I drove my girlfriend to work around 8 AM this morning. 8:15 AM, Feeling a bit parched, stopped for coffee at Crazy Mocha on Ellsworth. Came out at about 8:45, and was immediately confronted by an angry parking-lot attendant in red jacket.
"You owe me $3.
"What are you talking about?"
"This is private parking."
"There's no sign, no fare schedule. No indication that this is even private parking? I come here all the time, and have never been charged! I don't want to cause a problem, but..."
"Look, you ain't causing a problem unless you don't pay. Otherwise, I got your plates, and I'll send them up to the judge and send you a summons. Then it's your problem, not mine!"
At this point, I've been angrily confronted about a situation I didn't even know about. Throw in a threat, and I feel obligated to respond.
"Maybe we can work this out. I don't have any cash on me right now. I apologize."
"Work it out with the judge."
"Who is the property manager here?"
"I have a contract, I'm the boss."
"That's not what I asked. Who owns and manages this building?" Read: The owner of a multi-million dollar commercial development in the heart of Shadyside doen't mill around parking lots in a flourescent jacket.
"Blah Blahstein Real Estate, third floor."
I go up and argue with this secretary who thinks I'm just trying to dodge paying three dollars. I say, "My coffee cost more than the parking, I have no problem with that. I have a problem with a confrontational parking guy demanding I pay money for a space with no sign-age, no rates." She tells me his sign was stolen (imagine that, someone stole the jerk's sign?) Then she runs into the whole, 'he's just trying to make some coin, this is his livelihood, you should have known it's private parking, never park here again,' rigamaroll. Everything in that guilt omelette.
I don't care.
Upon getting outside, they agree to let me go free. Only then do I offer to pay. They haughtily refuse. Guy gets on his moral high-horse about it and turns down my $3. A great moral wrong had been committed in his mind... I refused to pay for parking! There I am, black turtleneck, coat, representative for every freeloading hipster that has ever skipped out on his lot without paying! This is his whole life, this shitty slice of asphalt, and I trumped him on it. I just shit, and didn't flush!
Either way, don't treat me like shit pre 9AM.