The past week has not been my best week. I was in Chicago for a few days on business and wasn’t able to get away to visit any of my friends or family that live there. All in all, I only got about six or seven hours of sleep while I was in Chicago. Needless to say, when I got back I was brutally exhausted. At some point, during all my traveling, I lost my lucky coin (yes, I’ve got a lucky coin. It’s a 1924 Silver Dollar). I try to not be a superstitious person but old habits die hard.
Saturday night, my friend was having a going away party and the girlfriend and I went. It was at a really great little Mexican bar/restaurant in Hollywood, a place I’ve legitimately been to maybe twice since I moved to LA. It’s also a place where every parking lot costs $10 or so. Now, I’m not cheap but to me, the metered parking on the street was a better option. Plus, it was after 8! That meant it was free! So, we drove around for ten minutes or so until we found some street parking close to the bar. We double checked to make sure it wasn’t a red zone and went on in for a night of fun.
When we left to the bar a few hours later, we noticed that there weren’t too many cars parked in the street anymore. Odd, but it was after midnight. We both assumed people had just been leaving. Then we got to the spot where my car was supposed to be. It was gone. So was every other car that had been parked on the street (at least 10 or 15 cars). After talking to some of the valets that were in the area, we learned that about five minutes after we parked, the parking enforcement guys came, ticketed and towed everyone. After 8PM, rather than becoming a free parking area the street became a no parking area. Not quite what I’m used to but ok, I didn’t do a good job reading the signs.
At this point, I’m having a bit of a freak out. No one is picking up with the city to tell me where my car is. Worse, I can’t even remember my plate number. I give up and we take a cab back to our apartment ($60 cab ride, yuck) and I call it a night. At 1:30 in the morning, there is only so much one can do.
The next day, I found out where my car was and what the approximate cost was (well, my friend did all the legwork). If you’ve never had your car towed, let me tell you, there are a LOT of fees. They charge you for the tow, a mileage charge, a storage fee, an insurance fee, etc etc. All these fees don’t even include the fine that I have to pay the city. The girlfriend drove me over, I checked my car out (no damage luckily) and got it home as soon as I could.
All in all, the fees for the car added up to $272. The fine for the city was $73 and the cab ride was $60. $405 in total, all because I refused to pay $10 to park in a parking lot. This was definitely a time when my frugal and cheap side got the better of me and ultimately cost me money. I feel like this sort of thing will be rare in the long run but damn, this was just the worst! I’ll always double check the parking signage going forward a bit closer. No way I’m ever letting this happen. Now I just hope this $405 hit doesn’t kill my budget this month. The last thing I need is another month of my cash dropping!!
Image courtesy of: Travis S.