Downtown girl, that’s me.
Always have loved going downtown. Any downtown. Like the pace, the action, the people, the traffic. So when I gather up some girlfriends for happy hour or dinner, it’s not unusual for me to suggest downtown.
That’s exactly what we did Monday night. And then, as the Music Man predicted, we got trouble, right here in River City. With a capital “T”
That rhymes with “P”
And that stands for…parking meter.
Here I am, the one who loudly and confidantly discounts anyone’s protests of parking downtown. It’s easy, I say, in Sundance Square.
Park on the street, valet park, whatever, but it’s a no-brainer.
Well, I have a new appreciation for my friends’ apprehension. The City of Fort Worth now has parking meters where you have to push which spot you’d like to pay for. You have to figure out whether you’re in spot “A,” “B” or “C.” That was easy, like I said. But then when I started stuffing quarters and dimes down its long throat, the minutes–21 of them I saw once–started being replaced by double “Es.”
No worries, I think while still in confidant mode. There’s a phone number conveniently placed right on the meter to report any problems. So I dial it, humming happily along that Fort Worth so smartly has a way to deal with these little malfunctions that happen from time to time.
I’m asked if I want Spanish. I’m put on hold. For a l-o-n-g time. And then I get Ms. Charm on the line. No one, she says, who can handle this is still at the office. Did I mention it was before 5 p.m., and the parking meters want to be fed right up until 6 p.m.? No, she can’t get me back my lost quarters. “No refunds,” she says, all business. And no, she can’t make sure I don’t get a ticket.
What I need to do, she says, is move my car.
So let me get this straight, Fort Worth. I can plug quarters into your parking meters, use my cell phone minutes to report your problems, not get credit for the money I spent, be told I won’t get a refund, be told to move my car and let the next unsuspecting driver deposit more quarters into a non-working parking meter no one will fix. Is that right, Fort Worth?
I’m thinking the downtown restaurants, movie theaters, banks and stores might not like this unfriendly attitude. We drivers might just decide to drive our cars to a shopping center with no parking problems.
Let me give you two more letters, Fort Worth. P.R. Public relations, and you’re woefully lacking.