Parking Wars And The Etiquette Hell Parking Ticket

by admin on May 1, 2013

I just had an encounter with a neighbor’s significant other that’s left me angry and shaken.

It started on the first of this month (it’s now the 24th). I finally had gotten a parking spot in the lot adjacent to my apartment building. I live in a large city and the neighborhood I live in is very densely populated, so parking is tough. I had been told when I signed my lease that I’d have a parking spot (an additional fee of $130 a month) but then after I moved in, I was told there were none open. So needless to say I was really happy when one finally opened up three months after I moved in.

One night I returned home to find someone parked in my spot. I have to call the building manager to have them towed, which I did. He told me to park in a different spot (belonging to a store owner who didn’t park overnight) and that he’d text me when the car was gone so I could move my car back to my rightful spot. He did so, and I moved my car assuming the other one had been towed. (Now I wonder if it ever were towed).

I should add that I am a performer, and I often travel to shows outside my city or the suburbs and return home quite late – one reason the space was badly needed as after a certain hour, parking is very hard to find.

I returned home close to midnight in the middle of a pouring rainstorm to discover the same car was there. I called the towing company, and they said the building manager was the only person who could request tows. I called him, and he said he was out of town and could not do anything. All this took about 10-15 minutes. He said to park in the store owner’s spot as long as I was gone by morning. I did so.

I also left a note on the offending vehicle. Now, I was not terribly polite in this note and called them a moron, which I do regret. But I quite clearly stated that this spot was a spot someone paid for, and said they should stop parking there or I’d continue to have them towed. I left the note in a baggie on the windshield so they’d be sure to get it.

The car was gone in the morning.

Early this week, I came home to find the car AGAIN parked in my spot. I was incensed and called my manager to report it. He was on the verge of calling the towing company when a man approached my car window, and a girl ran to the car to get inside.

This man said, “Thanks for the note, by the way.” and smirked. He clearly got the note and knew that this was a reserved space.

I said he should not get snarky with me, and that he had no right to park in a reserved spot.

He said it was just for a short time while he picked up his girlfriend (who, I should point out, was young and able-bodied. She got to the car on her own with no assistance from him so presumably, she could do so at any time).

I got mad and proceeded to repeat (at volume I’m afraid) that he had no right to park there and to do so was rude and in violation of the rules.

He kept saying I had no right to be mad, he was being “normal” and he was just parking there for a few minutes at a time (untrue as once it was at least 45) and that I should just “get over it.” He indicated he’d continue to park there. I believe he chose my spot out of spite because of the note, as several were open that he could have taken if picking up his girlfriend were his primary concern.

While it’s polite I suppose that he wishes to pick her up at her door, I think in this case basic decency should dictate that he have her meet him while he’s out front (there’s space to pull over though it’s not legal to park there in front of the building).

He made me feel as though I was being unreasonable, but I think it’s quite reasonable to expect that a spot I pay for is ALWAYS open unless I’m in it, and his entitled attitude is ridiculous.

I would enjoy hearing what others think. 0424-13

My first thought is the building manager has no authority to give you temporary access to a parking space, the store owner’s space, he has does not own.   He’s creating the potential for a very awkward situation now involving yet another person in this parking brouhaha.  When he suggested you park there, you should have told him you did not feel it appropriate to use another person’s parking space in the same manner that the interloper was using yours.   Assuming the store owner will be fine with you using his space is no different than Mr. Date Guy assuming your space was free for using.

Let’s face it, your note was not written in a way to win over Mr. Date Guy to seeing things your way.   It was, by your own admission, antagonistic and insulting and had the effect of escalating the drama.  You entrenched his behavior even further if for no other reason than to spite you now.   There will be people on this blog who will condone and encourage the ugly tone of your note as you being justified but what did it get you?   Had you written the following,  “You are parking in a privately assigned space that I pay a premium rental space each month.   Due to my odd working hours, I must have access to my parking space at the time I need it in order to safely arrive home.  Please do not park in my desperately needed parking space.  Thank you….Ms. Performer.”

If he ignores that note, the next one says, “Your continued parking in my space leaves me no other options since I cannot continue to need my parking space and repeatedly find it unavailable due to your vehicle being parked there.  I see no other recourse than to request that your vehicle be towed whenever it is limiting my ability to use my parking space.”

And btw, keep copies of your notes and take pictures of the vehicle with license plate clearly legible.

Or you could use an old Ehell tactic, the Ehell parking ticket….

I always thought Ehell could be used to socially shame people into proper behavior.  Imagine putting this on the window of the car, taking an image of it and forwarding it to me which then gets published online.   Maybe we need a new parking ticket designed which  informs the miscreant that their rude behavior has been submitted to EtiquetteHell.com along with a photo of the dirty deed.

