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Towing Drama Outside Ray’s Hell Burger

by ARLnow.com December 3, 2010 at 3:01 pm 7,377 164 Comments

Just in case you’re not sick of towing stories yet, here’s one we happened to catch while checking out the new Michael Landrum seafood restaurant (update: lots of people coming and going from the brown-papered doors, but still no returned calls from Landrum).

Across the street from the new restaurant, an Advanced tow truck and a guy in a Mercedes were locked in a towing stalemate in the parking lot of the shopping center that houses Ray’s Hell Burger. In one corner, the tow truck and its crew of two had the Mercedes in its steely grips. In the other corner, the Mercedes driver was laying on the horn and refusing to get out of the car.

Ten minutes into the struggle, an Arlington police officer showed up and mediated. After some discussion, he allowed the tow truck to haul the Benz off to the Advanced impound lot.

The driver, who would only give his first name of Abe, was left fuming.

“Now I have to find a way to get to my bank to get cash, to get to the lot to have my car returned, then I would probably have to take a day off to go to court to sue them if I want justice,” Abe said. “They’re crooks because the car was not parked illegally and they’re getting away with it… we have no recourse, the police seem to be working against us, not with us.”

Abe explains that he was at the shopping center to drop off four boxes at a package center for a friend. He circled the crowded lot several times before deciding to park behind a couple of parked cars. He left a friend outside to make sure no one needed him to move his car.

Within two minutes, he said, the tow truck arrived. He somehow managed to get in his car while it was being hooked up, which prevented the towers from going anywhere, for safety reasons. The ten minute standoff then ensued, with the horn blaring, a small crowd watching and a number of people in parked cars blocked from leaving.

Abe says he wasn’t offered the chance to pay a drop fee (usually $25), but two witnesses we talked to told a different story. They said the driver was offered the chance to pay a drop fee, but started cursing and becoming belligerent instead, at which point the tow crew retreated to their truck and waited for police to arrive.

In a poll conducted yesterday, 55 percent of ARLnow.com readers said that the right of property owners to tow illegally-parked cars outweighs any need for more stringent predatory towing laws.

  • V Dizzle

    Again (prev discussion), saw a similar scene in that lot before, while eating at Cafe Asorti. There seemed to be a scuffle involved, and I thought someone was hit by a car, but it ended up the creeping Advanced Auto truck had snatched a car that was in the alley for a couple of minutes and the owner was right there. Towing is fine, but do it right. These guys will eventually hurt somebody with their stalking, high speeds, and running of stop signs.

    • Gigabite34

      I eat in this center for lunch a lot and you can never find a space. There’s usually a line of cars waiting to get. I’ve personally seen cars just park behind other people before. I think the county is to blame for the parking mess, not property owners or tow people. Arlington’s master plan strategy has called for urban sprawl for years but the County has failed in providing convenient public parking. The same Board members have been in office for years and you can bet they are going to defer blame toward everyone BUT themselves.

      • mehoo

        Urban sprawl? Um, that’s an oxymoron. It’s “SUBurban sprawl.” Sprawl means growing out instead of up, and the county can’t grow any further out anyway, so it’s growing up (in both senses of the word). The county has done a great job preventing sprawl, and keeping the demand for parking down by encouraging and enabling alternatives to driving.

        • SprawledOut

          That’s all fine and dandy but the fact is Arlington is not NYC and most people need to drive. Kudos to the few who can use other forms of transportation, not everyone has a job where they can sit at a desk all day hence the parking woes.

          • mehoo

            But that’s changing, isn’t it? Arlington is becoming more like NYC. It’s going to grow whether you like it or not, and parking is going to be a problem. So it’s best to grow smart (hence the term smart growth) and provide alternatives so that the parking situation doesn’t get even worse. We can’t built enough roads and parking garages to keep up. If we could, NYC would have.

            The alternative transportation and urban design benefits everyone, even those who drive and park, because it keeps other people off the roads.

            And again, sprawl means low-density, car-dependent growth outward. Arlington is moving away from that, not toward it. Arlington was sprawl 50 years ago, now it’s becoming urban. You can’t stop that, you can only manage it wisely.

          • Westover

            Arlington could be called Sprawl 70 years ago, but by the end of WWII it was clearly an established close in suburb. Smart growth is good, but should it be at the expense of those that moved to the area when cars were such a part of the landscape that Ballston was call PARKington?

          • mehoo

            If it’s “smart” growth, then it’s not at the expense of those people, to the extent possible. That’s the point – growth is going to happen, you can’t stop it. You can only make the best of it. Parking is harder in some places, but getting around overall is easier because now there are alternatives.

  • CJR

    Does the $25 drop fee need to be in cash? if yes, and the individual does not have the cash – how much time are they allowed to get the cash? And if they are not allowed time to get cash, and then must pay the $150 tow fee at the facility – Could that be a violation of some cash / credit laws? Just wondering.

    • el fat kid

      i believe they’re required to take multiple forms of payment including – cash, credit/debit cards and personal checks.

      • TGEoA

        Got any documentation that they have to accept CC? I’d love to see it in the unlikely event I ever get hitched.

        • el fat kid

          here’s the link: http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/CountyBoard/CountyCode/Ch14_3_TowingandStorageofMotorVehicles.pdf

          scroll down to 14.3-9 part E and 14.3-10

          specifically states they must accept payment for the ‘in lieu of towing’ fee in cash, travelers/insurance company checks, money orders(???), and any debit/credit card that the company has an acct w/.

          one thing i learned reading this – it doesn’t say that they’re required to accept personal checks, which i guess kind of makes sense when they’re not able to electronically verify the checks on the spot.

          NOTE: they will lie to you about the law, ignore you and keep going, try to intimidate and even physically threaten you and do everything else they can to avoid doing a drop since they make about $100 more driving it a mile or two back to their lot. Know your shit and call the cops if there’s a problem.

          Also, the law is a little vague but seems to indicate that they don’t have to do a drop if they’ve already left the property. However, if you motion for them to stop and they keep going until they’re off the property before stopping (which they will try to do), i think you have a pretty good case to file a complaint and either call the cops to force a drop or file a complaint to receive a full refund.

  • KLB

    “He left a friend outside to make sure no one needed him to move his car.”

    What was this friend doing when the tow truck pulled up?

    • Jason S

      I was wondering that, why not have the friend circle the block once or twice?

      • NotNaive

        Come on guys this is an easy one, the guy in the Mercedes is a lying sack of shi*t. If his friend was there his friend probably would have moved the car it wouldn’t have been towed.

  • mehoo

    From the description in the article it sounds like he was indeed parked illegally.

    • rft

      just another story of someone parking illegally and then being mad that it got them towed

  • Rover

    It sounds like the tow truck was also parked illegally while awaiting the police car. Why didn’t another tow truck show up two minutes later to tow him?

