August 23rd, 2009



Visited Seattle Art Museum today, my first time. I only had an hour, but the experience was totally magical. Hence, indescribable. Definitely worth a few more visits.

It's funny that they talk about *suggested* admission fee. Does it mean I can ask to let me pay *less*? Should try it next time :)

* * *

On my way back I had a little adventure. I parked nearby, and because the pricing was weird, I decided to make calculations upfront (4.50 for first 0.5 hour and 2.75 for every next 0.5 hour, should be 10 for 1.5 hours). I gave the parking guy 20 expecting to have 10 back, and the said it was 12.75. I said: "Why? 1.5 hours cost 10". He said: "It's 2 hours". I said: "Well, it's 5:15 now, and I came here at 3:50, should be 1.5 hours". He said: "It's 2 hours", pointing at the timestamp at the back of the ticket, which read "3:20". I looked at him for a second, pointed to the ticket and said: "*This* is wrong. I parked here at three fifty". He looked at me for a second and said: "Three fifteen?". I said: "No, three fifty. It's 1.5 hours, should be 10 bucks". He said: "If it is three fifteen, then..." That was enough for me, so I interrupted him, saying: "Hey, I am not going to pay you for two hours. I came here at 3:50, which is three-five-zero, and I need 10 dollars back". Then I looked at him again. His eyes were full of fraud and we both knew that the timestamp on the ticket was wrong. I think if I insisted on 4:15, he could've taken just 7.25 with the same expression on his face. He gave 10 bucks, I gave him a cold "thanks", and I also took some pictures before I left.

Honestly, I felt a little awkward. He was a young black guy, maybe twice bigger than me, so I wasn't sure if I chose the right strategy for this dispute. On the other hand, just paying and then demanding refund for 2.75 would be pain in the ass - I knew I wouldn't do it. I also had a thought that if we calls someone for help, then I should immediately get away and call police, but till the last moment I should look as self-confident as I can. It worked!

Now I feel like I can take this adventure a little further, but I am not sure how to cause the biggest trouble with minimal effort. Should I file a BBB complaint? How much time would it take? I don't have any receipts, just a story plus a picture of that place and the back of that guy.

Another good question - what should I do next time, to make sure I call them to justice? This time I didn't notice timestamp on the ticket before I was paying. Next time I can definitely look at it, but the question is - what should I do immediately next, if I notice wrong time? (Should I call police, or first show it to him and then call police, or what?)

P.S. It was Metro Parking Inc on the south-east corner of Pike and 1st Ave in Seattle (a little bit south on 1st).

Update: a much more delicate solution could be saying: "There *seems* to be a mistake" (thanks birdwatcher for suggestion). Wow, I've just realized how impolite I was. Even when I know it's a willful fraud, nothing prevents me from still being polite.