Today I was chatting with a doorman I’ve known for many years. He wanted to know whether I knew anything about a particular walker whom he had met earlier in the day. He described the guy, but he did not sound familiar to me. Anyway, the walker had come in to introduce himself and drop off a few business cards. That’s certainly no big deal. There’s more, however. This walker offered the doorman $100 for each new regular client referred by him. I asked the doorman whether that sort of thing happens a lot. He said, ‘Sure’. He said that new walkers especially try that sort of thing all the time, or else they will offer to ‘buy lunch sometime or something like that’. This seems really wrong to me. Am I alone here, or do you see the problem as well?
Presumably, your doorman is in it for the long haul. These guys stay at their posts for many, many years in most cases. Often times they become extended family to the tenants, and as such, quite trusted. When a tenant asks his doorman to recommend a reliable dog walker, I’m pretty sure the tenant hopes his doorman’s assessment is based on at least a positive gut response to someone, and at most first hand observation of a person doing a great job day after day, always showing up on time, and treating the pups in their care well and with kindness. They are recommending a person who will have access to the tenant’s home when they are not there, a person who will be trusted to take care of a beloved family member. The idea that a position of honor such as that (I have always referred to dog walking as an ‘honor system’ job) would be given to someone in exchange for a kickback makes no sense to me. I hope your doorman is above taking money in exchange for his favor. I hope your doorman sees the value in real trust and meaningful long term relationships. I hope your dog walker was recommended to you for having done a great job, or at very least, for having made a great impression.