  • el fat kid

    feel bad for the guy though don’t think this is one of the cases where the tow truck company did anything illegal. Kind of confused why the ‘friend outside’ didn’t move the car before the tow truck hitched it up or why the driver didn’t pay the drop fee if he was aware of it.

    Letting anger overcome pragmatism rarely works, though knowing the goons that drive those trucks, they probably did little to diffuse the situation.

    • Frenchy B

      My guess is that Abe didn’t trust his ‘friend’ well enough to drive his beloved Mercedes.

  • Abe

    Don’t you know who I am!!! I’m a VERY important man! I cannot wait for anything. I drive a Mercedes!!! I’m entitled to MORE than anyone else!!!


    I’m more important than the rules!!!!!!

    • el fat kid

      now that’s constructive… 🙂

    • G

      haha. love it

    • Anon

      I can only hope it was Abe Froman, the Sausage King in town visiting and mailing some dried meat gift packs.

      • Katie

        He was probably casing the joint.

        • Greg
          • Westover

            Interesting POV, Greg. 😉

        • mehoo

          I’d tell him to stuff it.

    • XiOX

      Hey a–hole, just because a person chooses to drive a nice car does not meat they are pretentious or act like they are better than everyone else. He probably chose to drive a nice car to compensate for his underdevelopment elsewhere.

    • Let’s Be Free

      Thumbs up to you Abe!

  • mrlogical

    If he had a friend there to watch the car, why couldn’t the friend stay in the car or drop off his packages for him?

    In any event, that strip of shops has the worst parking lot in the universe, there are never any spaces available.

    • GM

      Agreed on both accounts, MrLogical. Parking there IS horrendous, but why one person didn’t just drive around the block in the car while the other one delivered the package is a little mind-boggling.

  • CrystalMikey

    Bah…he was parked illegally. His own damn fault…moving on!

    • NPGMBR


      • brian


        if your not between the white lines, FORGET ABOUT IT

  • JamesE


    • AllenB

      We’re sorry.

  • Colbert Nation

    His “friend” should have taken the packages into the store! Sounds like a dishonest Abe. Seriously though, if I am in my car, waiting for a parking spot to open, and I am blocking cars, can I be towed? Without video proof, the cop should not have taken the word of a business person, that has everything to gain, against an alleged “victim.” I support private property rights, but who is to say the tow truck driver is not lying? All I am saying is that maybe there could be some “refining” of the law. Put video cameras in tow truck. They cost a couple of hundred dollars each and would probably save us tax payers a lot of court time costs.

    • NPGMBR

      I’m sure the cop asked the witnesses about it! Ya know, they are professional interrogators!

  • Dale

    Tools like this undercut those who have legitimate complaints about Arlington towing. “‘They’re crooks because the car was not parked illegally….'” BUT “He circled the crowded lot several times before deciding to park behind a couple of parked cars.”

    Please, you double-parked, Jethro, pay the fine and stfu.

    • a’town

      agreed. Though parking in that area is notoriously difficult. I would eat at RHB or that mexican spot much more often if I could park.

  • Bender

    Yeah, why have a friendly and easy-going Arlington, which merely asks him to kindly move his car, when you can have an obnoxious, a**hole, police-state atmosphere that tells people to pay the fine and stfu?

    • JJ

      This is my problem with the towing in Arlington. As Advanced claims correctly, 95% of the people they tow parked illegally, and the lot owners gave Advanced the right to tow.

      However, that doesn’t mean that any car left unattended for mere seconds should be taken away. When I watch Advanced sit in lots waiting to prey on drivers is when I lose all sympathy for their side. Drive around at a normal rate of speed and tow those cars that you find illegally. Don’t park and stalk cars.

      I don’t want to use the no harm, no foul analogy, because the resident anti-illegal parking commenter will relate towing to a serial killer, but how many cars per year does Advanced tow that had not nor were going to cause any issue?

      • LS

        Agreed! If they come across a double parked car, go ahead and tow it, but stalking parking lots and towing cars for being parked on the line is ridiculous (see yesterday’s poll comments for examples). It seems like the drivers have no rights in this case. How can they prove they weren’t illegally parked when their car has already been towed? They have no choice but to pay the crooks to get it back. There should be some sort of video/clear photos required before towing, and the police need to crack down on Advanced driver’s terrible driving skills.

      • Take it down a notch

        Drive around where at a normal rate of speed? They’re sitting in the lot because the property owner has an agreement with them to sit in the lot and tow illegally parked cars. If you don’t like it, talk to the property owner.

        • Jason S

          Around Arlington, of course, did you not notice the title of this site? One has to blind, either by choice or ignorance, not notice how rude and inconsiderate the morons that had to settle for driving tow trucks are when driving.

          • LS


          • NPGMBR

            OH please, the driver had many options to avoid towing and they include:

            – Letting his friend take in the packages.
            – Taking the packages in him self.
            – Continue circling until a spot opened up.
            – Parked on the street.
            – Parked in a garage.
            – Taken Metro.
            – Taken a taxi

            Hell, he could have walked but he chose to forgo all those options and take a risk and he lost. End of story!

          • Jason S

            NPGMBR, replying to the wrong thread? We were not discussing Abe, the rude jackass, we were discussing the tow truck drivers’ driving habits.

        • LS

          You must not live in Arlington. Once they have the cars attached, they speed off and drive recklessly to their lot. Many people on the other threads have commented on this as well. Obviously they’re not speeding when they’re waiting in parking lots stalking people. Duh!

        • NPGMBR

          You are 100% correct

      • Just the Facts

        I love this attitude: “Just let me break the rules a little bit, but please enforce them on everyone else.”

        How long is long enough when the a-hole Mercedes driver is double-parked and blocking YOU in?

        Here’s the answer to 99% of tow issues: don’t park on private property in violation of the property owner’s rules and you won’t get towed! At the very least, don’t break the rules and then sit in your car holding the horn down to draw attention to what a donkey you are!

        If you’re too impatient or self-important to wait your turn for a legal space (even if, gasp!, it means you have to take a few extra minutes out of your precious day) then I say hook ’em and book ’em!

        Oh, and as for the “police state” comment: yo, moron, this is a *private* company towing a *privately* owned car at the request of a *private* property owner….it doesn’t get any LESS police state than that.

  • DudeGuy

    This is a stupid situation.

    It is very simple.

    Sounds like Abe parked illegally.
    Tow driver did offer the drop fee in which Abe said [email protected]&!! to
    Tow driver has his car and is towing it because it was parked illegally

    end of story

    • Colbert Nation

      Sure, and if every one is in jail, there would be no crime (outside of jail). While we are at it, why not execute people on the spot? That would learn them, end of story. Seriously, as a community of human beings, we should be able to use sound judgment, kindness and community spirit to solve problems. I agree that it sounds like “Abe” was in the wrong, but was he actually keeping someone from leaving? Was there a complaint from someone wronged by Abe? Is so, then sure, tow the guy. But if not, the tow truck driver should not be the one towing Abe’s private property.

