I’d like to take a little time out of the day to have a rant. This rant is inspired by a certain stressful experience that was had this weekend in Manchester. First off, this episode does not reflect the overall Manchester experience. I had an absolutely lovely weekend and very much enjoyed the city, especially its Christmassy beverages – never before had I heard of a vodka Hot Apple Pie cocktail but I believe it is now to become my drink of choice. At all times. I had a glorious time visiting my godsister and her beautiful daughter and definitely plan to go back soon.
Regardless, I have one complaint about Manchester. And that is their parking systems. It’s stressful enough trying to drive around a city on a busy Saturday afternoon, full of uber keen Christmas shoppers and tourists alike. So finding a car park close to the Shopping Centre was a relief and we gladly parked without checking the price; we’d seen a sign earlier that said something along the lines of “£2.50 all day parking!” so we obviously weren’t worried. After a lovely wander, Starbucks and a broken Accessorize purchase, we headed back to the car. Where to our horror we discovered that just over 2 hours of parking had cost us £9. NINE POUNDS. Seriously, I thought the north was meant to be cheap. To make matters worse we discovered that had we been 10 minutes earlier it would have been only 4.
As annoying as this revelation was, there was nothing to be done so we paid and got over it and moved on with our lives. Then the real slap in the face came. Being peak leaving time there was a rather mahoosive queue to leave the car park, stressful enough without being added on to the previous stress of expensive parking. Played some relaxing Michael Buble Christmas album (in case you hadn’t realised we’re slightly Christmas-obsessed) to calm us down and fill some time with Christmas joy. Only then did we notice that there were 3 marshals standing by the exit of the car park, apparently with no other purpose than to assist people with their exit. I’m sorry, but I do believe that human beings have got along perfectly fine managing their own exit from car parks. Unless I’m missing something it’s not exactly rocket science to roll down your window and insert a piece of card into a metal slot.
If I hadn’t just paid nine pounds for this stupid car park it probably wouldn’t be as much of a concern to me and I may have even felt sorry for these poor souls standing in the cold attempting to offer help to people who in no way needed it. But as it was, I knew that my unreasonably expensive parking was paying for people to spend their life doing the most pointless job imaginable. And I was not happy about it. It was like this high and mighty car park was LITERALLY flaunting the money we’d just grudgingly paid them in our face. As we approached the barrier muttering obscenities we wound down the window and my godsister, being her blunt self, inquired as to what this mans job was. He informed us that he wanted to help us with our card. THAT IS NOT A JOB. But of course we didn’t say that to him, we smiled sweetly and I shouted “how kind of you, thank you SO much” as we drove out of the hated car park and into freedom. At least this experience has taught us to never park in the car park of the pointless marshals again, or if we do to at least make the most of our money and let them assist us to insert our card into the machine. I’m sure it will be a huge stress relief to have this terribly challenging task taken care of for us.