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Lost Parking Tickets - "We're Sorry, Sir, But You Must Pay For 24 Hours"


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The parking issue at Pentagon City has been resolved. Most of the occupied spaces are now available.

A large portion of the parking lot at Pentagon City is closed for construction again.

Nice coincidence - two days ago, I parked in that garage for the first time in what must be several years. I had these huge plans for a new thread when I drove away, but forgot all about it; your posts jogged my memory, so here goes:

I stopped into Best Buy, and in the process, dropped my parking ticket. On the way out, I realized it was gone, and flashes of, "I'm sorry, but lost tickets have to pay for 24 hours" flashed through my noggin like zaps of lightning." I told the attendant ...

(Serious question about a different topic: Why are so many parking lot attendants Ethiopian? This is not a racial thing; it's an observation - maybe it's just one, gigantic company that's Ethiopian-owned, I don't know, but an amazing percentage of parking lot attendants seem to be of Ethiopian heritage. Please do not take this as anything other than an observation - it's merely something I've noticed, and have always been curious about (it's an unusual job staffed by an unusual ethnicity, and I'm simply curious), but I always forget about it shortly after driving away - we now return you to our regularly scheduled rant ...)

I told the attendant, and sure enough, I got the standard-issue, "I'm sorry, but lost tickets have to pay for 24 hours spiel." I told him I was going to go retrace my steps, and the poor car in back of me had to back up, doing some crazy maneuver in the process. I went up into the parking garage, parked very close to where I had been, retraced my steps, found a ticket on the ground stamped five-hours before (better than nothing, but I was in there no longer than thirty minutes), and retraced my exact steps into Best Buy, even running into the same surly salesperson. I asked if she had seen any parking tickets, and right when I asked, I looked down, and mother of God, there it was on the floor! I had been saved, which is more than I can say for the poor person who dropped their ticket five hours before.

I drove back down to the attendant, paid my *two dollars* for having parked about 50 minutes, handed him the other ticket I found, and said, "You know, not everyone who drops a ticket is lying," as he literally cowered behind the glass sliding door - I guess these folks have to put up with some pretty irate customers. I was not one of them, but I was firm in making my point - I wished him a good day, thanked him (why don't they ever thank me back?), and went on my way, resolved to begin a thread about lost parking tickets before forgetting after opening my Brand! New! Chromebook!

But here I am, and my point is that in this digital age, there should *be no all-day penalty* for lost parking tickets. If I had committed a crime, there would have been *no* trouble quickly figuring out when and where my car entered the parking lot, and that same technology can easily be reshaped to help consumers with lost parking tickets; yet, it isn't.

Why isn't it?

Because, minor expense aside in setting up a system, I suspect that these parking companies (is PMI the one with the green-and-white signs?) make a *fortune* from lost parking tickets. I'd love to see some statistics from such a thing - certainly, I've had several instances where I had to pay $15-20 for a lost ticket; others, where a kindly manager believed me and entered an override ticket to let me exit only having to pay for 2-3 hours. Still too much, but fair enough - it's these doggone "take your ticket inside and get it stamped *there* policies" that are responsible for the majority of lost parking tickets - I always used to leave mine in the car unless a merchant stamped it for you (something that's becoming more-and-more rare these days. Willow, I want to say "Thank you" for always stamping my parking tickets - in this day-and-age, it's a class act.)

If someone can furnish information that can show that parking companies are unable to implement digital recreations of when and where cars enter the parking lot (which should be fairly easy, given that the drivers would have a pretty good idea about the time and location), my ire would be quelled, but I don't think anyone is going to be able to produce this - I believe these parking companies are fully capable of using this technology as a consumer benefit, but choose not to.


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