I am an official financial contributor to the City of Los Angeles. I'm, like, a professional.
Today, not only did the City of LA tow my car, they left a pretty red and white ticket on my windshield for an extra $158 on top of the $262 it cost to get my car back. There's no sunshine in any of those numbers. And I wasn't smiling as I was stranded at a Hollywood coffee shop calling friends for a ride.
However, when I arrived at the tow lot, things got a little sunnier.
It's not a welcoming place; with it's coded metal gate and uniformed staff standing behind bullet proof glass with a speaker and small slot to pass my credit card through. But as I walked up, there were two other "official contributors" trying to retrieve their cars. They smiled through their frustration and said, "Welcome to the Los Angeles towing club. You're an official member now...isn't it exciting?!"
This put me in a slightly better mood as I hopped on the golf cart with one of the Hollywood Tow staff members to find my car. He couldn't have been nicer. I had already planned to enter this place with a calm demeanor -- I mean, it's just their job...not their fault. But this guy made it so easy. We commiserated about the City of LA and how much they charge for everything and we shared stories about being locals and still making stupid tourist mistakes.
All in all a good experience. But talk to me when I can't pay rent next month.