Wednesday, April 18, 2007

a return to the ridiculous

The Parking Authority at work has successfully bamboozled me once again. Well done, Parking Authority! You win, I bow to your greater creativity.

Did I ever tell you about how I was on a waiting list for a year and a half before even receiving a parking spot (during which time I paid $10/day to park in the visitors' lot - when I was able to snag a spot there, that is)? Well, that's another story for another day. (And the visitors' lot is now $15.00/day.)

I pay a ridiculous amount to park at work and I pay full rate even though I work 3 days a week. It's like paying to park downtown without any of the nasty distractions of downtown, such as restaurants or coffee shops or stores. Woohoo!

When I first got a parking spot, I was required to cut Parking a cheque three times a year, which I did by crossing the street to the parking office and paying in person. Then I was notified that in future, my credit card would automatically be billed three times a year. Fine.

And then I started to receive invoices for parking, and when I phoned to find out what that was all about, was told that for some reason "the system" automatically sends out invoices monthly, and to ignore them. Okay. That seems like a remarkably inventive use of funds, considering there are several thousand people who park on this campus.

So I ignored the next several monthly invoices, and it wasn't until about 8 months later that I realized that my credit card statement had not contained any parking charges in a long time. And that's when I noticed the note on the bottom of the invoice, stating that credit cards were no longer being charged.

Eventually, after another couple of months (during which time I had saved up enough to pay said ridiculous parking fee), I once again walked over to the parking office to pay, and was told that the office now only issued parking passes and that payment was made at a different campus.

So I mailed the bastards a cheque. And promptly received another invoice, for the same amount, but with the current year on it this time, instead of 2006 as the previous ones were dated.

I assumed that I was now being billed for next year's parking, but perhaps they just updated their invoices and hadn't actually received my cheque. There was a helpful note on the invoice, inviting me to call a particular number "in case of inquiries". Which I did. Only to be told that I had reached the phone number for the permit issuing office and that they did not deal with payments there. I asked for the phone number for the payment office and was told that they did not have a phone number! What????

So I guess I will wait for a while and accumulate more invoices for my collection while I wait to make sure that my cheque has been cashed. I figure a year or so will be sufficient time.

Do you have awe-inspiring parking lot horror stories or bureaucracy gone crazy stories (or both)? Ones that make you want to slam your head repeatedly against the table? I'd love to hear them. I can't be the only one who thinks the system is fucked.

Jarvis feels my pain:


Joe said...

It sounds like Franz Kafka wrote up their parking policy.

phlegmfatale said...

OMG - that parking situation is totally intercoursed-up. Sorry you have to deal with that. Sheesh. I mean, it's not like you're trying to park your chariot at the heart of Tokyo or or London, is it? What an ordeal!

hilary m. said...

It's this kind of stuff that makes me want to ride a bicycle everywhere.

btw., did you get an email from the Folk Fest about orientation dates for volunteers? I'm glad that I'll be able to make it to one of them, I'm going on the one closest to today.

Todd said...

That story makes me glad I don't drive anywhere - Check one more point for public transportation.

Here's hoping those parking people get their act together soon!

Anonymous said...

Hahah, that is so Terry Gilliam!

I'd love it if it were fictional and/or I wrote about it for film class!

Anonymous said...

I think that picture of the cars is great! I assure you, Barbara, that as soon as I finish the teleportation device I am working on, you will receive one of the first ones off the production line and then this nightmare will be over.

Allison said...

I'm so glad I walk everywhere. I don't have any parking nightmare stories, However, I will have to deal with parking this summer, and a commute, maybe we can share stories then ;)

Why can't life be like it is on the Jetons? Sigh.

Toccata said...

No phone number!? That post was hilarious.

Don't have a car so I'm saved from that kind of hassle. The only story I have is when I first moved here I locked my bike at the Y along with another 50 or so bikes and when I came out I found the police there and all these irate cyclists because all the bikes had been stolen. All but two. Mine was one of the two. I was rather insulted.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I believe Franz Kafka collaborated with Monty Python on the parking policy, Bubs.

It just get more and more entertaining all the time, Phlegmfatale. I can't even get mad, it's so ridiculous. But I can blog about it.

I'd love to live close enough to work to ride my bike, Hilary. Sigh.
I did indeed get an email from the Folk Fest. I am tryng to go to the first orientation as well, but not 100% sure I can make it to that one yet. If so, I'll be sure to look for you!

Thanks Todd, although it's starting to sound like a better and better idea to geta job closer to home. All the stars are aligning.

You could do a remake of Brazil, Eva, and set it in the university. Hey, that would work remarkably well!

That picture of the cars? That wasn't my fault, Fearless.
I eagerly await your teleportation device, since the Jetsons have never followed through on their promise of personal jetpacks.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

How strange, Al, we were both posting about the Jetsons around the same time! I blame them for all my dashed expectations.
You should have a very interesting commute this summer. I'm sure there will be ample notes to compare.

hahaha that's too funny, but more than a little insulting, Toccata! Although the thieves could likely sense that the owner of that bike had powers and they didn't want to mess with her.

justacoolcat said...

The last place I worked had free parking listed in it's benefits package. It was funny because they were located way out in the burbs.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hey you gotta sell yourself whenever possible, Just A. Sometimes that involves stating the painfully obvious. See, someone like me would have scooped that job up in no time flat.

Evelyne said...

Sorry Barb, but this story is hilarious, no phone number, what? Even in my hometown, which is so small and in the middle of nowhere (almost) they have the phone! I just walk or take the bus everywhere I go. But I hate bureaucracy, I requested a change in my major more than one month ago and the change hasn't been made yet, they told me it would take 1 or 2 weeks, at least they have a phone number and I guess that I could call.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I know,Evelyne, it's like they are a secret organization or something and you have to know handshake to get in. It is pretty hilarious.

It seems that universaries are among the worst places for overblown bureaucracy.

mellowlee said...

I second what Todd says. I am thankful for once that I take public transit! Yeeesh

Jas B said...

Barb, a personnel from Min Dang Nguyen's (the young prof who got Chris Power's lab space)had a parking horror story to tell as well. His car was towed away from the McMahon parking lot on complaint by the Univ parking authority that he had a stolen parking pass displayed on his car. And the security and parking guys were so rude to him when he told them that he had a letter from them assigning him the parking passes. It was such an ordeal from him and later they apologised to him for messing everything up. I actually wanted him to sue the Univ parking authority for mental distress and agony...

Allison said...

That is rather odd, a double Jetsons post, great minds!

You are very right though, they did not follow through with the personal jetpacks. Buggers. Actually, at this point I'd be okay with movable sidewalks, although I do like walking, just think of how fast you could get places. One day.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

There sure can be benefits to public transport, Mel. I'd take it myself if I didn't live a zillion miles from work, have to drop my kidlet at school, and have to take 2 buses and a train to get there. Oh yeah, and if there wasn't a transit strike looming.

Wait, what, Jas? They assigned him a parking pass that they had listed as stolen? Oh this just gets better and better. I'd really like to hear the whole story on this someday.

I'm not sold on the moveable sidewalks, Al. The ones they have at the airport are pretty damned slow, and if you get really speedy ones, wouldn't you fall over? There are some bugs to be worked out, for sure. Like those pathetic Segways - HA what's with those?

Will said...

Your parking nightmare stories put all other parking nightmare stories to shame. I'm gonna get my bike fixed up.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Will, my bike is all set to go, but I'm pretty sure the 30 kms one way would kill me pretty quickly.