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Bars and towing. Grrrrr.

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  • Bars and towing. Grrrrr.

    So I had a pretty annoying Saturday night last weekend. Me and a couple friends decided to go bar hopping, and every place we checked out, bar after bar, club after club was so freaking packed that there was no parking available. After about an hour of searching, we finally gave up with only about 20 minutes to spare until last call. We decided to stop at this place called "The Grotto." Of course there was no parking, except for valet, in which the guy was a jerk, so we decided to park next door at the strip mall. Totally empty parking lot. There was a sign saying towing enforced after hours, and such. I thought, "oh well. I'm just gonna be in for a few minutes." Well, I only had time for 1 drink, last call hit, and we came right back out to the lot. Both of our cars were missing. I asked the valet guy if he could tell me what happened to my car, since he was only about 30 ft from where my car was parked. He literally turned around and walked away. This tells me that he probably ratted me out. The jerk ran inside without saying a word! I called the tow company listed on the sign, they had my car and said they couldn't bring the car back to me or anything. I had to hitch a ride halfway across town, and waited 2 hours to get my dang car.

    The real kick in the pants? The fee was $265!!! I was livid. Not only did they swoop in super fast to steal our cars, but that fee is well beyond the state limit of $88 or so. They tack on a bunch of bs fees. Only cash or debit, too. If I had waited til Monday, it would've been well over $300.

    I talked to another bartender on the other side of town who said she used to work over there. Ends up that most of these bars PURPOSELY limit their parking spaces, so you're forced to use valet or get your butt towed (in which they get a cut of). These a-hole bars have lost my business forever (not that it will make any difference). What a freakin' racket! It was my Cadillac CTS-V, too. I feel like she's been violated. I can just picture them dragging it down the highway. :(

    Has anyone had any similarly annoying experiences with shady tow truck companies/valet's?
    "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

  • #2
    Re: Bars and towing. Grrrrr.

    Heh, ironically enough warmonger, i used to be on the opposite end of your spectrum. I used to work private security (thats rent-a-cop for those who prefer layman's terminology) and my job was booting/towing. Now, this was in boulder, CO, where parking is at a premium. We were hired by every apartment complex in town and almost every strip mall to do exactly what happened to you. Personally, I had no remorse over doing my job. Nothing against you or your friends, but if you decide to ignore the big signs that say you're going to get booted/towed if you park somewhere, you kinda deserve what you get. Besides, I was getting paid ridiculously well to do the job (14 bucks an hour plus 15 bucks commission for every boot I slapped on a car), and I was carrying a gun, so yeah. On a slow night, I'd get anywhere between 5-10 boots. When CU was having a football game (perspective: 65k person stadium, 2.5k parking spaces on campus), it wasnt unusual for me to pull 40+ boots in a day. For $5k paychecks every two weeks, I was damn good at what I did. I'd get people who parked in fire lanes for 3 minutes while their cars were running with no regrets.

    But as far as some of the shady stuff goes, none of that ever happened on my end. We based what we did entirely off the contract at hand. Most places, we booted for 24 hours and pasted a huge orange sticker on the window giving the number to call to get the boot off. If the person didnt call or refused to pay past the 24 hour window, we had them towed. Anything on the back end, like bars taking a piece of the profit didnt involve us, it was entirely between the contractor and the bar. The only money we got was for boot removal, and even those fees were decided by the contractor, ranging anywhere between $50 and $150 depending on the place.

    On that note, i'm not sure how the laws work in texas, but I know in colorado that state imposed towing fee limits dont apply to private property. For instance, if you get towed off the street, the state limits the amount the tow company can charge you. But if I'm bob smith, owner and operator of bob's doohickeys, and you park in my parking lot and I have "dont park here or else" signs posted, I can have the towing company charge you a thousand bucks to get your car out of hack. Granted, most places are just going to go with whatever the towing company recommends, which is around 200-300 bucks, but again, its entirely their choice.

    So my advice to you guys out there who go bar hopping, etc: if you see a sign that says "dont park here or else" or there are no parking spots available, or you decide you can park in a fire lane because you're only going to be inside for 5 minutes, THINK TWICE. Cause for every one of you out there, theres someone out there doing the job I used to do, and if they're even half as good as I was, you're going to be paying out the wazoo to get your car moving again.

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    • #3
      Re: Bars and towing. Grrrrr.

      Interesting to hear your personal perspective on it, Ferris. I guess there's another side to the coin. However, I would've much preferred a boot and a small fee like what you said, to no warning and a a missing car. I felt like they were pulling some "Gone in 60 Seconds" crap. I'm actually less angry with the tow company, and more angry with the bars who want thousands of patrons, but only offer 10 parking spaces. That's seriously all this super popular place offered. The only available parking was across a VERY busy 45mph street. Someone is going to get hit one of these days.

      My take on it? I'm done with bar hopping on the other side of town. NOT worth it. I'll drink at home from now on. Safer, cheaper, and not nearly as frustrating.
      "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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