Their Gate Is Sealed

| Working | February 18, 2016

(I work in the local shopping centre, which has just updated its parking ticketing system among other renovations. Now staff members are required to have permanent plastic cards, as opposed to prepaid cards, although we’re supposed to be able to use the last of our prepaid cards during the crossover period. Entering the car park at peak hour, I find my prepaid card isn’t accepted, and I don’t have my regular card yet. I press the help button.)

Operator: “Hello?”

Me: “The machine isn’t accepting my prepaid card for the staff car park. Can you please open the gate, and I can give you my card upstairs at the kiosk? I’m on my way to work, and there’s a line of cars behind me.”

Operator: “No. You need to have your staff card. Go to the customer car park today.”

Me: “Look, even if I wanted to pay triple the amount for the a day of car parking, I can’t. There’s a line of cars behind me. Can you please raise the gate, and I’ll come pay you in a moment? I can give you my details now, if you want.”

Operator: “I’m not raising the gate. Go to another car park.” *hangs up*

(I try to reverse, and so does the car behind me. By this time, the queue is all the way to the end of the street, and no one can move.)

Me: *pressing the help button*

Operator: “Hello?”

Me: “Look, do you have a camera on this street? The line is all the way up to the lights. I can’t move. Please raise the gate, and I’ll come in to pay. I can’t leave the car park without a valid paid ticket anyway!”

Operator: “I’m not raising the gate. In fact, I’m sending down security.”

Me: “Good! Send down security!”

(A number of other people in the line try to give me their cards to use. None of them raise the gate. When security arrives, I explain to them what’s happened, and they ask the operator over the radio to raise the gate. They tell me she’s being an ‘idiot,’ and apologise that they can’t manually raise it. I press the help button a few times to get the operator back.)

Operator: “Hello?”

Me: “Hi, it’s me—”

Operator: *hangs up*

(By this time the line of cars has queued across the intersection, causing a road block on one of the three main roads feeding into the city centre. The security guards are still no help, so I have to manoeuvre my car to mount the curbs and obstructions to go around the gate, into the car park, scraping all down the underside of my car. Later I file a complaint at the concierge desk, and am met by the east coast manager for the car park company that operates in this shopping centre, who is here for the day to oversee renovations.)

Manager: “I’m so sorry about that. What can we do to make this better?

Me: “I want an apology, I guess, and I want her disciplined, and taught to speak to customers rather than just hang up because she can.”

(The concierge desk staff member quietly interjects that the staff member has been hanging up on a lot of customers lately, and that she’s already had a complaint today.)

Manager: *silkily* “This staff member and I will be having a meeting one on one this afternoon. Here are a stack of vouchers for the shopping centre. Here are my personal details, so you can tell me how much it costs to fix the car.”

(That evening, as directed by the manager, I ask a different operator over the intercom to raise the gate as I have no validated ticket from proper entry. I explain the situation, and as directed, name their manager.)

Operator: “Uh, who? Yeah, I’m not raising the gate.”

(I hear someone ask in the background what was going on. The guy quietly tells him, and mentions the name that I quoted.)

Me: “Hello? I can give you his details if you want-”

(The gate opened, without another word from the operators.)

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