      Bigger picture here, should we act like a a bunch of children waiting for “the man” to solve our problems for us or should reasonable people be able to sovle their own problems? If I accused you of a crime, would you want the police to believe me and send you to jail, because you “could” have committed a crime? Finally, the give me $25 and I will let your car down “fee” sounds like a shake down to me.

      • Westover

        Well put!

      • Just the Facts

        Ah, nothing like balanced commentary. Quick towing of parking violators = on-the-spot execution. That logic just won me over…YURP!

  • Zack

    From the article: Abe said “They’re crooks because the car was not parked illegally and they’re getting away with it…”

    Later he says the “he circled the crowded lot several times before deciding to park behind a couple of parked cars.”

    Not only is this a $40 infraction in Arlington County (section 14.2-38 of County Code) but he knowingly did something wrong and got caught. It sucks, yes, because parking is awful EVERYWHERE in Arlington and the towing companies are vicious vulture, but he knew better. Shame on you Mr. Mercedes. You got caught, so own up to it and quit whining.

    • bennynojets

      Not that I believe Abe was in the right, but the code you referenced pertains to stopping vehicles on highways not in private parking lots.

  • Burp

    The guy parked behind other parked cars. If he were the driver of one of those cars would he sit patiently until some dude who blocked him in showed up to move his car? No. He should have been towed, within seconds. Good job guys. And the idea of kindly letting the guy know that “hey, you’re parked illegally, can you please move your car so we don’t have to tow it?”. Who’s going to do that job? Bender will do it for free.

    • Westover

      “He should have been towed, within seconds.” Are you kidding? Within seconds? How about running to drop off a video in the Blockbuster drop box? Things are getting unreasonable here. If “Abe” was really only parked for two minutes than the tow company is stalking and is wrong. If “Abe” on the other hand was placing an order for burger and ran out when he saw the car was getting hooked up that is a whole different case. Towing parked cars should be for regulating parking rules in a reasonable fashion, not for serious revenue generation for either the state or the tow companies.

      This is why I could not get a tow for three hours last year when my car was actually broken down in the middle of Wilson Blvd! The trucks were all stalking parking lots!

      • The police department has a contract with Redman’s Fleet Services to tow broken-down and wrecked cars in the county. To my knowledge they don’t do private trespass towing in Arlington.

        If you called AAA for the tow, well, that’s on them.

        • Westover

          I actually think AAA sent an Advance or A+ tow truck! Ugghhhhhh! Probably part of why AAA has their own fleet now.

      • Just the Facts

        Westover knows the magic time between a few seconds and few minutes when it is moral to tow a parking violator….she’s just not telling us what it is!

      • mehoo

        Did anyone know how long he was parked there? Do illegally parked cars have meters on them that can indicate they haven’t exceeded this magical grace period? Is Ray supposed to look outside before he slaps each Hell Burger on the grill and check his watch, keeping tabs on every illegally parked car’s minimum illegal parking time, which he establishes arbitrarily?

        And it sounds like our buddy Abe was illegally parked in the middle of the lot, blocking other cars from getting around, not just parked in a space he wasn’t entitled to. That should always get you towed immediately.

  • Novanglus

    Abe has no standing. What if one of those cars he blocked had a medical/family emergency and couldn’t get out?

    But in general, the split-second towing is ridiculous. The county could put in reasonable rules requiring the property owner(or authorized representative) to place a warning on the windshield that “your car will be towed if it is not moved within five minutes,” and then let the tow truck tow it after the time expires. The tow truck drivers have an inherent conflict of interest.

    Alternatively, we could start a blog somewhere listing all the lots that use Advanced, advising people not to frequent those businesses or risk getting their car towed unreasonably. That could have an effect.

    • Jason S

      I dislike lurking towtrucks just as much as the next guy, but do not trust the people here in this area to not abuse a “You will be towed after 5 minutes” rule. Parking lots are private property, but business owners have to know if they tolerate overly proactive towing it will harm their business. If they tolerate people parking like Abe, wherever they damned well please, it will also hurt their business. With 5-minute rules, you are basically suggesting people act like inconsiderate morons for five minutes. I would prefer they not act like inconsiderate morons and just park someplace a little further.

      As for the tow trucks, I have no problem with them towing problem parkers, but cannot disagree that they are completely jerks for how they drive. But we have to remember, tow truck operators are usually uneducated and they make money on a per-job basis. You cannot expect people who are not very smart to understand the ethical obligations of safe driving when each tow represents what seems like a lot of money.

      • el fat kid


      • JealousOne

        I find a lot of the comments from people angry at the towing company very interesting. Most of the claims of wrongdoing, while unverified I might add, also seem to be on the periphery of what the story is about. This phenomenon seems to give some credibility to what the towing supporters are saying, that towed car owners are just upset and making excuses for being towed.

    • mehoo

      “The county could put in reasonable rules requiring the property owner(or authorized representative) to place a warning on the windshield that “your car will be towed if it is not moved within five minutes” ”

      Sounds nice, but what business has time to go outside every few minutes to see if anyone is illegally parked and put stickers on their cars? Why should they have to do that just to accommodate jerks who happen to want to park there for less than five minutes?

  • Bender

    **And the idea of kindly letting the guy know that “hey, you’re parked illegally, can you please move your car so we don’t have to tow it?”. Who’s going to do that job?**

    Anyone who is a decent person and doesn’t have a fascist mentality and simply wants a nicer and friendlier Arlington.

    What’s next with this anti-people zero-tolerance mindset? Parking meters that automatically shoot out a $500 ticket the instant someone is one second over their time?

    You know, all that hyper-density, urban village, “smart growth” accomplishes is folks end up resenting and hating the people around them. Rather than people just getting along in peace, they’re quick to call in the Stasi to drag other people away.

  • Mark L.

    It really would be nice if they politely asked people to move their vehicle before hooking them up. These bounty tow-ers are setting a pretty bad precedent. Parking enforcement based on commission will eventually hurt the merchants financially as well as put truck drivers into harm’s way physically if they continue to rely on ambush tactics. Towing occupied cars can only end in a dangerous confrontation.

    • Just the Facts

      Mark L. is going to found the Butterflies & Sunshine Towing Co….everyone gets a floral-scented warning begging parking violators to be more considerate in the future. At the tow lot will be grief counselors to soothe the wounded feelings of the poor souls who were actually towed.

      Gimme a break. And notice an occupied car WASN’T towed. The tow driver called the cops like he should. A-hole Mercedes driver was in the wrong all the way around and got what he deserved…a quick trip to the tow lot.

