Sunday, May 07, 2006

C'est La Vie

"Try to love all people. Get into the habit of loving, and you will see how your life will fill with more joy and happiness."
-Leo Tolstoy

Sometimes this is a tall order. Yesterday I went and saw Mission Impossible III at the Grove in Los Angeles. When the Grove first emerged, first rose up out of an empty lot, I actually liked it. I absolutely loved the new theater with it's big cushiony seats with cupholders and comfortable armrests that could be up or down. I was in hog heaven. Over the last year, and only because of my love for the theater, I have fought off this feeling that the Grove is actually more hassle than it is worth. The Apple store is cool, the Barnes and Noble is great, Nordstom and Crate and Barrel are that I think of it, the stores aren't the problem. The problem is that everyone goes there. All the time. And trust me, it's not that cool. So I'm showing my true colors; I don't like crowds. I like having people around, but I don't like having to find the last available parking space in an enormous 7 story structure.

And so here is my problem: the parking. And you'll notice that I said, or rather typed "my problem." Yesterday I lost my parking ticket. Now everyone and their Llasa-terrier know what this pay the maximum. Which at the Grove is $19. But gentle reader, for fear that you do not know me well, let me assure you that I understand rules, and I understand why we must have them. Without a rule like that, people could park there all day, and
then "lose" their parking ticket. I get that. But as a customer who spends quite a bit of money there - or actually it's my better half who does that - I appealled to the parking management's sense of fairness by explaining my situation.

Me: I have lost my parking ticket, and understand that the policy is to pay the maximum rate. But I was hoping we could pay a lesser amount as I am not lying to you about the lost ticket.

Her: You must pay the maximum rate, which is $19.

Me: {curious why she chose to restate a policy I had just told her I understood} I understand tha ma'am. I'm asking if you can make a one-time adjustment.
I have my ticket stubs from the movie I just saw, and my wife shops here frequently, and even has a Grove number so that you can look up and see how much she spends.
[it should be noted here that we don't spend a fortune there, but a pattern can be viewed that we do spend good money there, and consistently.]

Her: I'm sorry, sir, you must pay the $19.

Me: Again, I understand that is the policy. I can pay the $19 as it will not break the bank, but I am not going to be leaving here as a happy customer, and I can find everything that is here, somehwere else.

Me: {after waiting 20 seconds for her reply, that did not come} Are you still there?

Her: You must pay the $19.

At this point I just handed over my ATM card to pay the $19. Here is where the Grove loses though. They get $19 from me yesterday, and now I will make sure that I recoup this money either by writing a letter to the management office, or by simply choosing to not shop there. It's not about the $19, it's the principle, and this is what I think flew right over this woman's head. Yes, you must have a policy like this, and yes, sometimes it may need to be enforced because there are very good liars out there. But in this case, they have lost 2 customers who on average spend more than $19.


james said...

susan did that once. the thing that sucks even more is that she found the lost ticket about a week later.

can we get a refund?

Liquid Spirit said...

i think you should buy a bullhorn, make a banner, and stand in front of the grove telling letting folks know the grove has discriminatory policies! Insist on free parking for 1-year to leave.