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How NOT to park a car in Spain

By Mr Grumpy - Thu 26th Jan 2012

The eternal Spanish Car-Parking question loomed large once again this week : Do I park ‘nose in’ and risk having my passenger and driver doors scraped by some obese shopper who doesn’t have enough space to squeeze into their micro-car, or do I parallel-park and risk ‘having my back doors smashed in’ ? (Copywrite : Keith Lemmon)

Anyway, earlier this week the Mrs had to attend a Hospital appointment in the larger town twenty or so miles away, and I was persuaded to tag along on pain of being slowly nagged to death without anaesthetic if I chose to do something frivolous instead, like work.

Whenever we travel into the town I, as a Heterosexual British Male, like to practise the unspoken ritual of parking - which is passed down to us from generation to generation as soon as we come of age :

This generally means that instead of parking in the multi-storey car park in the centre of town, I have to drive around for about 40 minutes looking for a free parking space - which costs me about 5 quid in petrol and a tenner in shoe leather - as I walk a further 20 minutes from the car to wherever it is that I need to be.

However, on this occasion the Mrs persuaded me that we should park as close to the Hospital as possible to save on both time and money. Madness !

And as such, this meant forgoing my usual parking ritual (saving the Fiver on Petrol) but actually arriving for the appointment on time and costing a couple of quid. Whilst I don't mind using the petrol I have already paid for, there is something fundamentally wrong about paying cold hard cash in advance for parking that I am adverse to.

But in this instance the car park in question was one of those where you pay on departure, and as such there are none of those shenanigans going on where you scrimp with your time and end up running back to your car so not to get fined or clamped for not paying enough. No ? - Must be a Yorkshire thing.

So, I trousered the ticket and we made the appointment ahead of time, only to be stuck with the customary 1 hour wait. (Thank god we went private, or it could have been half a day). But I was secure in the knowledge that as the parking was both a 24 hour car park and a 'pay on departure', not only would my car not be locked in overnight (as per previous times), neither would it be clamped for underpayment.

Anyway, on returning to the car park, I put the ticket into the machine and paid the 2-90 requested, collected my receipt and 10 cents change - but the stamped ticket to allow my departure through the barriers wasn't returned to me.

So I followed the zigzags around the car park up and down the various levels etc... maybe the contraption that captured my number plate on arrival and stamped it on my ticket was capable of recognising it on departure, cross referencing that I had paid and then letting me out ?

Then again maybe not. This is Spain. What was I thinking ?

The Barriers didn't budge, and there was no button for me to buzz for the attendant (assuming of course that there even was one working at nine o'clock at night) so I was forced to reverse away from the barriers and slalom my way back around the car park and up and down a few more levels to find the attendant in his hut.

I found the scrawny jobsworth eating a bocadillo, watching a bank of CCTV screens with his feet on the desk and explained (as best as I could) that I had paid the requested fee, been issued a receipt, but that the card was not returned to me, and as such I could not exit....

"That's because you need to pay", he explained.

"I did, that's why the machine gave me a receipt."

"It's never happened before" (....And ? Just let me out, idiot - I don't care ! )

"You could have just picked the receipt off the floor..." (Yep, I'll do anything to save 2.90 at Nine O'clock at night when I'm in a rush to get home...)

"If you check your CCTV tapes you'll see me pay the money, but not get a ticket back", I explained - pointing at one of the screens above his desk, which I could see was focussed on the machine in question.

"It's doesn't record"

So here I am trying to exit the car park (that I have paid money for), being accused of being a low-life picking up the receipts and trying to dodge a 2-90 payment, whilst the scrawny jobsworth doesn't seem able to or willing to find a solution.

Option 1) Continue with the debate and hope that my limited Spanish holds out until Sr Jobsworth sees common sense or allows me the benefit of the doubt (stranger things have happened...)

Option 2) Threaten to call the Police to resolve the issue (I had proof of payment, they had proof of nothing despite the signs saying that the car park was under CCTV surveillance..... hoping that the Police, if they bothered to come, would slap Sr Jobsworth's wrists for time wasting)

Option 3) Knocking the flimsy barrier down to secure my exit, knocking Sr Jobsworth down also if he failed to see sense (He'd already admitted that the CCTV wasn't recording...)

Fortunately a build up of other cars trying to make their way to the exit barriers was growing behind me and Sr Jobsworth ventured down the route of Option 1.

The good news here is that the Mrs is now prepared to be a little more lenient and understanding towards my traditional and preferred method of town centre parking.

Comment on this Blog

Your restraint is to be commended
C Shaw - Fri, 9th Mar 2012
Just the once Mo, and there's not a lot to see. After the first 20 mins of nothing but sand the remaining 6 hrs and 40 mins starts to grate a little bit. A bit like the A9 in Scotland but with less heather and caravans.
Mr Grumpy - Tue, 31st Jan 2012
What do you mean the "last" time? How many times have you driven across the Mojave like it was the Dakkar rally? You´ve just destroyed my fantasy of driving from ooh, let´s say, Santa Fe to L.A. I have very small Mo-hair and my wee scalp wouldn´t be up to that! My driving ont´ other hand would be (probably the only place it would be) tho I could still overshoot Thermometerville.
Mo - Tue, 31st Jan 2012

The Mojave and I are not compatible.

The last time I drove across the Mojave from Vegas to LA was in a convertible car - the drive took 7 hours with only one town (which boasted 'The world's largest Thermometer' , I kid you not) by way of any interesting diversion en route.

Then, on arrival in LA I discovered that I really should have worn a hat on my blistering, shaved head.

Mr Grumpy - Fri, 27th Jan 2012
Only one possible solution to this - move to America, preferably the Mojave desert.
Mo - Fri, 27th Jan 2012

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