{Digging through the archives…..}   Look what I found!  Years ago there was an Ehell store on Cafepress and I sold postcards that looked like this:

I still have ONE unopened package of eight postcards left!   If anyone wants to try to win it, make mention of the cards in your reply and by the end of the week a winner will be randomly chosen.

{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel May 1, 2013 at 9:55 am

I would like to win the cards please.

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Serenity S. May 1, 2013 at 9:57 am

I would love to win the postcards! I think OP should ask the manager to give permission in advance for OP to have the car towed, to the towing service.

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Compelled to Respond May 1, 2013 at 10:02 am

I can understand your frustration, but think you could have handled it a little differently. Leaving a nicer note and taking pictures of the car and making sure to show that it is in your spot would be a good place to start. Does the individual’s girlfriend have a car and does she pay for a spot? And I would not park in the store owner’s spot unless I had spoken with the spot owner and gotten permission to park there when he wasn’t around. Just because the store isn’t open at night, does not mean he may not need the spot at night.

And I would love to have one of the post cards for my own use, although, this parking issue would also be a good use for them.

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VR518 May 1, 2013 at 10:15 am

While it may not have helped the situation for the letter writer to write that note to the boorish man who stole her parking spot in that manner, criticizing her actions isn’t helping the situation. We don’t know if the manager had permission from the store owner for people to use his parking spot overnight. That might be the case, but we can’t assume that any more than him not having permission from him.

Mr. Date Guy was parking the LW’s spot once before she wrote that note and on the second occasion he did so, she left that note. His snobby behavior towards her when she saw him the next day only showed that he is a nasty, self-centered person who cares little for others or their rights. He knew he was doing something wrong from the first day, and his arrogant comments towards the LW prove it. Even if she had written the note politely, it wouldn’t have changed anything. HE HAD NO RIGHT TO PARK THERE. The more serious issue is his violating the law and stealing a parking spot, not the building manager’s assumed permission for the LW to park in the store manager’s spot without his permission or the note the LW wrote. She spoke as civilly as she could when she spoke to him face-to-face, and that still didn’t work. This nasty man is a troublemaker and his behavior is going to get worse. That is the bigger problem here than anything else.

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Princess Buttercup May 1, 2013 at 10:16 am

Personally when told “go park in someone else’s spot” I would have replied, “no, I will not do something inappropriate. I will wait here till the tow truck comes.” Then when got the “only the landlord can call” and “out of town, can’t do anything” I would have replied that I would take care of it by calling the police since them taking my paid spot equaled them stealing from me. And I would have done just that (non-emergency number of course) and let the cops talk to the car owner.

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Din May 1, 2013 at 10:19 am

Clearly this guy is a jerk; leaving him any note isn’t going to get him to stop. Make a note of every time your spot is occupied and every contact with the building manager. Insist that the manager give you permission to contact the towing company directly. If the building manager continues to be unresponsive, work your way up the chain of command. Do not contact over the phone. Contact in writing via certified mail. Make sure to note that if they continue to be unresponsive, you’ll take them to small claims court. You’re paying for a service that building management is not providing. Other than the fact that you left a nasty note, this isn’t an etiquette issue so much as a legal one.

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Chefnutmeg May 1, 2013 at 10:22 am

The Cards are awesome! As to the parking, Perhaps talk to the girlfriend, politely?

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Amy May 1, 2013 at 10:25 am

Oh goodness gracious, may we actually print the Ehell parking ticket and use it? Please? I promise to send photos.

I’d also like my name placed in the postcard drawing. Those are wonderful.

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admin May 1, 2013 at 10:55 am

Sure! Print away! Print as many as you need.

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Margaret May 1, 2013 at 10:29 am

Don’t talk to him any more . Just get him towed. I hope there is a security camera that can keep an eye on your car.

If this doesn’t get resolved soon, I would tell your landlord that you want another parking spot (the next one that becomes available) and, if you can’t park in the spot you paid for, you want your money back since you’ve been paying for something you aren’t getting.

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Snowy May 1, 2013 at 10:30 am

The guy parking is OP’s spot is a jerk, and a childish one at that. OP should talk to the building manager and see if, given the situation, s/he can get permission to be on the “approved” list of who can call the tow company, if just for that one spot. Or better yet–talk to the tow company, tell them the situation, and say “If you see this car in that spot, tow away!” They just might relish the chance to have an easy tow in front of them. After a tow or two, Date Guy just might stop parking there.

The OP was in the right, however, his/her tone was antagonistic and just made things worse. He/She might do well by *apologizing* to Date Guy for that–and then reiterating the problem. “I’m so sorry I left you that note. I was tired and frustrated, and it was raining, and I went overboard. But I’d like to talk to you about the parking situation, because I rent that spot so it’s available to me at all times.”

