Friday, January 9, 2009

Tickets? Who Needs Tickets?

***Spanish translation follows at the end of post
***Version en castellano sigue al pie de la nota

One of my pet peeves on living in Argentina has raised its ugly head. This particular behavior by a segment of the local population really drives me up the wall. No it´s not the one where they let their dogs shit anywhere they please and don´t pick it up. Although, that one is up there as well.

This one has to do with their cars.

When I first came to Argentina one of the things that struck me as an ugly and potential road hazard where these yellow iron bars or tubes that you would see going from the curb out onto the street. You can see an example of them in this picture.

I did a complete 180° turn on this one though, after living here a while. The reason people put them out there was to keep idiots from parking in front of their garages. I guess it just is not obvious enough that you should not park in front of a garage, let alone when they have "no parking" signs on them, the curb is painted yellow, and just the common sense that where there is a garage door normally there are cars going in and out of them just doesn´t dawn on them.

No, this little observation is just completely lost on a certain segment of the local population.

The new mayor in town has been an overachiever in road maintenance since the National Government doesn´t really let him do much of anything else. One of the things that he wanted to do was to put the police under city control and to have the revenue destined for police salaries transferred over to him to pay for them. Since he is a political enemy of the current National Government it was pretty obvious that they were not going to let him have his police.

He is going ahead with it anyway and creating his own police force. In fact, he is accepting applications right now. Meanwhile, the city has adopted tough new laws aimed at increasing control of its roads. For example, all of us start out with 20 points and depending on what infractions you are caught committing, you get points deducted.

The city inspectors have all been given Scooby snacks and they have been out in force actually doing their jobs. They visited us several times and made me take my own garage-space-saving-bars out. Since I have a business I am a very easy target for them, and so I took them down.

I immediately applied for a no parking city sign and have not heard from them yet. I also filled out the paperwork for them to come by and take an abandoned car out of the road that is in front of my store, and is currently being used as a home sans indoor plumbing. I have also yet to see them do anything about that.

And today, I arrived to see some idiot leave their car parked in front of my factory´s garage door. The first thing I did was to call the police. They showed up and tell me that they only thing they could do was to make a $37,50 ticket since the police does not have the power or ability to tow cars away. However, today they could not even do that. They said that the national police does not have any tickets (which are supplied by the city) because the city is giving them all to their own traffic control cops that are busy trying to take peoples points away.

I noticed that the offending car has a sign in it that explains that it belongs to a doctor. I went over to the hospital next door, but they assured me that their doctors park in their secured parking lot, but they were kind enough to ask around and could not find the owner.

I decided to just write a letter and leave it for this guy this time. However, I was also very curious and I just had to look up the history of this car. It turns out this guy has a three page traffic rap sheet. This guy runs red lights, parks in front of garages, makes left turns where he is not supposed to and either talks on the phone or has headphones on while driving.

Click on the picture below to see the car in question and images of his rap sheet...

What should I do to these guys the next time they park in front of my garage?


Una de las cosas que odio del comportamiento de un segmento de la poblacion local tiene que ver con los autos.

En este caso en particular tiene que ver con gente que estaciona en frente de portones.

Una de las cosas que noté y me parecio mal y feo fueron los tubos en las calles que se usaban para proteger contra los que estacionan en frente de portones. No entendia como la ciudad dejaba a su gente instalar estos tubos en la via publica.

Con el tiempo aprendí que justamente porque la ciudad tampoco hace nada para proteger a sus ciudadanos contra conductores de autos que estacionan donde quieren. El gobierno se auto borra y los ciudadanos tratan de hacer lo que pueden.

Ahora Macri (en nuevo alcalde) esta arreglando las calles ya que no lo dejan hacer mucho mas. Una de las cosas que quería hacer era tener la policía bajo el control de la ciudad. Como el es enemigo del gobierno nacional era obvio que esto no lo aceptarían. El, igual, sigue adelante con su plan y esta formando su policía. Es mas, ya esta aceptando aplicaciones.

También iniciaron el plan de scoring para tratar de ordenar el caos vehicular de la ciudad. Todas cosas que me parecen barbaro para una ciudad del tamaño de Buenos Aires.

Los inspectores han salido a la calle y estan trabajando. Me visitaron y me pidieron que saque los tubos de la calle que teniamos nosotros. Yo los saque.

Hoy llego a la fabrica y veo que un idiota estacionó en frente de nuestro portón. Lo primero que hice fue llamar a la policía que después de una hora llegaron para informarme que lo único que podían hacer era laborar una acta de $37.50 pero que hoy ni podían hacer eso porque la ciudad no les esta dando libretas de actas.

Mi curiousidad me llevó a buscar los antecedentes del auto. Este estupido esta acostumbrado a hacer lo que se le cante. Tiene tres paginas de infracciones. Parece que a esta persona le gusta cruzar en luz roja, estacionar donde no debe, girar donde no debe, hablar por telefono o escuchar audifonos mientras conduce.

Bajé los antecedentes y tomé fotos del auto. Si quieren mirar solo hagan click.

Que debería hacer la próxima vez que se estacionan en frente del porton?

****** UPDATE ******

I was being interviewed by Para Ti Magazine so I could not go out and confront her. Yes, it was a woman--not that there´s anything wrong with that. I am just being observational. Anyway, she read the note that I left for her and she left. I am sure she was in a hurry to make a left turn somewhere while talking on the cell phone and eventually parking in front of someone else´s garage door.


99 said...

