Parking Lot Drama

I appreciate the show ” The Office” so much more now that I work in a  real-life office. Sometimes things happen here and I think to myself, “That would totally happen on ‘The Office'”.

For example: our entire parking lot can fit, like,10 cars comfortably. Okay, slight exaggeration but it’s SMALL. Since we live in a city where it snows nine months out of the year, we all drive monstrous SUVs. Teeny parking lot + lots of huge SUVs= cramped space. Everyone is assigned his/her own parking space, but if someone accidentally parks his monster truck a little too far to the left, then your space is gone and you’re screwed. Then you have to take someone else’s space. Then they take someone else’s space, and the madness continues. God forbid someone has a guest that they allow to park in the parking lot. Then the guest takes someone’s space and all kinds of chaos, panic and disorder break out.

People get pretty touchy about their parking spaces. Probably because they are a hot commodity. You never know when you will pull into the parking lot to find that some scoundrel is in your space, and then you have to park under the bridge right where all the homeless people have set up shop. When that happens, you know it’s going to be a REALLY bad day.

The other bad thing that can happen is this: some of the spots have to block each other in. If you get bumped from your normal spot and have to park in a spot where you can get blocked in, then you run the risk of getting blocked in by someone who stays late. If you know who the car belongs to it’s fine, because you can ask them to move. If you don’t, then it’s bad. You can spend 20 minutes searching for the car owner, all so you can drive somewhere to get a sandwich or run an errand. Also, we share the parking lot with the building next door so it might not even be one of your own people blocking you in! The horror!

Usually when someone steals a parking spot, our poor office manager (who handles the parking situation) has to deal with the aftermath. The person who was robbed of a spot storms in to the office manager, offers a description of the spot thief’s vehicle and then stands there, expecting her to do something. Sometimes she knows whose car it is, sometimes she does not. Usually she will offer a suggestion about where else you can park. I have been known to whine to our office manager too, but then I realized what a thankless task being the parking lot manager is so I just leave her alone unless it’s a true emergency. She’s hilarious though, so she takes it in stride. Thank God, because if that were my job I would probably just start slapping people and/or towing cars. Patience is not something I have an abundance of.

The latest fun and exciting parking lot problem has been a seemingly endless string of car break-ins. It’s been going on ever since we moved into this building, but it gets particularly bad when it stops being -20 degrees outside every day.  Our parking lot/building itself is not in a bad area, but it borders a bad area, thus we get stragglers who walk down from the bad area to break into cars. Lucky us. I had my car broken into a few years ago. They smashed my window with a brick and made off with a bunch of my empty cd cases. I was incredibly pissed.  If you’re going to force me to pay hundreds of dollars to repair a window, make it worth my while. You stole a bunch of plastic. If you wanted a bunch of plastic CD cases, I would have left them on the hood of my car for you.

To combat our problem, we have installed security cameras on our building. We’ve actually caught several break-ins on tape. I watched the footage and it is unbelievably creepy. While watching one break-in, we saw some scumbag crawling around in his puffy copper-colored jacket in my co-worker’s car. He takes my co-worker’s stuff, and then just casually saunters off back towards the bad part of town. I couldn’t believe how long this low-life was in my co-worker’s car. It was a solid couple of minutes. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but someone could have walked out at any time, and the dude was literally in the backseat of this guy’s car.

We submitted the surveillance video to the police. Not sure how much they can do. They probably aren’t going to go door-to-door looking for this guy and his puffer jacket.

I suggested to my father, the inventor of toaster strudel (not really, but I wanted to drop a “Mean Girls” line), that we invest in an official company sniper. He didn’t hate the idea. I don’t condone violence, but these break-ins are getting out of control. We literally have two a week. Some even happen during the day! Stop the madness!

Some of my other co-workers want to start a company militia. They want to do a stake-out in the parking lot, and then ambush the next robber who breaks into a car. This is a great idea until the robber has a gun. Then not such a great idea. I advised against this plan. We actually probably should invest in a security guard, but it would probably be a waste of money because for 22 hours out of the day he would just be sitting there. Great job for him though.

Because of all of this parking lot madness, my parents bought me pink pepper spray. Every night, when I walk to my car, I unlock the spray and am ready to attack any shady characters I may encounter. People laugh at me when they see pink pepper spray hanging off my key chain, but you really can never be too careful. Seriously. My pepper spray looks like this:

This post became a buzz-kill very quickly, but I just want to keep everyone safe. I’m sure your mom has told you this a million times BUT: don’t talk on your phone while walking to your car. Don’t be distracted. Have your keys in hand. Check your backseat before you get in (to make sure no one is hiding out). Don’t walk alone at night if you can avoid it. I watch a lot of crime shows, so I’ve learned a thing or two.  And if you see a guy in a copper-colored jacket wearing a black ski hat, kick his ass for me.

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  1. […] when there was a police officer sitting in our lobby before 10 a.m. Remember when I told you our parking lot was a haven for break-ins and neighborhood criminals? Well yesterday I witnessed that first-hand. Here’s how it went down, including the part where […]

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