Is there a Federal law I missed that says if a guy in a red vest and bow-tie places an orange cone in front of a parking spot it becomes verboten? I am generally happy to follow directions etc. However, tonight I was sent to pick up a large take out dinner order and found myself circling, looking for an open spot in a parking lot (paid for, I assume, by the leases of the establishments surrounding it) with countless other cars while driving past a sea of empty spots all blocked by orange cones. There was activity at the valet stand which was using maybe 10% of the spots they had cordoned off. Don’t get me wrong, I love valet. Big supporter: easy parking – way to go – sign me up. However, tonight I was self parking and when the bow-tie “credentialed” guys cordon off enough spaces in a public lot to run a used car dealership – all empty – I had a problem. People were forced to illegally park next to handicap spaces, fire hydrants, trash bins and in the bushes all to maintain the sanctity of the “coned” spots. So tonight the rebel in me came out and I went ahead and plowed over a cone into the last spot at the end of a long line of empty spots. I think I even heard cheers from the circling motorists as I made my “bold” move.
After returning from picking up dinner, I hiked back to the end of a long line of empty “coned” spaces and sure enough the valets had blocked me in by positioning a car 6 inches off my bumper. Keep in mind, my car and this newly placed “road block” were all alone in a sea of empty asphalt. Touche! I appreciate their hutzpah. I have to admit, as frustrating as it was, part of me thought, “well done.” (Not sure how the unaware owner of the rather expensive newly deployed “road block” felt. He was probably happy having martinis and had no idea I was about to use four wheel drive to extricate myself, and that I viewed his shiny brand new and extremely expensive new car as a mere obstacle.) So I went ahead and plowed over the 8 inch curb into the bushes, back and forth a number of times. (They advertised this capability repeatedly in the brochure for my car.) I even gathered a rather supportive crowd as I tried to get out. However, short of really violating some laws, the valets had succeeded. Apparently they have done this before. So I hiked back down the long line of empty “coned” spaces, passed the circling cars looking for available parking, to the valet stand to let them know they had “accidentally” left a car behind mine. The valet saw me coming and said, “You know that is our valet spot?” I responded that I had seen no defining markings indicating the space belonged exclusively to him but that someone had errantly abandoned a parking cone there which was now lodged underneath my truck. He sized me up pretty quickly and realized that the tip paying customers were a better use of his time. I did ask who was the landlord, the name of the valet company and his manager? These are universally viewed as “pain-in-the-ass” customer questions and resulted in a quickly dispatched valet to move the abandoned car. Why not get back to the tip paying customers right? The best part was while I spoke with the valet I had a support group of folks who had not braved “the cones” offering verbal support. “I can’t believe these guys.” “Who do they think they are?” “Do they think all the spots belong to them?” I felt like I had liberated us all.
Anyway, lesson learned – plow over the cone. What the hell are they going to do?
Legal readers: I know it is private property etc, but given that you are patronizing a lessee on the property does anyone really know what the significance of an orange obstacle (read cone) means in a parking spot? Looks like if you are willing to put up with the occasional “block in” it is fair game. Anyone know? I am curious.