Dire Straits on the Psychoanalyst’s Couch
JS: In dire straits, Doc.
Dr. VH: Wow – went on tour? Didn’t even know you played guitar, Sciulli! So, is it true? Are you getting your money for nothing and your chicks for free?
JS: Since seventh grade, Doc. Playing the guitar, that is. But I wasn’t referring to the British band that sang “I want my MTV!” It’s my attitude that’s in dire straits.
Dr. VH: Oh, the dire straits of attitudinal negativity and frustration, compounded by moodiness, hopelessness and an inability to be consoled. In psychologist-speak, “bummer!” Why so down?
JS: The present and the future of parking. I’m not happy with
Dr. VH: A lot of people aren’t happy with Outlook, Joe! I tell them to switch to Apple instead. Ha! A little tech humor! OK, moving on now, let me see, hmmm … You sense things in parking are changing; there’s a parting from the old ways, a brave new world coming, that sort of thing, right?
JS: Right-on! People think technology can solve everything. It’s a rush to the future with not much appreciation for the past.
Dr. VH: And you don’t like that forecast?
JS: Nope, it’s mostly cloudy with a good chance for some mistakes. You’re a smart man, Doc. Help me deal.
Dr. VH: Well, Joe, you look around and what do you see? Universities and cities leasing their parking assets for decades to come. People thinking privatization will solve all their problems. And I’ve got another one for you, Joe: this “directed enforcement” thing. Some cities want to use that sensor technology to shoot fish in a barrel – I mean, send their officers to high-violation areas and write lots of tickets for lots of money – when they really should be making sure the parking regulations in those areas are right in the first place. And you say to yourself …
JS: What a wonderful world?
Dr. VH: Wrong, survey-breath. You say to yourself, “How’d it all change so fast? What’s being overlooked? What are we giving up by doing all these ch-ch-ch-ch-changes?” … Hey, that could be a song!
JS: It was – David Bowie, 40 years ago. But you’ve hit on it, Doc! You’re brilliant!
Dr. VH: So, Sciulli, you’ve had a catharsis?
JS: Nope, my eyes are fine.
Dr. VH: Not a cataract, you dummy – a catharsis! I’m talking about your finally realizing and coming to grips with a changing parking industry.
JS: Maybe. Back in the day, ’85 for me, it was the older, experienced folks teaching the new folks, and we were learning the old folks’ ways. Now it’s 2012, and the new folks are teaching the old folks who used to be the new folks that got schooled by the old folks but are now the older folks and we’re getting schooled all over again. Know what I mean?
Dr. VH: That has a nice, folksy feel to it, Joe. But as Freud would have said: “I haven’t got a damned clue what in the world you’re saying!” Though I do surmise your sense of an industry in transition has given you the willies.
JS: Now you’re hitting on something, Doc. Beside the arm of your couch, that is. Go on.
Dr. VH: You’re not sure if the proven principles of parking practice will pass due to the timely tech toys that promise money for nothing and do tricks for free. Sorry, here come those Dire Straits again!
JS: Bingo! For years, people in parking were saying, “We need new blood, we need new blood.” Now the new blood comes in, which was clearly evident at the IPI trade show in Phoenix back in June. And it comes with a bunch of technology, but maybe not enough knowledge about or appreciation for parking basics, the tried and the true.
Dr. VH: Like parking folks who can analyze turnover and enforcement in a hurry – through a quick field survey, even? And folks who know how to deal with a customer face-to-face or solve a merchant’s parking problem the old-fashioned way, by observing their problems first-hand and coming to a compromise solution?
JS: Doc, what makes you so brilliant?
Dr. VH: Lots of experience, and I bleach my teeth every night. Joe, hopefully the new blood and the young guns are willing to learn from the parking vets. But the industry is coming to a point where new technology and experience need to meet and hold hands.
JS: Like we’re at an intersection where the Tech Highway needs to make an on-ramp for Experience Boulevard.
Dr. VH: I think that’s near LAX on the San Diego Freeway, but you’re pretty much right, my friend.
JS: Wow, Doc, you’ve helped me come to grips with the new blood.
Dr. VH: Joe, when you’re from LA, you know all about the grips and the bloods – or is it the Crips and the Bloods? I always confuse those neighborhood associations.
JS: So we’re done for today?
Dr. VH: Nope, you’ve got 10 minutes left. Wanna catch some MTV?
JS: Nah, I’d rather see VH1. They’re doing “I love the ’80s.”
Dr. VH: Hmmm. How ‘bout we schedule another session instead, OK?
When he’s off his meds, Joe Sciulli can be found at Chance Management Advisors. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.