Caveat emptor: How $2.75 generates $145

–An essay–

By David M. Post

I don't begrudge anyone running a successful business in a capitalistic society. I do, however, want people to have the ability to make an informed decision; and anyone considering parking downtown might be wise to consider the clear and unambiguous message sent by the owner of the lot across from Lee Park: maximize profits at the expense of patrons.


It all started when my good friend and I decided to take our wives to the opera at the Paramount Theater on a Sunday afternoon in February. With a bit of luck we would make the wives happy and get home in time for the Virginia basketball game. Neither mission was accomplished.


My friend was recovering from major surgery. This, coupled with the fact that we had the wives "in tow" (future pun intended), suggested that we park as close as possible. I chose this Market Street lot in spite of persistent urban legend that the owner was quick-with-the-hook.

I wait in line watching people utterly confused about operating the mechanical ticket machine. With no attendant, we purchase our parking for $2.75 an hour. The machine spits out my three-hour ticket, which I dutifully deposit on my dash before locking the car and setting off to the opera.

With limited opera experience, I didn't realize that the three hours for which I'd paid $8.25 wouldn't suffice. When the performance ends, I quickly pick up a pizza and hurry to the lot– to discover my car is gone.

I think to myself:
1. I am over 60 with considerable life experience.
2. I'm a lawyer.
3. I am 6’3” and weigh 225 pounds.
4. I have traveled to over 70 foreign countries including the most dangerous city in the world.

5. I've survived a kidnapping attempt.
6. I've been caught in the middle of a firefight.
7. I have been shot at from close range (it didn't work out well for the shooter).
8. I'm happily married.

However, I really didn't have the skills to handle what would follow. I read the posted instruction for retrieving my auto by calling the number. This I begin around 5:10pm and continue every five minutes. No answer, no return call, no anything. It's getting darker and colder.

About 30 minutes into the ordeal, I spy an acquaintance sprinting to his auto to avoid the tow and enlist him to give the wives a ride home.
 Still dialing, still no answer or return call. T minus 60 minutes and counting.

As I stand in the cold and darkness, I begin to form a visual image of the lot owner. I envision an accountant at home with his family enjoying a glass of warm cider in front of a roaring wood-burning fire. No gas logs for this guy.

As the heat dissipates from my pizza, I envision the lot owner arranging a weekend respite from his stressful day job, which no doubt includes tying young maidens to railroad tracks for missing a timely mortgage payment. 
I then conclude that the owner is a banker. Bankers love plastic cards that generate revenue and fees without the benefit of human involvement: just-give-me-the-cash. [For the real story on lot owner Keith Woodard, read the article on page 16.]

When I finally reach a voice on the end of the line, it's 6:25pm. Come to the impoundment lot, I'm told. Bring $145 in cash.

It was then that I become utterly convinced that the lot owner is a banker. The $8.25 I paid for parking may be just a loss leader for the real profit center: the $25 share he gets back from the towing company. The bulk of the revenue comes from my $2.75 error.
Simply brilliant. This guy should teach at Darden.

We pop in to a nearby restaurant to ask for directions to the impoundment lot. Turns out the restaurant has the place on speed-dial.

After a nearly mile-long trudge, we arrive at what we guess is the storage facility. It is difficult to be sure as lighting is almost nonexistent. There's a bulb in the distance, or perhaps it's a whale oil lamp, far beyond the "Beware of Dog" sign.

I finally encounter a real person and ask if he works for the towing company. I introduce myself with first and last name, and I ask for his. He says that identification would violate company policy. I ask for his first name only. No luck.

I see nothing on his attire to confirm his employment. Great, I am now giving $145 in cash to a total stranger. Maybe there is someone even smarter than the banker.
 Mr. No Name is actually pleasant, but I start tallying my total:

1. $8.25 parking
2. $145.00 towing
3. $3.00 ATM
4. $26.00 cold pizza

In analyzing the receipt provided by Mr. No Name, it appears that of the $145 cash paid, $95 is the basic towing fee, then there's a $25 "redemption fee" for retrieving the vehicle after-hours, and another $25 to the owner of the lot, something Mr. No Name confirms.

Other than telling a few hundred of my closest friends and writing this epistle, I am finished with this matter, as this lot is now off my list of places to park. You, however, have the benefit of hearing my experience. Whether or not you ascribe credibility to my account is your decision: caveat emptor. One additional irony is that printed on the parking ticket is a statement basically saying "Have a Great Day in Historic Charlottesville."

