My name is Two-Ten
June 3, 2011 2:09 AM   Subscribe

 
Great video, thanks for sharing.
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:38 AM on June 3, 2011


Oddly compelling. That last statement was great.
posted by tmt at 2:57 AM on June 3, 2011


I'm not completely sober as of yet, so this might be a little premature. I'd like to submit, however, that this perfectly video perfectly encapsulates the year of our Lord 2011 (to me). I'll reevaluate in the morning (afternoon).
posted by WhitenoisE at 3:00 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh good god.. I don't have the patience to wait for this crap to load. Is there something interesting happening at the end? Otherwise, why are we watching this douchebag?
posted by c13 at 3:01 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have you ever watched Repo Man and thought, "Man, that was a pretty good movie except for the conspiracy theory and aliens and crap"?

This reminds me of what Repo Man could have been had it been played straight-up.
posted by tmt at 3:14 AM on June 3, 2011


Hey, I've always wondered this about getting your car towed -- if you were to return to your car and find it in the process of being towed, what would happen if you just jumped inside the car real quick and refused to get out? It seems like it would be more cost-effective for the driver to just give up and drop your car in favor of easier prey than it would be to wait around for a cop to instruct you to get out of the vehicle or something.
posted by Jinkeez at 3:19 AM on June 3, 2011


This guy is like the mayor of Boston, right?
posted by mullacc at 3:22 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Is there something interesting happening at the end?"...

Well,there's some pretty sweet music during the closing credits...
posted by tomswift at 3:28 AM on June 3, 2011


The guy left a note. Describing everything, the pole and shit? The notes get ignored. Go fuck yourself! You're getting towed. Hahahahahaha!
posted by Obscure Reference at 3:30 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


He takes such glee in what he does. I never have liked when people like this, who are basically really causing problems for other people, exhibit such joy in their work. I mean, sure, it may be legal what they're doing, but the complete lack of empathy for the kind of upset they're enacting upon their fellow man is just disturbing to me.

Still, interesting video. Thanks for posting.
posted by hippybear at 3:48 AM on June 3, 2011 [19 favorites]


I'd like to submit, however, that this perfectly video perfectly encapsulates the year of our Lord 2011. posted by WhitenoisE

I agree. My Prius was towed last week, and I had to get Alec off the couch and give me a ride to the impound yard, so this film really got me thinking.

The tow truck driver--Two Ten--is a portrayal of joy as the elements of his psyche collide, mesh, and complement each other in a symbiosis of authority and chaos. He is the Ego and the Super-ego, on a mission of duty and righteousness as he searches the deserted city streets for illegally parked cars. He is also the Id, merrily yelling at passersby and laughing as his directive of justice collides with and upsets the lives of the people whose cars he tows.

His pride and triumph are evident as he finds, secures, and tows cars, and you can hear the sadness and resignation as he describes the bland domestic life to which he must return once his mission for the evening is completed. Fitting, perhaps, that Two Ten is active while we sleep--Two Ten is the harmonious, chaotic intersection of good and evil, a wonderful dream and a terrible nightmare, laughing with joy as he tows our cars. And as the night turns into day, our subconscious retreats, and Two Ten disappears.

If our own jobs required us to balance precariously between the extremes of good and evil, between the pit of evil and the summit of righteousness, we too would laugh with joy. We would become that which we publicly despise and secretly applaud. We would be the joy of chaos, of unbridled Id. We would be both the enforcer and the criminal. We would be happy. We would be Two Ten.
posted by George Clooney at 3:49 AM on June 3, 2011 [38 favorites]


the complete lack of empathy for the kind of upset they're enacting upon their fellow man is just disturbing to me

My guess is that it's a power trip, taking other people's cars. I mean, what else has he got going on in his life?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:53 AM on June 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Hey, I've always wondered this about getting your car towed -- if you were to return to your car and find it in the process of being towed, what would happen if you just jumped inside the car real quick and refused to get out? It seems like it would be more cost-effective for the driver to just give up and drop your car in favor of easier prey than it would be to wait around for a cop to instruct you to get out of the vehicle or something.

I'd go even farther. Get in the driver's seat and start up the car. Then I'd call the cops telling them that some jackass is trying to steal your car with you in it.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:03 AM on June 3, 2011


If you're going to do a job, might as well enjoy it. Seems like it would beat sitting in a cube filing TPS reports all day.
posted by onya at 4:09 AM on June 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I never have liked when people like this, who are basically really causing problems for other people, exhibit such joy in their work. I mean, sure, it may be legal what they're doing, but the complete lack of empathy for the kind of upset they're enacting upon their fellow man is just disturbing to me.

