Consultant Addresses Deep-Seated Hostility to On-Street Parking
January, 2011Parking management consultant Joe Sciulli again provided a transcript of his latest trip to his psychiatrist. We changed the name of the doctor to protect the guilty. Editor
Joe Sciulli: Hi, Doctor Van Horn.
Dr. Van Horn: Joe, I’m glad to see you’re back. I was starting to think you might not show for your appointment. So tell me: Have we made progress with your hostility toward on-street parking?
JS: What’s with this “We,” Doc? You think I’ve got multiple personalities or something? But since you asked, “Joe” thinks he’s made a ton of progress.
Dr. VH: “Tell me about it, stud!” Ha – a little movie humor, Joe. I always was a Travolta fan. “‘Grease’ is the word,” right? But seriously: What are you doing different, Joe?
JS: I guess that’s what I get for going to a Hollywood psychiatrist. … OK, Doc, I have less on-street hostility because I avoid parking meters and curbs altogether now. Don’t park there. Don’t use ‘em. Those mayors aren’t getting my money! No chance of me getting a ticket either. Ha!
Dr. VH: Verrrrry interesting. So what do you do? Take a bus? Carpool? Walk? Ride a bike? You know, you could use the exercise. And it’s so “green.”
JS: None of the above, Sigmund. I’m completely an off-street parker now. I don’t care if I have to pull in for a minute, two minutes, or all day! It’s garages or parking lots for me!
Dr. VH: Rather expensive, isn’t it?
JS: You can say that again. Which reminds me, Doc: Can I owe you for this session?
Dr. VH: Over my dead body. … But let’s get back to talking about “you.” How are you finding these garages, Joe?
JS: Usually with a GPS, though I don’t think that’s what you meant. If you mean what do I think about them, well, some are pretty filthy, then again some are clean. But they mostly all have these gates, and these things called “ticket spitters.” Personally, how can I put it, that term leaves a bad taste in my mouth!
Dr. VH: Don’t you ever use the lanes that can take your credit card or read your license plate, Joe?
JS: Right, and let the government track my every move? I’ve heard those things are all connected to some big database. Homeland Security can monitor everything you do. They may even have a bug in this office, Doc!
Dr. VH: I can assure you, Joe, the only bug in this office is that dead moth on the windowsill.
JS: Yeah, I noticed her at my last appointment. What’s she, a relative?
Dr. VH: Yeah, a moth-er in law! Ha – a little psychiatric humor, Joe! But seriously, it does go to show that the cleaning people here aren’t any better than those in some of the garages you park in. Though I can assure you, there is no database in the sky that tracks your every move. I hear that some of those parking computers don’t even track parking revenue all that well.
JS: So I’ve heard too, Doc. Since my last visit, I’ve talked with a lot of those parking garage types. They all say the same thing. Those “PARCS,” so they call them – what’s that stand for? Parking Access and Revenue Control Systems? – well, they’re only as good as the support they get from their local equipment distributor or their service provider.
Dr. VH: I’ve heard that to be the case, Joe. I recall a firm doing a survey about that almost 10 years ago. I even published the results in a magazine I had at the time.
JS: So where’s the breakdown? Er, wait now, Doc, don’t take that the wrong way. It’s not like I’m the one having the breakdown. Is it?
Dr. VH: No, no, you’re on the ball with this one, my friend. Those parking systems, at least most of them, work fine. Now, some can be a bit byzantine, in terms of not being understandable to the mere mortals among us. But others, well, they’re what you’d even call, user-friendly.
JS: So what gives?
Dr. VH: The sad thing is, many owners of these parking garages and lots are what I would call passive-aggressive.
JS: You mean they say they’ll do something, then they don’t?
Dr. VH: Not even, Giuseppe! Too many owners don’t describe how their access and revenue control system really needs to work. On top of that, they don’t demand the training and reports to help guard the till. They’re passive owners. They don’t even know what kind of reports they need to keep tabs on the “MSM.”
JS: I know – those Mainstream Media are out of control!
Dr. VH: No, no. I’m talking about that other MSM: the Money Stream Madness. As good as some of those PARCS are, they can’t keep the workers or managers from stealing cash or letting friends park for free if the owners don’t get regular audits by experts who really know how to audit a garage. Or, if they don’t hire the right people to watch over the operator!
JS: So where’s the “aggressive” come in, Doc, aside from my cured hostility toward on-street parking?
Dr. VH: Some parking owners think they can be aggressive with their system provider or operator after they’ve lost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. You know how many hours of therapy that could buy? But by then, the money’s gone. Sure, they may get a settlement, but it could be pennies on the dollar. By then, the horse has left the barn. The toothpaste is out of the tube. The air’s out of the balloon. The …
JS: Yo, Doc, you sure are laying on the metaphors today; you feeling OK? You sure you couldn’t use some of that primal scream therapy yourself?
Dr. VH: Tried it once, Joe. The hot tub left me waterlogged, and I coughed for a month from the chlorine vapors. But I digress. The point is – hey, wait a minute – we’re supposed to be talking about you!
JS: That’s OK, Doc. I get the point. Next time I park in one of those garages, I’ll think about whether the owner knows what’s really going on, and that there’s a chance my money might be going into the wrong pockets.
Dr. VH: Speaking of pockets, Joe. You have cash for today’s session, don’t you?
JS: Never leave home without it, Doc!
When on day-release from his local psych ward, Joe Sciulli is Vice President and Senior Operations Consultant of Chance Management Advisors, Inc.
He can be reached at Joseph.Sciulli@chancemanagement.com.