I want to take this opportunity to wish you the same, Mr. Banker: "Have a Great Day!"
You've earned it.
Author David Post is a lawyer working in Charlottesville and London.

Since this incident, the Woodard lot has lowered the hourly rate from $2.75 to $2.25 but raised the nighttime towing/impoundment fees to $160. The profit-sharing arrangement appears to remain in place.


Whiny one, isn't he? Pay to park and you don't get towed. Are you really 60 years old and have never been towed before? It stinks. To prevent it, I try to follow the instructions that are posted at the parking lot so that I don't go through this(hint, hint).

you got ripped off on that $26.00 pizza, bub.

You seriously thought you could get out of an opera in less than 3 hours? That's the real mistake here- no good can come from going to the opera.

I'm almost 60, 6ft 3, 200lbs, was left an estate in a will. I called a lawyer to file it, never heard back filed it myself after 2 months. When I told the lawyer, I did it myself, I got a bill for close to $700. I didn't tell anyone, and probably should be repeating it now. You however can have the benefit of my advise. If you are left an estate in a will, try filing it your self first. Maybe your lawyer will overpark at a lot and pay out some of the bucks you paid them some day.

I have a suggestion... everytime you see their tow truck parked somewhere look for a worn tire, body damage or ANYTHING leaking underneath and report them to the DOT. The number is printed on the side of the truck. The DOT will perform an inspection and make them fix EVERYTHING. The drivers also have to have medical cards and the owner is required to have alcohol prevention training. If you see the driver on a cell phone you tube it.. it is a DOT violation and up to a 12,000 dollar fine. Also, by LAW cars need to be anchored at 4 places on a flat bed. If you see a tower with two straps youtube it and report them.

This problem could be solved very easily. The city could regulate towing lots like any other business. They could require minimum signage sizes and locations with explicit warnings. The sign could be required to disclose that the owner recieves a kickback for every tow. That way people would be informed that it is a predatory business. Additionally the city could put a 1 dollar "towing tax" on every impound which would mean that the tower would have to provide a copy of every reciept to the city which the paper trail could then be used by the IRS to make sure these people pay their taxes on all that CASH. The city could use the dollar to police the towing industry. The police could make sure they strap the cars down properly and, use proper signals and lights and following traffic laws.

This lot is not the only problem, there is an underground economy of kickbacks and corruption at apartment complexes and condos where people call the towers to get a money for squealing on someone who inadvertently parks in the wrong spot even for a minute.

If the towers want to be predatory and take advantage of technicalities to rob people then lets make them pay taxes and follow the rules themselves.

I agree - the City should regulate towing companies.

Oh, that's right, they're probably high from smoking pot and have the munchies themselves. Pass the pizza and the chips.

@bill marshall
great blog But city council already regulates this lot. For that matter it is already over regulated and over taxed. Maybe the cash payments are a way to avoid further taxes?

So the county is soon opening its new mall with all kinds of amenities to attract people. Free parking, modern movie theaters, trendy restaurants, stores selected to coordinate with the others, great lighting, no pan handlers, public and private police, easy access. This mall, being privately owned for profit, will compete with the City Council (CC) regulated mall. CC is self described as a Democratic/Socialistic organization of individuals who have limited interest and no ownership.

There is a lot to learn as these two shopping venues compete into the future. Nobody is right; nobody is wrong. But The People will vote with their feet and their pocketbooks. The tax revenues will tell the story.

A $160 tow fee is criminal! Too bad our city council doesn't deal with real issues.

I wonder if their City Council parking pass (to be displayed in the window like a handicapped parking permit) is honored by this lot?

I had a major vehicle malfunction not long ago in the city, and had to have my vehicle towed to Jim Price Chevrolet. One of the larger local tow companies charged me $40, with their usual fee being $50. They gave me somewhat of a discount because I do a lot of programming for them and they all know me (including the owners).

I wonder if tow fees would be much less if these privately owned lots were to contract with this larger towing company.

gas dog... the "fees" are set by how much they can get away with.

It is a trap and on the interest of the general welfare of the public consumer protections should be in place.

Unless the lot is full the lot is not being harmed by the car being there and there is no reason to move it other than to create a reasaon to charge.

