Kalamazoo Residents against T&J Towing
April 27, 2010 11:56 PM   Subscribe

Kalamazoo Residents against T&J Towing is a facebook group with over ten thousand members. Initially, Justan Kurtz said the towing company took down his parking pass so they could tow him. The facebook group quickly filled up with gripes about shady practices, but the towing company says they have done nothing wrong. Now, T&J Towing is suing Kurtz for $750,000. Perhaps a SLAPP suit is not the best course of action. So, First Amendment Right, or libel?

also on Jalopnik and The Consumerist. Full disclosure: I live in Kalamazoo and I am a member of the facebook group, but I have never been towed by this company and don't know the person who started the group.
posted by rebent (58 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, I always said if you're making a movie and you want a surefire villain that everyone in the audience is going to hate, make him a tow-truck driver.
posted by philip-random at 12:24 AM on April 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Seems like the towing company is about to get a first-hand experience with the Streisand Effect.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:25 AM on April 28, 2010


Wow, chocolate pickle...I must have followed the same links to get to the streisand effect and spend 20 minutes there.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:28 AM on April 28, 2010


How does this system work? Is it the case that various owners of private parking lots let a private towing company patrol their lots in search of supposedly illegally parked cars, which the towing company can take and hold for ransom? Do the property owners and towing company leave the on-the-street decisions to the guy driving the truck? The towing company doesn't pay the driver more for each vehicle the driver tows, does it?
posted by pracowity at 12:34 AM on April 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


The whole "holding-peoples-cars-for-ransom-including-daily-storage-fees" business model always struck me as a good way to get your nice shiny tow truck firebombed.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:39 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


dunkadunc, they are not always the kind of people you want to mess with.
posted by GeckoDundee at 1:05 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


How does this system work? Is it the case that various owners of private parking lots let a private towing company patrol their lots in search of supposedly illegally parked cars, which the towing company can take and hold for ransom?

Yeah, and what would happen if they tow the owner of the lot? Seems like a risky method, but I suppose if they tow in lots they know the owner doesn't care that much about the cars in it could work.

I knew someone who had a car stereo stolen out of a tow lot. Tons of people had their stuff stolen. Eventually, they put up a security camera, and caught... the employees.
posted by delmoi at 1:21 AM on April 28, 2010


Hmm. Maybe confiscating someone's vehicle shouldn't be the kind of thing you leave to private companies. I know it's a wacky idea, but couldn't some of the cops learn how to drive a tow truck? And then you call the cops if someone's car is on your property illegally? I don't like dealing with cops, but generally I'd rather negotiate with the government than with the local kneecappers.
posted by pracowity at 1:38 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd rather negotiate with the government than with the local kneecappers

This makes sense except that our founding fathers would have called it SOCIALISM and that's worse than DEATH BY TREADING ON ME. (Did you know the Constitutional Convention was actually a corporate retreat? True story.)
posted by maxwelton at 2:15 AM on April 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


The towing company doesn't pay the driver more for each vehicle the driver tows, does it?

Yep, they sure do. Trucking has always been piecework, all over the world. Drivers are paid by the mile, or by the run. That idiot in the Dump truck you see running at 88 miles per hour on the Interstate? He's paid by the load, and wants to do as many as he can by the day.
posted by pjern at 2:41 AM on April 28, 2010


Now, T&J Towing is suing Kurtz for $750,000 ... Youch, if he thought 120 dollars was "a good amount of money" to be out when supporting his way through college, this'll really sting.
posted by dabitch at 2:41 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Key point for me is from the linked WOOD8TV news story:
"Standard procedure is for the company's lawyer to write Kurtz a letter and have him retract the comments, Cooley Law Professor Curt Benson said.

The amount of money cited in the suit also is unusual, he added. Normally, a number isn't specified in damages. T&J Towing's lawyer would have to prove Kurtz was lying, and the company faces a tough case, Benson said.

'So frankly, he's [T&J Towing's lawyer's] got an awfully hard lawsuit to win here and frankly, I get the impression it's more like him sending a message to the community, "don't say anything negative against me because I'll file a lawsuit against you,"' he said."
posted by ericb at 3:20 AM on April 28, 2010


*[T&J Towing's owner's]*
posted by ericb at 3:25 AM on April 28, 2010


It gets really bad when the tow company works hand-in-hand with the police.

