In Your Face Chicago Meets Global Parking Management
In Your Face Chicago is a website that produces short video webisodes extolling the virtues of this great city we call Chicago.
A new episode debuts every Wednesday–hey, that’s today!
Back in January, when they were shooting their first episode, the InYourFace-mobile overheats headed down Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park. With no place to pull over on the street, our intrepid pals pull into a strip mall that, unbeknownst to them, is patrolled by Global Parking Management.
Things go from bad to worse when they venture off on foot to purchase fluids for their parched vehicle and get back to find their car booted.
I’ll leave the gory and dramatic details to In Your Face Chicago and make sure you read all the way through for the ironic twist at the end.
Last week’s episode of In Your Face Chicago, (click here to watch) was shot way back in January. It was sort of a test episode and I didn’t have a chance to edit the footage until just a few days ago. The host (Marissa) and I filmed in Wicker Park and afterwords I dropped her off at her place. (i’m cool like that) Anyway, not long after the drop off my car started to overheat…bad. It was going bananas and I had no idea what the problem was. I just added coolant but it kept getting hotter and hotter and hotter. Finally the temperature gauge maxed out and I had to pull over immediately. To bad I was on Milwaukee avenue during rush hour. There wasn’t a parking meter to be found anywhere. So I pulled into a strip mall.
Big mistake. I parked in front of an EMPTY store front and started walking. I knew there was a convenience store just like 2 blocks away so I figured I’d buy a lot of bottled water to pour into the radiator. My hope was that the walk would give the car time to cool down so it didn’t spray me in the face with scalding hot steam when I took off the radiator cap too.
So I bought a bunch of water and trudged back to my car. Then I saw it. The only sight more devastating than an orange ticket on your window; the boot. I had been booted!! I was only gone for 15 minutes!
Immediately I envisioned how my night was about to get much, much worse. I figured I’d have to sit for hours while I waited for the boot gut to come by and take that fricking contraption off my wheel. And then, a miracle. I see the boot guy in the parking lot! I run over to him and he said just chill out for a second, he was de-booting someone else’s car.
De-booting someone else’s car? Yep. He had gotten someone else in the parking lot. So I went and sat by my car to wait. While I waited, I started to think….why the heck is a city parking officer hanging out in a strip mall parking lot? For that matter, how can he boot my car on commercial property!? Shouldn’t his authority stop at the parking meters!!?? And why why didn’t the boot look like the kind the city used? I’ve never seen a red boot before. Just what the hell was going on here?
Well the guy finally comes by and starts giving me a big speech. I was given the boot because I was seen exiting my car at 5:57pm and then I was spotted heading towards the street on fot. As he was telling me this I turned to the tanning salon that I was parked next too and gave the girl behind the counter a heavy helping of Stink Eye. She must have called the boot guy as soon as a I was out of the parking lot!
But the speech continued and I realized stink eye-ing the tanning girl may have been premature. The boot guy did not work for the city. He was just some dude who booted cars….for the strip mall! That’s why he was still there when I walked up, that’s why he was booting someone else and that’s why the boot on my car was noticeably missing any phrases like “City of Chicago” or “parking enforcement.”
My mind was boggled. I was being legally extorted by some guy with a special wrench. I had to give him my credit card to get the boot off. 115 bucks and 40 seconds later my car was free. I asked him “how can this possibly be legal? How can a business just hold cars in it’s lot for random??” He agreed that it sucked but he said his company was licenced by the city. He actually managed to make me feel better by saying “Hey man, just imagine, if we couldn’t do the boot, we’d have to tow you. Think about how much time and money you’re saving.”
The boot guy was starting to win me over. He was even sympathetic about my radiator. He let me call his boss so that I could try to get out of the booting but of course the boss was a jerk and said I had to pay even if I had no choice to pull over. “Shoulda left a note” he said..
After the boot was off my car the boot guy actually looked under my hood and figured out what was wrong with my engine! I kept looking for my radiator cap and was feeling like an idiot because I couldn’t find it. The boot guy took one look and said “hey, you’ve got no radiator cap. Without it, no pressure can build up in the radiator and the coolant can’t move through.” The dude then got on his computer and looked up directions to the nearest auto parts store. He even told me what size radiator cap I would need.
So the moral of the story is, be nice to the boot guy. He’s just doing his job. The owners of the strip mall on Milwaukee Ave. a block down from the Double Door can suck it though.