Students try to trick Parking Enforcement – Dog Bites Man


Students try to trick Parking Enforcement – Dog Bites Man

All heck is breaking loose over at the C-Park L list server. Andy tells me that more people have commented on this one problem than any he has seen. What is it? Lack of Space? Poor enforcement? Student rioting? Nope – Someone came in and paid their parking ticket in pennies. Yep – Pennies.

The question was “how to handle this problem.” The answers ranged from “check with the Bureau of Printing and Engraving,” to “make him pay in rolls,” to “we only accept checks and credit cards,” to “make him stand there while you count them, one by one.”

I know I’m old fashioned, and believe that the customer is always right so none of these seem acceptable to me. First, why did this fellow do this in the first place? He was angry and wanted attention. I’m sure it took him a lot of energy to round up 2500 pennies. And they are heavy. He must really have a burr under his saddle.

Why not deburr him by simply smiling and taking then pennies and giving him a receipt? Thank you very much, have a nice day. That’s it. Once people know that they can’t get your goat, they will stop trying. Plus its great service. And service should be what we are all about.

Then, send out for pizzas and have the staff roll the pennies in the back room, take them to the bank, and forget about it. Good grief – how often is this going to happen anyway. If your staff knows they are going to get free pizzas, they may cause it to happen.

Or maybe you could take the pennies, put em in a jar, and have a contest and give away a semester’s free parking to the winner…Students particularly want to do things that are a tad crazy (put the dean’s car in his office, run unmentionables up the flag pole). Why not be a little crazy too?

They will hear about the pizza party, realize that they can’t get your goat, and most likely that will be the end of it.

Boola Boola Boola


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. 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 an counts it there.
    How do you know that all of the fine is being paid with 2,500 pennies? Is it fair to all that they can pay less then the full amount?
    Go to McDonalds and try to pay for a happy meal with a $100 bill? Wont happen.
    This practice from the outside lookstrivial 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.

  2. We had a similar incident here, except instead of coins we got 45 cheques ranging from 7 cents to $4.44 – and bunches of coins cellotaped together – to pay for $200 ticket. The processing of this is more than the hassle of counting coins as there are additional charges per cheque at the bank.
    Anyway, my point is the staff were shocked, but I managed to turn it around and we had a “team bonding session” unwrapping the coins and counting the cheques and thinking of ways we could “get him back” – with all of us knowing that in the end we would just take the money and bank it.
    The luxury we have is that this does not happen often enough for us to have to enforce our policy of not accepting more than $5 worth of coins.
    But even if we did want to – we have had instances where someone walks in drops a bag of coins and is gone before we can “serve” them. There is no point in following this up and getting them to come back and take the coins away – we don’t want that type of customer in our place -again!

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