If it continues, perhaps OP can park in Date Guy one night. Call the manager, who calls the tow company, block in his car, and wait (in the car). When the tow truck shows up, move your car. Guaranteed tow.

Finally, I fail to see how the “Etiquette Hell” parking ticket is any better than the note the OP left. It’s just as churlish, and will not likely accomplish anything in this situation. Polite notes are always the best way to go–at least in the first few rounds.

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Enna May 1, 2013 at 10:31 am

I don’t think you behaved any better then the man who parked in your spot OP: I think admin’s advice is right about writing politer notes with warning of being towed. Also Princess Buttercup’s advice is good – if someon is parking in your spot illegally and the towing company cannot help (all they need surely is the persmision over the phone if needs be and where the offending car is and it’s registration).

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E May 1, 2013 at 10:32 am

I think the situation is on the building manager to enforce. If this guy had his car towed just once, he would definitely never park there again. The building manager also needs to reiterate the rules to the girlfriend, who is apparently a neighbor of the OP and the one who should instruct her boyfriend where to appropriately park his car when he visits her. If I paid $130 I would raise holy heck to the building manager that it needs to be available to me at all times, immediately. The other option would be to find the girl every time one of her guests parks in a private space. Finally, I would insist that the manager call the towing company to give the OP temporary authority to have cars towed from her space.

Whether or not the OP was snippy with the guy is totally besides the point. Her being more or less polite during the interaction wouldn’t have changed his behavior at all. He’s obviously a Special Snowflake (aka, sociopath) who believes the rules don’t apply to him, and that everyone else’s inconvenience is perfectly fine as long as things are convenient for him.

Love the cards, please enter me into the drawing!

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Serenity S. May 1, 2013 at 10:32 am

Also, it would be nice to know if the parking spots are labeled to show they are reserved.

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Ashley May 1, 2013 at 10:33 am

The note may not have been the best idea, at least written in a snarky way like it was…but I understand your frustration. Idk what to tell you though, other than just keep getting his car towed and maybe he will take the hint.

My fiance and I often have to deal with similar issues. We have one vehicle only and our apartment comes with two spots. One numbered space in the lot, and our garage, which is OUR garage, with it’s own door and everything. Our vehicle is usually in the garage, and the landlord has told us our guests can park in OUR lot space but no one elses. Perfectly reasonable I think. Also, we enjoy having the lot space when the weather is nice, less distance to walk if we are bringing groceries and stuff upstairs. However, our neighbors have SO MANY CARS. Two of the units have at least four cars each, and they park in any open spot they can find, they even make spaces by just parking randomly in front of the dumpster. As a result, THEIR guests often end up in OUR space. We don’t speak the same language as them so all we can do is sit there and stare and indicate that they are in our spot until one of them finally moves their car.

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Stacey Frith-Smith May 1, 2013 at 10:47 am

I think that OP’s sense of outrage is exacerbated by the apartment manager’s extremely poor handling of her situation. Listen, OP, stop trying to deal with the interloper and deal with the manager. He is collecting the fees and he is supposed to manage the issue. Use either/or language. “My safety depends on having access to my reserved space. You will need to contact the tow company when someone else parks there or provide me the means to do so. If not, I will need to take more direct action.” (Calling his management company, calling a tow truck on your own with proof in hand that you have rights to the spot, taking photos of the car parked there with its license plate and filing a report of harassment with the local constable -he intends to continue to park there and to harass you? really?, threaten non-renewal of your lease, call the Better Business Bureau and any tenant rights entities and report the business, use their Facebook page and social media to write a review of the business and to make an inquiry at a higher level, and other options.)

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Nicole May 1, 2013 at 10:49 am

I would love to win the cards!

But a word of warning… don’t try to block him in to wait for the tow. I had a friend that did this and the person drove forward over the lawn and ripped up the grass in front of her house.

It sounds like since he is leaving quite quickly, you will have no hope of catching him with a tow. Maybe you could leave an obstruction in the parking spot? The devil on my shoulder says to leave boards out with the nail side up, if he drives over them it his responsiblity – he had been warned not to park there. The good me says you should never damage another person’s property. Sigh… the bad me never wins – but it is fun to imagine.

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BH May 1, 2013 at 10:51 am

I had a co-worker once leave a huge shelf in my area and said I could use it if I needed to. It was an odd shape, I had no use for it, but he was using my area as a dumping ground. I put a “Parking ticket” on there and I heard the next day that he was mad about it, until he found out we did it jokingly – the shelf was removed quickly and people started joking about not putting anything in my area without asking me first or else they will get a “ticket” -it wasn’t a nasty ticket, I don’t think I even called him rude, but I never had an issue again with people leaving things in my way.
PS I would love a package of the ehell cards, they are hilarious, and I would definitely share with my co-workers ;)

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Lo May 1, 2013 at 10:56 am

“Now, I was not terribly polite in this note and called them a moron, which I do regret. But I quite clearly stated that this spot was a spot someone paid for, and said they should stop parking there or I’d continue to have them towed. I left the note in a baggie on the windshield so they’d be sure to get it.”

