JVH Gets in the Neck – Again


JVH Gets in the Neck – Again

I bring this comment to my post on students below out into the sunlight…

John- I respectfully disagree. We receive loose change, over $5, at least once a week. It is usually thrown down on the counter, bouncing everywhere. It is demoralizing to the staff members that have to deal with this behavior. Our bank will not take it unless its rolled ,so why should we? People who act like this should not be embraced.

Bottom line is that I am not denying the method of payment but rather the behavior and attitude of someone who broke a rule and is mad that they got caught. We do, on occasion, if customer comes in and counts it there.

How do you know that the entire fine is being paid with 2,500 pennies? Is it fair to all that they can pay less than the full amount?

Go to McDonalds and try to pay for a happy meal with a $100 bill? Won’t happen.

This practice from the outside looks trivial and much to do about nothing, but stand behind the counter when this happens and look into the face of your staff , then let me know what your thoughts are.

Oh, please, I pay for my big Mac all the time with quarters, dimes and pennies. No one starts WWIII over it. They smile, take the change, and are happy I’m there. As for $100 bill, they certainly take them at Costco and my supermarket and places where people pay for things costing a lot, you know, like parking fines.

That is the question, how do we “fix” the behavior and attitude of students that are caught doing bad things? I simply don’t think the solution is to give back in kind. I have always thought that the best way to deflect bad behavior is with good behavior. Students expect parking folks to be nasty, by the rule, bureaucrats. And we parking folks do our best to live up to their expectations.

As for the counting, get a scale and weigh the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters if it’s a big deal. You don’t have to count them one penny at a time. We are in the service business, and as such, we should provide a service. And provide it with a smile. This is a major problem for our industry. We are in an adversarial situation from the git go. We need to tone down the rhetoric.

I’m just saying that if we could treat our customers like they are customers, and not criminals, perhaps they would return that treatment in kind. Would it work every time, of course not? Are some people born jerks? Of course they are.

My solution may not be the best one, but I think this is a topic that needs airing. How do we treat our customers, and how do we diffuse difficult situations, and how do we handle our staff after they have been spat upon.

I think five sessions at this IPI talking about this would do more for Parking PR than anything else we do.



Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

3 Responses

  1. John- You missed the point. Try walking into McDonalds and throw your quarters on the counter and demand your big mac…see how that ends up.
    Our entire industry is based on how we treat bad behavior. By your logic, returning bad behavior with good, it deems that we must always smile and have good behavior regardless of what the actions are. Your logic would dictate that if I saw a car in violation(bad behavior) that I should find the car and tell them to please move it, all with a smile(good behavior, with a smile). No citation can be issued because I cannot hold them to any standards, because after all, I am in the service industry and the “customer is ALWAYS right”. It does not work that way on the street.
    People who pay with pennies have taken the extra step to be overly defiant. It’s a calculated move, and a move that I will not tolerate.
    You are correct in one way, how I handle the situation AFTER I have deemed a customers behavior as innappropriate would be a great topic for discussion at IPI.
    My “service” is creating a healthy parking environment for my town, not to have “jerks” come in and treat my staff that way.
    I am curious, short of physical violence, what kind of bad behavior would be severe enough for you to change your behavior back?

  2. i think the problem here is that you can’t ‘fix’ other people’s behavior – it doesn’t matter what you do – accepting the pennies or denying the payment. either way, the customer is determined to be a jerk and is pleased with their own inappropriate behavior.
    we have accepted penny payments and we make the customer wait while we count it in a coin counter. It’s not a long wait, but when the customer realizes it’s not a pain for us to count the coins and that we aren’t really annoyed, it takes the air out of them. if we didn’t have a coin counter, we would only take rolled coins. it’s really a matter of time and resources. a customer who goes out of their way to be a jerk is not going to be won over by world-class customer service.

  3. Parking enforcement brings out the worst in many drivers and presents the “enforcer” with a challenge. I will not tolerate my staff being abused to the point of being distressed and threatened for doing their job.
    On the other hand, I will not let some “jerk’ decide what sort of day I’m going to have either. I tend to agree with CCP, and come back all nice and friendly as I painstakingly and carefully count out the coins. It works some times.
    Here in a big hospital car park, parking staff are often seen as the garbage cans for other people’s trash when things go wrong in the hospital.
    A patient who has waited 3 hours to be seen for a 10 minute appointment resents paying the three hour fee and often tells and shows us how angry he is. It is the environment we work in and we have to learn to live safely within it.

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