It’s bad enough having to fork out stupid amounts of money for parking in city centres these days.
It’s a struggle in itself to even find parking in cities and towns, let alone finding the damned machine that wants all your hard earned money!!
I’m not moaning about the lack of parking today though, I understand parking spaces can’t just appear out of nowhere in a world of concrete. Today I’m having to rant about the aforementioned ticket machines… Those evil, evil ticket machines…
Here’s how the story unfolded…
Just the other week I was parked in the city centre at my mates flat. I’ve often parked there before, and as usuall a parking fee is needed between 8-6.
My friend Marie also had her car parked outside the flat, so both of us had to do the inevitable… set our alarms for 7.50am (after a night of cocktails!) and somehow find the energy to throw some change into the machines for 3 hours of parking… meaning an extra 3 hours of sleep!
7.50am… the phones start ringing… oh god… is that the time already?!
So, we throw our boots and jackets on over our sexy jammies (ha!) and somehow manage to drag ourselves downstairs in a haze and find ourselves outside… the early morning traffic whizzing by… joined by a cold breeze to help wake us up – not so welcome as you can imagine!
Seeing as the machine only took change, I had to mission it to the corner shop to break my tenner. Marie, however, had her change ready to throw in and go…
Here is where Problem No.1 came around…
It wasn’t just a case of slipping the coins into the machine, I actually had to use my car key to push the pennies in… that doesn’t seem right surely?! I had used this machine in the past, and I never had to physically poke the coins in!!
Three pound coins later… the button is pushed for the ticket to spit out… No f**king ticket.
Where is this ticket to show for her money?! Nowhere of course!
The lovely council machine decided at this time in the morning it couldn’t be assed to be kind enough to give us a ticket in return for her three gold coins. Well you can just bugger off then!
So off we head to the corner shop to break my ten, and unfortunately break Marie’s ten as well…
Job done, we go on the hunt for another machine.
Ah-ha! We find one just around the corner… where I decide to test it out with my coins…
This time the coins roll in as you’d imagine with great ease. So far so good! I press the green button to receive my ticket… YAY! I have a ticket!!
Wait a second… Problem No.2… I briefly look over my ticket to find the time given under “PAID TILL” is one minute from the time I just put my money in!! Where’s the sense in that?!
I’m not kidding… we looked over this ticket 10 times over to make sure I wasn’t seeing things! I popped my money into the machine at precisely 8.09am (as said on the machine) and the ticket that was printed said my parking was valid till 8.10am the same day!
What the…. !?!?!?!!?!?!
We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!!
This should of been a quick and simple mission of a £3 ticket and a Bob’s your uncle job in 5 minutes! But of course not when it comes to council parking tickets!!
So, armed with only a £5 note, I have to yet again break my cash for more money for the council to steal off me!
And might I ask, where does this money go? Is it into the pockets of the hard working council men? Cause I must say, every time I pass council men “at work”…. they all appear to be congregating around some telephone wire or pot hole, questioning how to solve the problem!! Hmmm…
Anyways, we then have the challenge of finding ANOTHER machine in the hope that this is 3rd time lucky. God help us!
You’ll be glad to know another £6 later we DID get our tickets… with the correct times… from a machine that DID actually work correctly.
I swear, if that was me trying to park before work, I’d be one very p**sed off member of the public!
And that’s exactly what I still am!
We both ended up paying double what we should have in the first place. I’m close to making a complaint to the council purely because they could of easily placed a sign over the machine saying it wasn’t working… really… how hard can that be?!
I’m sure we’re not the only people who have come across this problem on this particular street… and it makes me wonder how many more throughout the city (and more across the country) are currently faulty. It’s a never ending vicious cycle!
Anyways… the next time I park in the city between 8 and 6pm… I’ll perhaps think again!