When my son was attending technical school in gawdforsaken Blairsville, PA, he ran afoul of a nifty little roadblock scam the local police and the local tow service had going. Essentially, they would set-up a roadblock during night-class lunch break, using every excuse to detain and tow the hapless kid who got caught in the trap. (most of the kids were from out-of-state, with cars that, while registered and perfectly legal in their home state, were still, apparently, subject to local laws) Instant money for both the town and the tow service.

My kid's offense? The local cops kept getting an "expired registration" response when they queried the Indiana (our home, where the car was registered) database. The car wasn't expired (he had a valid Indiana registration in the car!) but they towed the car away, stranding my son in the middle of nowhere at 1am. It made him late for the rest of his classes that night.

Turned out, the reason the registration kept coming back as "expired" was due to a software incompatibility between the system the local cops used and the system Indiana uses. It came down to a field that the Indiana system was expecting, but wasn't getting from the Blairsville system. This fact got the local charges waived, but we were still had to pay the towing and storage fee. When he went to retrieve his car, he discovered they parked in exactly as they took it...windows down. It had rained in the interim.

Stay the hell away from Blairsville. I suppose that goes without saying, though...
posted by Thorzdad at 4:46 AM on April 28, 2010 [14 favorites]


Seems like the towing company is about to get a first-hand experience with the Streisand Effect.

They're a tow truck drivers. They don't give a rat's ass what other people think.

They'll probably want the $750,000 in cash only.

And don't try to pay with a million dollar bill, Justin. They won't break it for you.
posted by stringbean at 5:00 AM on April 28, 2010 [8 favorites]



Yeah, and what would happen if they tow the owner of the lot? Seems like a risky method, but I suppose if they tow in lots they know the owner doesn't care that much about the cars in it could work.


a few years ago i was towed from my apartment parking lot as part of an uptick in towing company activity. we all complained to the owner, who ignored us. about a month later, the owner was there one day ... and got towed. i came home to him ripping down all the towing signs in the parking lot.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 5:07 AM on April 28, 2010 [4 favorites]




Loads? Where we're going, we don't need to haul loads.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:27 AM on April 28, 2010 [16 favorites]


Let's set the wayback machine to 1973 and the location to the Lincoln Park section of Chicago. Lincoln Park Towing was feared by all. Cue up Steve Goodman...(YT link)
posted by beelzbubba at 5:30 AM on April 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


They can tow cars that haven't been ticketed or called in by the property owner? This doesn't seem right.
posted by MaritaCov at 5:32 AM on April 28, 2010


I was thinking about this last night. I don't think municipalities should tow from public property, except in emergencies (e.g., blocked exits) or situations where parking is fundamentally incompatible with the site (e.g., athletic fields). I think they should instead try to determine the social cost of overtime or improper parking (a difficult but eventually tune-able rate, given that it starts off as forward-looking quasi-market mechanisms) and charge people appropriately. For example, 15 minutes overage in a busy downtown business district may be worth $75, but a forbidden hour on a mostly wooded utility right-of-way in an outer suburb might only be worth $15, given the relative probability that either use interferes with the rest of the public's use of the space and the urgency of activities conducted there.

Of course, this strategy has limits. I think, for example, that municipalities should probably pair it with a statute that says "Anybody who parks in a fire lane adjacent to a school facility thereby consents to removal and/or modification of his/her vehicle in the event that a fire emergency occurs". All money raised in this way (versus paid to towing companies) should go directly to the municipality/county transportation budget, though enforcement should be left up to another branch (paid internally at cost) to eliminate the appearance of conflicts of interest.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:05 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Being from Kalamazoo, I can really say they are huge douchebags.
posted by organic at 6:07 AM on April 28, 2010


They can tow cars that haven't been ticketed or called in by the property owner? This doesn't seem right.

If the cars are parked in a private lot (as with apartment complexes) and the towing company has a contract to sweep and check for stickerless vehicles, they can tow without any police involvement.
posted by ericb at 6:07 AM on April 28, 2010


I used to work at an answering service, which is a company that takes calls for companies and offices that don't want to be called directly. One of the accounts was for a towing company in a town in Florida, and every single night, starting at 8p, we'd get somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-20 calls from people who'd gone into the grocery store to go shopping or who'd eaten at a couple of particular restaurants and got towed, over and over and over, every night.

