Monday, February 22, 2016

Marty beats parking technology

Technology is supposed to help, and generally it does. But while it did inadvertently help me this past Saturday morning, it did its boss no favors.

I spent most of last week at a trade show and was trying to get out of the parking structure at my hotel a little before 6 on Saturday morning. There was no attendant, but I had the pasteboard ticket a machine had issued to me on Wednesday when I parked. The rate was $22 per day so I had $66 ready, and there was a self pay mechanism at the exit. So I slid the ticket into the machine. It's almost immediately spit back out at me, like when a Coke machine won't take your single, and a shrill mechanical voice says, "This card is unreadable."

Heck, what do I do? I check to see that there are no creases or blemishes on the card and try it again. "This card is unreadable", I am then again told. Shoot, what to do now?

I see a button on the touch screen which instructs me to push for help. So I push it; several minutes pass, but no response. I push it once more. Another several minutes, and still no one responds to me.

I really wanted to get going. It was the last day of the show and I wanted to park as close as possible to the convention center so I could leave as quickly as possible when it ended. But after a third attempt at hailing some actual human being to come help me I was ready to bust through the gate.

Then I saw a button which said, lost ticket. It'll probably cost me an arm and a leg I thought, but figured I could fight that battle later. I simply wanted to leave. So I press it.

After a series of gentle humming and hawing the screen says: Total $33 dollars. So I take two twenties and feed them into the bill slot; the machine spews seven bucks back at me and the gate opens. I'm on my merry way, finally. But my question is, do I contact the garage company to tell them their own technology and lack of customer service cost them thirty three dollars, or just figure I'm up on them and it's their own damn fault?

Yep, I'm leaning towards the latter. What would you do?

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