Thursday, July 4, 2013

The side effects of policing

I was naughty today. I parked in a (very empty) parking lot that clearly had signs up saying I should have only parked there while shopping in the three shops associated with it. Given the (very large) parking lot was deserted – I didn’t think it’d be a huge issue if I walked my pram into the office for a couple of hours while I parked there.

Clearly it was. I came back (to a still deserted parking lot) to find a letter sticky taped to my car telling me that my car rego had been recorded and that I would be reported to the police who would charge me for trespassing and tow my car if I parked there again.

Now let’s disregard the fact that I was clearly in the wrong (I admit it), or that the police wouldn’t actually charge me with trespass or tow my car. Let’s just examine the letter and it’s purpose.

Was it effective?

Sure – I won’t park there again, lesson learned by me.

Were there any other side effects?

Yup. I now don’t want shop there again either and one of the three establishments was a place I regularly visited. It’s not me being vindictive, I just hated the tone of the letter so much that now I get a bad feeling when I think about it. My natural reaction is to avoid getting that feeling so that amounts to me not parking there improperly, but also not wanting to park there properly.

Now perhaps their parking lot was so deserted because they so vigilantly police offenders like myself, but, my thoughts – if they’re going to record my details, a nicer note could have had the same effect without the side effect of lost custom for the shops. 

By Anonymous with 4 comments


I've experienced a few related situations myself. Companies that charge for services that used to be free and others that never allow refunds. I know these rules are there to protect them from the few people that abuse that but by punishing me for other peoples crimes, like you I now choose to not do business with them.

It seems many retailers are more interested in being "right" to the detriment of their business success.

Karen, we're on the same page! K

I assume the originator of the note did not identify themselves. That would make it cowardly, rather than righteous.

I agree, in that case, not a good image for the area in question.

If they did, still bad, but at least you would know who was being officious (and offensive).

Hi Phil - you're bang on, no identifier to be found! K

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