The Amateur Parker Ö

New Yearís Resolutions for the Parking Industry

January, 2009

By Melissa Bean Sterzick

The holidays are over, and my good will toward man, woman and child has been dimmed by office parties, mountains of gifts to wrap, heavy meals to prepare, and major traffic.
Itís a good thing Christmas comes only once a year because as of Jan. 1, I donít care if I ever see another twinkle light, jingle bell or cheese ball again. It will take me three months to lose the weight I gained, and nine more to regain my ability to display good cheer at optimum levels.
Naturally, itís time to talk about goals for this year.
Iím not one of those super-cool people who reject the idea of New Yearís resolutions with a shrug and a smug ďOh, I make goals all year. Iím so organized, motivated, psychologically healthy and confident I donít have to make empty promises to be and achieve all I ever dreamed possible, blah, blah, blah ...Ē
Whatís wrong with an empty promise, as long as youíve made it only to yourself? The idea of following up a gluttonous December with a list of totally overstated intentions is great. Itís kind of like having cheesecake with a carrot chaser.
Who are we kidding? Even the manager at the gym you just joined knows half the people he signs up during the first weeks of the new year will lose their resolve before their new shoes stop squeaking.
Based on what Iíve just written, my New Yearís resolutions should be obvious: gym, carrots, attitude adjustment, more carrots.
And what about resolutions for people in the parking industry? Take them with a grain of salt, but here are a few suggestions
Resolution 1: Clean up
I have a power sprayer that would come in handy at several parking structures Iíve been in recently. Iíve read that water is concreteís worst enemy, so maybe thatís not the best solution. But do something! For your customersí sakes, get out and wipe those layers of grime off your walls, signs and walkways. We canít read those old lame signs if theyíre covered with sludge. We donít like sticking to the ground as we walk through your lot; petrified gum is not the new trend in industrial floor coverings. While youíre at it, get new signs entirely. And new lights and maybe new reflective vests. Go crazy.
Resolution 2: How about a little regulation?
What Iíd like to see is something my American upbringing has conditioned me to expect with unabashed entitlement: regulation. Parking would be easier for me if the technology and conditions were more predictable. Everywhere I go, the meters are different, the ticket machines are different, the garages are operated and maintained differently, the terms are different, and my comfort level is simultaneously supported and threatened.
Resolution 3: Make it illegal to leave your dog in a parked car.
Dogs in parked cars are just one of my many pet peeves, pun intended. Iím not a member of PETA or a dog lover of any kind. I happen to be part of the minority who think people are people and animals are animals and thatís nonnegotiable. Iíve actually been told that not loving dogs means I must be a really bad person, and I think thatís just plain rude. I donít have a dog myself, so the only dogs I interact with are the ones taking a potty break on my lawn. And that makes me want to get out my power sprayer and give Cooper a good scare. (Maybe I should I add anger management to my list of resolutions.)
Iíve met dog owners who spend thousands on medical care for their dogs, buy them Prozac when theyíre depressed, dress them in little fur-collared sweaters, and feed them so much they can hardly walk. They insist these animals are their babies. What I canít figure is how they feel comfortable leaving their baby in the car while they shop at Costco. Iím not totally heartless, so I feel a little concern for these poor canines on hot or cold days. But I feel more concern for myself. Iím the innocent shopper who nearly has a heart attack when these mutts get bored and start lunging and growling at everyone who walks by.
Resolution 4: Destroy the evidence.
Iím talking to the valet who parked my car recently. I think you drove my car around because I found a Taco Bell receipt on the floor and my radio was tuned to Latin rock at the highest volume possible. I canít be 100 percent sure, but the evidence points to a joy ride. If integrity is not an option, next time cover your tracks and I will be blissfully unaware.
Resolution 5: Pat yourselves on the back.
Itís a dog-eat-dog world (not literally, but I wish), and you are doing a standup job. Thereís always room for improvement, but your list of successes is probably a lot longer than your list of failures. Congratulate yourself for being part of an industry that helps make the whole world go Ďround.
Happy New Year.

Melissa Bean Sterzick is PTís amateur parker and proofreader.
She can be reached at Melissa@parkingtoday.com.