      • Mark L.

        We live in a society of taxpayers and customers. Treat people with respect and they’ll support you. Give people a grace period and you won’t have the sort of ugly confrontations that are bad for business and community relations.

        • Maria

          What should the grace period be? What if you park behind my car, and I come out 30 seconds later. I should have to wait for a “grace period” to run out before you face any consequences for doing something illegal, not to mention disrupting my day in an illegal way?

          And what types of illegal parking jobs deserve grace periods? Only in parking lots? What if I double park on the street, blocking traffic? Do I get a grace period?

        • Maria

          Also, I don’t think double parking is treating anyone with respect. Doesn’t it go both ways?

          • Mark L.

            Make a judgment based on the situation – if the person works for a delivery service or has their flashers on, perhaps it would be better to proceed with caution.

          • Jules

            Mark L has a lot of time on his hands doesn’t he? Mark I think you are a bit naive to believe that people will be appreciative and kind if they are towed after a few minutes grace. In my neighborhood it has taken up to 45 minutes to tow cars parked in our spots and guess what, the car owners act like just as much of an A-hole as they do when it takes less time. Towed people never want to admit they are wrong. If they are towed after 30 minutes they offer up all kinds of excuses like “I was only only there 30 minutes” or “I had an emergency, I needed to see the end of the Rachel Maddow Show”, etc. etc. etc.

          • Chaz

            So you are endorsing that a mailman or the Domino’s guy be towed the second he puts his vehicle in Park to make a delivery? I prefer the common sense approach!

          • Maria

            I admit there may be a difference – in terms of common sense, not the law – for delivery people and regular Joes, and I would assume tow truck companies probably aren’t as quick to tow them. Honestly, I’d still be upset if a delivery person parked in such a way as to block me from leaving a parking spot, but I would be more annoyed if it was a situation like Abe’s, which is not the same.

          • mehoo

            Regarding mail and pizza deliveries – the property owner is the one in charge of towing. They can, and obviously do, instruct towtrucks to leave properly-marked delivery services alone because they want those, if the towtrucks aren’t smart enough to figure it out already.

        • mehoo

          “We live in a society of taxpayers and customers. Treat people with respect and they’ll support you. Give people a grace period and you won’t have the sort of ugly confrontations that are bad for business and community relations.”

          They’re treating their law-abiding customers who want a place to park legally with respect, by removing those who refuse to treat them with respect. Good for them.

    • mehoo

      It would be really nice if people didn’t illegally park.

  • JClark

    I’m surprised one of these tow truck drivers hasn’t been popped yet by someone freaking out.

  • Rosslyner

    @Bender, 1 nice thing about hyper-density, urban village, “smart growth” is that 11,622 Rosslyners (not including Courthousers) can walk to that strip mall and leave parking spaces for others. Add to that the good eats. I’ve never seen a place with lots of parking that has the likes of Greenberry’s, Guajillo, RHB1, Village Bistro, Pho 75 and RHB2 in proximity to each other. Let alone Cafe Assorti, Cafe Asia, RH&B and Piola to boot (no pun intended).

    Can’t help but wonder – would Abe have also laid on the horn until the offending car was moved if he had come out of the store to find his own car blocked in by another? Would Abe have wanted the offender towed immediately?

  • Safety First

    It looks like there are a lot of comments by the tow truck company on this page and in the poll results. I have lived in the immediate neighborhood surrounding this parking lot for a very long time and am very familiar with these tow trucks and drivers. They do not have the support of the local community. They are reckless and routinely disregard the county code regarding the drop fee. They not only won’t inform a person getting towed of the fee — they will (and have) ignored people who expressly bring up the County Code and indicate that they want to pay the drop fee. They then fly around the local roads at excessive speeds, with cars that do not appear to be safely hooked up.

    I still don’t understand why the Arlington Police and Arlington County Government allow this conduct. When (not if) these tow truck drives injure someone, the plaintiff’s attorney who sues the towing company, County government, and County Police should read this comment and others on this blog to the jury. The County Government and County Police are being reckless in allowing this to continue. As a taxpayer, I am not at all pleased that the County is opening itself to liability for this.

    I sincerely hope that there will be some adult supervision by County lawyers and that the Arlington Police and County Government will start cracking down on unsafe and illegal towing practices.

    • Maria

      Actually, I’m a school teacher, not a tow truck company employee, and I believe private property owners have the right to do what they need to do, and while perhaps it is excessive to tow someone super quickly, if someone does something illegal, they need to face the consequences or work to change the laws.

      Additionally, most of the comments supporting the tow truck company in this situation and in general acknowledge the poor conduct of the tow truck drivers. However, in this particular situation, Abe parked illegally – doesn’t matter if it was for 5 seconds or 5 minutes – and seemed to act like a jerk when he had to face the consequences. The tow truck drivers have been hired to do a job, and maybe they can be jerks too and don’t always do the job well or in the most thoughtful way, but that is a separate issue from what happened here.

    • JO

      There were only two comments from the tow company in the poll results, and now two in this article. I am the tow owner. I believe that my drivers followed the law completely here. Can you point out what they did wrong? If you have a specific example, that you can bring to my attention of any wrongdoing in any situation, please bring it to my attention. I have no problem reprimanding, suspending or firing an employee. The ordinance that was adoppted in 2006 is the most restrictive ordinance to deal with in the Commonwealth. It is completely set up to favor the citizen who has illegally parked. Many forget that the consumer in this whole ordeal of towing is the private property owner. That is who was wronged first, by someone trespassing on their private property. Towing trespassers is the only tool they have to manage their parking. Many, in this story and previous talk about how bad the parking is. Well, thats just it, parking problem not towing problem. I appreciate your time and if you have a specific incident that you can point me to, please feel free to contact me.

      • Jennifer

        JO: what is good business practice about having your drivers take up space on the street and stalk county residents? If I park my car and cross the street to use the ATM to get cash so I can frequent the establishment contracting you to bully their patrons, what will be the incentive to give them repeat business? Furthermore, when you see these “hot spots” with poor signage, that earn you $50,000 a week, what would be the incentive for you to change the signage, when you may lose money? Surely it’s not out of the goodness of your heart. If you want your community to respect the work you do, it’s time to respect the citizens who live here and pay taxes. And oh yeah, obey the laws. Maybe you wouldn’t have to deal with so many complaints, bad reviews and investigations from the Better Business Bureau on behalf of your victims if you ran your business like a human being, and not like a robot. If you don’t want to instruct your henchmen to obey signage that says things like “30 minute limit,” or add language to signs like “cannot leave the premises for 5 minutes,” to allow people to draw the appropriate conclusions, then just say you don’t feel like it, and you can laugh all the way to the bank. But please don’t insult good people by defending your unscrupulous business behavior. It’s pathetic. And as for asking trolls to come on here to attempt to humiliate victims by painting them as law-breaking criminals, no one is buying it. As awareness is raised about the towing laws in this county, be prepared to pay some fines from residents who are tired of laying down and taking your abuse.

