When I picked up Cardgrrl at the airport recently, I got a parking ticket. This puzzled me at first, because there was still time on the meter.
After looking around at the situation for a while, I figured it out. I had parked in what I had thought was the left-most spot in a row. I thought this because, as you can see above, the next space had clearly visible diagonal stripes across it. Faded, sure, but definitely still there. Besides, nobody ever lets you park in a space that would partially block access to a stairway, as that one would. So I put the coins in the left-most meter. It briefly occurred to me that there was a mismatch between the number of spaces and the number of meters, but hey--I'm in the left-most space and using the left-most meter, so anything else isn't my problem.
Well, as the airport sees it, that striping isn't really there, and that space is available. Therefore, the meter corresponding to the space in which I was parked was expired, and I got a ticket.
I wrote a letter of protest, including the above photo and explanation. If you want a space to be considered available, I said, you have to actually remove the striping, not do it halfway. You leave too much ambiguity as it is. Nobody can be sure whether that space is available.
Today I received the following letter:
Naturally, they're not admitting any responsibility for screwing up, nor, apparently, do they have any intention of removing the ambiguity for future customers. I think the rough translation of the letter is, "You're right, and would win if any judge had to decide the matter, so we'll quietly let it drop, without admitting that we did anything wrong."
No $20 fine for me!