Real conversation snippits from a municipal parking department in Canada, where in one conversation as a clerk I manage to get battered up with the words 'sweet-heart, darling, angel' ...and then subsequently battered with the words 'b*tch, Nazi, and fascist'.
Italian Man: Hallo. So. I let it slide yesterday but no today. Not again. So. There are 3 trucks here now, one in the no parking, one in front of the meter. No, wait. The fire hydrant. So. This is bad and there needs to be a lesson so they have some respect on my street.
Me: Okay, and the address?
Italian Man: [******says address******] Now. I know I call. You probably know me, huh? Yes. (small laugh) So, I call in to get them to have respect. I know they mess up, and we all mess up, I mess up. I’m not better. But, I live in Alberta for 24 years and then I didn't know respect until now. So, you know, I used to park on the street, I smoke cigarettes, I tried the drugs even, I did all the things these do. I had suspended license for 3 years and drove all over. Nobody taught me a lesson. So, now. So. I do that. I am saying that respect is respect is respect. Okay? Understand?
Me: Yes, definitely. Okay, so I’ll get someone out there right away.
Italian Man: Good then. Well done. Bye.
Nancy: GMP, how can I help you? Man, dressed in our municipal uniform: Hey. So I got this ticket (places warn out and faded ticket on the counter) the other week parking where I usually do my work for you guys. I wasn't driving my work vehicle, but I just parked in the same place out of habit. So anyway, I'm from the Road and Works department here and was hoping that there would be some kind of....I don't know..... internal leniency? Nancy: Sorry to disappoint, but even if you were doing work here for the municipality during working hours, we can't withdraw the ticket because you'd need a permit to work on the road. If you wanted to meet with a facilitator I can help you to book a meeting. Man: Ahhhhhh, nawwwwh, that's okay. Truly, I already met with him and you know, was just seeing if you'd be any kinder or nicer about it. Nancy: Ah, I'm sorry I wish I could help you. I know it's a pretty expensive fine. Man: (Smiles and looks at me, almost beggingly. There is a long awkward pause). Nancy: (smiling apologetically) Sorry. Man: (perking up...) Oh no! That's okay! You're just doing your job, and hell, I parked in the wrong place..my fault.....so here you go...I'll pay on credit. Nancy: Okay, so it's $75.00 (taking his credit card, swiping it and waiting for it to process) Man: I guess I'll just have to withdraw this from my dwindling RRSP and then get the rest of it from a small savings account I made for my children's education. I guess they'll have to deal with the sacrifice same as me. Nancy: (laughing) Ahhh yes, well, hopefully that's not the case. Man: Oh, it is. (Pause) Man (taking out his wallet): Would you like to see a photo of them? They're very small and very cute. Nancy: Ahhhh yes, I'm sure they are! Man: Dimples and everything. Anyway....it's the children that are suffering...just remember that. (smiling as he leaves). It's people like this that make up for this job's hang ups and hang-up calls...The voicemails today, by the way were:
Nancy (at the in-person Parking counter): Good Morning, how can I help you? Guy (around 19 yrs old): Hey, I just have these two tickets I need to pay. (Each ticket is $30.00 for parking on private property. He hands me $60 in cash.)
Nancy: Okay, so, let me just check their status in my system first. (I type in the ticket numbers into our savvy system - take $40.00 of his dollars, return to him $10.00 and a receipt, along with the second ticket, saying): It’s your lucky day - the system indicates that one of the tickets has been cancelled, so it’s only $30.00.
Guy: Huh….how come? Nancy: I don’t know, there is no reason provided, it’s just been cancelled (I shrug and smile at him). Guy: Are you sure? Nancy: Yes…I’m sure.
(He raises his eyebrows and looks over to his friend who is sitting in the office. He then leans on the counter towards me, looks me in the eye, and says,) 'Ohhhhhh, I see' (..and gives me a long wink). Nancy: Uh, the ticket was cancelled by the officer, not me.
Guy: Yeahp, don’t worry… I getcha. You have a lovely day, miss. Thank you. (He winks a second time, and walks out of the office with his friend, nudging him on their way out the door)