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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 4:40 am | Fair 48º


She Said, Z Said: Parking Mad at Paseo Nuevo

Absence of personal touch in parking lot drives thoughts of road rage

Z: I’m going to phrase this in the form of an SAT analogy: the new Paseo Nuevo parking lot system is to improvement as Snooki is to a classical pianist.

She: Subtle.

Z: Now I’m going to say it as nicely as I can: the new Paseo Nuevo parking system sucks, no one likes it, it’s in no way convenient, and has all the charm and personality of a Wheat Thin.

She: I thought you liked Wheat Thins?

Z: Do you remember what my least favorite thing in the world was when we lived in Los Angeles?

She: Parking lot attendants. You took a lot of your rage out on those poor guys sitting in tiny booths for eight hours a day making minimum wage. It was not an attractive quality.

Z: I know, I get it, it wasn’t their fault. But they were there. When you sit in line for 20 minutes to get out of a parking lot, and then that extra 20 costs you another $5 in parking fees, you tend to feel peevish.

She: And the guys in the booths certainly deserved to take the bulk of your wrath.

Z: But now that we’ve been back in Santa Barbara for 10 years, who are some of my favorite people in the world?

She: The parking lot attendants.

Z: They’ve got personality here. I don’t know who does the hiring for the city lots, but that guy’s got an eye for talent.

She: They are a surprisingly peppy bunch.

Z: Always with a “have a good day” or an “I love that song!”

She: And if you have to write a check because you don’t have enough cash, then you can write a check.

Z: Or give them all the change in your ash tray.

She: Good people. One time, a guy even helped me find my car.

Z: But the Paseo Nuevo system? What’s up with that?

She: It is a little confusing.

Z: The first time I saw it, I immediately started to get annoyed. I knew I’d have to hunt down the machine where you get your ticket validated. Why should I have to go hunt for a stupid validation machine?

She: So, first you have to stand in line for the machine that no one knows how to use, and then you have to go sit in line in your car and wait for all the people who didn’t get it taken care of at the machine. Not just one, but two opportunities to get ticked off.

Z: And when I got to the machine I started to stress out about how much time I had to get out of the parking lot. What if my time was right at the edge? What if I didn’t actually leave for another 10 or 15 minutes? Would I be trapped forever?

She: And having the credit-card reader right at the gate doesn’t make it easier. It just means that some people will be using that, so you’ll have to wait for them just as much or more than you would waiting for a live attendant.

Z: My poor mother got there, put her card in the wrong way, had to call someone on the Bat phone, and then forgot her receipt and still couldn’t get out.

She: The attendants couldn’t possibly be that expensive for the city. Who was clamoring for a less personal touch?

Z: Even worse? The automated attendant never goes away. I used to love that feeling of leaving a city lot at midnight, and not having to pay.

She: You’re right. I don’t get it. Paseo Nuevo is probably the parking lot with the highest percentage of tourists in the city, and this is the one that gets the charmless, annoying automated machines?

Z: The worst thing? I asked one of the machines to help find my car. It just laughed at me.

She: Yes, dear.

— Park your complaints with She and Z by e-mailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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