I took my kids to the movie theater in downtown Stockton,Ca. Since I dont often go to the movies
I hadnt parked in this complex too often; but I remembered always having a spot to park as well as decent customer service upon exit. I pulled into the structure at 130 N. Hunter Street Stockton, CA. 95202 in the later afternoon. When I pulled in there was a steady stream of vehicles attempting to exit the premises as well as a steady line attempting to
enter. Since there was such a large line I was not able to read all of the signs that were on the attendants station as
I drove in. I collected my ticket and parked on the second floor.
When the movie was over I attempted to have a portion of the parking fee validated by the theater.
The theater manager informed me that they no longer accept validation from the theater and that we should use a different structure. Since it was only a small portion I didn't fret and headed toward my vehicle.
On the northwest corner of the structure are the elevators. In front of the elevators is machine that allows one to pay for parking. This machine read on the LCD display that it is OUT OF ORDER. Thinking that this was unfortunate, as it
seems much easier for all parties involved, I headed up the stairs to the second floor. When leaving my space I
was greeted with a lengthy line to exit as I had noticed on the way in; though the line moved relatively quickly. While
in line I can see the sign that has been modified from its original form to read WE VALIDATE 0 HOURS (the zero being placed over a number that was previously posted on the sign). This would have been nice to know before parking or is this just a tactic to deliberately inform when it is already too late since this sign is only viewable as you are exiting?
When I got to the attendant I saw the sign that read Cash Only and goes on to say that they dont accept checks, credit, debit,etc. I informed the attendant that I didn't have any cash and that I tried to pay at the machine in the front. He informed me that the machine was out of order and asked if I had a bank close by.
I informed him that I did not but that there are a few ATMs in the area. He said I could get cash and come
back but I would have to leave my drivers license as collateral. Asking if there was any other option he told
me know and I handed him my license. I proceeded to the closest bank which charged me $4.00 to pull out cash to pay a
$5.00 bill. I headed back to the parking garage and walked up to the attendant window.
With my kids standing on the island and me at the attendants window I informed one of the two gentleman that I was here to pay my bill and pickup my license.
While making change I let the gentleman know that you should use something other than a drivers license as collateral since it is sending someone off in a car (deliberately) without a license. I also informed him that driving without a license is not a ticket that I would want to be part of and that he probably didn't want to put people in the situation that could possibly cause such a violation. The gentleman informed me that it wouldn't matter as all you need to know is your drivers license number
and that will suffice. I informed him that this was not the case and that he isn't the person to make that decision
for those that enter and leave the garage. He continued to tell me how incorrect I was and that it makes no
difference, I continued to argue my point and explain that certain liabilities could come about if you continue to practice in this manner. In case you are unfamiliar with California law I have attached the two sections that pertain to this matter; vehicle codes VC 12500 and VC 12951.
Since I was getting nowhere and he was not willing to give in or apologize or say that it is something that can be discussed with management, or anything of the sort I asked for my change. While asking for my change I also asked for a
receipt, for which he informs me that You dont get one. He then informed me that receipts are printed when you leave and that I had already left.
Here we go again. Another meaningless argument for no reason other than to argue about a receipt. I informed the gentleman that it was his duty to give a customer a receipt for services rendered. He again told me that I already left so I dont get one. I let him know that the receipt should be provided upon payment of services as I am doing right now, not for just leaving a building. He continued to tell me that I dont get one until he realized that I wasn't going anywhere without a receipt. The gentleman then tells the attendant next to him to write out a manual receipt; which he does. I thanked both gentleman and headed on my way.
When I turned around I saw that there were now 5-6 cars in the street waiting for me to move. I know that the gentleman was focused on winning an argument with me but he didn't have to do so at the expense of all of the people in the street waiting to utilize the facility. Writing out a receipt in the first place would have alleviated much of this line that had accumulated.
I come from a customer service background. I come from an environment where the belief is that the customers you have are your life blood and you do everything in your power to make them happy, and happy to return. That; each transaction is a reflection of your companies collective training and vision of service excellence. I dont believe that the customer is always right, but I do believe that the customer is always entitled to their opinion and also entitled to share their opinion. I believe that when the customer ultimately shares this opinion it will be more with their pocketbook and less with their pen. I have the hope that this is an isolated incident and I am encouraged by the first three of your companys core values. Maybe this individual hasn't been trained in your core values yet.
I am aware of the issues with this parking garage, Wells Fargo, and the City of Stockton. I am aware that we all have challenges but never should those challenges affect the treatment of customers. Maybe your company sees it as just another contract to run a parking garage. But what your company does on a daily basis is deal with people. People that are customers. Those people driving in and out might not be the people that are signing the large contracts with companies like Wells Fargo and LAX but they are the ones that see your company on a day to day basis and they are the ones that generate the revenue.