If it Bleeds, It Leads


If it Bleeds, It Leads

West Palm Beach TV reports that booting companies are hitting cars in honor box lots and booting cars that have paid. Read about it here.

Mark writes:

Don’t have any first hand knowledge of this particular situation, but once again the parking business gets a black eye in the press.  Why don’t they ever publicize the positive things we do, like the thousands of $’s of parking we give away on a daily basis to charitable or civic groups, or change a customers flat tire in the rain, or stand alongside someone for an hour or more waiting for a locksmith because they locked their keys in the car? Maybe we need to start a Parking PR group who’s only job is to issue press releases every time someone in the industry does something good.

Come on Mark =- If it bleeds it leads. No one wants to read about the parking attendant who was a good guy, they want to read about the ax murderer that worked on “P2” or about how customers were cheated, or how valets took cars on a joy ride.

The IPI has a program called “Parking Matters” that is trying to spread the good word. I wish them all the luck in the world. When they presented at the BOMA show, 15 people showed up to hear the speakers (one was me.) By the way, the speakers did an excellent job telling these building managers how to keep their parking operators from stealing from them.

The problem is that one screw up erases a year of good works. Look at the Catholic Church if you want an example. No mention of the thousands of schools in poor countries or the wonderful hospitals they run world wide. But an “allegation” that a priest may have done something with a teenage boy and all hell breaks loose. Such is the way of the media.

There is no win for the parking industry, however there are things we can do.

  1. Check our policies – be sure that we aren’t setting rules that shoot us in the foot (Writing tickets in the minute that the “free parking” time is up, having citations that are challenged automatically denied, etc etc etc)
  2. In my business the customer is always right, in the parking business the customer is almost always wrong.
  3. Pay managers enough so we can get people who can make decisions that make sense and that protect our image as well as our incomes.
  4. Train, train, train. Our parking staffs must be consumer centric, particularly in municipal and airport settings parkers should be considered customers, not people to be cited and towed.

You get the point – To change our image, we have to change it from within. One “toys for tickets” program at Christmas doesn’t erase the bad taste in the mouth of the person whose car was towed one minute after his meter expired.


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John Van Horn

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