Man, if I worked at a towing company, I'd be afraid to be alone, ever.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:09 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


MaritaCov, it isn't right, it's just business. Companies who have private parking for their tenants, customers, etc. issue parking permits (usually a sticker that goes inside your windshield, or a thing that hangs from your rearview mirror). They contract with towing companies to patrol the lot and tow away any vehicles that don't have a permit. I don't know what the legal principle is; possibly trespassing?
posted by RylandDotNet at 6:11 AM on April 28, 2010


I use to live in Kalamazoo, and I remember all those T&J parking signs. I did all my school work in the middle of the night at a coffee shop, and all night long you'd see the T&J trucks going back and forth. They were busy all night long, always. Towing must be worth a bundle.
posted by Hoenikker at 6:35 AM on April 28, 2010


Can I throw in a YES THERE REALLY IS A KALAMAZOO! as well?
posted by Hoenikker at 6:35 AM on April 28, 2010


I guess I find this surprising because when I worked at a convenience store in East Lansing no tow company would touch a car without parking enforcement giving it a ticket first. I just assumed this was standard procedure.
posted by MaritaCov at 6:47 AM on April 28, 2010


Is it the case that various owners of private parking lots let a private towing company patrol their lots in search of supposedly illegally parked cars, which the towing company can take and hold for ransom? Do the property owners and towing company leave the on-the-street decisions to the guy driving the truck? The towing company doesn't pay the driver more for each vehicle the driver tows, does it?

I worked for a gas station/towing company in Burlington, Vermont for a few weeks one summer, and that was pretty much the deal there, except that I don't know if the driver gets paid per vehicle.

I worked the cash register, and I had the special misfortune of getting the 7am Saturday shift. There was one driver dedicated to patrolling the lots on Friday nights, when people were (a) visiting friends and (b) tired at the end of the week and not necessarily thinking straight, and figuring it was OK to park in their friend's lot. I remember coming in one Saturday just as the driver was going home, cackling about his haul for the night. I can't tell if he was happy because he had just made a lot of money, or just out of sheer sadism. I handled a lot of upset customers that day. (Needless to say, I didn't stay at that job for long.)
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:50 AM on April 28, 2010


Tow away parking lots are always a racket. I work two nights a week at a record store beside a McDonalds on a busy college strip. McDonalds lets the local towing company police the lot. The tow truck driver literally drives around the block until some hapless soul has the audacity to park at McDonalds but not eat at McDonalds. I've heard plenty of "but I was only there for five minutes" tales in my time, and personally watched as a hysterical sobbing sixteen-year-old girl admitted to taking her father's car she wasn't supposed to be driving, having it towed and being unable to reach said parents because they were out of town for the weekend (and I was so glad I wasn't still a teenager). In this sense, towing companies are a racket run by thugs, empowered by local governments and businesses to enforce the old "I don't care if the parking lot is empty, it's mine and you can't park there" rule.

On the flip side: when you're nineteen years old and female and stuck in the side of the interstate in rural Virginia in the middle of the night in a piece of shit car that has completely stopped running, an approaching tow truck might as well be a knight on a white horse.
posted by thivaia at 6:54 AM on April 28, 2010


This is a city with meth caves, for god's sake, why are we surprised their tow truck guys act like cavemen?

(My summer intern last year was from Kalamazoo and had a fine old time telling me how the local hoboes somehow found some natural caves to turn into meth manufacturing facilities, and didn't get caught for a really long time. We used to sing "METH CAVE!" to the Batman theme song to amuse ourselves...)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:57 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


has the audacity to park at McDonalds but not eat at McDonalds.

I'm all for hating on tow truck companies and what not, but seriously, if you are not patronizing a business, DON'T FUCKING PARK IN THEIR LOT! Those of us who DO want to patronize that business and can't find a spot and the business owners who lose our business because of it thank you.
posted by spicynuts at 7:06 AM on April 28, 2010


I am now imagining Peter Murphy menacingly intoning "Meth Cave!" as Skeletal Family do the Batman theme in the background.

