Pumping gas is a chore and rarely interesting.
But sometimes you run into something that makes you think.
At the Chevron station near my house, a man lurking in a magenta Cadillac often passes out religious literature. Many folks don’t care much for his 6 a.m. offers of salvation, but there are worse interactions that can go down at a gas station.
This week I noticed some large round stickers on the fuel pumps that looked like the DeKalb County logo. You know, the one where the tired runner is passing the torch (or is it a scythe?) to a guy that appears to be out for a stroll.
On closer inspection, the sticker actually says “DeKash County” and the faltering runner is fanning a stack of bills and the slothful one in the front is toting a sack of cash.
A more perfect logo for government may not exist.
A quick Internet search revealed the stickers are the work of young entrepreneurs fond of posing with money. Their motto is “a clean, green, safe and trapping community,” which also required some Google-fu.
According to my research, “trapping” means selling dope. Probably not the best use of DeKalb’s logo, but the last county worker to visit my house handed me his business card and said he could make my drainage problems disappear.
I theorize many public workers and officials sit around pondering new ways to extrapolate more cash from the rest of us.
For years, you could park on the sidewalks in Atlanta and not get a ticket. Then, in 2009, the city struck a deal with a private company, PARK Atlanta, and revenue from traffic tickets soared.
A 2014 analysis by the AJC revealed every man, woman and child in the city paid an average of $112.98 per year in parking tickets. Between 2010 and 2014 revenue increased 45 percent.
City leaders said the ticket-writing frenzy would pay for more police officers, but I don’t feel 45 percent safer.
My experience with PARK Atlanta was not a good one. While I was fighting an “illegal right turn on red” violation a parking meter expired and I was given two tickets.
I groaned as I collected the stack of yellow from my windshield, but noticed only one of the tickets had the correct date. The ticket on the bottom was written a day in the future! I called PARK Atlanta, explained the impossibility of time travel and was told to just pay the ticket with the correct date on it.
I did as I was told.
Several months later I got a call from a collection agency.
After several phone calls and faxing proof of a credit card payment I was exonerated, but not before I was told the quickest solution would be to pay the late fee on the “unpaid” ticket.
With customer service like that you deserve to be run out of town.
Atlanta’s contract with PARK Atlanta has expired but the company is still writing tickets. On Monday, Atlanta City Council tabled a vote on whether to hire another company — SP Plus — to handle parking.
Will Atlanta’s 7-year parking nightmare soon be over? The PARK Atlanta contract guaranteed Atlanta more than $5 million a year. SP Plus is going to pay $7 million a year for the right to reach into our wallets.