Dear Parking Guru,
Love your posts, website, book, and app. I’ve saved a lot of grief and $$$ over the last few years by being clued in. So, thanks. I have a non-specific question for you. What are some of the latest and greatest parking tricks that you know of?
Thanks for the kind words. Writing this blog is a total blast for me. I’ll tell you my favorite tricks in four different categories. Three are parking related and one is coffee related.
Best Trick by a DPT Officer:
You’re parked in a two-hour zone. You check to see if you have chalk on your tires. You do. You wipe it off. Really well. Two more hours of free parking for you! You come out to check your tires again in an hour and 50 minutes. You got a ticket for parking over the time limit an hour ago. What happened?
What happened was that the DPT officer chalked your tires, and also entered your license plate into an electronic device and logged you as being parked on that block at that time. The chalk was just a decoy for all of the chalk wipers (which, if caught doing, is actually a ticketable offense). I met the only DPT officer that I know of who does this. She says it breaks up the monotony to play cat and mouse.
Best Trick by a Parking Ticket Recipient:
Upon returning to his car, the driver sees a ticket. Damn. He finds all sorts of reasons why this is unfair. "I'm not wasting 72 of my hard-earned dollars." He then finds a similar make and model vehicle, preferably in a similarly parked situation, and puts his ticket on that vehicle’s windshield, hoping that the unsuspecting person won't read the ticket completely or doesn’t have a clue as to what their license plate number is, and will pay his ticket for him. Before 21 days is up, he checks to see if the ticket has been paid. Worst case scenario is he pays the ticket. The best case scenario is that someone else paid the ticket for him. I don't condone this, but you'd be surprised how many people fall for this trick. Can you be sure that you haven't? Do you know your license plate number?
Best Creative Trick to Pull on a DPT Officer to Avoid a Ticket:
In the days of yore, on street-sweeping days, once the street sweeper came by and did its thing, you could safely park on that street even if the no parking times were still in effect. No more. Once the street sweeper comes around these days, there is often times a latent DPT officer who catches the people who live their lives by logic and who assume that it is safe to park on the recently swept street, even though the sign says there is one hour remaining on the prohibited time period. So what’s the trick?
Certain sneaky people play a cat and mouse game of their own with DPT. The latent DPT officers who come around half an hour after the sweeper just look for the cars that don’t have tickets on them, and make sure they get one. A very fast and efficient method. The tricksters take a blank envelope, or better yet an old (or recent) DPT envelope and put it on their windshield or in the door to make it look like they already received a ticket, thereby improving their chances of avoiding one. They are betting that the DPT officer won’t get out of the vehicle to check that every ticket issued is valid.
Best Creative Trick in the Miscellaneous Category:
It’s a little early to talk about April Fool's Day. On the other hand, in order to pull off a really great April Fool’s joke, you have to think about it for a little while beforehand. The best April Fool’s trick I (and many of my neighbors) have ever fallen victim to was pulled off by Roger Farley at Farley’s Coffee Shop on Potrero Hill. As people groggily strolled down the street to get their morning coffee and got close to the steps of Farley’s, they began to feel disoriented.
“This can’t be right. This is a Starbucks. WTF is going on? Where the hell am I? Have I been roofied? What in the name of Moby Dick is going on here?”
At 5 am on April first a few years back, Roger Farley covered the sign of his long-time, local neighborhood coffee shop with a Starbucks sign. The normally stenciled white paper cups were Starbucks cups. The workers all had on Starbucks aprons. And every 10 minutes or so that morning, there was muffled (and un-muffled) outrage expressed, along with talk of revolution and anarchy. Roger told the customers Starbucks made him an offer he couldn’t refuse....then he asked the disappointed customers if they knew what the date was.
As a reward for reading the whole post, you are invited to try the new free (for now) version of VoicePark, the app that guides you by voice to the closest available on or off-street parking spot, click here. To learn more parking (and coffee shop) tips, tricks, and secrets, click here.
Dear Parking Guru,