Perhaps the law should require a business to have an employee on hand at all times they are charging money, or require unattended lots to only tow if it is over 75% full and needs the space. If they want to lock a car in then make the customer come back tomorrow and pay the late fee.

I have never been towed before, but it makes me very angry when I drive by the tow truck company on East High Street and they have things written on their truck like "we're going to get you!!" If I ever needed a tow, I would never call them because they are obviously terrible people.


On most things I agree with you, but on this I do not. The City Council doesn;t act very socialist at all, except for one or two aspects. They act quite Republican, and are being just as silly as Republicans too. The fact that the DT Mall has panhandlers is because it isn all private property, its an open Mall. What might be nice for local residents is that this County wonder drags away the COunty traffic, so that businesses who meet real city dweller needs take over the businesses that cater to those from out of town all the time.

Thanks "Old Timer". I am from Charlottesville but lived far away for many years. Had to come home to die, in about 20 or 30 years I hope, Undoubtedly I am learning a lot from the Old Timers but little from the Newly Arrived from a different culture entirely.

I could have be a bit clearer in explaining that I do see the Downtown Mall as a publically owned mall controlled by City Council. THe businesses and most buildings are private but absolutely controlled by CC.

I do not see much of the "Republican" principals at work in City Council. Certainly no Republicans are present.

THe real downtown residents needs do need to be better served and maybe dragging the "out of town" shopper away will help this situation. But consider the effect of yet another shrinking of the tax base.

So sick of people who either can't read the instructions on their parking lot tickets that clearly say to put the ticket in full view on your dashboard, or, who don't pay for enough time and then write verbose essays about how they got towed as a result.

Yes, these privately owned lots are running a racket. We all know this.

But you as a patron of said lot *need to read and follow the instructions on your ticket and/or PAY FOR ENOUGH TIME.

Paying a total of three hours.....for an evening on the downtown mall to go see an OPERA? Are you for real? Everybody knows how long an opera can be. I'd call this guy some colorful names that allude to his lack of intelligence, but, my comment will most likely get "Deleted by administrator." But I will say this, the dude obviously doesn't have any common sense.

If I were having an evening with the OPERA and dinner, and I needed to pay ahead of time then I'd pay for a good four hours, minimim.

So so so tired of these people who can't read instructions and/or have no common sense, who then write colorful, dramatic, winded essays whining about their towing experience and trying to over dramatize the situation and play up their victimhood to the max. Get some sense.


"I do not see much of the "Republican" principals at work in City Council. Certainly no Republicans are present."

For that matter, I don´t see that much in the way of Republican stated values in the GOP either, hahahaha. I think they show it everytime they cave to a developer interest such as SD. They try and pat themselves on the back because in doing so, they are caving to that other special interest group. Which is a big problem in the County as well. Otherwise why the dam? Or the YMCA in a city park?

Truly socialist on the Council? Not much. Maybe Szakos on a few issues.

One party government is bad though. We can certainly agree on that one.


I think the point is not that they didn make a mistake, but that the consequences are absurd and have some real safety issues involved. A machine not giving change is just plain bogus. No excuses on that one. No, old people who overstay by 20 minutes should not be required to stop by a cash machine for 150$ and then walk a mile + to get their car. Especially in an area that is dark and not well policed. Sorry.

I wonder if you are one of those who whines about lawsuits that hand out large rewards as being unjustified.

@ Richard

The rules are clearly stated in these privately owned lots. As usual people don't read and/or have no common sense and then think that the rules don't apply to them.

People just need to not park in these lots. End of story. These stories are good in that they get the word out about these parking lot rackets going on, I'll give it that, but at the same time I'm sick of people who don't read or have no sense acting shocked and appalled when they get towed. I got towed years ago on Hollywood Boulevard in L.A. when my meter ran out or something, can't remember. And it cost me $125 to get my car back, that much I do remember. And this was back in 1995. Can only imagine what the rate would be like now with inflation. And yeah, there I was with my then guy friend walking around seedy dark side streets in Hollywood at 1 in the morning to find the lot where my car was impounded. But the point is I took responsibility for being at fault. Yeah, there were predator tow trucks trolling up and down Hollywood Boulevard just waiting to pounce on cars like mine, but it was my fault for going beyond the limit. It was what it was. But so it goes. You have to pay attention when parking in private lots or with metered parking. Always. Don't assume they aren't just sitting around waiting to tow you the moment you go a minute beyond the limit. Assume the worst, always, and be vigilant. In an ideal world things wouldn't (and shouldn't) be like this. But we don't live in that world. Too many people are innocent and dopey and naive, just boppin' along, with no clue. Time to wise up.

This is an abusive distoriton of the impound law to begin with. The law is there to stop trespassing .... to say that you are trespassing because your time expired is a stretch at best and perhaps it should be challenged in court.

If the city towed every car that overstayed at a parking meter this problem would be solved in ONE DAY.


I don't object to the lot owner having a high rate, or even predatory penalties. It may be a very bad management decision but he is the owner and he is certainly at risk for his income from his investment.

Personally, I do not like CC managing the Downtown Mall. Baltimore, Norfolk Seattle and a host of other cities both large and small have hired property management firms to manage their inner city malls. Charlottesville CC spends considerable time on the brick size, the placement of the chains for outside dining and signage. Is that their elected duty?

Just be happy we aren't in a Metro area (Philly, NY, DC). As painful as this is, it could be very much worse.

@Just sayin
Are you just saying CC is like Duck Dynasty? I don't watch Parking Wars or Duck Dynasty but the are said to have common appeal. What do I know anyway?

It would be nice if there was a live person working there that would just levy a fine if you were late. A Republican council would give the parking lot owner a tax break on the hope of the parking lot owner would hire a live person to be on site. A Socialist council would force him by laws to hire someone and pay them a living wage. A Democrat council would build their own parking lots and join in with the overcharge.

This is a problem, but the issue appears to be with the VA state code. Section § 46.2-1231 gives parking lot owners permission to tow "trespassing" vehicles, as long as signs are clear and some other conditions are met. I'm not sure if Cville has the authority to fix this with a regulation.

Really, this is an archaic business model for parking. You should be able to just swipe your card and pay for whatever time you used, just like every other service we pay for. Nobody wants the hassle of having to remember how much time they have left on the meter, and experiences like the one recounted here just leave a bad taste in your mouth - which hurts the entire downtown mall. Does your waiter suddenly slap a $150 fee on your bill for staying at the table a little too long? That would be ridiculous.

Other cities are modernizing their public parking payment systems. This transition is happening, but it's been painfully slow.

My point is that in the bigger Metro areas, to get your car released there are alot, (I mean alot) more hoops and fees to go through to get your car. Now, that being said, the City Government is running those towing "services" and not a private entity. So, for those who want to the City to regulate or even take over the towing of vehicles be careful what you ask for, you may get it.

The city should employ homeless 'runners' to find & alert patrons when their allotted parking time is about to expire.

Perhaps the city could simply issue a legal opinion that overstaying a paid meter is not trespassing but a civil breach of contract and if the owner wants the car removed he must first call the police who will come by in due time to approve the tow and call towers who have registered with the city as subs to tow police impounded vehicles. This would eliminate the owners kickback, and colliers would not be getting all the tows so they would no longer have an incentive to stake out the lot and hang people. It might be inconvienient for the police in the short term but once the owner realized he is not getting the kickbacks any longer than he would proabably just come up with an all night fee of 10 or 12 bucks and have loyal customers and a full lot. You know.. the way a DECENT businessman would operate.

Or perhaps the city could put up a giant sign at the entrance saying that people should beware that this business owner is using technicalities in the law to harang people and the city council is too busy trying to end the war in afghanastan, building apartments for the bums, kissing the backside of disgraced civil rights zealots and occupiers to actually deal with a real problem.

I agree with Bill Marshall. This can and should be solved by City Council

State code, Section 46.2-1233 allows localities to set "reasonable limits" on towing fees and Section 46.2-1232 allows them to regulate removal of trespassing vehicles generally.

As GSOE points out, the going rate for a tow in the area is $50 or less. That is the free market price for a tow. A reasonable limit for private lot operators might be to allow them to charge no more than 50% more than the free market price, ie $75. That would not prevent cars from being towed, but would remove the predatory incentive that can occur when one company has a towing monopoly for a particular lot.

Keith Woodard, like other private parking lot owners, needs a way to prevent freeloaders on his lot. However in the long run, predatory towing does not appear to be a good business decision to me. Collier claims that they do about 20 parking violation tows a week, which works out to about 1000 per year. Assuming that half of these tows are from Mr Woodard's lot, this would result in $12.5K per year in towing fees to Mr Woodard, which I expect is about a month's worth of parking revenue on this lot. That is not insignificant, but hardly a huge windfall for someone who owns a lot of commercial and residential property. Ruining someone's evening over a few minutes of extra parking is the sort of thing that people dont forget easily. Charlottesville is still a small town and ruining the evenings of 1000 random people a year (assuming 2 people in each car) for 12.5K does not seem like a sustainable strategy for someone with varied business interests

The same State law that allows parking lot owners to tow also allows them to have cars ticketed for overstaying their time. This would seem to be a more rational solution for all concerned.

As a student, my car was towed from my apartment complex one day (along with 7 others at the same time.)

I had the pass of the apartment complex clearly on the dashboard of my car. When I went to the tow lot, and told the attendant/crook that the pass was there, he said "He could not see it because it weren't (sic) in plain view." Complete and total bullsh*t. I called my father for some advice, and then informed the attendant that I was calling the police to report my car stolen. While this was going on, a few girls from my apartment complex came and paid for their car, in cash, instead of doing what I was doing. IMO the tow company and the apartment owner figured the students would accept their explanation and just pay for their cars instead of fighting it.

Long story short, the police came and I got my car back for free. The redneck attendant and some other employee there maintained that they couldn't see the pass and tried to pass it off as a misunderstanding or mistake instead of predatory towing practices. I filed a complaint but never heard anything back. I heard later the same company was shut down for overcharging for tows and had opened up under a new owner (probably the guy's cousin or brother).

IMO tow truck drivers are usually scum.

The city should use imminent domain and take that lot back from Woodard if he does not get his shi@ straight.Ripping people off this way is criminal, and simply just so wrong. But, in the short-term, before Karma gets him, DONT FREAKING PARK THERE.

I would think that the City can't do an apology for taking Vinegar Hill from private owners "for the greater good of downtown" one month and then use Imminent domain on this parking lot the next month. But I agree don't park there and don't park at Judge's spot at court house for even a few minutes. How many times I've seen people blocked in by police and towed from the Judge's reserved spot you'd be surprised. Handicapped it better be on your license plate also.

Sam, last time I looked this was not about race, but both things are about what is right and wrong. What Woodard is doing is immoral, and wrong and he must stop doing it. Redo the signs, lower the tow fee......or how bout build a cool building there that actually does something for our community... DONT FREAKING PARK THERE..

People hit up your friends on facebook, tell every single person in your email list not to park there. Write him a letter, stop by his office. Tell him how you really feel. That is how things get down here. Occupy Woodard. He will then get the idea...

I'm not saying its about race. Imminent domain should only be used rarely is what I am saying.

"Eminent domain", darlings, not Imminent domain. And that's a bad idea, but i really like the Facebook /email/letter campaign. I am a great believer in the free market, and part of the free market is that consumers get to withhold their business from people they believe to be unscrupulous. Plenty of other places to park downtown.

I had a similar experience at this lot and was pissed (and totally agree with you the towing company is sketchy), but occasionally I still park there if I'm running late or can't find a free spot downtown.

After my towing incident, I went back to read the instructions and if I recall they are pretty clear to park in that lot. Paying to park is standard in many areas. If you stay longer than you originally intended, sometimes you have to be responsible about it and go pay the difference. Crazy to think that because it's sweet lil' Charlottesville, or you have wives with you, or are a lawyer that you are exempt from this.
p.s. I too have escaped kidnapping though only travelled to 20 plus countries.

entitlement much?

Perhaps if the City had allowed Woodard to develop his property in the 100 b lock of E. Main he wouldn't be using it as a parking lot. He paid about $15M for that property I believe. It seems people always want something for nothing. This is the guy many in the community wanted him to put in underground parking beneath LEE PARK which he doesn't own.
"No, old people who overstay by 20 minutes should not be required to stop by a cash machine for 150$ and then walk a mile + to get their car." Yes they should. If they park in my yard they should expect more than that. It's time they learned that they don't deserve something for nothing either. I am over 80 years old and I have never gotten towed or a parking ticket.

Perhaps if the City had allowed Woodard to develop his property in the 100 b lock of E. Main he wouldn't be using it as a parking lot. He paid about $15M for that property I believe. It seems people always want something for nothing. This is the guy many in the community wanted him to put in underground parking beneath LEE PARK which he doesn't own.
"No, old people who overstay by 20 minutes should not be required to stop by a cash machine for 150$ and then walk a mile + to get their car." Yes they should. If they park in my yard they should expect more than that. It's time they learned that they don't deserve something for nothing either. I am over 80 years old and I have never gotten towed or a parking ticket.

