The Parking Debacle: I decided today would be a wonderful day to pay that $41 parking ticket I got from the City of Berkeley back in June. Yeah, I waited...MUCH too long. But today was the day. I knew it was going to be more than the original $41, but I had no idea just how much more.
I logged on to their website and clicked the link to enter my citation number. Imagine my utter SHOCK when the total came up as $123!! WHOA! And then, to add insult to injury, there's a $2 "convenience" fee tacked on for those who choose to pay online. Well, that just wasn't going to work for me. I immediately closed the payment window before going any further. I needed an explanation. But as I tried to click to other parts of the site, it froze. Then it just simply refused to load at all. After a few frustrating minutes, I decided to call. Yeah, that wasn't really working either. I kept getting the annoying three beeps with "We're sorry. All circuits are busy. Please try again later".
Finally, after trying another number, I was able to get through to a wonderfully helpful lady named Tamara. She explained that due to state budget issues, the City of Berkeley has had to impose some parking fee "increases" (I could totally tell that she was making the quote signs with her hands when she said increases. LOL!). What this means for idiots like me that forget to pay in a timely manner is that the fee has gone from $30 to close to $80. I nearly dropped the phone. I whined and complained and carried on until Tamara put me on hold. When she came back, she explained that she was willing to waive the late fee so that all I had to pay was the original $41 fine. I quickly gave her my credit card number before she changed her mind. TOTAL SCORE!!!
Chain Restaurants: Alright, I admit it. In some cases, I love a good chain restaurant. You always know exactly what you're getting, no matter what city you dine in. The quality is totally consistent, no matter if you're stopping at a Chili's in Honolulu, or if you're hittin' up the local Panera in Wauwatosa, WI. Its strangely comforting to know that your skillet queso will taste exactly the same in an airport in Nashville, TN as it does in Walnut Creek, CA.
Recently (like today recently), we finally got a Panera in one of the local shopping plazas. I can't tell you how happy this makes me. I know their sandwiches and soups are generic at best, but its nice knowing exactly what you're going to get. I totally enjoyed my broccoli cheese soup with half a turkey sandwich today, which is exactly how its been at every Panera I've ever been to (although I must admit, I'm paying for it a bit now...heartburn).
In the same vein, DJC has informed me that there's a new Specialty's opening up right near his office. OMG, they have the best cookies in all of the land. Especially their black and white cookies. I could take down several of them if pressed. I'd hate myself later, but I could do it. Specialty's also has soups and sandwiches that are only slightly less generic than Panera, but equally as tasty. And dependable. You know that when you walk through their doors, you will always get a decent meal.
Ok, that's all. I'm too sore to type any more, thanks to last night's Core class from hell. I am looking forward to reuniting with old friends tomorrow at BT's BBQ, though. Mmmmm...BBQ.