  • rft

    For what’s its worth, I rarely frequent any of the establishments in that shopping center because the parking situation is so atrocious

    • MrStevens

      Same with me.

  • Agreed. To any business reading, if you have one of those signs that say “We Tow” – I boycott your business. It’s your smeghead’s fault for having such atrocious parking arrangements. You wont to solve the prob; support county efforts for more public parking. In the mean time, stores who tow lose customers.

    • Maria

      So you’d be happy to let people park their cars in “no parking” areas and behind yours with no consequences? And if you’d say “give them a ticket,” how does that help you when you’re ready to leave the lot and someone is parked behind you so you can’t get out?

    • Suburban Not Urban

      What county efforts for more public parking? All they do is put in high density and no parking and tell every body to walk, bike or move.

      • Maria

        But let’s be honest and say that in an area like this, most people who frequent the stores/restaurants/etc. likely could find a way to get to them without a car. However, they choose not to and then get mad when they realize that a ton of other people have made the same, often unnecessary, decision, so they can’t find a convenient spot. I don’t really understand why the county or private businesses or whoever shouldn’t encourage people to find a different way to travel than a car.

        Side note: I almost always walk or metro around here, but the one time I went to this particular shopping center, I was late to meet someone, so I did actually drive, and there were quite a few spots available, both in the lot and on the street around it. Just saying.

      • mehoo

        Um, yeah, and because more people are biking and walking and using public transportation, that opens up more parking for you lazy drivers.

        • Westover

          Yeah, that is totally an option all the time for someone with two young kids. The level of judgement that folks in this town hold over one another is amazing, but mostly I have noticed it is the transplants doing the judgeing.

          • mehoo

            You didn’t get my point. When I ride my bike, that means YOU have more room to park your car. Get it now?

            By the way, I also have young kids, and I’m not a transplant either, been here 14 years.

          • mehoo

            Okay, but I did call you lazy, sorry, you’re not all lazy. I drive too. But you gotta admit, some drivers are lazy, especially when I’m biking past them.

          • Westover

            14 years? Anyone that does not remember the Trench Down Wilson Blvd/Fairfax Dr for the building of the Metro is either a newbie/transplant or young’in. 😉

          • mehoo

            You got me, geezer.

  • DMO

    “Sorry officer can I get a warning for running this red light” Screw you he broke the rules and paid the price. Next time park like the rest of us. Let me just leave my car in this handicapped spot for “five minutess” while I run into the store. Give me a break.

    • Mark L.

      Running a red light creates a mortal danger to the public. Occupying a parking space not associated with the store you are patronizing is a slight annoyance. Good comparison.

      • DMO

        Rules are rules, you break them be prepared to pay whatever the consequences are, period. I understnad the vast difference in penalties but both carry one non the less.

        • JO

          Hello Mark, towing company owner here again. You seem to be on these quite a bit so I figure you have a serious axe to grind. As I said before, I applaud you in your effort and I believe you called me a “parasite.” The red light example, I don’t necessarily agree with, but you know that the meter maids give tickets the moment the meter expires. They hand out far more tickets than I will ever tow cars. This shopping center has become extremely busy with the success of some popular businesses. Therefore, vehicles at times, like the one in this article decide to just leave their vehicle wherever they want. On your next trip by the center you should take a look at the new signage that was put up before summer. I’m not going to tell you here what it says, but take a look at it and you decide if the gentlemen in the Mercedes had no idea or the right to do that to the two vehilces he blocked in. My drivers did exactly what they were supposed to do. Lets just agree to disagree. However, I can assure you that I will never call you any names. I have no idea who you are but you know who I am. Feel free to stop by anytime and discuss any topic. Thank you for your time.

          • Mark L.

            The difference between a meter maid and a tow truck is fairly drastic. It seems that on a scale of detriment to commerce or flow of traffic, relative to the crime, a $25 fine seems more reasonable than removing a vehicle and charging someone several hundred dollars. It all depends on the situation, though. We’ll never know the full facts behind Abe and his fateful encounter with your employee. The alleged failure to adhere to the “drop fee” regulation and the charges of reckless driving are entirely beside the point.

            I don’t know you as a person, and each person is entitled to make a living in the best way they see fit, but I stand by my comment that, generally speaking, aggressive parking enforcement is a parasitic practice. Tow companies like yours survive on the lifeblood of other businesses, that is essentially the textbook definition of a parasite. It isn’t meant to be insulting, one could say the same thing about stockbrokers. Given how lucrative it can be, who can blame you? I strongly suspect that merchants make a lot more off of parking bounties than they would ever lose from having spots occupied by vehicles not patronizing their stores.

      • mehoo

        As the (legitimate) user of a handicapped placard, on behalf of all of us I offer a sincere “screw you.”

        • DMO

          Right on “mehoo”!

          Mark L. check your facts, business owners do not make ANY money from the vehicles being towed…

          • Frink

            Not sure about that, slick. There has to be some financial incentive to have trucks prowling bank parking lots at 1 AM on a Sunday. The whole “taking spots away from customers” excuse doesn’t hold water if the store has been closed for 10 hours.

          • mehoo

            It’s not an “excuse” to tow someone from your property. It’s your property. Besides, people parking at night can bring trash, vandalism, liability issues, still be there the next morning, etc. I know this will shock you, but parking on someone else’s property isn’t a constitutional right.

          • DMO

            Frink, I think I would know if I was recieving a check from the tow company or not.

          • Westover

            The tow companies contract gives them the right to tow during a set period of time, say 10pm-6am in condo lots, or non-business hours at a banks lot. The bank might do this for a variety of reasons; the lot has local residents/guest parking there and not being gone by the the time the bank opens for the day, they might be concerned with liablity of someone getting hurt while parked in their lot, etc. They usually do not get any sort of a cut, but in order to have their lot clear at opening time they are forced to allow the tow company to cash in all night long, not just right before opening.

          • Westover

            It would however be a nice gesture for businesses that are not open during the “nightlife” period to allow parking in their lots after hours up until say two hours before opening at which time the tow trucks could have free reign.

          • DMO


  • Anon

    Bottom line, double-parking is illegal. It was right for the towing company to tow the car. Same goes for people complaining about towing at the Arlington DMV. There are many signs posted telling people going to the DMV, not to park at any of the nearby businesses. If they park at those businesses they risk being towed. Period.

