Went to a class downtown held by SBA this morning; my gps defaulted to West Peachtree instead of Peachtree NE so I lost a few minutes, and was running late. (I’ll tell you about the class in another post – it was for 8(a) certification.) Rather than driving around Ralph Abernathy, Peachtree Center, and Peachtree seeking a rare open parking space, I pulled into Eagle Parking Lot. All I could see was $8 in bold black for daily parking. I asked the attendant was that a flat price…he looked a little confused. I clarified that I “thought” I only needed two hours. Two hours would be $5 he volunteered. Geeze, a breakthrough. He waved me to park near the front, and I duly offered up my credit card to the automated pay machine, punched in my 336 lot number, punched 2 for the hours needed, and retrieved the thin white ticket which spat out.
I returned to Eagle about fifteen minutes after the two hours lapse. Something red and colorful was attached to both tires on the driver side…what!? I had seen the attendant when I approached the lot, but he mysteriously disappeared. A big black car stopped near me and asked me about the price and parking location. Did I look like the attendant? He eventually mentioned that the attendant was in a car at the end of the lot. I wandered around to the back; all the cars were unoccupied save one with tinted windows that was pulling out of the space. Was that the attendant man hiding from me? I knocked on the window and he braked, rolled down the window.
“There’s a boot on my car.” Silence.
“How do I get the boot off my car? How do I pay for the extra fifteen minutes I used?” Silence. “Do I give the money to you, or have to go to the machine again? How does the boot get removed from my car?” Silence. I’m getting really exasperated by this time. He finally dials a number on his phone and talks to “Mike.” He offers, “Mike will be here in a few minutes.”
“And? How do I pay for the extra minutes?”
“Talk to Mike,” and he gave me a royal nod to go back from whence I came. In retrospect I now know that he was trying to avoid confrontation. When I got to my car, “Mike” was there in a small truck. I leaned down and instantly got suspicious when he pointed a camera on the dash toward my face. What?!
“It’s $75 to get the boot off your car.” After a few well articulated phrases, whinging, getting a little loud, enlisting the help of others at the automated machine, more questions, I came to the conclusion there would be no reasoning with Mike. Mike repeated with a little resignation it seemed, “It’s $75 to get the boot off your car. And $75 each day until it’s paid.” Now I’m silent. I look at him, the man from the big black car, the ladies at the automated machine. I still have no words. I sigh and hand over my brand new debit card for my company Elite Care LLC. I was downtown for company business so I’m charging the company. Somehow I felt a little better but then remembered that the company funding came from me. I’m going to call the city and complain.
9/26 Update: After gooogling boot complaints in Atlanta, found many complaints for the boot company EPS. I reported this incident to Dot.gov/atlanta and received a case number. Anxious to see what type of response I’ll get.