You did bad. He started the problem. You made it personal.

I’m not on the side of that guy. Is he a moron? Yeah, definitely. He sounds completely awful. But now you’ve lost the upper hand.

What you should have done was leave a nicer note and then continue to have him towed. Because that is the legal and correct thing to do.

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Mandy May 1, 2013 at 10:58 am

Is there any way you can report this continued “theft” of your parking space to the police? They may be able to intervene before things escalate. Although, towing his car every single time will certainly add the fees up and he might get the hint. I love the ehell cards though! I think the world needs to be strewn with dozens of them (politely) to help rid the world of all sorts of rude behavior.

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Mae May 1, 2013 at 11:05 am

While the OP’s note could have been a nicer, I don’t think it would have mattered. He was parking in the space before the note and if his manner was correctly conveyed, he doesn’t care who he is inconveniencing. Also, why has his girlfriend not informed him of the parking rules and the fact that some people pay for their space?

Why could the manager not call the tow company because he was out of town? Seems like a call to the tow company would have sufficed, especially if they are contracted to tow for the complex.

I wouldn’t park in the store owner’s space. That seems as rude as Mr. Date Guy parking in yours. Of course, I would do the same at @Princess Buttercup and call the cops.

Winning the cards would be awesome! Can you imagine Mr. Date Guy coming out to find one of those on his windshield?? Too bad they are not available for purchase. They are wonderful.

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Lesley B May 1, 2013 at 11:14 am

I had a similar thing happen with a reserved parking spot in an apartment complex I lived in. I did not call a tow company or building manager, I called the police (not 911, I called the non-emergency line). The police came and checked that I had a document proving that I was assigned that spot. I assume they ran the plates of the guy who parked there and contacted him. Turned out he was assigned a neighboring stall and had parked in mine by accident. He moved his car and never made that mistake again. If it had not been a simple mix-up, the police have the authority to tow illegally parked cars, without needing the building manager’s intervention (which it sounds like he doesn’t want to give to OP, or doesn’t want to get involved at all).

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Shalamar May 1, 2013 at 11:15 am

For those people who are saying that OP’s note was impolite and so on, you’re right – but I’d like to point out this part of her post:

“I returned home close to midnight in the middle of a pouring rainstorm to discover the same car was there. I called the towing company, and they said the building manager was the only person who could request tows. I called him, and he said he was out of town and could not do anything. ”

How many of us would have been polite under those circumstances? She was probably exhausted, too. I would’ve been tempted to key the guy’s car.

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Barb May 1, 2013 at 11:17 am

Am I the only one who wishes Kathy Bates from “Fried Green Tomatos” was the owner of the parking spot?

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inNM May 1, 2013 at 11:22 am

Having not had the need to call a towing company by area, my question comes across as naive. Why couldn’t the OP call another towing company? In fact, why is it that the manager is the only one who can call for the building? I’m thinking if the spot is reserved, there is a list spots and the licence plates that correspond to the owners of that spot. Hence, it’s as simple as accessing that list, find out if the licence plate should have access, and if not, hook and book.
Also, if I am paying for a reserved parking spot, it is mine to do so with (within the realm of regular parking practices) as I see fit, and that includes me not parking my car in it at times. If the management does not choose to enforce the absolute enjoyment of my parking spot that I’m paying $130 a month, then I believe I am entitled to a refund, paid out of the management’s pocket, or the pocket of the man’s girlfriend, who is clearly aware that her boyfriend is using my parking spot at this point, and is encouraging it. It feels the same to me as if the OP came home one day to find a strange man on her couch and watching tv in her apartment, and all he has to say is, “Relax, I was just using it for a short while until my girlfriend was ready.”

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Dianne May 1, 2013 at 11:24 am

I would love, love, love to win those cards. What fun it would be to leave them on people who cannot obey simple rules !!!! :)

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Huh May 1, 2013 at 11:25 am

I think you have a bigger problem with your building manager. You are paying for a service, and it is not up to you to police the service offered, its his job. I think you need to ask for your money back for the days you aren’t able to use your spot (and he is doing nothing to rectify the situation) and tell him you want a new spot the moment one becomes available. And if he does nothing again, try to contact HIS boss.

In my experience, the trouble with asking rude people (like the other driver) to not do something, is they won’t do it. Doesn’t matter if you ask nicely or not nicely. They only recourse you have is asking someone with more authority to ask them to stop doing it, but the problem you run into there is that there is a high degree of possibility that they will retaliate against you.

