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Getting Towed is Easily the Most Infuriating Thing That Happens in the City

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If you have ever been towed in the city, there is a distinct moment where you truly wish the aspects of government that regulate transit in our fair town be summarily destroyed by a plague, a tempest of fire, or sent to meet another equally cataclysmic and terrible fate.

FOUR HUNDRED AND SEVENTY TWO DOLLARS. Yup. That’s the cost of one innocent, albeit boneheaded, move in San Francisco. But it’s not just the money. It’s the panic, denial, shame, and subsequent rage associated with the experience that really kicks you while your down. First, you think it’s been stolen. Then, you quickly realize that, chances are, no one wants your shitty car in the first place (I drive a shitty car).  Then comes denial. “There’s no way this could have happened!”, you say. Then, as the shame of such a tremendous glitch sets in, you begin cancelling trips and telling your family there will be only homemade gifts this holiday season. Finally, you go to the “Auto Return Lot”, and that’s where the rage  component steps in (HINT: They don’t “care” about you at all).

If you’ve never been to the hellscape that is a privately-owned “Auto Return Lot” (READ: PRISON), then go home and hug your loved ones, because the world is still a bright and safe place. However, if you recognize the sign pictured above, then you might as well have a teardrop tatted under your eye because that is one dark and hopeless locale to find yourself. I always want to snap a photo, but everyone in there is so enraged and dismal that I can never bring myself to do so. Furthermore, if I’m already shelling out some serious dough in the first place, I certainly don’t feel like paying for a new phone after some some stranger rightfully destroys it for documenting him in such dire straits (I grabbed the picture below from Yelp).

I have actually dreamed that some mythically strong human would take it upon themselves to break through the obviously necessary bulletproof glass and start makin’ it rain with all the necessary paperwork needed to get our rides back. However, this place is a nightmare, not a fantasy. In this world, you just take a number and wait to pay an indifferent someone about as much money as it takes to fly to Mexico so you can get on with your life.

Finally, as you near the end of your journey that would make Dante himself proud, they hit you with this sign:

Ironically, you have such Stockholm Syndrome by now that you truly think you’re being “assisted” and not properly fucked by the same people who put you there in the first place. You give them your paper, go to your car, and it’s over. The whole thing ends as capriciously as it started and you leave, a broken, sullen human being.

So at this point,I guess I have a confession to make: I’ve recently gotten my car towed in the city, and I found the experience to be less than pleasant. However, as I continue to process my recent adventures in paying the piper, I’ve already drafted my letter of appeal. Feel free to copy/paste the text below and use it at your discretion.



Fuck getting towed, I’m out.

Photo Credit: Del A., Kav V. (Yelp), Adam Grossworth (Flickr), C.W. Nevius (SfGate)

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Stephen Jackson - In Therapy

Stephen Jackson - In Therapy

For the most part, Stephen wanders around looking for people to talk to. Born in Manhattan and raised in Santa Monica, he's been cultivating the skill of living large on a dime since he began hoarding his juice boxes in preschool. Currently, the majority of his time is spent raising a dog and feigning wealth.

1 Comment

  1. Jesse James
    October 31, 2013 at 8:39 am

    The final straw for me having a car in this City was getting it towed about ten years ago. Now, this wasn’t just a regular tow story, it was a magical, special tow story. You see, my car WAS stolen. Some lovely young men (assumption) took my beautiful 1989 Toyota Camry for a four day joy ride that ended with them dropping the car off a mile from where they took it. This is when the cops found it.

    Now back in the day (I prefer to think it still doesn’t happen like this, though I may be blissfully wrong), when the police called a tow truck it cost the owner MORE money to recover the car… almost twice as much as a regular tow. On top of that, it was $30 extra per day that I couldn’t free my car (cause if I didn’t have $500 one day, I was sure to have $530 the next). So basically, my car was stolen, then my car was found by the police, then my car was held hostage and I was robbed again. Fuck. Those. Beans.

    I’m not sure if City Tow is still pulling this fuckery…