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Friday, May 19
These past couple of days? Not good days.

So, today I've been invariably dicked around by people whilst I've been searching for a bus pass which went missing last Friday night during a gig at the Custard Factory's 'Factory' club down in Digbeth. I lose it, so I figure, retrace your steps, where did you last have it? Custard Factory. I enquire around, I'm told that a bus pass matching the description of mine was found, so I go along to pick it up (or at least see if it's mine).

The first day I go (Wednesday), I hang around for a bloody hour and a half - the guy I'm to see works in the complex's cafeteria (the Custard Factory is like a little hub for new media businesses, small trendy shops, stuff like that)... After more than an hour and a half, I'm told he's doing the monthly stock check and won't be available.


As I walk back along the road to Uni (an otherwise-nice ten minute walk) I get the full wrath of the downpour on me. Did I have a coat? No of course not, it was beautiful weather when I set out in the morning.

I say I'll try again tomorrow (Thursday), which I do. This time, me and a friend are here, and I have to rush into Uni to hand in some work against a deadline which I'll never make if I wait around for the bus at the nearest bus stop (our stop is a bit off the beaten track of the most frequent buses) so I take the car.

How ill-fated was that decision. Read on, it gets better.

I hand in my work on time (at least I should pass, small consolation) and Ciaran and I set off to the Custard Factory. We park down a little side road, just by the pavement, walk in, ask around for the guy - 'oh, he's not in until after 5 pm'. He did pass me his telephone number the previous day and told me to ring it when I was coming down (apparently what was actually meant was that if he found it he would ring ME, words I never heard), so later that day I drop my friend off at his workplace and carry on to the Custard Factory. As it's 7pm, I drive through the Custard Factory and park just outside the edge of the small complex on a bit of tarmac which would, in the daytime, have parked cars on it. It's totally empty now, and there's only a couple of cars about on the small back street.

I go in, to be told that no in fact, it wasn't a bus pass, it turned out in the end to be a railway pass, and there was no bus pass found. Great, so now I have to pay 15 for a replacement, and it was a total waste of effort even coming down here.

I head back to my car.

There's a white van parked next to it.

There's a big horrible triangular yellow thing latched onto the front right wheel - yep, I've been clamped.


And, guess how much to get it released: 90. At least it wasn't towed (the bloke I spoke to said that they don't like to tow most of the cars, because they're 'nice' - it would cost 265 the moment they lift the car, plus 40 a day for the 'secure storage facility' - so if they'd taken it, and it'd taken me a week to get it sorted, that would've been about half a grand just to get a car back.

Obviously right now, I'm rather miffed - I feel it was a totally unjustified clamp, given that the road running through the area is a public right of way yet the moment my wheels leave that I'm on private property and therefore subject to clamping. So yes, there's signs up - quite high up on the wall in fact, and on the wall behind me high up where I wouldn't even think of looking - which say that it's private property and a loading bay area. Granted, if it was 3pm, I wouldn't park there. I couldn't, there's always cars parked there anyway. At seven o' clock at night, with nobody else around, and the workplace whose precious little square of tarmac I so happen to park on is all closed, why should I be concerned about parking there? It's not like I'm pitching up camp or anything.

So, one trip down the road (the nice man gave me a lift to the nearest ATM), and 90 poorer, I have my car back.

However, all is not lost, if I'm lucky the guy screwed up - and there could be the remotest of chances that I can get my money back. I'm not holding out too much hope, but there could be something in this. If I have any success, of course I'll report it - but put it like this: I was clamped by a company called C.C.S. - "Car Clamping Services", based in London on Old Gloucester Street, but seemingly with local offices in Edgbaston (right where I live for crying out loud!). They're regularly voted as the worst (read: most unscrupulous) clamping company in the UK, and there's all sorts of horror stories about them. Seems I got off lightly.

Hell, am I pissed off though. Jerked about by clueless prats who can't tell a fucking rail pass from a bus pass, and then because I have to go down in my car to get there (not exactly like I can take the bus can I? I have no cash and I don't have a bus pass, and I'm not going to get a replacement if someone has my original, at least eliminate the possibility, as the Custard Factory was the last place I had my bus pass before it was lost)... And then, to add insult to injury, because I park (I thought considerately) off the VERY narrow road so that anybody else attempting to leave or get through could do so without being obstructed, I'm clamped - on the one fucking circuit of the area that the clampers do in an hour. I was there for less than ten minutes, including parking up and leaving either side of going into the place to make enquiries.

Put it like this: I'm absolutely pissed off this evening. I have about 280 in my bank account now, and I should have 370. This has not been a good past couple of days.

Oh, and I still need to spend 15 to get a replacement pass. And I bet some bastard has cut up my own bus pass and is now using it with a fake photo on it to get free travel, what a joke. At least my tyre repair the other day (I had a flat, Kwik Fit fixed it) was free, I was expecting to pay the quoted 17.50 but the guy who did it must've been in a good mood as he said 'on the house son, don't worry about it.' So, pragmatically, either I only reallllllly paid 74.50 to get my car unclamped, or it's a free replacement bus pass. I still feel like I'm getting screwed, either way.

Why does this shit always have to happen to me? I'm the nicest person in the world, I carefully pick up spiders I find indoors and take them outdoors, before carefully depositing them on the step, why does it always have to happen to the nice person?

I just hope this is some serious karma going on, and I'll win the lottery jackpot on Saturday or something like that. Better go buy a ticket.

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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 5/19/2006 02:18:00 AM. Roughly.
Blog ID: 114800275289225572
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