Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Advice for Chicago Readers . . .

. . . . all one of me.

In a previous column (here), I told of having my car towed. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon in a meeting taking place at the same auto pound which tried to take my Hydra (1 of 3, ever).

The main office for the pound is a double wide trailer with attached editions. The trailer has no plumbing, heating, or air conditioning. No matter what time of year you're there, it's always uncomfortable. Being on the other side of the glass was fascinating. Nobody ever hopes to get a job at a vehicle impoundment facility. When you're not being threatened by drivers on hiatus, you're desperately trying to remain callus. The pleas of an adult, begging you to release their vehicle so they can get to work, even though they can't pay the $200 fine for parking in the vicinity of a street festival, requires some disconnect.

Telling someone you work for the towing industry, in any capacity, is tantamount to telling someone you have a rare form of cancer that's transmittable by thought, alone. I should know, I work in taxes. I'm one rung above the tow-people.

The work area beyond the view of motorists is decorated not unlike a child's classroom. Crude drawings lined the walls. An elaborate banner hung in the break room. In red, against gold. "Wall of Shame." Below were the forgotten driver's licenses of patrons who either left in a hurry, or were removed from the site by force. They were arranged in the figure of an hourglass.

Remember that scene in Wayne's World where Chris Farley provides Garth and Wayne with an unusually convenient amount of information to help track the Record Label Executive?

Returning from the site's facilities (a year round johnny-on-the-spot that wore the scars of 365-days with some sick pride), I took a detour back to the conference nook. I found a memorandum stapled to the wall.

To the best of my recollection.

All Tow Personnel,

We must stress that no auto impoundment facility employee is to inform, direct, or ,in any way, suggest that customers can request to have their vehicle towed-out of the facility.

This small loophole that allows any vehicle not bearing a City Sticker the due right to have their vehicle removed from our lock site without paying for any tickets, storage, and tow fees is one that we do not want to see exploited.

Furthermore, if the vehicle does have a City Sticker, and that sticker is expired, the owner of the vehicle also reserves the right to have their car towed out from the facility. Again, the motorist would not have to pay for any associated fines or costs.

It's important that you not tell the customer this. We don't want them to think they're "beating the system."

Now if I were the head or tow operations, the e-mail I'd have sent out would've read, "You are not to offer advice or suggestion to any vehicle owner beyond aspects concerning payment of tow/ticket fees."

Bam! The same message was delivered without so much sensitive information being delivered.

And so begins my petition to be installed as head of tow operations.

No comments: