It's how you feel that will count, in the end.
(Courtesy of acard.ayalamalls.com.ph)
Just when I thought Ayala Malls were my favorite among the concrete monoliths. (They have great use of spaces, they provide lush greenery, they make pathways and bridges that benefit not only them but the community surrounding them. In short, they make me hurl the least when I think of the word malls, which usually translates to "soul-lessness".)
I had an (extremely) early meeting at 615AM so I got up especially early. When I got to the Greenbelt parking area, I was surprised to see a line: apparently the automatic ticket dispenser was malfunctioning, and there was an attendant beside the machine issuing the cards on a manual basis.
I knew I was going to be late because of the delay. (I had to wait a good 5 to 7 minutes in line before I was able to get my ticket.) I thought it odd, that the card was now being issued manually, so they really didn't take note of the plate number, but in my haste to make it to my meeting, I pushed that thought aside.
Of course, it came back to bite me when I left the parking area.
A parking attendant was at the exit booth, who seemed to idolize Dona Victorina of Rizal's Noli Me Tangere, she had cheesy brown hued (colored) hair (that wasn't well done) and a heavily made up face long before the mall officially opened. She asked for my parking card and I gave it to her.
She kept swiping the card in her reader and (as I suspected) found no data.
She then said (our conversation was in the vernacular, but I will be posting it in English) "Sir, I have to verify your card."
I said, "OK."
She then proceeded to call a security guard, who was either deaf or had too much time on his hands, as he took his time coming over.
"Sir, just wait. We have to verify."
She started fidgeting with the card more...animatedly. She began taking note of the conduction sticker of the car.
"What time did you enter?"
"A little after 6AM."
More fidgeting. Some punching in her terminal happening, then she looks at me.
"Sir, we can't let the car pass because the card is blank."
"Yes, so what are going to do?"
"Well, the card is empty...you have to prove that you are the owner of the vehicle."
"Do you even know why it's empty?"
"Sir, we cannot let the car pass until you've proven..."
"Wait. What I asked you was, do you even know why the card is empty?"
"I'll tell you why. Your card dispenser is not working. There had to be a person manually giving out cards at the entrance. I was actually late for my early morning meeting because of that malfunction in your system."
"Yes, but you now have to produce your O.R. and C.R. and we have to take note of the information so that we are sure you are the owner of the car."
"Don't you ask that when the ticket is lost?"
"There is no data in the card."
That's exactly my point: that "problem" is yours, not mine. I've already experienced losing my ticket, it will take us another 30 minutes just for your security people to get my information, writing on a large sheet of paper, asking me to pay 200 pesos, and generally being made to feel like a criminal who attempted to steal a car. I did not lose my ticket, what I am looking for now is an acknowledgement that YOU are causing me this inconvenience. You keep harping on your point that I have to prove, I have to prove, while conveniently ignoring the fact that because of the card dispenser failing, we are now having this problem."
"But we still need proof that you are..."
At this point, the security guard she called was there, and was listening to our last exchange, and he held his hand up to the attendant's face and said "Just take note of the conduction sticker. He was able to produce the parking card, let the vehicle pass."
The attendant pouted, and said in a loud voice, bereft of any feeling of remorse for causing that much brouhaha, "I'm SOOOORY, Sir. You felt harrassed."
I was made to feel like I did a criminal act, and that's what sticks out the most.
I opted not to prolong the discussion as I was late for my next appointment. (It was akin to a customer purchasing a pair of jeans, and the store ran out of their paper bags, so the customer has to carry the bought item by hand, and when she gets to the exit, she is asked to prove that she really bought the pair of jeans.)
Thanks to the Dona Victorina wannabe, I have another tale to tell.