Try being the guy who's been blocked in his driveway for half an hour and is late for an appointment because some fuckhead decided that the empty parking spaces down the road were too much effort, so someone else's driveway was a sweet place to leave their car.

I guarantee it'll realign your perspective after the first few times it happens. Towies are fucking heroes.
posted by rodgerd at 4:11 AM on June 3, 2011 [15 favorites]


Fascinating to watch a young sociopath at work for the cops, like the FBI making good use of Frank Abagnale. What lusty enjoyment of making others miserable! He has an incredible capacity for gloating with his Dark Side vindictive rage fangs barely concealed. A great Scorsese movie character in the making.

Yes, that short film was strangely compelling. Thanks for sharing the link ejfox.
posted by nickyskye at 4:13 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Fat Americans should walk more. He's doing a public service.
posted by the cuban at 4:15 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


He takes such glee in what he does. I never have liked when people like this, who are basically really causing problems for other people, exhibit such joy in their work.

20-10 isn't causing problems, he is solving them.
posted by humanfont at 4:26 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Towies are fucking heroes.

Some are, some aren't. It depends on who is getting towed, and who is doing the towing.

In California many towing yards operate quasi-legally and are little more than car thieves for ransom. For these yards their entire business model involves actively prowling for improperly parked cars whether or not someone has called them in and towing that car to their yard where they're held for exorbitant release fees and per-day storage fees.

I've heard of more than one person having to lose their car because the towing and storage fees cost more than the car was worth. Many yards turn a tidy profit on these cars. Theft of personal objects from vehicles is also rampant at many towing yards.

There's an absolutely notorious yard in the Bayview/Bayshore district in San Francisco. Next to that yard there was or used to be a warehouse that often did punk shows and hosted raves and other events.

One time I was working at one of these shows and one of the artists playing that night had parked on the dirt shoulder of the road in this cruddy industrial district. It wasn't blocking any driveways, it wasn't blocking any cars. It wasn't even a "no parking" zone or signage. But because it was parked adjacent to the towing yard property on their easement and setback they felt they had the right to tow it and make some easy money. They were even trying to tow other cars on the street like they owned the whole street, and it was only direct threats from the bouncer at this warehouse that kept them from doing it.

The artist that owned this car was currently in the middle of performing and we're trying to beg these assholes not to tow the guys car because we're right here, he's not illegally parked and further it was the appropriate place to park on this kind of road.

But we can't argue with them. Because they "work" with the police. They hook the car and start lifting it, opening the gates and preparing to drag it right into their yard.

So they cut us a "bargain". If the driver would get out there in one minute they'll only charge him half the cost of the towing fees. So he interrupts his performance and runs out and is trying to reason with the towers but they're adamant about getting their pint of blood. He pays, dejected and pissed off, pretty much unable to finish his set after being shouted at by people who are literally acting as intimidating bullies threatening violence if he doesn't pay up. "Once we get that car off the ground, you pay. You can pay now and have your car back tonight, or we tow it and you don't get your car back tonight and you pay more tomorrow." I remember them saying.

It was undiluted bullshit. They're operating as thieves with impunity under the auspices of SFPD.
posted by loquacious at 4:34 AM on June 3, 2011 [36 favorites]


I once worked on a divorce case on the side of a woman who was divorcing a driver who was just like this guy. He had moved in with his girlfriend and new baby so it was time to call it quits. But, oh the financial cesspool that is a tow-truck driver's take.

On paper he made $200/wk, which is what he wanted to base his child support payments on. He had bought three buildings over the years and put them in his wife's name or his mother's and we later found another building in his girlfriend's name (she claimed she bought it with her own money, but at 22 with no real job it seemed unlikely). It was the first time we had used Facebook in a case, as his claim to be a poor man with low wages was belied by his pics on Facebook arrayed in $100 bills. I think we estimated he was holding over $20K.

The tow truck driver in my case also had ties to a currency exchange with a crooked notary that did all kinds of shady title work and a body shop we figured was a chop shop. He made a deal with his ex, so the case ended before we ever got to the bottom of it, but it was a fascinating look at what happens to cars. Towed or stolen?