Perhaps if the City had allowed Woodard to develop his property in the 100 b lock of E. Main he wouldn't be using it as a parking lot. He paid about $15M for that property I believe. It seems people always want something for nothing. This is the guy many in the community wanted him to put in underground parking beneath LEE PARK which he doesn't own.
"No, old people who overstay by 20 minutes should not be required to stop by a cash machine for 150$ and then walk a mile + to get their car." Yes they should. If they park in my yard they should expect more than that. It's time they learned that they don't deserve something for nothing either. I am over 80 years old and I have never gotten towed or a parking ticket.

80+ years old? Wow!!! The only thing you've missed living through was the Great Depression? Or possibly born just about then? You've seen it all over the years..... the good, the bad, and the ugly! Now you get to watch the Charlottesville Parking Wars.

Oh well, wishing you 20+ more good years!

Hey cry time don't be so cheap and prepay 4 hours...haha airborne ranger; too tough for the kidnappers and shooters, but no match for Colliers..
Cry me a river.
This has been going on for years and people still just don't get that private lots have the right to do these things..

Hey Cville Eye, I often agree with you, but I disagree about the response to overstaying your parking time. My mother is disabled, she pays her bills on time, and is a responsible citizen. She is just hanging on to her independence, and to be blunt, the DT area is shy on handicapped spots in the garages and elsewhere.
They give away what they have close to city hall everytime there is a concert, which makes it worse.
I hate to think of my mother, because of her body,and slow travel, ending up being a few minutes late and finding her car gone. She CAN'T walk a mile, and you seem to think its appropriate. I don't. I hate to think of what would happen to her.

Parking in your yard is a stupid analogy. My mother wouldn't park in your yard, and neither are these people. They are paying to park.If they stayed over, I am sure most of them would happily pay an overage fee.

I don't know any parking lot owners or tow truck operators. But something tells me they are thinking of ways to redeem their soiled reputations and protect the cash flow from their investments. Let the free market and free press work. Keep City Hall regulation out of it.

Maybe a system where parking is paid at a standard rate until the time expires and then goes to a punitive rate with a boot installed on the tire, then the tow in 48 hours. With a larger penalty and processing fee. Is that a legal system? Just a thought.

No auto should be towed unless directed by a police officer and the tow fee should be capped at $40.

@Caesonia, I can't walk a mile either so I don't stayed parked longer than I have paid for. That is why I have never parked in ht e parking deck on Elliewood and I have never parked behind the bank. Every service or amenity is available for everyone even if she is old, sick, mentally ill, or sick. It's for this reason I do not frequent downtown unless it is convenient for me to park in one of the garages. Private property is private property and I do not use it without obeying the owner's rules.

If someone parks in your yard you can call the police and THEY will authorize the tow under the trespassing law. or abandoned. These folks are using these laws to tow cars for profit. The car has exceeded the time alloted and common sense says they are not abandoned and an officer of the law needs to confirm the trespass.

The city has the right to regulate the tows and can simply take the position that the cars are not trespassing until confirmed by an officer which means the car stays put and the owner can pay the "bailment" just like they do in parking garages. If the owner of the lot does not want to keep staff there to collect the money then he can lose out or chain the gate at closing time. It is easily solved. The city just has no guts.

Its really not a 'private lot' any more than a grocery store is a private venue Cville Eye. they are using that private lot to provide a facility open to the public. A grocery store can have a patron removed if they are a problem, but the police have to be called to forcibly do so. Towing someone's car is forcibly removing it. You don't get to have your cake and eat it, which is what the property owner wants.

I think to myself:
1. I am under 40
2. I work in computing.
3. I am skinny and hardly a physical threat.
4. I grew up in Charlottesville and still live here.
5. I've survived a diet solely consisting of Ramen noodles and Miller Lite.
6. I've been caught in a bad rainstorm without an umbrella.
7. I have been shot at from close range with a BB gun. I kicked the other dude in the nuts.
8. I'm getting married.

And even I know you don't mess around with parking too long in paid lots downtown that say they will tow. Yes, it is an outrage. Yes, they are criminals. They will tow you and it will be a pain in your ass. To them, you are simply a car.

Bill Marshall's post above is GOLDEN. I am printing that out and putting it in my wallet. Seriously.