Off the Record


Off the Record

As I mentioned before, I spoke to someone at VISA who actually was clear and concise about what the upcoming migration to chip cards (EMV) means to the parking industry, both to the vendors and to the organizations that actually accept credit cards. He also told me that he couldn’t speak ‘on the record’.  I figured that since he didn’t mince words, told the truth, and was clear.  Almost exactly the opposite of those who CAN speak ‘on the record.’ He promised to get me the name of someone who could.

I think that this all goes back to our litigious society.  VISA is afraid of being sued, so they limit the amount of information available to the public. After it has been cleansed, edited, approved by legal, the release is basically useless.  VISA isn’t alone.  Fear is rampant in boardrooms across the fruited plain.  A slip of the tongue and millions in liability money could change hands. Quotes also have political ramifications.

Wherever I go, I get it. “Is this off the record?”  Last Friday I had some adult beverages with a group of friends from the industry. I asked a question. The first words were “is this off the record.” Sigh –

I was interviewing the parking manager for a medium size city a couple of years ago.  I asked him whether the policy of the city in setting rates and enforcement rules was based on protecting the parking resource or to generate money. He said “On the record or off the record?”

I said on the record:  He said – “Of course we set policy to protect the resource, to have as many spaces available to the public and to support our merchants. Parking is extremely important not only to individual drivers, but also to business in our community. I can’t say enough about how the mayor and the city council have been working to make our city ‘parking centric.”

I then said “off the record:”  “Are you nuts, of course we set policy to maximize revenue. We are constantly looking for money for the general fund and parking is a cash cow.”

Hmmmm   Interesting different approach, on or off the record. Which one do you think was the truth and not BS.

Unfortunately journalists need to keep the faith. If we didn’t, no one would talk to us more than once.


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John Van Horn

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