Fat Americans should walk more. He's doing a public service. That is so stupid and simplistic.
posted by readery at 4:39 AM on June 3, 2011 [13 favorites]


What is dickish is these goddamn towing companies and the contracts that they have with property managers in this town. Parking SUCKS here, as it does in most cities. Why can't people park in all of these empty lots during night hours? Oh right, because towing companies and property managers can make a deal, and even have a few cop buddies to call them if they see anything so they can get some kick back. So you have thousands of empty parking spaces that no one is allowed to use. It is a fucking racket.

Every time I'm stressing out looking for parallel parking for 20 minutes, and I pass by some big giant empty parking lot, I curse the towing companies and property managers for signing these contracts.

Still a really interesting mini-doc with a really interesting subject. Watched the whole thing.
posted by windbox at 4:57 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I never have liked when people like this, who are basically really causing problems for other people, exhibit such joy in their work.

Oh, you mean like the motherfuckers that steal your space that you paid good money for, forcing you to drive around the block for hours until someone else leaves, or pay extra money to park in a lot overnight even though you're already paying $500 a month for less than 100 square feet of space? You mean like those motherfuckers?

Or do you mean the ones that don't give a shit that they're blocking you in, don't give a shit that your wife is in labor and you need to be able to get out of your spot quickly without having some douchebag that illegally blocked you in?

I can't tell which motherfuckers you're talking about. Please clear that up for me.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:02 AM on June 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


if you were to return to your car and find it in the process of being towed, what would happen if you just jumped inside the car real quick and refused to get out?
Well, this might happen
posted by delmoi at 5:03 AM on June 3, 2011 [13 favorites]


I've heard of more than one person having to lose their car because the towing and storage fees cost more than the car was worth. Many yards turn a tidy profit on these cars. Theft of personal objects from vehicles is also rampant at many towing yards.
A former co-worker of mine went to school in Iowa City, had his car towed and his radio stolen. So much stuff had been stolen out of the impound lots over the years and they finally installed a security camera. It turned out the people stealing stuff were the employees.
posted by delmoi at 5:06 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'd go even farther. Get in the driver's seat and start up the car. Then I'd call the cops telling them that some jackass is trying to steal your car with you in it.

I think this is the absolute maximum extent I'd be willing to go to to fuck with a repo man - that is, quoting comments about fucking with repo men, written by another person or persons unknown, under a pseudonym, on the internet.
posted by eeeeeez at 5:10 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


These people aren't "repo" men.
posted by delmoi at 5:12 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


The availability of high quality camera's and tools for relatively cheap, along with easy distribution really is bringing us a new era of video. This is great stuff, entrancing and interesting.
posted by Bovine Love at 5:25 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a childish schmuck. You can say all you want about the merits of towing or the tragedy of it (yes I too have paid over 600$ after a bad parking job in SF) but this little shit is simply an asshole. No one should be praised for acting like such a self-righteous little hood.
posted by Jibuzaemon at 5:31 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't blame him for enjoying his job. He probably makes some good money out of it, and it actually does look very fun - driving around at night like that. That's freedom. American dream, right there.

He's not doing anything illegal in this video. He didn't go around just randomly towing cars. He towed away a car that was illegally parked in a garage. The owner even left a note on the windshield, knowing it was wrong.

The next time I do something wrong, I'll just write a nice note to get myself out of it? Or do people think this only applies to cars? I live in Manhattan, and I'm outside on my stoop a lot, since I smoke, but we don't smoke inside. There's a fire hydrant across the street from me. I don't think people always think about the effects of where they put their car. People block that hydrant all the time. Sometimes they get out, and look at it, maybe think about reconsidering that choice, but usually they leave it there. When there's more than the driver and they discuss, they talk about being towed, as if that is the only thing that matters. There are many elderly people and also babies that live in the building next to the hydrant. Are these people that park there the sociopaths?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 5:34 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Towing debate aside, I have to agree that this is a really, really well-done piece. My only quibble is the first few seconds -- the woman seems a little forced, like actor-forced, and it immediately makes me skeptical about whether or not Two-Ten was for real.
posted by Shepherd at 5:44 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


His pride and triumph are evident as he finds, secures, and tows cars, and you can hear the sadness and resignation as he describes the bland domestic life to which he must return...

Hmm. I just thought he looked baked.
posted by superelastic at 5:58 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


if you were to return to your car and find it in the process of being towed, what would happen if you just jumped inside the car real quick and refused to get out?

I'd go even farther. Get in the driver's seat and start up the car. Then I'd call the cops telling them that some jackass is trying to steal your car with you in it.

