My car got damaged in the third-world parking lot of a local chain restaurant last night. I feel that their parking lot is not well lit, and that they have obstacles that are not clearly marked, one of which totally fucked up the front bumper of my car as I tried to pull out of a parking space. I was beyond upset- I was enraged, but I pulled myself together and went in to talk to the manager. He was a nice, respectful kid who unfortunately didn’t know how to handle the situation, so he calmly took my info and said the general manager would be in at 8:00 in the morning. Good so far.
I called at 8:05. Here’s the conversation:
Me: Hello, is this _____? Hi, I’m hoping your night manager told you about me and what happened to my car last night—
Her: Yes he told me about you—
Me: —and I was hoping to stop in this morning to discuss this with you and show you the damage to my car.
Her: Well, I’m very busy and have a lot of things to do, but if you really think it’s that important to come here- it’s just that I doubt that there’s anything we can do about your car. I understand your frustration, but our parking lot is up to code and we aren’t reliable [sic] for how people drive in it"
Me: (calmly) It doesn’t have anything to do with the way I was driving. It’s a jagged cinder block wall of some kind that I don’t feel is marked properly so that someone in their car can see it’s there and maneuver around it.
Her: (getting a li’l defensive/sarcastic) Well no one else has ever done this in 35 years since we’ve been open- it seems like no one but you has had a problem with it.
Me: Although I find it hard to believe that no one else has ever done this, I still feel that there should have been some kind of reflective or even just visible post so that as I was backing out, I could see there was an obstacle there. If it would have just been a proper curb, my tire would have hit it and I would have known to steer out differently. But it’s a jagged cement block wall that’s high enough to trash my bumper but low enough to be not visible to me.
Her: (taking an obvious shot) Well you’re supposed to check your mirrors when you back out of a parking space.
Me (taking a breath): I. checked. all. of. my. mirrors. it. was. not. visible.
Her: Then why didn’t you look on all sides of your car before you got in it?
Me: So I’m supposed to do a 4 point walk-around of my car before getting in??!? Even if I HAD done that, I still couldn’t see it when I got in my car.
Her (voice becoming shrill): Hon (she called me ‘hon’), I understand you’re upset but NO ONE has ever done this before in all 35 years that we’ve been in business. We can’t be reliable [sic] for your inability to pull out of a parking space properly.
Me (wanting SO much to call her on ‘reliable’ vs. ‘responsible’, but wanting MORE to call her on her appalling professionalism, so I go with that): You’re supposed to be the GENERAL MANAGER of this restaurant and handle an incident that happened to one of your customers, and your sitting here screaming at me about the way I drive my car?? I can’t even belie—
Her: Oh no, hon, you haven’t heard me screaming—not even close. I can’t even say two words to you before you interrupt me.
Me: Are you joking?
Her: Look, hon, I’m sorry you didn’t pull out of your parking space right. I can fill out a report and turn it in, but I don’t know what they’re going to do about it.
Me: And what’s the procedure with this report?
Her: I have to take down your information and turn it in to the regional manager to see if a claim needs to be filed.
Me: That should have been the first thing out of your mouth when I called. I’ll be there in 10 minutes and I will take up exactly 5 minutes of your time.
Her: Fine. (hangs up)
Man, I was ready for the fight of my life as I got in my car to drive over to this place. I was fucking enraged. I was gonna have it out in a way that I have been dreaming of my whole adult life- the way you take every injustice that has ever happened to you and funnel it into a white hot laser point of rage and chop off somebody’s head with it.
Until I get there and she immediately starts apologizing for her behavior and saying she was frazzled and got out of control and forgot that there is an incident procedure and was falling over with apologies and was professional as can be and said she had already called the regional manager to start the process.
…And I was just standing there with the wind out of my sails. God Dammit! The great combat operation of my life has just been yanked out of my grasp! The only thing IN my grasp is her hand as she tells me to have a great day and that someone will contact me shortly, and sorry again!
The last thing I said was “If I can just say, as a person who is rightfully upset that my car was damaged in your lot, if you would have just calmly and respectfully offered to file a report immediately, this would never have had to turn into an argument- at all” She said, “I totally agree with you and I’m sorry.” and then I said, “And it’s called being responsible for what happens in your parking lot—it’s not called being reliable for what happens. I look forward to hearing from your insurance company.” And I turned around and walked back to my car.
Epilogue: What she doesn’t know is that my sister-in-law is the general manager of one of the restaurants in this very chain. So somehow or other, heads will roll and somebody’s gonna pay for my fucking bumper. My laser point of rage works in mysterious ways!
FUCK these people that call themselves “general managers” and act like bitches at a mall.