Friday, February 6, 2009

Towed!

I stopped by Mike's Beer Barn last night around 9:30 to return a tap & get my deposit money back. I parked in a spot right off the street next to the Beer Barn. I saw a tow-away sign, but it looked like it was for an adjacent lot. Maybe you can see what I mean if you go to a street view on Google maps & search for 308 N Copeland St, 32304. Look East. Move up the road to 316 N Copeland. I was parked where the red car is in the street view. There was a white van 2 or 3 spaces over from me. I guess I knew there was a risk of towing, but my probability estimator put it at under 1% since I was going to make such a short trip.

I got out of my car (mind you, I didn't see any tow trucks), walked into the Beer Barn, waited for a customer to get his change, set the tap down, showed my receipt, took the cash, and walked back out the door. Upon rounding the corner, I saw a tow truck by my car! Then I realized it was attached!!! I hauled ass up to my (now moving) car. I got my keys out of my pocket, unlocked the passenger door as the car's going down the road, opened the door and jumped inside. My heart was racing and I couldn't think straight. I was definitely shaken up. Maybe I should have turned on the car and driven off. It's the kind of tow truck that just hooks your wheels then goes...not the kind that winches you up on to a flat bed. Instead, I opened my driver door and hollered. The driver's face was priceless when he looked back at me. He said I had to pay a $44 "drop fee." Well, I was flustered and didn't see any alternatives so I paid him with the $40 that I had just got from returning the tap and another $5 from my wallet. I was left with $1 in my wallet. Good thing it wasn't a $50 fee.

I told the driver that the white van had been there when I pulled up, so why wasn't he towed first? Turns out that he's the owner of the property. Bollocks. Anyway, I was pretty upset and wanted to see if I could make Professional Parking refund me my money. I checked the city of Tallahassee ordinances and found that it's possible for the owner of the property to have a contract where the towing company does NOT need to be called in order to tow someone. I called the police and asked about requirements for signage (for instance, it's the law that handicap spots have to be lined in blue and have a sign 5'6" off the ground stating that it's a handicap spot). Turns out that signage requirements are nearly nonexistent on private property. So, I had the idea that I must have been parked on some sort of easement right off the road. I looked at the property appraiser's website and found out that there is no easement on that property.

I was going to kind of prank call Professional Parking and say that I had someone parked in my yard and could they come tow it? Catch being that "my yard" would be on the opposite side of town, making them drive all the way out there for nothing. You know, I just want to get back at them somehow. Turns out that they don't accept calls from blocked numbers. Is it legal to let air out of the tow truck's tires? What about dropping a bunch of cinder blocks in the entrance to their impound? Or, I'd really love to hide in a monster truck after parking it illegally...then wait to be put in the impound and drive through the fence!
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