August 11, 2008 10:02 am

Parking Spot Theif

Yesterday, Daniel and I got the wild idea to to grocery shopping at Safeway. We generally shop at Fred Meyer because it’s the closest, but the Safeway is accessible by public transit even though it’s farther away, and, well, we wanted bulk candy. Hee.

We hopped on our public transit method of choice only to realize one stop later that it was one of the “docking” ones, which means that it returns to its garage instead of continuing on the route. Daniel suggested we try out our new Zipcar membership, and I agreed – it seemed fun. Plus, it’d mean we’d have a CAR for grocery shopping, and who knows how much stuff we could buy.

We reserved the car by phone and walked over to pick it up. Zipcars are parked all over the city, so they are super easy to find. We had an uneventful yet fun shopping trip (I had forgotten how much I love Safeway) and drove back to where we picked up the car.

As we pulled up to the intersection, I thought, “Hey, that white car looks like it’s… WHAT?” Someone had stolen our parking spot! Zipcars have designated parking spots around the city that only Zipcars can park in. It’s supposed to be a perk of using the service – you always have a guaranteed spot to come back to, so no hunting down on-street parking. But someone had stolen ours!

We referred to the handy-dandy Zipcar Co-Pilot pamphlet in the glove box to see what to do. It told us to refrain from writing “CAR DRIVERS SUCK” in mud on the window, and to just call them and they would talk you through what to do. We ended up giving them the license plate of the car and they said they would issue them a parking ticket and have them towed. Eeep! I felt bad about that, but honestly? Those spots are very well marked as being for car-share vehicles only for ALL TIMES on ALL DAYS, and since other people need to use that particular Zipcar, you can’t just park it anywhere because nobody will know where to pick it up. I can just imagine these people coming back from their fancy dinner and realizing they no longer have a car. Ugh. Sorry, whoever you are! You still should not have parked there though.

The guy on the phone instructed us to just find another on-street parking spot and they would get someone to move it back to the correct spot for us. All in all, this interaction took a total of about seven minutes, we found another parking spot easily, and got our groceries inside.

I didn’t expect to have that sort of ordeal upon returning, but the Zipcar people explained everything really well and we got it resolved quickly. I checked out the parking space this morning on my way to work and it was empty, so either the car got itself moved in time or else they got towed, and the Zipcar people hadn’t moved the car back yet.

All that for a load of groceries! (At least I saved $30 with my Safeway card.)

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  • Bobbi-lee says:

    Zipcars sound like such a great service I was intrigued I had to google it. I wonder what it would be like having them in my city.
    Too bad on the car that (may have been) towed away, but they should not have parked there.

  • Amanda says:

    I have to agree with Bobbi Lee, I’ve never heard of this Zipcar service before! It sounds awfully nifty, and definitely a good idea for inner-city living, reducing carbon emissions and the number of cars on the road, etc.

  • Cristina says:

    I’m another one who has never heard of Zipcar service. Oh the crazy things you kids have in Oregon, LOL!

  • Melissa says:

    Kentucky should have Zipcars!!!! That service sounds soooo cool! I would so sell my car and do that instead and then maybe get a bike.

    Poo on the parking spot thief…I’d feel bad for their car getting towed too but that’s what happens! Tsk tsk.

    *goes to google zipcars*