Monday, 22 July 2013

Unsafe Parking at Gardens Shopping Centre

What's the best way to ruin a great weekend? Having your car broken into on Sunday night. Yup, that's me right now. And since this irritation happened in Cape Town, my fellow Capetonians can consider this post a public service announcement (as well as a much-needed rant from a very pissed off Karen). So where, you may ask, did this horrible act of vandalism take place? In a dark and dingy alleyway that smelled of pee? Outside a suspect establishment under a bridge? Oh no, dear readers, my beloved car (now that I come to think of it, she really needs a name) was broken into in the undercover, "secure"parking lot of Gardens Shopping Centre in Gardens. 

Last night, with a severe lack of decent viewing on TV, I decided that I really needed a DVD to end off my weekend. So at 19:00 I drove to Gardens Centre and I, being the responsible person that I am, thought that it would be safer to park inside the parking lot than on the street . Sure I'd have to pay R6, but I figured that it would be far less money than paying for a vandalised car. I was in the shopping centre for no more than 15 minutes and, when I got back to my car, I noticed that the back, rear window had been smashed. Since I keep nothing of value in my car, the culprit's intention was to get at whatever was in my boot, which in my case was a yoga mat and a bag containing leggings, a yoga bra and top. Since the mat was left behind, I'm pretty certain that my car's attacker isn't a budding yoga enthusiast (or wears a 34A bra) and was probably hoping for something a little more exciting.

When I looked around the parking lot, there was not a security guard in sight. And no, I did not want to leave my car and go searching for one (in the parking lot where a vandal may still be lurking), and so I left the centre feeling incredibly upset and even more unsafe. I'm sure that somewhere on the back of the parking ticket there's a statement in fine print saying that I park at my own risk, but surely the whole idea of safe and secure parking is that you can go into a shopping centre without worrying that your car is getting broken into. And what if the situation had been much worse? If no one was around to protect my car, who knows what other unsavoury characters could be hiding in the shadows waiting for a 24 year old woman to return to her vehicle.

I often get told that I do not complain enough, but this is one situation where I simply refuse to let things slide. This morning I lodged an official complaint with Gardens Shopping Centre and am waiting for a response. And now, I'm off to draw money to pay for my R1200 bill to replace my window. Make that R1206 - I did pay R6 for parking after all.