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You Can Tow Someone To A Sign, But You Can’t Make Them Read

, , , , | Right | December 1, 2021

I worked at a very small grocery store (four aisles) to help pay for grad school. I was the manager of the restocking shift.

My job consisted of preparing the space for the delivery truck to arrive by asking people to move their cars or having them towed if they blocked access. I would then remain onsite until the truck arrived at any time from 8:00 pm to 2:00 am. Once it arrived, I would text the rest of the shift members to come in and we would restock shelves.

The signs in our parking lot clearly stated that the driver had to remain on the property with their vehicle or risk a tow. Still, many people would miss this. I became very used to dealing with upset people whose cars I had gotten towed.

One shift was on a holiday, so the store had closed early and I was the only employee present. All other stores on the property were also closed. A single car was parked in a spot directly in the way of the truck access and directly in front of a parking sign. I had to have it towed.

About an hour after the towing, I came out to the parking lot to do one of the various small things I had to do to prep and found a group of teenagers standing in the spot. I approached and asked if they were the owners of the car. One girl stepped up and said yes. 

Me: “I’m afraid that your car had to be towed because it was blocking access to the property for the delivery truck. You weren’t on the property with the vehicle, as required by our parking policy.”

Driver: “I was just visiting my brother.”

She gestured to an apartment complex across the street.

Me: “I’m afraid that the sign clearly states that you have to remain on the property with the vehicle.”

She was upset but seemed to accept it. I returned to the interior of the store. I left the rolling door for the back storage room up – a mistake – as I’d have to go back out soon to make sure no one moved the traffic cones blocking spots and parked to block access. About forty minutes later, I heard this.

Voice: “HELLO? IS ANYONE HERE?”

I came out to find the girl and her mother standing in the middle of our storage room. I informed them that they were trespassing and directed them out into the alley behind the store.

Mom: “Are you the one that had my daughter’s car towed?”

Me: “Yes. I–”

Mom: “That’s ILLEGAL! You can only have a car towed during store hours!”

Me: “Actually, our parking agreement, as stated on the signs, does not specify any time, only the location of the driver. This is becau–”

Mom: “YOU SPECIFICALLY TARGETED MY DAUGHTER! YOU WATCHED THEM PARK AND THEN IMMEDIATELY HAD THEM TOWED!”

Me: “Actually, I first found the car at 6:15. I left a note on the window and checked in over the course of the next hour before I called the truck. I’m required to clear that space by 8:00 pm as we don’t know when the truck will arrive.”

Mom: “SHE WAS JUST ACROSS THE STREET!”

Me: “Which isn’t part of this property, putting her in violation.”

The next twenty-five minutes or so involved a phone call with the store owner and the mom repeatedly lying about what the signs said. After the fourth time I corrected the mom about the signs, her daughter went to go read them and tried to tell her mom. Her mom covered the receiver and told her to shut up. When the mom lied a fifth time, I again corrected her.

Driver: “Stop it! I already told her!”

Me: “If she wants me to stop correcting her, she is free to stop lying.”

In the end, she got nothing new from the owner. I got a lot of threats; at one point, the brother walked by later and said that he would beat me up because the truck hadn’t shown up yet, so I was clearly lying. It showed up as he was talking. The mom threatened to take me to court if I didn’t pay for the tow. I didn’t pay. She didn’t sue. Shortly after this, I quit. The little bit I was saving on student loans wasn’t worth that.