Adam Carolla went one further. From his new book:
All of a sudden I heard a voice yell, “Pull your tie-down off.” It was the voice of one of our directors, Tom... ...I looked over and saw that Tom had taken the nylon lashings off the passenger-side rear wheel. I, without hesitation, pulled the lashings off the driver’s side, and then Tom screamed, “Go!” Keep in mind the rear wheels of the car were at the height of a kitchen countertop. Maybe it was adrenaline, maybe it was fear of being squirted by a fake penis, but I jumped into the car again.

The car didn’t budge. The problem was it’s rear-wheel drive, and the tires were on a rack that prevented them from rolling forward. Tom was now slapping the hood yelling, “Go!” This time I threw some revs on the engine and dropped the clutch. The car lurched forward and landed on the ground with a thud, hitting something on the way down. I didn’t have time to get out and assess the damage, I just hauled ass into the night, and so did Tom. I went home, poured myself a glass of wine, and did what I always do, waited for federal marshals to show up at the house.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:00 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


He takes such glee in what he does.

Tow truck drivers are the lowest form of life.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:37 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Catfish. Good eatin' but you better clean 'em good; you know what them suckers live on. I'm just saying, someone's going to do this job, there's an environmental niche and it's going to be filled.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:48 AM on June 3, 2011


I do agree that driving around half-baked calling yourself the best there is while simultaneously fucking up is The American Dream.


Meter maids, bill collectors, tow truck drivers, their afterlife is assured.
posted by pianomover at 6:49 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tow truck drivers are the lowest form of life.

Technically a bouncer who drives a tow truck on the side would be lower...
posted by gonna get a dog at 6:54 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Meter maids, bill collectors, tow truck drivers, their afterlife is assured.

Paying for shit sucks and people that call you out for not paying for shit you took also suck.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:10 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Meter maids, bill collectors, tow truck drivers, their afterlife is assured.

Yeah, fuck these people! I should be able to park where I fucking want, when I want -- for free. And those bills? Fuck them too. Why the fuck should I pay for my cable TV or the electricity bill? I'm too good for this shit.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:14 AM on June 3, 2011


I think Towies are loathed largely because they operate without accountability and without any form of redress for the abuse that becomes the norm for people operating without accountability, and hey will mess up your life regardless of whether you did something actually wrong or not, and will just as happily blackmail you using your very livelyhood at stake, over mistakes that do not merit such extremes, as they will for genuine transgressions.

A towie that responds to a call, to removes a problem vehicle: hero.
A towie that cruises, unasked, looking for a victims to extort: scum.

A towie that does both? Well if you put a drop of wine in your sewerage, you still have sewerage. But if you put a drop of sewerage in your wine, well, you still end up with a glass of sewerage. Wine is only wine if it doesn't mix with nasty business, and towies are only heros if they don't mix with nasty business.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:33 AM on June 3, 2011 [15 favorites]


It turned out the people stealing stuff were the employees.

Is anyone unemployed?

I suspect you could make a shitload of money by filming tow-yards legally from the street, 24/7, and during the day when furious owners leave the yard with their recovered vehicle, sans property, and you offer them - for a fee - video footage of the tow yards criminal actions, empowering them to dish out some richly deserved comeuppance, well... you'd be a superhero.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:40 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, fuck these people! I should be able to park where I fucking want, when I want -- for free. And those bills? Fuck them too. Why the fuck should I pay for my cable TV or the electricity bill? I'm too good for this shit.

I drive a truck for a living in and around San Francisco. Metered yellow zones in S.F. are $.25 cents for 3 mins, with a 20 minute max.

Unload (leaving the back of the truck open showing your actually working), navigate to the security desk, wait for the elevator, complete delivery and get the right person to sign so you can get paid. 23 minutes later and there's a $65.00 meter violation. Fuck you Meter Maid.

I can keep going if you want.
posted by pianomover at 7:43 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


This person will be found, outed, and he will lose his job.
posted by andreaazure at 8:05 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pianomover: The problem seems to be with the parking regulations, not the meter maid, wouldn't you think? It doesn't matter if your truck is open, unless there's an exception for that in the parking code.
posted by Turd Ferguson at 8:07 AM on June 3, 2011


Paying for shit sucks and people that call you out for not paying for shit you took also suck.

Obviously you have never had your car towed.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:07 AM on June 3, 2011


I recently had my car towed. I was parking at a strip mall. There were lots of free spaces. I went to a Tim Hortons. I went off the lot across the street to go to another store. I came back. My car was towed. Apparently the owner of a laundry mat phoned the tow company. I had to pay $200 to get my car back. They also charged me tax, but the bill of receipt had no business number, and no tax identification code. I paid in cash. Do I waste more of my time notifying the tax office?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:10 AM on June 3, 2011


Why can't people park in all of these empty lots during night hours?