I had a friend whose neighbor let his kids throw loud drunken parties until the wee hours of the night in his garage that was right next door to my friend’s house. Never mind the fact that this was illegal (underage kids) my friend had young children who couldn’t sleep at night because of the loud music. My friend’s husband asked the man to please stop or at least turn the music down after midnight. The man cussed him out. The next time it happened, my friend called the police. This escalated everything – they neighbor would blast their horns right under my friend’s windows early in the morning, and their car was vandalized. This didn’t stop until the crazy neighbor moved.

The likelihood of you asking for the car to be towed and something happening to your car after that happens is probably high, unfortunately.

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Calli Arcale May 1, 2013 at 11:27 am

Do not surrender to the temptation of leaving nails out so his tires get punctured. He obviously knows where you park, and since he’s met you now, he probably also can figure out which car is yours. Puncture the tires of somebody like this, and you’ll probably get the same, plus possibly a few dents or scratches for extra measure. He doesn’t take the parking thing seriously, but he probably will take property damage seriously, and retaliate.

Polite notes are reasonable; at least on the first round, you don’t know if he’s just ignorant. But everything else ultimately should be between you and the building manager. It’s the building manager’s job to get you the service you’re paying for. Make him see to it.

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Allie May 1, 2013 at 11:29 am

I don’t understand the tow company’s reticence as you own the spot and it’s private property. In my jurisdiction, the only restriction on towing is that a car parked illegally on a public street must be duly ticketed before it is towed. I expect this is to ensure the city gets it’s pound of flesh before the tow company gets its. My husband once pointed this out, much to the chagrin of a tow truck driver who had a lady’s car up on the rails and was demanding money from her to “drop” it without towing it. He had no choice but to drop it at no charge when he pointed out it had not been ticketed so he had no right to tow it. She had only overstayed her meter by a few minutes and was terribly grateful.

Anyway, I love your postcards, Admin, but unfortunately I suspect they would have no effect on this entitled blockhead. Any note, even a polite one, would likely have had the same effect. I’m afraid this situation may escalate to property damage as even if Mr. blockhead stops parking in your spot he may do something to your car, especially if he is towed. Sadly, unless he stops seeing the person in your building, you may be stuck with this problem for a while. Fortunately, if he is a blockhead with you, he is probably a blockhead in other things as well. Maybe his girlfriend will see this and give him the heave ho. Incidentally, and I’ve mentioned this before but it always makes me smile, my brother once took up two parking spaces with his large truck at a strip mall in Florida and was left a note that stated, quite succinctly and probably fairly, “You park like a schmuck”.

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KP May 1, 2013 at 11:33 am

I would love an Etiquette Hell post card! Please enter me in your drawing!

As for this submission, I believe that all parties involved [besides the store owner via parking spot] have a role in helping spiral this situation out of control. However, the manager has a good deal of the blame as it is his job to take care of such parking issues BEFORE they get bad. My question is this: if the manager just has to make a phone call to get the car moved, why couldn’t he do it while out of town? I’m sure OP would supply the tow number if the manager didn’t have it and even wait to point it out to the tow truck driver when he/she arrived.

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LiLi May 1, 2013 at 11:42 am

Cards please! :-)

Sadly this is definetely a case where retalitory rudeness just made the problem worse (as satisfying as it was to do it at the time).

What baffles me is that this guy is willing to continue to pay (or risk paying) for tows just to be spiteful. Since the other person is the guest of a tenant is there anything your landlord can do to pressure the other renter into reigning in their guest?

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A May 1, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I had a similar situation with paid parking. Thankfully, our complex’s towing contract allowed resident’s to request that a vehicle be towed. I had the towing company on speed dial. I only had to use it twice. Apparently, word got around and I did not have to deal with any direct drama. :)
And, I would love to win those cards. :)

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Jewel May 1, 2013 at 12:16 pm

I completely agree with E. I don’t think it mattered how the OP worded the note, the jerk would have done whatever he wanted to do anyway. That much is clear based on his reaction. He has no shame and no sense of ethics. He appears to be a true narcissist in every sense of the word.

This problem is the building manager’s to solve and the OP needs to let him know that in no uncertain terms. His wimpy excuse of being out of town is inconsequential. The phone to the tow company works no matter where he is at the moment. If he doesn’t think so, then he needs to alert the tow company that the OP is authorized to call in tows for the building lot in the event he is out of town.

He also needs to set up a meeting with the resident (whether that is Jerk or Jerk’s girlfriend, I can’t tell) and let them know that they may not use that parking spot under any circumstances — not for an hour, not for a minute, not at all. And, he needs to put some “teeth” to his message by stating that he’ll fine them for every infraction, in addition to having the car booted and towed.