*draws his forearm across his eyes* Meth Cave! *cobweb dance* Meth Cave!
posted by adipocere at 7:08 AM on April 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Many times there are businesses right next to each other. Do you really expect people to move their car between shopping at each store? Until the person comes back, how do you know that they weren't going to McD's next? I've had some jerk try to tow me because he saw me walk out of the lot and didn't see my wife go into the store.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:09 AM on April 28, 2010


I work two nights a week at a record store beside a McDonalds on a busy college strip. McDonalds lets the local towing company police the lot....

This story surprises the hell out of me. It's long been McDonald's (corporate) stand to never do anything that would antagonize potential customers, under the understanding that, while someone may not be a customer right now at any particular location, they may be a customer at another location sometime later. Sort of a "we're in this together" attitude. This would certainly include towing cars from the lot, except in special circumstances. Regular, bulk towing would seem to go against the corporate position (unless that attitude has changed over the years, of course.)
posted by Thorzdad at 7:13 AM on April 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Facebook creepiness: After following the links in this post (while NOT logged in to facebook) I later logged in, and was taken automatically to the "Proud Supporters of T & J Towing" group page. Not a joke.
posted by philokalia at 7:24 AM on April 28, 2010


T&J Towing! Those slimy bastards are the epitome of evil. Kalamazoo, God bless it, has been using private sector for towing and parking citations for too long. Did you know T&J won't even provide you with change after you pay their ridiculous fees? Urban legends abound of burly young men vaulting the T&J fence and busting their rides out of hock under cover of darkness.
Central City Parking is the downtown villainous equivalent to T&J. Those wretches sent my overdue parking notations to my ex-wife for three years. She wasn't on the vehicle's title or registration or insurance or anything, and though I complained over and over again, they did nothing. Finally, I retained a lawyer. Suddenly everything got fixed. It's bullshit tinpot extortion like this that drives people to live in the country.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:37 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a city with meth caves, for god's sake, why are we surprised their tow truck guys act like cavemen?

Hey, whoa. Unnecessary. Kalamazoo is wonderful, if you drive a bike. Also, let's not impugn cavemen.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:39 AM on April 28, 2010


Many times there are businesses right next to each other. Do you really expect people to move their car between shopping at each store?

Detail was missing from your story. Likewise, I've had experiences where I'm waiting for a spot at the bank and I see someone roll in from down the block and get in their car without ever entering the bank.
posted by spicynuts at 7:41 AM on April 28, 2010


Can I throw in a YES THERE REALLY IS A KALAMAZOO! as well?

Sure, but was it in doubt?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:49 AM on April 28, 2010


Can I throw in a YES THERE REALLY IS A KALAMAZOO! as well?

During my travels I actually passed through Kalamazoo. Had no idea it was there but thought it was somewhere else.

Ate at a supposedly Chinese restaurant there. Big mistake. But then I found the Chinese restaurants in Chicago utterly horrible compared to what we have in Toronto as well. My car did not get towed.
posted by juiceCake at 8:21 AM on April 28, 2010


I found the Chinese restaurants in Chicago utterly horrible

Did you, you know, go to Chinatown? Because I don't think you should be expecting an impressive experience at Panda Express.

Unless you order the Sweet Fire Chicken.
posted by thesmophoron at 9:08 AM on April 28, 2010


But then I found the Chinese restaurants in Chicago utterly horrible compared to what we have in Toronto as well.

Totally off-topic, but dude. Which Chinese restaurants did you go to in Chicago? Were they in Chinatown or Little Chinatown? I suppose it's possible the Chinese restaurants in Toronto are just out of this world (sadly I've been to Toronto a few times but never had a chance to go to the Chinatown there), but there are fantastic Chinese restaurants in Chicago. Just thinking about Sun Wah is making my mouth water.

Admittedly, none of them are as good as my mom's home cooking, but that's asking for too much.
posted by kmz at 9:11 AM on April 28, 2010


Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo!

For a while they had changed the phrase to "Kalamazoo? Sounds like fun!" which, I think you'll agree, is not as good.
posted by Hoenikker at 9:15 AM on April 28, 2010


The solution is to kill all tow truck drivers, burn their trucks, firebomb their offices. Every last one.

Not to defend slimy businesses like this, but not all tow truck drivers are deserving of such ire.
I, for one, was incredibly happy when I saw that tow truck come over the horizon at 3pm in the middle of the Mojave.

OBLIGshadytowtruckanecdote:
The tow truck at my college had the quite profitable strategy of simply towing as many cars as possible to a chained off lot (on campus) and then towing them individually to the tow lot.