Because people will take advantage of even THAT and the businesses will end up with 3 parking spots instead of a whole lot.

In my neigborhood there's a "main street" kind of thing with businesses on both sides with parallel parking spots along the road. There's no time limit - the attitude in this town is very "we're all adults here, just be cool." Kind of MeFi guideline-like.

Anyway, guess what? The parking spots are taken up the entire business day by the real estate agents who work in one of the storefronts. They come in early just to get a good spot on the street so they don't have to walk from the parking lot at the seafood restaurant several blocks down. The restaurant that's only open at night, and said local business owners could park there during the day to keep the street parking open for customers.

A friend of mine who has a little cafe on the street says that people tell her all the time they'd come more often, but parking is such a pain in the ass to find.

The little market tried a similar deal as the restaurant, letting people that lived nearby park at night. They had to take it back because they ended up having the same 6 cars stored there 24 hours a day. That put them in the uncomfortable position of having to call a tow truck on your friends, neighbors, and frequent customers.

Basically, lazy assholes ruin everything for everyone.
posted by ctmf at 8:16 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


so someone else's driveway was a sweet place to leave their car.

I'm trying to imagine what I'd do in this situation, but considering the tools I have in my garage, and the giant tree that overhangs the end of my driveway, I'm thinking that said person would return to their car to find it hanging from chains, suspended from a stout branch about fifteen feet off the ground. Just enough for me to get my car out for the day.

And now I'm thinking of the conversation they'd be having with... whoever they'd try calling about said hanging car.

Now I really wish someone would be an asshole and park me in, in my own driveway.
posted by quin at 8:43 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have known a number of people whose driveways were used regularly as parking spots. The most effective response to those was to block them in (assuming you had a car to do this with -- generally true for the people I knew, it was their empty driveways which were parked in) and then to go have lunch, take a nice long bath, etc. There's not much someone can do when they have illegally parked in your driveway and you are blocking them in.
posted by jeather at 8:57 AM on June 3, 2011


I have a friend who managed at a movie theater a few years ago. Someone started parking in his deeded parking space, ignoring notes and signs.

So my friend started bringing home the left over popcorn in a big trashbag.

Finding a thick layer of popcorn and birdshit on your car in the morning has a way of dissuading people from parking where they shouldn't.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:02 AM on June 3, 2011


Oh, this guy thinks he's sooo cool. Just wait until his "girl" sees this and hears his little "get pussy" comment. She'll be towin' his ass for sure.
posted by orme at 9:06 AM on June 3, 2011


The problem with that response, robocop, isn't that it doesn't work (it does,) or that it's not satisfying (it is.)

It's that a) you never know about the mental stability of some people, and they know where you live and where YOUR car is going to be, and b) they can call the cops on you for vandalism, and it won't matter that you felt justified or if the cop would have done the exact same thing.
posted by ctmf at 9:07 AM on June 3, 2011


Good to know car alarms don't work.

I kind of envy his ability to "enjoy" his work. I am in a line where I have to be harsh to people at the moment and I don't really get anything out of it.

Oh, this guy thinks he's sooo cool. Just wait until his "girl" sees this and hears his little "get pussy" comment. She'll be towin' his ass for sure.

How do you know it is not his girl's "pussy" to which he refers?
posted by djduckie at 9:11 AM on June 3, 2011


Obviously you have never had your car towed.

Obviously you have no idea what the fuck you're talking about.

I lived in Boston for ten years. I've had my car towed so many times I knew the people down on Frontage Rd. by their first name.

And while I disliked getting my ass towed, you know how many times it was towed illegally by "towies" that was "cruising, unasked, looking for a victims to extort": zero. Why would a tow company want to risk losing their license to print money? You think they're running low on illegally-parked cars or something? HA!

I've also had to dig my car out of 5ft. snow drifts while parked on the street, and still firmly believe that doesn't "save" your spot like the out-of-town pussies insist.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:21 AM on June 3, 2011


There's not much someone can do when they have illegally parked in your driveway and you are blocking them in.