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WildIrishRose May 1, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I’m with Din. This is something the building manager needs to get involved with (certified mail is an excellent suggestion) and, if you can’t get satisfaction there, call the police and have the car towed, and if THAT doesn’t get you anywhere, contact an attorney. What this man is doing is called Theft of Services, which is a felony in my state (depending on the value of the property or service). Etiquette notwithstanding, the jerk needs to be called on his assertion that he will continue to park in your space. I’m willing to bet that once the law gets involved, he’ll stop this.

This story reminds me of a parking space issue of my own many years ago, only I was the one in the wrong. I was living in an apartment that had been converted from a one-car garage, and I honestly thought a particular parking space near the house (also converted into apartments) belonged to me. I confronted a fellow tenant when he parked there, and he informed me that we didn’t have assigned parking. When I asked the landlady about it, she confirmed that we did not have assigned parking, so I apologized to my fellow tenant and parked elsewhere, even though I really liked that spot. A few weeks later, a storm took a big branch off the tree by that spot, and dropped it right on his car. After that, I stopped parking under trees!

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David May 1, 2013 at 12:28 pm

You pay for the parking space. Find out what unit the girlfriend lives in and bill her $50.00 for each time the boyfriend uses yours. He’s trespassing, but he wouldn’t be if he wasn’t picking her up.

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cassandra May 1, 2013 at 12:28 pm

I need the postcards! I don’t think anyone I know has any idea about etiquette!

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Uly May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Caltrops spring to mind, but they’re not actually legal.

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Leigh-Ann May 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I would love a chance to win the cards! And I agree that contacting management everytime it happens is the best way to go since you are paying for the spot; document everything and they can either refund your money for the space or respond in a timely manner.

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Arila May 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm

@Princess Buttercup – Around here, the police don’t get involved in enforcing rules on private property. It might be worth a phone call, but my money is on them telling the OP that they can’t help.

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June First May 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Can the police be called, or is a private lot beyond their jurisdiction? Maybe it could help if there are visible parking stickers or permits assigned to each person who purchases a spot?

Op, I’m sorry, but confronting the parking boor is really “poking the bear”. Don’t poke the bear. Contact the person he is visiting, explain that since you’re paying for the spot the visitor really can’t park there.

I’m not sure why the manager can’t handle it when they are out of town. Instead of the “what do you want me to do about it?” attitude, they could make a mental note to contact the resident the person is visiting. If they don’t know who it is, they could post a general notice about parking. When I lived in apartment complexes, we’d all receive notes under our doors about the appropriate times to use the laundry room, etc.

Admin–do you have congratulatory notices? You know, catch someone behaving well and use positive reinforcement? Or are those just thank you notes? ;)

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Karen Lingel May 1, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Oooh, I would love a package of these cards! I have the same problem with my parking space. Once I found someone in my parking space and went to put a flyer on the windshield (I keep a stack of flyers in my car for this purpose; they say something like: “This is a privately owned and reserved parking space. Please do not park here or your car will be towed.”) and a lady came flying out of the nearby condo and said “I’ll only be here a minute”. So I waited and waited and waited and waited…. What a jerk!

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Margo May 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I agree that the building manager’s behaviour is as much of an issue as the jerk parking on your spot. I would make a formal, written, complaint to him, requesting a different space, and requesting that steps are taken to address the issue that there is a specific individual who is repeatedly parking in your spot and who has specifically stated his intention to continue to do so. The suggestion to give you authority to get *that specific vehicle* towed is a sensible one.

Is it possible to have any kind of chain or barrier?

It sounds as though Jerk’s girlfriend is a tenant – is there anything in your (and her) lease about responsibility for guests’ behaviour? Again, this may be something to raise with the business manager. It may also be worth considering speaking to her directly – is she aware just how her boyfriend is behaving?

While, as OP has acknowledged, the original note was not the best way to address this, I don’t agree that s/he is as much in the wrong as Parking Jerk. He was somewhere he had no right to be. OP’s reaction wasn’t ideal but it was a reaction to another person’s inappropriate behaviour. I agree with Snowy @10 that the ‘etquette hell’ parking tickets are just as rude as the Ops note. Sure, they’re mildly amusing, but it’s still an anonymous note attacking someone’s actions. How is it any different?

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Elsie May 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Sometimes it’s hard to keep emotions in check when someone is clearly being a jerk. But it’s necessary. The more rude they are, the nicer you need to be.
(Though at first I’d prob leave a joke about charging them for the time, but politely ask them to move the car after a certain hour as it is paid for. Or, temp park my car and go ring the girlfriend/guy’s apartment and politely ask them to move the car… however, since you got aggressive with the guy, that won’t go well now).

There is a wonderful image online of a paid parking space. I guess the owners of the space were having trouble, so they left one of those children’s toy cars in the spot with a note that said “DO NOT MOVE. We paid for this spot and we can put ANY VEHICLE we want in it!”