Fortunately, he was somewhat lazy about immediately closing the chain, so I simply had to wait till he was gone, drive my car nearest to the entrance, wait for him to drop the chain, and make a break for freedom.

No way he was getting my $75!
posted by madajb at 9:15 AM on April 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


"The tow truck driver literally drives around the block until some hapless soul has the audacity to park at McDonalds but not eat at McDonalds. I've heard plenty of 'but I was only there for five minutes' tales in my time, and personally watched as a hysterical sobbing sixteen-year-old girl admitted to taking her father's car she wasn't supposed to be driving, having it towed and being unable to reach said parents because they were out of town for the weekend (and I was so glad I wasn't still a teenager). In this sense, towing companies are a racket run by thugs, empowered by local governments and businesses to enforce the old 'I don't care if the parking lot is empty, it's mine and you can't park there' rule. "

We ate pizza a lot for a couple years as a kid. Why? My Dad owned a small towing business and had a contract with this pizza place that had a private lot with half a dozen spots located next to a housing complex with inadequate visitor parking. The pizza place was dying because visitors to the complex would take all the spots and his customers couldn't pick up their orders. My dad basically dedicated a truck to the lot for a couple weeks until the word got around at the complex that it wasn't safe to park there; even "just for a minute". I still remember the way the old Ukrainian guy who owned the place would light up when we came in (and being able to order _anything_ I wanted on my pizza for free).
posted by Mitheral at 9:35 AM on April 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


it is possible to live in kalamazoo for 10 years and not encounter a meth cave or an employee of tj towing - i call mcdonald's towing, who seem to be in the business of towing cars whose owners actually want them towed

in a small city like kalamazoo, reputation is everything and tj towing have none left
posted by pyramid termite at 9:50 AM on April 28, 2010


Thorzdad: "I work two nights a week at a record store beside a McDonalds on a busy college strip. McDonalds lets the local towing company police the lot....

This story surprises the hell out of me. It's long been McDonald's (corporate) stand to never do anything that would antagonize potential customers, under the understanding that, while someone may not be a customer right now at any particular location, they may be a customer at another location sometime later. Sort of a "we're in this together" attitude. This would certainly include towing cars from the lot, except in special circumstances. Regular, bulk towing would seem to go against the corporate position (unless that attitude has changed over the years, of course.)
"

Well, I guess the kalamazoo McDonalds has not heard this, because the one downtown is constantly mentioned in the facebook group as a place T&J pulls from.

From the facebook page: t@j has a spotter that sits in mcdonalds parking lot downtown in a yellow van with a handicapped liscence plate and they have a spotter that sits in the parking lot of the campus pointe mall in a blue van as well i found that out from a former employee of t@j towing and i checked and my source was right
posted by rebent at 10:10 AM on April 28, 2010


We had a some issues with towing after the Rays opening game here in St Pete a couple weeks ago. The tow truck owner/driver admitted to police he knew that the people were scammed but towed anyway.
posted by HappyHippo at 10:27 AM on April 28, 2010


I guess I don't really understand the purpose of suing this guy for libel. I mean, it's a towing company. They're not exactly angels in the eyes of a regular person (as this thread can attest). I'm not saying they're all evil - but what average person even pays attention to who'd be doing the towing in a place they've "illegally" parked?

I'd venture to guess that a vast majority of a towing company's profits come from businesses (as is the case here), and I don't see as a business owner gives two shits what some dude on Facebook says about the towing company he's employed to clear out his parking lot.

Conversely, if they're trying to play the "we're not evil" card here, they've failed miserably with this little stunt.
posted by revmitcz at 10:39 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


revmitcz: "I guess I don't really understand the purpose of suing this guy for libel.

I don't see as a business owner gives two shits what some dude on Facebook says about the towing company he's employed to clear out his parking lot.
"

Well, according to this link, they have lost quite a few business contracts because of this group
posted by rebent at 11:34 AM on April 28, 2010


From the mlive link:

The Paw Paw attorney for T & J Towing said that if Kurtz can’t prove his allegation that his permit was disturbed, he is accountable for libel and slander...

“He’s got the obligation to prove the correctness of his statements,” the attorney said of Kurtz. “I don’t have to prove that they’re incorrect ...That’s a problem that Mr. Kurtz has created and he’s got to ride that horse.