Except... If you're not there, they could always just call a tow truck and say that THEY were the ones that lived there, and that YOU were illegally blocking them in.
posted by antifuse at 9:22 AM on June 3, 2011


Well, you don't leave the house when you block someone who is illegally parked on your driveway in. You stay at home and do stuff for an hour. If the cops come, you are conveniently home and can prove you live there. (I've never heard of people calling the cops on the homeowner in this situation, though no doubt it would happen.)
posted by jeather at 9:25 AM on June 3, 2011


Ahh, well I guess I was just going on the "go have lunch, take a nice long bath" aspect of it, where there's a chance that you wouldn't notice that the cops had come.
posted by antifuse at 9:29 AM on June 3, 2011


I lived in Boston for ten years. I've had my car towed so many times I knew the people down on Frontage Rd. by their first name.

And while I disliked getting my ass towed, you know how many times it was towed illegally by "towies" that was "cruising, unasked, looking for a victims to extort": zero.


You're whining about assholes parking illegally, when you're a recidivist offender yourself?
posted by -harlequin- at 10:26 AM on June 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Last year, while attending a movie at a neighborhood theater, we parked in the next door lot, which I had parked in dozens of times before. This time we noticed new towing company signs posted, and didn't think it applied to since it didn't list any businesses as to who was an authorized, and it was the parking lot for the theater. During the two hour movie they towed six cars. We complained to the theater owner, he said actually a lawyer with a little law office on the other side of the building owns the whole building and had just hired the towing company the night before. We told the theater mgr he might want to have a sign in his box office warning their customers. We had no choice but to pay the fees at the towing yard. The next day, the lawyer's car was towed and he had to pay as well. He fired the towing company the following day.

While the towing company was operating legally, they were definitely behaving in a predatory manner. And their vague signage was intended to confuse and collect fees.
posted by asfuller at 10:39 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Jinkeez: "Hey, I've always wondered this about getting your car towed -- if you were to return to your car and find it in the process of being towed, what would happen if you just jumped inside the car real quick and refused to get out? It seems like it would be more cost-effective for the driver to just give up and drop your car in favor of easier prey than it would be to wait around for a cop to instruct you to get out of the vehicle or something."

I've done this. It took almost 45 minutes of me and the tow truck driver yelling at each other before he finally dropped my car and drove off. Worth my $75.

I live beachfront, and on nice days people are *always* blocking the driveway. I call parking enforcement to ask them to ticket, not tow, and those people can thank their lucky stars that I think tow truck drivers are the scum of the earth and that I'd rather be inconvenienced than give them the pleasure of one more car to tow.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 11:23 AM on June 3, 2011


I never really had much of a problem with parking, except once. Had an apartment downtown, it was a festival weekend, so parking is non-existent. Went out for the day, and came back to find some asshole had parked his convertible in my assigned spot. He left the top down, and I could have slashed the fucker's seats, or his roof, if I felt like it. Instead I scattered my french fries all over the interior and laughed as every seagull in the world swooped in and covered every inch of that leather in gooey bird shit.

And then I called the towing company.
posted by xedrik at 11:24 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tow truck driver or not This guy is an idiot.

He is driving under the influence.

When removing the vehicle from the parking garage he hits a pole with the towed vehicle. The next scene he has dropped the towed vehicle and then fills out the tow form, he can now note the condition of the vehicle at the time of pick up. "hey that was there when we hooked it up"

Jagoff.
posted by pianomover at 11:34 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


rodgerd: "Try being the guy who's been blocked in his driveway for half an hour and is late for an appointment because some fuckhead decided that the empty parking spaces down the road were too much effort, so someone else's driveway was a sweet place to leave their car."

Try being the woman who parks in the same fucking place every week when she goes to make house calls on developmentally disabled kids and their families. Try imagining what it might be like to park in the same spot after a blizzard only to come back and find her car towed. Try imagining having to pay $300 to get her car back after rousing every friend and family member in the world to come help because she's stranded. Try raising so much shit (local alderman, news station, local paper, nearby stores) that you eventually get some justice in the form of a Aldi's manager who saw how utterly fucking ludicrous the towing procedures were. Try imagining getting your money back.

Heros? Predatory tow truck drivers are shitbeards, the whole lot.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:36 AM on June 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


If society descends into massive violent lawless revolution, then I would like permission to go at the tow truck companies HARD with big guns.
posted by roboton666 at 11:47 AM on June 3, 2011


The number of people pushing an un-nuanced black or white view here, purely predicated on their own anecdotes, is impressive even by MeFi standards.
posted by phearlez at 12:15 PM on June 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


I like the guy. He's a happy guy, he's a laugher, and not fake laughs, either -- belly laughs, the best kind. Gusto. Joy, even. He has to know he's hated, loathed, despised -- read the comments here -- but he's turned his heart hard to all that, as anyone would have to when doing a job such as his. Was he a dick before the job or did he become a dick, protective coloration; was he forced to become a jerk by the job? Answer: yes.