I thought that was awesome. OP, you may want to try something similar! Or, is there a friend nearby who doesn’t mind the inconvenience of parking there for you (if it were me, and I was close enough, I’d totally do that for a good/close friend). If it gets bad enough, work with your parking/building manager guy and let him know of this repeated problem, and the refusal of the other party to work with you to solve this problem. See if he can give you a different spot, or if someone else wouldn’t mind trading (someone who parks there earlier than this guy every night).

Maybe the building manager will let this guy park on a curb for the “supposed few minutes” he is there. After all, if he is JUST picking up his girlfriend, it wouldn’t be there long, and from my experience most landlord’s don’t mind if it’s brief (such as picking up/dropping off people, dropping off large items, etc).

Also, not sure if this applies, but the city where my sister lives will give out free parking passes to park on a street right next to her building, for cases like this. It’s totally free, and you just have to go ask the city for a pass.

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Michelle C Young May 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Have you tried apologizing to the guy? Yes, he was wrong first, but your response was snarky, and that made him spiteful. If you apologize for your snark, he may feel duty-bound to avoid your spot from then on.

And even if he does not avoid the spot, you will have “hit the reset button,” as it were. You could then start over by explaining politely that you pay for and need that spot, and you do not feel safe without it. Ask him kindly to leave the spot for you. If he then parks there again, have him towed, and/or call the police (non-emergency line, please).

But please do get back on the polite track. If you do so, then you cannot be blamed, and you rob him of his excuse for further bad behavior. We all know that two wrongs do not make a right (although three lefts do!), but we also know that people who did wrong often will use the other person’s retaliation as an excuse for their original bad behavior, retroactively, as well as moving forward.

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jeab May 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm

This sort of issue is exactly why there is a building manager. If he/she is out of town, it is up to them to have an assistant or substitute to handle situations while they’re away. Also, it should NOT be news to you that the building manager is “out of town”, leaving you in total limbo. They should be informing all tenants that an assistant/substitute will be in-charge for a number of days and also make that person’s contact info accessible. I can’t imagine my building manager going away and not leaving any alternate plans for residents in case of emergency. (Also, I don’t quite understand how the OP could call the building manager while he was away but he couldn’t call the towing company for her? Frankly, he sounds a bit lazy.)

As for the note, for some people the tone just wouldn’t matter regardless of how polite or snarky you try to be. When I moved into my new building, no one had been authorized to park regularly in my assigned space for over three years (my landlord owns the space but didn’t live there. The unit had been on the waiting list to join rental pool for three years, which left my apartment totally empty all that time — meaning NO ONE was supposed to be parking in that space ever.) A regularly empty space for three years in a huge complex was just begging to be used…and my landlord wasn’t a hundred percent certain that no one had been using it. So the first night I moved in, I left a short note saying nothing more than “new tenant, sorry if you’ve been parking here but this is my assigned spot”. My reward was to have $3000 worth of vandalism done to my brand new car (four separate instances in the first two weeks), presumably committed by whomever thought I had stolen ‘their’ space. I now park in a strata-owned space but the vandal never took ‘their’ space back again so I have no idea which neighbour it was that welcomed me to the building in this nasty way (this was in a locked garage, so it was definitely a neighbour). So even polite notes don’t necessarily get you anywhere. Just deal with the manager, it’s their job.

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Ms. A-Relevant May 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm

I’m a property manager in a major city where parking is very limited and rents are certainly premium. It is a very common complaint that people park in spaces not belonging to them and I have to call the city parking enforcement division to have them ticketed before I am ever allowed to have them towed, even on private property. It often takes several hours for us to resolve parking issues, and while I understand OP’s frustration, I don’t think it’s generally a good idea to confront the vehicle owner directly as bad things tend to happen to your vehicle when you’re not looking.

However, I think admin makes a particularly interesting assumption by saying that building manager shouldn’t give OP permission to park in his space. When my tenants have parking issues, I advise them first to park in a space I know firsthand is unrented. If there are no unrented spaces available and it is after hours, then I will absolutely advise them to park in a commercial tenant’s space. It is part of all my commercial lease agreements that their access to parking is during business hours only and I expect that to be rather the norm in most places. Building owner is likely trying to help their tenant make the best of an inconvenient situation by offering her an option until other means of correction are available.

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I am the OP May 1, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Hi OP here!

Thanks for printing my lecture. I agree I should have written a more polite note.

In retrospect, I do wish I’d refused to park in the other spot. To clarify, the store owner does not need that spot after he leaves, and my manager assured me he’d call if I needed to move my car. The only reason I did was because it was midnight, pouring rain, and there were no spots for over a half mile near my apartment. If it was nicer weather I’d have probably sucked it up and parked far away, but it was late, raining, and I live in a not great neighborhood.