Granted, I am still a pissant law student, but I'm a pissant law student who spent much of the past 14 weeks studying defamation law, and I'm pretty sure that T&J's attorney has that whole burden-of-proof issue backwards. Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in New York Times v. Sullivan, many (if not all) state defamation laws did impose a burden of proof on defendants to show the truth of their statements, but NYT shifted that burden of proof to plaintiffs. The Michigan defamation statute does not explicitly address burden of proof, save for noting in sub (3) that if a defendant gives notice of the truth of his/her statement, but the evidence does not sustain that truth, this in itself is not sufficient to prove actual malice. And the Michigan Model Civil Jury Instructions do explicitly place the burden of proof on the plaintiff:

M Civ JI 118.05 Libel, Slander—Burden of Proof
Plaintiff has the burden of proving that—

a. defendant made the statement *(of fact) complained of to a third person by [printing / writing / signs / pictures / words / gestures], and

b. the statement was of and concerning the plaintiff, and)

c. the statement was false in some material respect, and the statement had a tendency to harm the plaintiff's reputation, and

d. (as a result of the statement, the plaintiff suffered some damage, and)

e. [Insert M Civ JI 118.06 and/or M Civ JI 118.07 and/or M Civ JI 118.08 as applicable.]

Your verdict will be for the plaintiff if you decide that all of these have been proved.

Your verdict will be for the defendant if you decide that any one of these has not been proved.


But I reiterate: I'm still a pissant law student. Actual lawyers, particularly those who know their way around libel better than I do, are invited to point and laugh. In fact, considering that I'm getting tested on this stuff next week, they are encouraged to point and laugh and tell me not to quit my day job.

What do you mean, I don't have a day job to quit? Oh, right. I don't. Dammit!
posted by bakerina at 11:56 AM on April 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I once had a conversation with a bartender of a rather large Cheesecake Factory, on a fancy South Jersey strip mall, who told me that his predecessor got fired for taking kickbacks from a towing company. Apparently, the view from behind the bar had a direct line-of-sight to the 15 minute parking spots reserved for take out customers only. Not only can the bartender clearly see which individuals park in those spots, he also can see whether or not they get seated for their meal by the hostess. The towing company, which was hired by the mall to police the lot, charged $200 for towing and gave the bartender $50 per car towed. He made more money snitching than he did pouring drinks. I guess that his employer didn't appreciate him profiting at the expense of their customers.
posted by Stu-Pendous at 12:50 PM on April 28, 2010


Another Kalamazooan here. I can assure everyone these guys are exactly as advertised, in terms of the dirty tricks they have pulled. I'm personally thrilled to see someone take a stand against them.

All this MeFi Kalamazoo connections... so when's the meetup? :-)
posted by Exploding Gutbuster at 12:52 PM on April 28, 2010


2nding meetup.

Also, I had been plotting this as my first FPP. Foiled again!
posted by janelikes at 1:53 PM on April 28, 2010


Sorry about that! I almost didn't post it because I wasn't sure if it was big enough news to tell the entire world, but since it was on Consumerist and Jalopnik, i figured it was ok.

Yes, count me in for the meetup
posted by rebent at 2:04 PM on April 28, 2010


It's long been McDonald's (corporate) stand to never do anything that would antagonize potential customers...

That may be corporate's position, but I suspect many of the franchise-store owners have no problem having non-customer vehicles towed from their lots.
posted by ericb at 2:30 PM on April 28, 2010


I had always been a fearless street and honor lot parker, during and after hours, coming from Cincinnati where they actually tell you where and how you can park. But when I moved to Gainesville, I learned a terrible new word - "Roam Towing."

Roam Towing is when any one of like 20 tow operators have blanket access to pretty much any street or lot in town, without posting their name, contact information or lot location. Which means that if you park somewhere, legal or not, and somebody decides you were parked illegally, some random tow operator can come yank your car and take it who knows where, without notifying you who took your car, where they took it or how you can get in contact with them.

And storage fees while you dial every fucking tow operator in Alachua County and tearfully ask, "Do you have a 1992 Mitsubishi Diamante, maroon with tints, Manatee tag LPF 046?", finally reporting it stolen so that GPD can maybe look up the report and confidently inform you which operator actually yanked your car and how to reach them.

No, I don't play with parking in Gainesville.
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:07 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


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