Podés llamar a los de la grúa de zona Norte que por los $190 que cobran por el acarreo seguramente se van a tomar la molestia de ir: Empresa STO, Tel. 0800-333-5464 y 4806-9556

También está la Dirección General de Administración de Infracciones 0800-999-2727 aunque creo que no atienden hasta febrero.

Suerte Frank...

Anonymous said...

In college we used to "bounce" cars on one of our lots. A couple of guys would go to the rear of the car, and start to bounce it. Every could of bounces, when it was in the air, we would swing the car out a bit. After a few bounces, you could probably have the car perpendicular to the curb. That might be enough for someone to tow it, get it out of the way, or at least cause the guy some confusion when he returned. You may have to have some room for it to work though.

Anonymous said...

Let the air out of the tires. And when the guy comes back, stand and watch him fume so he will know who did it. Of course, that only delays your use of the garage, but I bet he wouldn't do it again to you.

miss tango said...

How aggravating! I am surprised he still has a lovely paint job, with that 3 page infraction list.

Gabriel said...

Nice. It seems I'm not the only one who feels like that. Curiously enough, I published a similar post in my blog two days ago... about a young lady driving in the snow while text messaging... they're all idiots, if you ask me, and they should have their driver license taken away...

Greetings from Waterloo, Canada (another bilingual blogger!)


Muy bonito. Parece que no estoy solo en esta batalla, siempre me han molestado. Curiosamente, publiqué un post hace un par de días en el que habalba de una señorita que manejaba en la nieve mientras enviaba mensajes de texto... son todos unos idiotas, en mi opinión, y deberían sacarles el registro.

Saludos desde Waterloo, Canada (otro blogger bilingüe!)

Unknown said...

99 - Thanks for the tip. I have been trying to call and have gotten no answer on the local number. I will have to try the 0800 number next.

Dave - I love that suggestion except if someone gets hurt while doing it. Remember I am a big target. It would be different if it was in front of my own home and my buddies and I would come across that opportunity.

Anon - catch 22 on that one.

Miss Tango - Me too. If she would have been blocking my home I would have been very tempted to go mid-evil on her car.

But in the end, what goes around comes around. I notice that it really gets on my nerves and then I eventually try to forget about it and just hope to be able to confront the person. I do have a secret weapon that would leave the car with the most god awful smell, and no it´s not what you are thinking.

Anyway, if it starts to be a consistent problem, I could leave that option open as vengeance.

Unknown said...

Hola Gabriel,

Tenés razón, hay que quitarles el registro o mandalos a unas clases...algo.

You are right! We should take their licenses away or send them to class...anything, something.

We were just talking about Argentines that migrated to Canada during the interview. Not that it had anything to do with the interview or me. How are you holding up over there?

Praetorianos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I have a pretty similar problem at home. I live next to a "La Argentina" bakery shop (which, by the way, are but not even close to be as good as S&S) and one of the trucks that delivers bread (or whatever) parks his truck right in front of my garage and doesn’t let me go out to work on time.

The worst thing is that they can park it correctly but prefer to ‘invade’ my garage in order for them to have the back of the truck in the same place of the back door and walk less.

I, several times, politely asked the guys to park it correctly only to get an insult back.

I finally decided to put those yellow tubes that our author writes about but the Telerman Administration forced us to take them away.

An X ray laser or one of those WWII fire guns would be pretty helpful nowadays.

Marc said...

Who handles the traffic/parking violations up there, I can't rememeber. Here there is an army of transit dept. guys (zorros) who make it their mission to find something to lecture you about, give tickets, or nail you for not paying vehicle taxes.

Anyway $37,50 is an extremely small price to pay for something that may cause your biz to lose money.

Jason Foster said...

I agree with 99, there has to be a way to get their cars towed, Frank! A few months ago, I parked illegally for 1 hour and my car got towed. I wouldn't be surprised if someone called me in, considering how fast it happened.

Unknown said...

Juan, Thanks! I am sure the truck situation gave that bakery´s products a sour taste. Did you try asking the bakery directly? At my home the same thing would happen with my furniture making neighbor. I made it a point to always interrupt him when that happened. I wanted to always try to spread the inconvenience around to as many people as possible.

Marc, it´s actually no man´s land over here, unless the new City sponsored traffic controllers get a hold of you, but they are in heavily transit areas for now. Yes, it´s peanuts and now a days you can print out your ticket in the comfort of your own home and pay it at a myriad of places.

Jason, you would think that is the case. It actually depends on where you park. The police have not had the ability to tow anything for years now. There are some areas that are marked as tow zones, but there are not that many. Congrats! You found one--just kidding ya. I have tried in the past to get a car towed, but I had always been told that if the car was not mine they could not tow it. I will be trying to get an answer from those numbers 99 gave me. I still have not been able to talk to anyone though.

Anonymous said...

I love the bounce idea, hilarious. Too bad it wouldn't work for you. I have no ideas of my own for you but you have given me an idea on what to write about next in my own blog. HA ha.

Unknown said...

One night, when out with the boys, after closing Augenblick (Micheal Hecker and Henry´s bar) once again, we found the car of one of the girls we were with out in the middle of the street. I can´t remember the girl or the car, but I do remember it was rather small. We just burst out laughing. I imagine she was the victim of a bounced car.

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) said...

stick a few bananas up the exhaust pipe and post the youtube vid here so we can all have a laugh!

Unknown said...


Consider it done! Now why didn´t I think of that before?

Anonymous said...

Oh man, if you weren't representing a business, I'd love to hear the story about you letting the air out of her tires.

It sounded like she was in a hurry to get back to being more important than other people.

All I have to say is that karma sucks.