All posts tagged 'Parking'

Aisle won't be back soon to supermarket car park

by The Codgers' Club Monday, August 13 2012

by David Jones

I seem to have an unfortunate knack of finding trouble in supermarket car parks.

Maybe I have a magnet attraction for nutters/thuggish individuals, or perhaps supermarket car parks bring out the worst in people.

Shoppers bent on aggro seek me out like moths to a flame.

A few weeks back, while trying to find a parking space, I slowed down briefly while a woman was attempting to reverse out of a tight space.

She was making a right mess of it, so I carried on because a queue was building up behind me.

As I drove around the car park, I noticed she had stopped her car in the middle of one of the exit lanes and had begun screaming at the top of her voice. I soon realised she was screaming at me. I couldn’t really hear what she was saying but I did catch the sentence: “Have you got issues?”

It was clear that it wasn’t me who had “issues”, but this irrational outburst made me wonder what the consequences would be if her crazy behaviour manifested itself on a motorway.

Last Saturday, trouble sought me out again. In the same supermarket car park I was just about to pull out from my space into one of the exit lanes, when a woman drove into the lane the wrong way, so fast as to be reckless, and screeched to a halt just a few yards away from me. If I had not braked sharply there would have been a head-on collision.

I slowed down to give her one of my famous icy stares when a man, presumably her husband/partner, jumped out of the passenger seat and shouted “Today’s not the day, mate.”

He was in a confrontational mood and you would have thought it was me who had just driven dangerously.

Then, the woman jumped out of the car and shouted: “Do I look as though I care?”

I was lost for words. Funny, isn’t it that you always think of the appropriate slick response after the event. What I should have said was: “You ought to care, love, because I’ve got your number and I’m on my way to the police station to complain about your dangerous driving.”

I have concluded that there is no point in having a slanging match with people like this.

It’s not worth bringing yourself down to their level.

Next, I saw a tattooed man in a vest, behind the wheel of a huge camper van which totally occupied the space set aside at the store’s entrance as a drop-off point, particularly for elderly or disabled customers.

Then I saw a boy racer driving round the car park at 30mph, oblivious to the fact that a child could have run out from behind car at any moment….

Then I saw a car parked across two spaces.

Then I saw...

No, that’s enough. I think I’ll just stay away from supermarket car parks in future. They do nothing for my stress levels.

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Categories: Moans and groans

Trust must have taken a leaf out of Barclays’ book

by The Codgers' Club Monday, July 23 2012

by David Jones

Nearly a month has passed since the decision was announced to charge disabled drivers for parking at Medway Maritime Hospital and I’m still trying to work out the perverse logic behind it.

The idea, according to the Medway NHS Foundation Trust, is to “create fairness around concessions”.

That sounds like the logic of the madhouse to me.

Which brings me this question: What have Barclays Bank and the Medway NHS Foundation Trust got in common?

Answer: Not a lot, I hear you say.

But here’s a point worth pondering, even if you do think I’m being far-fetched.

A small group of traders at Barclays Bank made a decision, which resulted in horrendously bad publicity for the bank.

At the Medway NHS Foundation Trust a small group of people made a decision, which resulted in horrendously bad publicity for the Trust.

By comparison, the rumpus over parking charges is just a minor spat and I’m not suggesting anything else.

What we do have is two sets of circumstances totally unrelated and at opposite ends of the spectrum, but both achieving in their own way an unwelcome outcome – damaging headlines day after day.

The bankers are guilty of outrageous greed. The people at the Trust were motivated by the best of intentions, albeit misguided. Both were typical of decisions made in a goldfish bowl without consideration of the wider impact.

In reality, as has already been pointed out, the estimated £180,000 a year the disabled parking charges will bring in extra revenue is just peanuts in terms of the overall Medway NHS budget.

Decisions by public bodies such as the NHS should sometimes be more than just about the bottom line. By forcing blue badge holders to pay, Medway’s health bosses have created a widespread perception that they are callous and money-grabbing? Was it worth it for an extra £180,000 a year?

What the spin doctors call “negative coverage” of the disabled parking row will have caused reverberations at the highest level at the Trust, especially as Medway Council’s controlling Conservative group has joined in the criticism.

I wonder if anyone at the Trust has been wondering how good it would be if the clock could be turned back and a different decision arrived at.

If I were to be really mischievous, I could suggest ways in which the Trust could raise even more money - £120 a night for a bed, all drugs and meals to be paid for by the patient, a scale of charges depending on your illness and, oh, labour costs for the doctors and nurses’ hours, rather like your bill from the garage.

Or have I just described a private hospital?

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Categories: Moans and groans

The calm after the storm?

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Tuesday, July 17 2012

It was every event organiser’s worst nightmare - writ large.

The Kent County Show posed a classic challenge in disaster management. And to be fair to the Kent County Agricultural Society, organisers didn’t do too badly in that area. Communications combined with action is key.

You have to hand it to George Jessel, the doughty chairman and former military officer who communicated to the media as quickly and frankly as he could. He had some tough decisions to take amid conflicting advice from police, highway chiefs and weather pundits.

He came in for a media grilling but bravely fessed up in a stressful situation.

But there’s no doubt he was let down by poor signage - the show was not closed as stated by the road signs, but most of the car parks were. Many probably stayed away when they might well have got in. Many people were so keen to get into the show that they parked their cars outside the ground. Bad publicity is bizarrely often good publicity, giving the show a profile it’s not enjoyed for years.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and it’s easy to blame organisers for not putting down bark chippings, sawdust and taking a host of precautions ahead of Thursday night’s deluge. But not all the fields are controlled by the society.

Many traders had a bad show, with disappointing takings and understandably vowing never to return. Many came a long way.

But they should remember that other shows like the Great Yorkshire were abandoned or cut short. Jessel and his team were determined to keep the show on the road in the face of daunting odds. We cannot change the British weather. The Kent County Show went on regardless of the mud, slipping and sliding - and most visitors showed dogged British grit to enjoy themselves despite the squelch.

And the numbers were surprisingly good, confirmed by the official attendance figure of 50,000, not bad for a virtual washout. If the figures are to be believed, the figure was not too far short of last year’s 67,000.

But that’s a far cry from the 100,000-plus that used to regard the show as an annual must and a marvellous shop window for the high-quality output of the Garden of England.

KCAS faces a whopping loss - probably at least £300,000 - but the show loses money in most years. It’s sensible of the society to invest in conference facilities that spread the risk and bring in substantial year-round revenues.

As for George Jessel, he is due to step down in February after six years as chairman. The 2012 show would be a sad way for him to go. He has shown leadership and charisma at the KCAS helm, taking it into the 21st century and steering it away from reliance on the show. He will be a hard act to follow and, if he can stand more flak, deserves the chance to stay on a little longer. One commentator described his response to trying circumstances as heroic.

It may be against the rules but in this case and in the interests of the society, they could be broken. He should be remembered for far more than the Detling quagmire - and allowed to step down after a thumping success rather than a damp disappointment.

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Categories: Entertainment | Family Life | parking

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