Chinese Mover.”
I called up FlatRate movers, Brooklyn Movers, Russian movers and a whole bunch of other movers – some with fancy websites, automated request forms and friendly sounding young women on the other line to ask me if I would please hold and if I would verify how many items I would have.
“Very many items,” I usually said.
I even called some not so fancy places with gruffer sounding people named Ivan or Paolo, but the result was always the same. I could not get a single quote for under $1000.
I began to think that moving ourselves might not be a bad idea, but I flashed back to when I first arrived in New York and four of my boxes were delivered and left on the first floor. I nearly cried, thinking I had to carry them upstairs. Thank God for friends named Grace and Charlene, otherwise I might have just camped out under the first floor stairs. And that was just four boxes. Two years later, I had done the typical consumerist thing and amassed a whole ton of crap I didn’t really need but wasn’t ready to part with. It was looking like I would have closer to twenty boxes, not counting bags of clothes, shoes and random house and furniture items that didn’t fit into boxes.
I called Chinese mover.
A guy named Andy picked up and sounded, as expected, very Chinese.
“What day? What time?” he barked.
I switched to Mandarin, thinking he’d be a little friendlier, but he was even more impatient. I heard a clanking and some angry Cantonese in the background, though they were probably just talking about dumplings.
“I’m moving someone now,” he said, “email me what you want to move and I’ll tell you the price.”
His email was firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotmail. Just like my grandma.
Andy emailed me a few hours later from his Verizon Samsung Galaxy:
“okay, $550. thanks.”
They were scheduled to come around 2PM on Saturday, and at 12PM I called to confirm that they were still coming.
“We’ll be there,” he said, “But probably not at 2.”
“Maybe a little earlier. Maybe a little later.”
“How Zen master of him,” Tom said.
They didn’t arrive until four pm.
But what can you expect from a moving company that’s 1/3 the price of other movers? And honestly, it didn’t even matter that they were late, considering we had allotted the entire day to the move. They showed up first at my place, where I embarrassedly stood in front of my mountain of stuff.
“Do I have a lot of stuff compared to other people?” I asked.
“You don’t have a lot, you don’t have a little,” the man said in Chinese, wiping his brow, “But you don’t have an elevator.”
It was 85 degrees, humid, and the men climbed up and down five flights of stairs with phenomenal speed and efficiency, dripping sweat onto my floors and not ever, not even with a grimace or a whiny word, complained about their not being an elevator. I lived there for two years and complained about it every day. They didn’t grin, but they most certainly bore it all – all twenty five or so boxes, three heavy suitcases, two tables, two bookshelves, one AC unit, and one outrageous Ikea dresser – maneuvered it all down narrow stairs with narrow turns and didn’t even want a glass of water. Later we found out it was because they didn’t drink tap water, even though I told them the tap water in New York is fine, much better quality than in China.
“No, no, thanks.”
But beer was fine. We offered them beers at Tom’s apartment, and more beers at our new apartment, and finally, when they were finished, we got them fancy bottles of Smart Water and a case of Sam Adams.
“Thanks,” the men said, looking only slightly more exhausted than Tom and I were. We paid them in cash, tipped them generously – I hope they thought so too – and saw them off down Ninth Ave before heading back up to our new apartment, where we were met with this:
|Not pictured: a LOT of other stuff.|
Their work was done and ours was just beginning.
I looked forlornly at the mountain of stuff. I complained about being tired and hungry. And then I remembered that I didn’t really do anything. I imagined how the Chinese Movers must have felt, nursing sore muscles in the truck. We were the second party they’d moved that day. The first one was much bigger, and in Brooklyn.
“$550,” I said, shaking my head, “I wouldn’t have done it if you paid me triple that.”
Tom leaned against the wall, shuddering probably, knowing that he had foolishly thought he could move all this himself.
“Thank God for Chinese Mover,” I said. Tom agreed. We were definitely going to use them again.