    • PropertyRights

      What Mark L and others can’t seem to get through their craniums is that unauthorized parking on private property, whether for a few moments or hours is a violation of law. There is no other application of criminal law that “permits” one to commit a crime for a specific period of time before enforcement can occur. In the scenarios the news media seems to have focused on, the parking of unauthorized vehicles occurs repeatedly in commercial settings by different car owners. It is a continuous burden to property owners and businesses affected who must be able to defend against this kind nuisance. Attentive enforcement of parking restrictions, and requiring the orderly parking of vehicles, could have saved the 149 men, women and 19 children needlessly killed in the 5 minutes a parked vehicle took to blow up the Alfred Murrah federal building in Oklahoma. Arlington has a lot more soft targets than Oklahoma. Think about that.

      • el fat kid

        yes, exactly! Oklahoma City is the perfect example of why they need to tow people for being on the line or whatever else. My neighbor, well i think he’s a terrorist, and he’s always overusing the guest spots… time to call Team America/Advanced Towing.

        Most ‘illegal’ parking is not really crime unless you also consider it a crime when your dog shits on my lawn. I’m not saying you should do it, but putting it up there w/ felonies as some have done or even just referring to it in those terms is kinda misleading.

        One last thing i’ve noticed in these comments – a lot of people arguing in favor of the towing companies are either involved w/ the towing company or are misinterpreting the central arguments against Advanced – they’re unsafe and dishonest.

        • Jubilee

          Hey El Fat Kid, I think what Property Rights is trying to express is that why should the type of property or parking situation matter? When it comes to property rights, it should always be up to the property/business owner to enforce parking as they deem necessary. I assume property are liable for consequences of non-enforcement (e.g., fire safety, not providing enough parking, security, soft target liability and so on) and they would seemingly be accountable to businesses or residents who rent from them.

          There are a lot of supporters of property rights which, when you dissect it, is what this argument is really about. Just remember, the property and businesses owners would not tow parking space poachers if it wasn’t important to them. Parking space poachers are obviously a problem.

          • Bender

            No need to explain what he meant. Even those of us who can’t get it through our craniums are able to understand. “What Property Rights is trying to express” is that you are a Timothy McVeigh wannabe terrorist if you don’t approve of fascistic-style towing tactics rather than everyone just relaxing a bit and everyone just trying to get along.

            And, if you must know, for the intellectual frauds here supporting such tactics — it has NOTHING to do with property rights, it has NOTHING to do with the free flow of parking spots, it has NOTHING to do with “rules are rules,” it even has little to do with despotic tendencies of government (or teachers), and it has EVERYTHING to do with a predatory business that wants to take money from others. That’s right, it is all about MONEY for the tow company — they could give a rat’s butt about parking, all they care about is getting that cold hard cash. Some principle there you all are holding up — greed.

            If that is the Arlington you want, if that is the rule that you want applied to yourself — never, ever cut you any slack for anything ever, never, ever being reasonable and easygoing with you, but always slamming down hard to the fullest extent of the law (rules are rules!) — fine. We’ll have that kind of hateful, resentful, obnoxious Arlington. And don’t you ever dare asking for a break or second chance at anything.

          • el fat kid

            no. you once again are misinterpreting or selectively reading the arguments against Advanced… I along w/ many others have argued not against a property owner’s right to tow or against the need for it.

            Clear the straw man you keep creating… Once again for clarity — The problem here is not towing illegally parked cars – it’s that Advanced operates in a unsafe and dishonest manner. Their drivers are reckless, rude and liars.

          • AIA

            Boy, El Fat Kid really has it out for the towing folk. Look, I think we all get El Fat’s problem with the towing dudes, it’s a personal issue that maybe he needs some closure with or whatever. I read many of the posts against for and against towing. Other than some generic descriptions of dislike I haven’t seen anyone against towing demonstrate the towing companies or property owners are doing anything wrong?

            To argue El Fat’s point of view better might I suggest sticking to the facts and less of the name calling. Even if you had a good argument it gets lost in all the emotional ranting and raving. I think the towing and property folks have done a much better job than their opposition in justifying their behavior.

            Here’s my take as an architect. There’s nothing fascist or predatory about the basic premise of towing unauthorized, illegally parked cars from someone’s property. There are public street ticketing hot spots throughout the county around buildings I helped design. Arlington County has never done anything other than step up enforcement in these areas nor should they. Notice is posted and if you don’t comply you are ticketed. On public property, it truly is ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. The government wants to ticket you to put money in their coffers. With private property it is not about the money, it is about parking spaces. That’s why you are towed from private property and ticketed on public property.

          • el gordito

            ummm. yeah, no. when did i say there’s anything wrong w/ towing illegally parked cars? to be clear, i’ve been towed once probably about 5 or 6 years ago. No other personal encounters beyond seeing them go 40 through parking lots almost killing a kid, hearing of friends have their car damage while in the possession of Advanced, and seeing an Advanced driver laughing while bouncing a car on the hitch up and down at a red light.

            FYI, a majority of towing on public property is for fire hydrant, handicapped, rush hour lane violations or failure to pay tickets. All public interest towing activities. Nothing wrong w/ that. Personally, I believe that if you park in a handicapped spot you should have it towed and held for 10 days.

      • Just the Facts

        You couldn’t be more incorrect. Parking on private property that is held open to the public in violation of the property owner’s rules is NOT criminal. It is a civil violation.

  • Darwin

    I don’t have a problem with this guy getting towed but he should have been able to pay the drop fee.
    What I hate is when tow trucks do things like tow my co-worker for “failing to display his parking pass” when we went to the lot and pointed to his windshield through the impound fence and showed there was the pass in full view they said too bad you have to pay the fee.
    At what point can they be charged with straight up theft or is it extortion?

    • Westover

      I think that this has a lot to do with folks frustration and anger with the towing situation in Arlington. It appears to be a cash cow more than it is a parking regulation situation in so many people’s eyes. The Two Truck Drivers are so aggressive that it is hard for a condo board or a business owner to come up with a balanced approach. Either you don’t have the tow trucks on a tow anyone contract and you end up with serious parking shortages from the total lack of enforcement, or you hire them and have good residents and customers seriously hassled by tow vultures.

      People should call ACPD when their car is towed and it can easily be proven as in your co-workers case. You would have the opportunity insist that the tow truck driver is charged with theft, or since it is unlikely that you could prove with out records who the driver was, have the company owner charged with possession of stolen property. But really, the important thing is you could get the car back with out paying the fees.

    • Maria

      I agree that tow truck drivers in general should accept the drop fee, and it’s crappy when they don’t, but FYI: the article states that witnesses said, “the driver was offered the chance to pay a drop fee, but started cursing and becoming belligerent instead, at which point the tow crew retreated to their truck and waited for police to arrive.”

  • Rosslyn Resident

    This comment string has been taken over by folks affiliated with the towing company. It is no longer useful. The issue isn’t ownership of private property or the concept of towing. The issue is that the towing companies that operate in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor have consistently behaved in an unprofessional (to put it nicely) manner.

