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2011-04-26 23:16:14 (UTC)

Car park rage

Well, that was interesting. We've just had a heart rate boosting, worktime wasting hour or so, and hopefully learned a lesson along the way.

At our office we pay rent for our car parking spaces; one is sub-let, for a fee, to a consultant who also shares our office space. We shall call him Steve.

Steve often comes in later than the rest of us and sometimes finds, in his space, an unknown vehicle. The routine is that Steve parks behind the offending vehicle, blocking them in, and a polite note is placed note on the windscreen ask then the owner not to park in this spot. Offenders usually move their vehicles fairly smartly, either driving across the berm and path onto the road or, if they value their vehicle, contact us with apologies. Our car parks are marked 'Towaway' so there has never been an argument, until today.

We are currently having our office building re-painted so half the car parking spaces have been removed to allow the workmen access. This is inconvenient but necessary as our facade is looking a little tired. Fortunately our parks are unaffected as we are roadside.

This morning, on Steve's arrival, a shiny BMW was parked in his spot. We followed the normal procedure and the next thing we know, is when one of our staff passes me a post-it note with the owner’s (Ann) number on it. I was on the verge on phoning her when I was informed I had to un-set-up the powerpoint presentation I have been organising (annother annoying rant for another day) so I passed the details to Hayley, our young receptionist and asked her to make the call. I overheard only part of the ensuing conversation, but could tell it was going badly, even though Hayley remained polite, with a smile in her voice. By the end of the call Hayley was pink in the face, shaking and trying not appear too upset. The ignorant woman had apparently ripped in to her saying that she didn’t have anywhere else to park and as no one was using the park when she arrived she couldn’t see why she couldn’t use it, and we should be more flexible. When Hayley explained that we rented out the parking space and that someone way paying to use it she repeated that we should be more flexible and that she would let us know when she wanted to move and that she had no intention of moving just because we wanted her to.

This sounded as if it could spiral out of control very easily. An aggressive female staff member was all for calling a truck and getting the vehicle towed but I don't think that meeting agression with agression is a good way to go. Often it is me who has to try to smooth out the office hiccups, but luckily our Office Manager appeared and after listening to Hayley's story she decided she would phone and repeat the request. More words were exchanged and I could hear the OM repeating herself in various forms to try to get the message across: just because you have lost something doesn't mean you can take someone elses. Eventually Ann agreed to move although she said she had a client to see first. By now both Hayley and the OM were shaking and my adrenaline was high too. the OM was on the phone when the call came through say the car could be moved if we would let her out. Being human, this was our OM's turn to make her wait. She must have spent about 10 minutes downstairs before she came upstair and flew into our office in a rage, demanding that she see the Office Manager, who had conveniently been on the phone up till that point. The car keys were located and the OM went downstairs to move the car, accompanied by a barrage of abuse about why we were being unfair. The OM was staunch and kept to her view that even though there were few places to park, it was unfair to take something that another person had to pay for. Unapologetic Ann drove away leaving the OM's to park our vehicle and allow her blood pressure to return to normal.

It is easy to see how these things can turn really nasty.