Causing A Spot Of Bother

, , , , | Right | January 7, 2019

(I work in the parking and transportation office of a major university. Among other things, we handle decal issuing and parking violations. As you might imagine, we have a number of angry people come in. This one is unique.)

Customer: “I’d like to make a report.”

Me: “Okay, I can help you with that. What seems to be the problem?”

Customer: “A student stole my parking spot!”

Me: “Ah, someone parked in your reserved spot? We monitor those lots, and anyone who shouldn’t be there will be ticketed or towed.”

Customer: “No, I don’t have a reserved spot, but I have a decal! I’m supposed to be able to park in the deck! But that student came in there! I had nowhere to park!”

Me: “If the student had a parking pass for the deck, they’re permitted to park there. Unfortunately, the deck does get full…”

Customer: “But she stole my spot! Aren’t you going to do something about it? Tow her car!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but I’m a little confused. If you don’t have a reserved spot, you must take any available space in the deck, and anyone with a valid decal may park there.”

Customer: “No! Are you stupid? She stole. My. Spot!”

Me: *it dawns on me* “Are you saying she took a spot you were trying to park in?”

Customer: “Yes! I saw an open spot and I put my blinker on to claim it, but she just went ahead and parked in it! Then she gave me sass. I demand you tow her car! Here’s her license number.” *shoves a piece of paper at me*

Me: “Ma’am, I’m truly sorry that happened to you, but as long as her car has a valid decal, she’s permitted to park there. Parking can be competit—“

Customer: “Nasty freeloading students, they don’t pay for anything or respect anyone! I bet she doesn’t have a decal. There’s her license! Look her up. You can charge her a fine and she’ll learn her lesson.”

Me: *deciding to humor her* “I will run the number to see if I have her in the system, all right? But I assure you, we regularly monitor all campus parking to be sure—“

Customer: “Just get her out of that spot! I need a place to park!”

Me: *after running the license* “Yes, ma’am, that car has a valid decal. I’m afraid there’s not much more we can transdo—“

Customer:What?! That’s it? Just because she’s got your stupid decal, she gets away with it?! I demand you revoke her parking pass! Tow her car! That stupid b**** has to pay!”

Me: “Ma’am, again, there’s nothing we can do. We can’t ticket or tow a car that’s got the correct decal for the parking zone it’s in—“

Customer: “But she stole my spot!

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but imagine if you purchased a decal and your car still got ticketed or towed. All we can verify is that the decal is up to date—“

Customer: “Are you calling me a liar? She stole my spot! I claimed it as soon as I saw it and she just pulled into it!”

Me: “Ma’am, I believe you, but as I said, we can’t tow a car that has the right to be there—“

Customer: “You are useless! Fine! I guess I have nowhere to park!”

Me: *thinking she must have found a place if she’s standing in front of me* “Sorry about that, ma’am, I hope your day gets better—“

Customer: “F*** you!”

(She stormed out. I’m still baffled she would think that we can tow or ticket a validly-parked car based on her account of someone “stealing” a spot.)

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