    Towing company operator, you’ve asked for specific stories to be shared publicly, and we can start doing that. I can recall numerous times when the tow companies have towed people from the guest space in Colonial Village with the parking meter where they are supposed to check the meter to see if it has been paid, but do not do so. The drivers simply grab a car in the guest space as soon as they can, and fly off around a blind corner with the car barely attached. I call the guest parking space the “get towed parking space,” as you don’t allow it to be used for any legitimate purposes — you just try to get revenue out of it. That is predatory towing.

    I can recall several occasions where someone has asked to pay the drop fee in that parking lot and drivers have said that there is no such thing. Nor do drivers ever raise the drop fee issue on their own, of course; someone has to know about it in order to have any hope. That is predatory towing.

    That reminds me of the man in the wheelchair in that parking lot confusingly near Quizno’s (but not for Quizno’s) on Wilson Boulevard in Courthouse — one of the favorite spots for the predatory towers to work. The main wheeled back to his handicapped van (w/ ramp) as a tower was trying to hook it. There was no offer to allow him to pay the drop fee. He sat in his chair crying. That is predatory towing.

    If the drivers would follow the law and honor the drop fee, that would solve half the problem.

    The other problem is that the tow companies do not hook cars up safely before flying around the neighborhood. This is an obvious attempt to try to get the car out of there before someone can have a chance to pay the drop fee. That is predatory towing.

    This isn’t a game. Towing companies are supposed to be operating within the law and should be professional. The issue isn’t towing, but how these specific companies operate. We don’t tolerate other businesses ignoring the law. As a taxpayer and property owner in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, I don’t understand why it is tolerated for the local towing companies.

    • mehoo

      Sue them, or call the cops, or call the company’s owner – who has asked you to do so on this thread to report such incidents.

      The law says the towers have to have photographic evidence of illegal parking. Seems that would include an expired meter. If they don’t have it at your guest space, that could be evidence of an illegal tow. Post a sign about that, and about the drop fees.

    • Tiffany

      Well said, Rosslyn Resident. And I’ll gladly bet that “JO” won’t bother to respond to this comment. He trolls these boards, with others to leave comments supporting him, but only ventures into the discussion when he can find a situation where he is in the right. When it comes to issues of safety or clear predatory towing, he is silent. I’d love to hear him comment about why it’s acceptable for his drivers to troll Arlington at high speeds, at night, with their lights off, but I know we won’t hear from him on that issue. If he jumps in, he’ll try to deflect the issue and others, yet again.

      You are absolutely right, though. Aside from the safety concerns, this is not really an issue about the towing companies acting illegally. It’s about them acting indecently. Stories like these you have recounted are the real reason that Advanced has such a bad reputation in the county. People will always hate being towed, but most are reasonable enough to admit when they are wrong and get on with life. But when you employ indecent people who behave like this, when simply doing the right thing and getting on to the next tow would be an easier and more decent way of doing business, then you deserve every ounce of disgust directed your way. Just because the law permits you to act this way, doesn’t mean you should. Yes, it’s about business, but there are ways to be successful at business without simultaneously acting like a terrible person.

      JO, if you’re reading this, my suggestions for improving your community relations in Arlington (though your previous behavior certainly indicates you couldn’t care less):

      1. Require your drivers to be SAFE.
      2. Require your drivers to provide a friendly notification of the drop fee option, ESPECIALLY in situations where the car owner is particularly sympathetic. (I mean, really, a man in a wheelchair??? Shame on you.)

      • mehoo

        The towers work for the property owner (by being allowed or asked to tow from that lot). If you don’t like the towing, maybe you should complain to the property owner, not the towtrucks. They care about your opinion, since you are their customer. Towtrucks have no incentive to care. If you’re parked there but not their customer, well, why should anyone have any sympathy for you?

        If someone parked illegally at my business and was a customer, I’d give them some slack and try to keep the tow trucks at bay. If someone parked illegally and wasn’t a customer, I’d call the towtruck myself in a heartbeat because they were interfering with my legitimate customers.

        • Westover

          A problem for some of the business owners, building managers, and condo associations is that the tow companies want a contract up front that allows them to do the enforcement of the regulation unencummbered. The tow company does not want to wait for a call, they want to be able to troll or stake out the lots tow anyone they think they can get away with towing. Again this means either aggrssive/predatory towing or lack of enforcement, with little chance for reasonable middle ground.

          • Frink

            After one too many incidents in which people with passes were towed improperly, my building now only calls in a tow truck if someone reports that their spot has been occupied by an unauthorized vehicle. Self-policing can work in a society of decent people.

          • mehoo

            Yes, now we’re getting somewhere. The property owners need to police the towtrucks, and if they don’t, customers should hold them responsible. Of course, this means they’ll get all sorts of whining from people who are illegally parked, or think there should be some sort of grace period.

        • Tiffany

          Again, like I said, it’s about decency. Seriously lacking in this situation. As Westover astutely points out, the property owners are left with two choices – get help with towing or be stuck on their own. Again, the behavior is the problem and that can be controlled is on the part of the towing companies. Why people continue to stick up for them is beyond me. Like I said before: Yes, it’s about business, but there are ways to be successful at business without simultaneously acting like a terrible person.

          • Westover

            Exactly. Unfortunately it is not the kid that was voted the nicest or even most likely to succeed that decides to open a towing business. Just the way the world works. And unfortuanately the way the world works means a self-policing business gets put at the end of the list when they call a tow in if they do not have a contract with the tow company already in place. Arlington Condo Boards and many small businesses have learned this the hard way.

          • HSanderberg

            I think towing companies are a lot like the people that haul away your trash except the trash they are hauling away is the kind that complains later.

      • Arl Librarian

        Arlington has experienced parking issues for more than 40 years according to archived news articles. Limited parking has been documented for a long time. The County should do a better job of directing the public to available pay or free parking garages. If County relaxes zoning restrictions on signs maybe pay parking garages will be better able to advertise themselves to the public. It is not appropriate to focus all the anger and blame on the towing companies for parking issues and resulting property owner reactions that stem from a well documented increase in the flow of Arlington traffic and decrease in the amount of available surface parking due to redevelopment.

    • Maria

      Out of curiosity, can I ask what makes you believe that the people commenting here who are supporting the towing of this car and other improperly parked cars are working for the towing company? You may very well be at least partially right, but I’m just wondering why you think it. Is it impossible to believe that regular people appreciate others who follow the rules and have no problem with there being consequences for those rules (all other allegations against the towing company – speeding, reckless driving, etc. – aside)?

  • The Pope of South Arlington

    The towing company Shylocks hire the dregs of society, pay ’em 2 dollars an hour plus a 20 dollar bill for every car they hook. What do you think is gonna happen? Gravediggers, correction officers and tow truck drivers… same sh*t, different bottles.