I appreciate the suggestion of the cards but I think that is just as impolite as my rude note, to be honest! However, to each their own. I can see the appeal.

I do wish I’d handled things better and I appreciate the response.

To clarify a few questions – yes, the lot is clearly marked. There are large signs that state that violators will be towed, and every spot is numbered. Additionally since the girlfriend (who to my knowledge doesn’t have a car) lives in the building, she’d be aware that it’s assigned parking as you are told when you move in not to park in anyone’s spot.

Additionally the towing company’s contract is such that they WILL NOT TOW without the manager calling them. I have no power there. I tried. I also refuse to call the police on such a trivial matter – I live in a large city and I’d feel guilty wasting their time on this relatively minor thing when people are getting shot, etc.

Finally, I don’t know the girlfriend. I caught a glimpse of the back of her head as she ran to the car and that’s all. It’s a large building with over 50 units.

I wouldn’t want to damage his car in any way as that seems out of line with the infraction,and I also agree never damage anyone’s property. Also I don’t want to do anything further to antagonize him. Quite frankly, his cold entitled manner scared the heck out of me. Another reason to always be polite when writing notes – one never knows when you’re dealing with sociopaths!

If the opportunity arises I may leave a second more polite note apologizing for the interaction and asking him to stop parking there more nicely.

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Katy May 1, 2013 at 1:59 pm

I’d love the cards.
When my then fiance and I were in college we rented a small apartment that was part of a house that had been divided into six apartments. Each apartment was given one or two spots, based on the number of residents in each. It worked out that there were exactly enough spots for residents, and we were all given a letter assigning spots and telling us where to park guests. It worked out fine over the summer, when our two neighbors were gone, but when school was back in session the you-know-what hit the fan. Long story short, these girls repeatedly parked cars in my hubby’s spot. Quite often they’d block me in (I parked on the side of the house on a second drive that had been converted to two spots, so they’d park behind me as I parked facing my neighbor’s assigned spot. When we asked nicely for them to move they often would not, and no matter how many times we told them to stop parking in DH’s spot or blocking me in they refused. One night we, and several of our other neighbors (as they didn’t discriminate whose spots they stole- they took whichever were free) were finally fed up. Their friends had taken three extra spots, and one had parked in my spot. I used my van to block in the one from my spot, DH and another resident blocked the other three. Then we called the landlord, who was so used to our complaints they actually picked up with “Are they in your spot again?”. Landlord called the tow company, and we knocked on the girls’ door to explain that we were not moving until the tow truck showed up. The police showed up, gave tickets to three of the cars, and towed the last (that girl used our close-to-campus building as free parking, and was at class). After that the friends parked somewhere else. Sometimes it has to hit them in the wallet for them to get the message.

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Asharah May 1, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Can you determine which apartment the girlfriend lives in? It might help if you could direct your complaints to building management as “the boyfriend of the tenant in Apartment XYZ”. Or else post a notice in the lobby such as “If you have ever had your assigned parking place taken by a Red Toyota (or whatever) with liscense plate JERK 23, direct your complaint to building management to the woman living in apartment XYZ. It’s her boyfriend.” There’s a story on the board where an apartment resident did that to some not nice neighbors who let their carpool horn honk & honk really early in the morning and got nasty when she politely suggested they make more of an effort to be ready on time so they didn’t disturb people who were still in bed.

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WillyNilly May 1, 2013 at 2:04 pm

What I think you should do is keep a log of every time any car you have not authorized is parked in your spot. Call the manager every time, note the time you called and his response. And next month, when it comes time to pay enclose an itemized note with your payment – payment that has been reduced for each time you did not have access to your spot. At $130, months with 30 days break down to $4.33 a day and months with 31 days, $4.19 daily. When the management company starts to feel the issue financially they will be more inclined to respond.
You might also consider also taking a photo of the car, and if you can the driver and his girlfriend, and post them in public spaces in your building, such as the lobby or laundry room, outing them as parking spot thieves.

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Abby May 1, 2013 at 2:18 pm

The problem is, even if she gets direct access to the tow company, it still won’t help her. Tow trucks don’t just roll up the second you call them- sometimes the wait is an hour or more, particularly in a busy city. By that time, Boyfriend will probably have taken off. If there’s a pattern of her calling the two truck, and then an hour later when he shows up the offensive car has been moved, tow company is going to get mighty annoyed with her. Boyfriend knows this, which is why he continues to park there.

I think a better course of action is to take it up with the building manager that one of the tenants has a visitor who regularly violates the parking rules. The building manager can send her an angry letter, much like you do with chronic late payments or multiple noise violations, and see if girlfriend can’t get her boyfriend to park elsewhere. Other than that, the only other option is to relinquish the parking space, so at least she’s not paying $130 per month for a spot she can’t use.

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