Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Google News Saved Me $58

I compulsively check several things online throughout the day:  Facebook, Google Reader, Blogger, and Google News.  If you've ever seen me on Facebook for what felt like an entire day, making posts every 15 minutes or so, then you have some idea of how often I do this OCD cycle of checking all the things that keep me informed on either 1) the world or 2) my life.  I open a New Tab, check each of those 4 websites, then close the tabs for a minute or two (and pretend I'm doing something else) before repeating the cycle.  Gmail isn't included in this list, because it is open continuously on my computer, and my iPhone lets me know when I get new mail whenever my face isn't attached to a monitor.  So, technically, I always have that.

Until today, this craziness has never given me back anything other than personal satisfaction and typically-useless News knowledge.  Until today.

This morning, in between quick Chats with Annie where she provided me a list of things to finish, I managed to briefly check Google News.  I didn't actually read the article, but my eyes glanced by the headline "Oakland enacts five-minute 'grace-period' on expired parking meters".  It registered so low on my active memory, that I later wouldn't be able to recall where I had seen it without extensive Facebook/Google searches.

So, I go on with my morning, which consisted primarily of wrapping Xmas presents that I was going to mail off today to relatives in MI and FL.  I drove to the post office, bought $1 worth of parking time (which is 30 minutes), and walked inside to take care of my business.  It wasn't the most efficient Post Office trip I've had, but it honestly wasn't that bad on my scale of shitty Post Office trips.  Upon walking outside, a woman was writing me a ticket.  I thanked her, pulled it off of my windshield, and sat in my car reading it.  Then I looked at the parking payment receipt on my dashboard.

My time expired at 12:16 pm.  The parking ticket had been printed for 12:20:44 pm.  I was, indeed, within my 5-minute window, and it made me try to remember exactly what I had briefly read earlier.  Was the grace period being voted on, or was it just an idea?  Luckily, the parking ticket lady had to stop to write a ticket for the car parked in front of me.  (I'd imagine that Post Offices are as easy to write parking tickets for as bars are for drunk drivers.)  Anyway, I walked up to her and politely (though it took me a while to get her attention, since she was in a heavy cell phone conversation) asked her about the grace period.

I said I wasn't sure if it had been enacted yet, and I'd be happy to take it somewhere if that's how the process was supposed to be.  Instead, she took both the ticket and the parking receipt and said she would get it voided when she got back.  She also notified me that they were told to leave the ticket unless the person explicitly referenced the new 'grace-period' policy.  So, for once, it actually paid to be informed.  Thank you, Google News!

Off to spend at least $58 on fixing my car,


  1. I think I got caught by a speed camera van last night.. I haven't got the ticket in the mail yet but I'm pretty sure the flash was for me :). Any ideas on how to get out of that one?