DATELINE: Friday. March 21, 2014. 2:30pm.

As a proud member of LACMA (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art), one of the privileges I can swing is a Parking Membership. Basically, I shell out $60 in advance, and I can park for the year without extra charge.

Using it is no sweat. All you do is present your card at the Ticket Office when you pick up your tickets. That card is stamped, and you present said card to the guy at the gate when you leave.

Seems simple enough.

So why…oh why, did the guy at Parking Concepts seem hell bent on screwing it up?

Friday, March 21st. I had off. I figured, why not stop by LACMA for a visit. Go upstairs and see what my old friends the Impressions are up to.  Turns out nothing much, they were just hanging there, and partake of the lovely food trucks parked just across the street.

Sounds like a fine day, huh?

The problem began, when I tried to leave.

As I got my Admission Ticket at the Ticket Office, I once again got my Parking Card stamped.  This was not only before I left, it was before I entered the museum.  This time however, it wasn’t a stamp. The stamp making machine was broken, so the guy hand wrote my authorization on my card.

Stop. I know what you’re thinking. There’s your problem right there.

Oh no, I says. Because…Ticket Office guy had it right. He went the extra step to make sure if there was a problem, it could be solved. He put the Ticket Office phone number on my Parking Card so if there was any confusion, the guy downstairs could call upstairs and confirms what was going on.

Of course, that didn’t happen in the slightest.

I get down to the window, and explain the situation to the guy from Parking Concepts. That the Ticket Stamp was broken, that he could call the Ticket Office if there was a problem.

“Well, it’s going to be up to the machine.”

He ran it through said machine, and told me: “That’ll be ten dollars.”

“Uh, no. That’s what I said. That number there is the extension to the Ticket Office. They want you to call them.”

He picked up the phone for a second, and seemed to dial someone but…either didn’t get through to anybody (which I highly doubt), or thought better of it (the more likely scenario. He went on to demand I pay the ten bucks.

“Well, we’ve got a problem here, because I’m not paying twice.”

After a minute, he had the cars lined up behind me back off so I could get out, re-park and go to the Ticket Office all over again.

Now, I didn’t mind this too much since this was a fight I knew I was going to win. Fortunately for me, the SAME GUY at the Ticket Office was on duty, and I talked to him. Even he seemed pissed off about it, and called down to the Parking Guy himself. When that failed, he got a manager on the phone with him and that settled it.

He explained to me that Parking Concepts is a new company under contract for LACMA, and that in the past with the old when there was this sort of problem, this is how they’d handle it. Write an authorization by hand, put the number down for the Ticket Office, etc. Parking Concepts was new at this, so they didn’t know how to handle this, but don’t worry, LACMA would straighten them out.

I guess that in the end was my problem. LACMA did everything right. They went the extra step to make sure everything would be handled right. But then this one guy from Parking Concepts refused to do anything about it.

I can even handle the idea that he didn’t know how things worked with LACMA, but then…at least have the good sense to ask a question and find out if what I’m saying is the truth. But no, he just presumed I was lying and demanded that I pay a second time. That’s what pissed me off.

Of course, I got back in my car, and drove around to the guy again. He got the phone call but then, just to be an extra prick about it, he asked for the guy’s name at the Ticket Office.

Are you freaking kidding me??

He settled for writing down “Ticket Office”, and I was on my way.

Parking Concepts better get its act together, because LACMA actually values it’s Members, and doesn’t want to have an army of them pissed off because Parking Concepts can’t get it’s act together.