Even after working all these mumble mumble years in the security industry, I'm still constantly amazed at how many people think that I'm harassing them because of some personal vendetta. That is, each and every single one of these people is of the opinion that I am picking on him (or her) and only him (or her).
Which is nonsense, of course.
I pick on everybody.
They are also convinced that I am picking on them because I personally do not like them, am jealous of their position with the company, have a problem with their profession, or am an ignorant bigot with an unreasonable hatred for whatever race, religion, gender, body type, sexual orientation, age, or national origin that they happen to be (even if I have no way of knowing whatever particular thing it is about them that I'm supposed to be bigoted against).
All of which is nonsense, of course.
I pick on people only for clear, obvious, legal, and easily documentable reasons.
Take, for example, parking lots. Some sections of a lot which nominally "belongs" to employees might be marked off for other purposes. A department which needed extra parking close to the building from 8AM to 5PM for their customers is a good example. This was a decision handed down from the CEO after a huge department head meeting involving three years of parking lot utilization figures and many multicolored graphs.
Naturally, the employees as a whole decided that this was an arbitrary decision made by the junior 2nd shift security officer who was unlucky enough to be assigned the task of blocking off the parking spaces for the painters.
We never did find his body, by the way.
"Security, this is Troy," I said in my closest approximation of a professional tone.
"I'm going to complain to my supervisor about you, Charlie!" came the reply.
"And why would that be, ma'am?" I asked.
"You put a ticket on my car just because you don't like me!"
"Ma'am, I don't even know who you are," I tried to explain.
"Then why did you ticket me?" she asked.
"Well, what does the ticket say?"
"It says 'reserved for customer parking - no employee parking 8AM to 5PM.'"
I remembered that I did indeed write several tickets for that very violation earlier that morning. "Then I probably wrote you a ticket because I believed you were an employee parking in a customer parking area. Is there a problem with that?"
"I work third shift, Tony. I'm not in that parking lot from 8AM to 5PM."
I dug through my ticket book. "Exactly what time is indicated on that ticket?"
"9:08 AM," came the answer.
"I think 9:08 AM is between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM, so I'd say that if your car was indeed parked in that area at that time, it was in violation of published parking regulations."
"But I had it moved by 9:10!" came in the indignant reply.
"But, ma'am, it was still there until 9:10 AM, which is well after the time when the customers start coming in. I didn't even start writing tickets until after 8:45 when they called to tell me the customers were complaining about the lack of parking."
"But I wasn't planning on staying all day!" Even more indignant.
"But you and enough of your coworkers were there at that particular moment and that caused a problem." Which caused complaints. Which is the only reason I got out of my nice warm patrol car and wrote all those tickets on such a cold, windy day.
"But my supervisor told me that I could park there because I work 3rd shift!" By this point, she had gone past indignant and was rapidly approaching whiny.
I pulled out my copy of the memo, which was identical to the one she was emailed months ago. "2nd and 3rd shifts are allowed to park in that area so long as they are not there between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM."
"I work third shift, Tony. I'm not in that parking lot from 8 AM to 5 PM."
"You were there at 9:08 AM."
"But I had it moved by 9:10!"
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.I eventually got the idea that she was trying to say that since she wasn't there in the parking lot the entire time between 8 AM and 5 PM, it didn't count as a violation. I think she tried to explain at one point that if her car was absent from the parking lot for a single second during the forbidden time, it didn't count. I was never sure, because any time I'd try to pin her down, I was accused of not listening and trying to put words in her mouth.
After the third or fourth repetition, I might have "accidentally" disconnected her while trying to transfer to my department head's voicemail.
"Yes, ma'am. No, ma'am. No, that's for the section marked off in the back parking lot. For the front parking lot, you can't park there no matter what shift you work. No, not even call in. Only on weekends. Thank you. Bye."
"No, ma'am, you can't park in parking lot 'C' just because parking lot 'B' is full. You aren't supposed to be parking in lot 'B' anyway. No, lot 'A' most certainly is not already full. I parked there myself this morning. Try lots 'D' and 'E' if you have to. Thank you. Bye."
"No, ma'am, even if your name badge won't let you through the security door at the employee entrance, you still have to park in the employee parking area. You just need to report the malfunction to Security so we can check it. No, you haven't already talked twice this week to the idiot in Security who handles name badge access. No, you haven't. Because I'M the idiot in Security who handles the name badge system and I don't remember ever speaking to you before. What was your name again and I'll check your access level. Hello? Hello?"
"Yes, ma'am. No, ma'am. No, there's no exception for time of day. It's always illegal for you to park there. No, not even call in. No, not on weekends, either. What am I going to do about it? Nothing, ma'am. I have no authority to ticket cars parked in the handicapped parking areas. None whatsoever. That's right. Completely powerless. Thank you. Bye."
DIAL DIAL DIAL
"Yes, this is Troy with Security down at the Complex on Main Street. I was wondering if you could spare an officer to drive by and check our handicapped parking out front? We've been getting a lot of complaints lately."
"We'll get right on that."
"Incidentally, are those tickets still a $90 fine?"
"No, we upped them to $100 last year. $120 if not paid in 90 days."
Okay, so sometimes I really am a bastard.