And it is a service which is needed -- read other comments in this thread -- but is so adversarial that the companies have had to turn their hearts hard, too, as people no doubt come to them with every possible excuse in the book, and then they also no doubt scream and shout and jump about, as people will when their car is gone like magic. They are scum, no doubt about that, but I do understand how it's unfolded, how they became that way.

Austin is a university town, close to the campus there is very, very little parking available. And there are spots for local stores and they are signed off by towing companies. They make a great living on the people who are going in "just for a minute" by being right on the spot at all times. I've heard that they have spotters but I'm not certain that's true or not, it would not surprise me; they are very fast, blink your eye and your car is gone gone gone.

I have never been towed. As far as I know, I have never exposed myself to being towed, I don't take any risks with these people that I know of, though I have wandered off-lot to the store next-door from time to time of course and I could get nailed for that of course. But mostly I'm just real careful not to play with them, it's a no-win game, I've seen people do it and thinking they're winning big somehow but it's never worth the gamble as far as I can see.

Working in downtown Chicago, in the trades, younger, whoever was running the job had to make arrangements with the cop on the beat, so we could park and not get towed. It's part of their job, unofficially of course, not sure it's still the same but I have no reason to think it'd be different; those trucks HAVE to be unloaded, and re-loaded, materials taken onto the jobsite and scrap removed, etc and etc. As in every major city, the cop is lord of his beat, in many ways he is The Law, everybody knows it and it's not a bad arrangement, usually, and why shouldn't the cop make a few bucks for helping us do something we needed to do? It'd have cost us A Lot More to find another way to get tools and materials onto those jobsites, if there even was another way.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:45 PM on June 3, 2011


Some years ago I was towed by my apartment manager, who decided that my being in the 20 minute zone (as I was moving out) for 25 minutes was too long. He called a tow truck. I came out of my apartment with my last load of boxes to an empty parking spot. I went back to the manager's office to ask if he had sen my car; he said he had it towed (with a smile on his face). Infuriated, I called a cab and had the driver take me to the private (not police) impound lot. I walked up to my just-arrived car, climbed in, and used my spare key to start up the engine and maneuver out of the lot. Just as I got going outside the lot, three towies noticed what was going on came after me with fists shaking. I gave them a healthy heaping of raised middle fingers out the driver's side window, and took off - watching them disappear in my rear view mirror. When I arrived home, the towie called (the apartment manager gave him my new phone #) and said he was going to have me arrested for "stealing" my car. I told him where to go, using very harsh language. I called the cops and asked if I could be prosecuted for removing my car from a private tow lot. The cop just laughed and said, that the towie was s*it outta luck" Made my day.

Not sure if you can still get away with that; the state was Virginia. ymmv
posted by Vibrissae at 5:10 PM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


hippybear writes "He takes such glee in what he does. I never have liked when people like this, who are basically really causing problems for other people, exhibit such joy in their work. I mean, sure, it may be legal what they're doing, but the complete lack of empathy for the kind of upset they're enacting upon their fellow man is just disturbing to me."

My father owned a small (up to four trucks at one point) towing business when I was a little kid. He wasn't in "towing illegals exclusively" business like this guy but it was a significant portion of his business; especially in the summer. I remember eating a lot of pizza for a while because my father patrolled a pizzeria's lot that happened to be located next to a big housing development. The business was having a hard time making a go of it because customers couldn't park to pick up their orders because wankers residing in or visiting the housing complex were parking in the pizzeria's spots. A couple weeks of heavy patrolling by my Dad was all it took for word to get around not to park there unless you were buying a pizza. And the guy who owned the place gave us free pizza every time we went there.

My dad also towed the Prime Minister's car once because it was blocking a fire lane.
posted by Mitheral at 6:20 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had a friend that snuck into the impound lot in the middle of the night and busted in all of the windows of all the tow trucks owned by the company that towed him and gave him a $500 dollar fee to retrieve his car. He figured that it all worked out since he was making up for all the damage that other people dreamed about doing but never got the guts to do...he also figured that this tow company had enough enemies that it wouldn't be obvious whodunit. This is one of the people that gifted a copy of the Monkeywrench Gang and said it was like a manual for life...
posted by schyler523 at 7:24 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fat Americans should walk more.

