Category Archives: Tales of a Parking Attendant

Sittin’ down, writin’ stuff

Tonight was an interesting night.  We are in the process of installing upgraded programs into our ticket machines, so there have been a lot of malfunctions, which results in a lot of angry customers.  “The machine ate my ticket”, “My credit card won’t work!”, “How do you pay cash?” (use a cash machine, you idiot).  I was recruited to stand at an exit area and record what machine screwed up, how, and what time.  By the end of my shift I had 3 pages worth of problems that clients were experiencing.  Basically I got paid to sit around and talk to my co-workers while I wrote down an issue once in a while.  I wonder what tomorrow will bring? More of the same thing?

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Two Interesting Things

I saw a nun wearing a habit and another nun just in white (it looked as if she didn’t bother to wear the black part that goes on top of it) paying for their parking ticket at a machine.  It was a bit surreal.

5 minutes later, I saw the guy who freaked out over a dollar.  He used cash again and got the correct change this time, so there was no crisis.

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I couldn’t use enough exclamation points to express my happiness for free money

I was back in the valet sector for work today, and it was busy! But I didn’t encounter one angry customer! It’s a Christmas miracle! Plus, to make things sweeter, I received a $2 tip from a man who didn’t want his change! $2! That’s enough to buy a few donuts at Tim Horton’s (but I won’t because I’m trying to eat healthy).  All in all, it was not a bad day, and I get my schedule for the whole month tomorrow! I can’t wait to plan things with my friends.

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Hello! Have an unreadable ticket!

I was back in the exit area today and was hoping that there wouldn’t be anyone displaying the same amount of crazy as last time.  Luckily, that did not happen.  Today there was a woman who was lost (and she didn’t get killed).  She and her friend had been driving around the parking lot compound for half an hour, being thwarted by exit signs and janitors cleaning the concrete.  So they were a bit peeved and yelling at us to open the gate.  Of course, their ticket doesn’t read properly, so they have to come into the office and wait for us to work our magic to give them a new ticket.

That doesn’t help much for them, but it doesn’t help us either when you’re yelling at us to go faster.  We get it.  You’re tired, you want to go home, you’re frustrated that you have to get out of your car to fix your ticket when you already paid.  Just don’t think that you’re better than us and you can yell and scream like our machines are powered by loud noises, because you are humans too and our machines run on electricity.  The two women got their new ticket and drove off into the rainy night.

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Guess he didn’t want his dollar after all

I worked in the valet section today.  I don’t get to drive the cars, but I get to admire rich people’s credit cards and nice vehicles and sometimes unwarranted self-importance.  Today’s angry customer was a man who was using the payment machines near by.  According to him, he inserted his ticket and had to pay $3.  Not a big deal.  So he inserted a $5 bill and only received a loonie back, but the ticket did not show his payment.  He thought this was odd, so he inserted his ticket again and put in $4 and got his $4 back because he had already paid, yet he did not realize this (probably wasn’t looking at the screen out of frustration).

After having enough of the machine beeping at him with instructions for taking his ticket because he has already paid his fee, he storms over to our counter and says, “The machine just beat me out of a dollar!” My co-worker looked at the ticket and then flipped it over with his payment showing on the opposite side, which solved one of his issues.  Our machines are pretty sensitive and go out of order if you look at them in a funny way.  However, it’s rare that he got short changed by the machine.  We thought this was odd, and before we had time to resolve the situation, he walked away with his ticket in disgust.

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And just when you thought it couldn’t get any lower…

I thought the anger of yesterday’s customer was behind me, but today a woman came in and ushered in a new kind of anger: racism and assault.  Almost every person I work with is a different race than I am, which I am 110% fine with (it freaks me out when I’m in a town with just white people because that’s not how I grew up.  It’s an inverted culture shock), but some customers think that because they’re a different race they should be outside sweeping the concrete or going back to their own country.

Today a woman drove up to the gates and wondered why they didn’t open when she drove up (you need a ticket to open the gates, the machine gives it to you when you enter the parking compound).  A Middle-Eastern co-worker (who wears a hijab) and I went out to help her exit.  She reverses her car in anger and drives up to the gate and screams, “WHY WON’T THIS FUCKING GATE OPEN? I JUST WANT TO GET THE FUCK OUT!” I only said two words during this whole incident, my co-worker handled this ticking time bomb of unprofessionalism.  My co-worker said, “Ma’am, calm down.  Do you have your ticket?” “NO, WHY THE FUCK WOULD I NEED THAT, I LOST IT.  LET ME OUT! YOU SHOULD TAKE OFF THAT STUPID TURBAN, YOU’RE IN CANADA NOW!” (Sorry about the excessive caps, but she was really screaming this stuff.  Ridiculous.)

At this point my co-worker decides not to help her, and rightfully so.  She calls the supervisor and she asks me to get the license plate number so the supervisor can give her a new ticket when he gets to the station.  As this is going on, the crazy psycho woman sits on our counter with her jean miniskirt and rainbow bikini halter top, showcasing her star tattoos and tramp stamp on her back.  Classy.  She asks, “Why can’t YOU help me?” and I say, “I’m training (with an inward giggle).” I’m about halfway reading off the plate and the woman freaks out and slaps the pen out of my co-worker’s hand.  The pen goes flying across the room and we are both shocked at the display of anger this woman just displayed.

Shortly after this, the supervisor shows up with security and the woman becomes a completely different person because she knows she can get detained.  The supervisor gives her a new ticket and off she drives into the night.  I’m not sure what my co-worker has done about the assault, and it’s her prerogative as to whether she presses charges or not.  If that was me, I would of called police first thing, but different folks different strokes.  Should I ever see the crazy woman again, I won’t serve her, or write anything down near her.  Who knows what she’ll do.

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I want 20 minutes of my life back

It’s my first day of being a parking attendant and already someone has become angry.  This man was upset because he got charged $32 for staying 3 hours and 40 minutes and  he only wanted to be charged for $28 because it took him 20 minutes to get to the exit apparently and we charge every 20 minutes.  The man’s face turned red with frustration as he told us that it was our fault that he got charged extra money for being so slow.  My co-worker and I looked at each other and we decided to refund the $5… very slowly (it is a long process anyway).  On the bright side, I got to learn how to refund cash! Halfway through the transaction the man realized how stupid he was and he calmed down and apologized.  Things moved a bit faster afterwards.

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