    • mehoo

      Until some jerk parks in your space, then the towtruckers are saints.

      • Westover

        Nah, if you don’t have a contract with them, you will be sitting around so long for them to come tow the offender you will be just as pissed as the towie at the tow company by the time they get there.

        • mehoo

          But this time he’ll be mad because they didn’t show up fast enough to tow someone. But the hypocrisy will never cross his mind.

          I’ve been towed, and I’ve had people park illegally in my space. Both suck. Let’s just, like, all park legally and this won’t be a problem.

  • The Pope of South Arlington

    Is he a jerk just because he accidentally parked in my space? Leave a note on the windshield and go get a snack.

    • mehoo

      Where will you park while you go get that snack?

      • Westover

        Bike rack, or lean the skateboard up against the counter.

        • mehoo

          No, he’s in his car too, obviously, which is why he wants his parking space. Perhaps he can illegally park somewhere while he patiently and politely waits for the interloper to return, and the guy who’s space he took can put a note on his windshield and go park in another illegal spot and wait, and so on, and so on…

          • The Pope of South Arlington

            Actually I’m on a motorcycle. What is this, Times Square? Come on man, act like you cant find a spot in Clarendon. My god, you might get some exercise. Dont worry, they’ll be plenty of time for you to get to Starbucks to swill your latte and check your facebook.

          • mehoo

            Good for you, you’re on a motorcycle. Most people aren’t.

            And I can out-man you, son, I ride a real bike – a bicycle – and I get REAL exercise. I don’t have a parking problem at all, I just detest whiners and people who don’t think before they post. So we have that in common.

    • Managing Agent

      I manage 14 properties some of which are in Arlington. As a property manager we must be familiar with towing laws in each local jurisdiction although it is regulated at the federal, state and local levels. There is already quite a bit of regulatory requirements already. Most of the allegations of impropriety I’ve read in these threads are false as they relate to fee amounts, what towing companies are and are not allowed to do and so forth. I have heard so many towing stories I can usually ascertain when someone is lying or if they are just unfamiliar with laws. Normally when I get a complaint that a contractor was rude I usually find in the end that the car owner was rude. Most jurisdictions require tow companies to keep various forms of evidence and many have video of transactions. I cannot tell you how many times I have taken calls from angry car owners who tell me a completely different account than what occurs on the video the tow company sends us. My point is don’t believe everything towed car owners tell you. Get the facts and most of the time you will find the car owner is upset because they are in the wrong.

      • Herman

        “Most of the time” is the key phrase — the tow company folks would have you believe they never make a mistake

        • DerivativesMan

          Government makes mistakes routinely, corporate enterprise make mistakes routinely, Joe public makes mistakes routinely….of course towing companies will make mistakes. Should we treat them differently than we would government, corporate American or Joe public if a mistake is made?

          • Westover

            Because their mistakes usually mean they distroyed someone’s property, or they removed it wrongly, maybe they should be judged a tad bit harder than the person that made some other types of errors.

  • Peter

    The parking lot is privately owned. Abe, while probably wrong and probably a jerk, did not park illegally. He parked in a lot for customers which went against the rules established by the property owner. It was not a “private lot.” Commenters should refrain from Red Herrings regarding private lots. The government does not make parking laws specific to individual private property. The property owner wanted the car towed so it got towed. If the property owner wanted to allow double parking, all would have been fine. But let us not forget, this is a parking lot to be used by customers.

    We all know the towing company has voiced their opinion on this string. That is their right (though full disclosure would be nice). The tow company found Abe in full violation of the parking lot rules, no question. But, should he have been towed in the first place? That is real question. No one has proven that Abe was blocking anyone that needed to leave (so stop these what if comments). Was there a complaint? After 140 comments, no one has mentioned a complaint, just a violation of the parking lot rules. Since the property owner wants to treat their customers in this manner (Abe was a customer) and employs the towing company to police their lot, this is their business model. They could have modified their contract with the towing company to say that if one of their customers is “dropping something off” and no one actually complains, then leave the car alone. Nope. This is not their policy.

    Therefore, I will never use any of the business at that site. Since they lack common sense, I will bring my cents to other businesses.

    • WorkAtThisCenter

      I work at the shopping center in question. Our delivery trucks can barely access our parking lot during certain hours. Our trash company sometimes passes us by because they can’t get to our dumpsters. In the restaurant business it is crucial that we have our dumpsters emptied in a timely manner due to the overflow of disposed food products. We don’t have time to ask every Tom, Dick and Harry who can’t park in a normal space to move, we have businesses to run. This center is as busy as any I’ve seen, especially at lunch and dinner time. You don’t leave a vehicle unattended, blocking vehicles on a public street for the same reason you don’t do it on private property. That’s why there are towing companies.

      • mehoo

        You said everything that needed to be said.

    • Maria

      So… people should be allowed to do the wrong thing, no matter how inconsiderate, as long as no one complains?

      • mehoo

        Who is saying that, Maria?

        • Maria

          “No one has proven that Abe was blocking anyone that needed to leave (so stop these what if comments). Was there a complaint? After 140 comments, no one has mentioned a complaint, just a violation of the parking lot rules.”

          • mehoo

            Thanks. Yeah, I agree that’s idiotic.

    • Jason S

      “No one has proven that Abe was blocking anyone that needed to leave (so stop these what if comments).”

      Ethically, it’s an open and shut case. Abe was blocking other people’s ability to leave, it is not relevant if they were leaving or not. He blocked in their cars and it is unlikely that he had their permission. It doesn’t matter if they were leaving or not, nor if they had to wait, he took it upon himself to deny them that option.

      I don’t know Abe and from what I’ve seen, I would not like to know him, but if he thinks it is OK to block others’ cars into a space, I cannot imagine that he somehow offsets that arrogance with the humility to wait while somebody else blocks his car in a space.

  • CW

    I know it’s late for this thread (didn’t get to it yesterday), but to the person who works in this center, can you quantify the impacts on the businesses before and after Ray’s turned into the mess of a zoo that it currently is? While I’m inclined to stay out of the debate here about the towing, those who I really feel bad for are the other business owners aside from Ray’s. I mean, look at this story. The guy just wanted to go to the package store. God. Too bad 50,000 tourists and arlingtonians too lazy to walk 5 blocks were taking up all the spaces. And poor Guajillo, I can’t even imagine how badly they’ve suffered due to the circus next door. What great food they have. I’m surprised more businesses haven’t vacated that strip. I wonder how long of leases they’re locked into?

    • mehoo

      One popular solution to that problem is reserved spaces for each shop…

      • CW

        Obviously, yes. But could you imagine the ramifications of enforcing that???!!!!!

        • mehoo

          It would suck, yes, but it still might be the best solution, which is why some places do it.

          They should put up some bike racks too.


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