So he's only towing the cars of fat americans? How can he tell if the owner of a car is fat or not? And whether they're american?
posted by axiom at 8:01 PM on June 3, 2011


phearlez: "The number of people pushing an un-nuanced black or white view here, purely predicated on their own anecdotes, is impressive even by MeFi standards."

Well sure it's un-nuanced. Predatory towing isn't something just pulled out of the sky. A cursory Google search will turn up plenty of horror stories. Many of them put mine to shame. I've had a lot of good towing experiences (broken down vehicles, vehicles that needed to be moved) but since the link is a movie of someone who revels in not giving a fuck, well...he hits the sweet spot of my personal OMGRAEG!!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:50 PM on June 3, 2011


Skinny Americans should cartwheel more.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:48 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I went to a concert with some friends one time. We drove in the friend's Jeep and when we got back it had been towed. She couldn't afford the impound charge that night so I pitched in and paid it with my debit card. It was something close to $400 for a 3-hour impound. I went to refinance my car at the credit union 3 months later and they mentioned it! I have no idea why it would show up on my credit report, but there it was. I never saw any evidence of it after that. Is that unusual?
posted by tmt at 3:34 AM on June 4, 2011


Fat Americans should walk more. He's doing a public service.

That is *so incredibly offensive.*

And so completely ignorant of many peoples daily reality.

Here are some of the reasons that many people can't just "walk more", and would have a *big* problem if their car was suddenly towed for no reason:

Arthritis;
Chronic fatigue syndrome;
Chronic pain;
Fibromyalgia;
Leg injuries after a car accident;
Multiple sclerosis;
Parkinson's disease
(for some women) late pregnancy;
(for some parents) travelling with babies or toddlers and the associated equipment;

...and that is just the conditions that affect people I know in person...

Here's a link on Disability 101: What is Able-Bodied or Abled Privilege.
posted by Year of meteors at 4:07 AM on June 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Years ago I parked my car in downtown Los Angeles. The street I parked on allowed parking until 4:00 pm. At 4:00 pm you had to clear the spot because the parking lane became a traffic lane that accommodated rush hour traffic. A few minutes after 4:00 I come back to find my car is already hooked up and ready to go. I asked the meter maid nicely, they let my car down, and moved on to the next scofflaw. I messed up, they cut me a break, and I thank them.

The tow truck driver, the meter maid, and the cop all worked for the city of Los Angeles. This was in the time before California cities lived off fines and fees. I don't think I'd be so lucky nowadays.
posted by rdr at 5:34 AM on June 4, 2011


Hmm. I just thought he looked baked.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed he was intoxicated. I hope he gets fired.
posted by nzero at 6:10 AM on June 4, 2011


You're whining about assholes parking illegally, when you're a recidivist offender yourself?

There's a whole world of difference between parking in a legal spot and having the meter run out and stealing someone's spot that they paid for.

If you can't understand that, there's no hope for you.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:41 AM on June 4, 2011


He takes such glee in what he does. I never have liked when people like this, who are basically really causing problems for other people, exhibit such joy in their work.

The people who are causing problems for people are the people themselves. Why people can't park legally is beyond me. It is me-ism writ large when people disrupt others by illegally parking. Just go find a legal parking spot. Read the signs. The regulations are there for a reason, so that the scarce resource of parking can be distributed as equitably as possible and so the free flow of traffic is not impeded. And if you believe that a particular sign is wrong, policy-wise, the way to do it is comply and complain.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:27 AM on June 5, 2011


Here are some of the reasons that many people can't just "walk more", and would have a *big* problem if their car was suddenly towed for no reason:

These persons should get disabled parking privileges.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:33 AM on June 5, 2011


These persons should get disabled parking privileges.

How very progressive of you! But I wonder what happens when they are merely passengers, and the car gets towed...you seem like you have a short sentence answer for most things, I can't wait to hear the answer for that.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:53 PM on June 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


How very progressive of you! But I wonder what happens when they are merely passengers, and the car gets towed...you seem like you have a short sentence answer for most things, I can't wait to hear the answer for that.

My personal short sentence answer would be "Whoever is driving them shouldn't park illegally"
posted by antifuse at 8:19 AM on June 6, 2011


Brocktoon writes "How very progressive of you! But I wonder what happens when they are merely passengers, and the car gets towed...you seem like you have a short sentence answer for most things, I can't wait to hear the answer for that."

The driver shouldn't be parking illegally and in that case the driver doesn't even have the excuse of need to fall back on. The passenger could be dropped at the door to their destination while the driver parks legally if somewhat far away.
posted by Mitheral at 9:22 AM on June 6, 2011


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