Aug 1, 2009

Department of Stupid Tickets

In the eyes of the member of Rocket Patrol who ticketed my vehicle the other day at the University of Toledo, I committed a crime worthy of a fine: I failed to place my UT parking permit in front of one of the other three parking permits on my vehicle. The valid permit is the green one, second in line of the collection of permits I carry as an academic nomad.

This is an offense marked "Improper Display," and a fine of $25.00 has been assessed to me for my transgression.

I have simultaneously taught at as many as five different colleges in one semester, and this summer I worked at three different places. Consequently I sometimes forget exactly which campus I am on, and minor details such as remembering to shuffle my permits often escape me.

It is irritating enough that I have to pay up to $85 a semester at UT for the privilege of parking at my job, but to pick up a bullshit ticket like this really added to an already stressful day.

So I face a choice: I can mail payment for this ticket to UT and let them fleece another $25 from me, or I can waste 60 to 90 minutes of my time downloading the appeal form, driving to the parking appeals office, and standing in line with other parking scofflaws to fight a ridiculous ticket. There is an online appeal form, but the form conveniently defaulted to an error message page when I tried to use the virtual appeals process. Also, even if a person appealed online, the site informs visitors that it takes 4-5 weeks to process appeals. In that time, the ticket could then be assessed late fees if the appeals process does not go in the recipient's favor.

I'll have to flip a coin and decide if this is really worth my time. Just about the only thing I hate more than a stupid ticket is wasting time wading through layers of bureaucracy. UT probably figures that for every 10 BS citations they issue, eight people just give in and pay the fine, and even if they do grant a few ticket revocations, they still come out ahead in the game of fleecing students and faculty of their hard-earned cash.

Perhaps Subcommandante Bob was really writing non-fiction in his earlier profile of a Rocket Patrol representative.

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