Let me tell you about my incident the other day while going to The Scientific Center. I was out with family on the weekend, and we had decided to go to watch a movie at the IMAX and tour through the aquarium.
I reached the parking lot gate and took a coin-shaped chip:
Out of habit, I had expected to receive a regular paper ticket, so I was impressed to find that it was an RFID -tagged token, and pointed it out out to my brother. Being the impatient one, he insisted that he inspects it for himself, so I clumsily passed it to him while keeping my other hand on the steering wheel, and —whoops! It fell.
After we parked, our movie was about to start, so I decided to leave the searching for later. Once inside, my father gave me a free parking voucher that came with the movie ticket:
When the night was over, I went back to my car and tried to look for the chip. It was dark, and the fact that the chip is black wasn’t really helping. A few minutes of searching later, my brother and I couldn’t find it anywhere, so I drove off to the gatekeeper to explain:
3baid: Hi, I lost my chip.
GK: 5 KD please.
3baid: What?! 5 KD? But I have a free parking voucher!
GK: Sorry, these are the rules.
3baid: It’s in my car somewhere, I’ll find it during daylight and bring it back.
GK: Pay 5 KD now and keep the receipt; when you find it, bring it and the management can refund you.
3baid: Alright, fine.
GK: Management is open from 9 AM until 1 PM.
I hopped into my car the next morning and found the chip almost immediately then drove all the way back to the center and stopped at the gate entrance and lowered my window:
3baid: Hi remember me?
3baid: I was here last night, I lost my chip, I paid 5 KD? Now I’ve found it and want my money back.
GK: Sorry, you have to speak to management; they’re here from Sunday through Thursday and today is Saturday!
3baid: Listen, it’s really simple, I have the receipt, the chip, and the voucher, just give me my money back.
At that point, the car behind me started honking and I had nowhere to go except enter the parking lot. I took a new chip, drove all the way around and back to the exit.
3baid: Can’t you pay me now?
GK: 250 fils
3baid: Huh? I was talking to you 20 seconds ago, I have the chip!
GK: I know, I told you, speak with management. 250 fils for the other chip.
3baid: Are you kidding me? I just turned the car around!
GK: Yes, but you took a chip and I can’t do anything about it, it’s registered in the system.
3baid: That’s just unbelievable. I don’t have time to drive all the way back here during week days for 5 KD, I have other more important matters to take care of!
I took off and headed home feeling disappointed. Instead of having a lovely evening and paying nothing (refer to voucher), I paid 5.250 KD plus a couple of minutes from my weekend trying to get my money back.
Even now, with my free time during week days, it’s still not worth going there to get a refund. I would’ve spent two round-trips on fuel just driving there, another ridiculous 250 fils for parking to speak with management, and then they’d probably charge me for the ‘undetermined’ time I had my car parked there the day I lost my chip (the voucher is only valid for 3 hours) meaning roughly 6 KD – 5 KD money back, a grand total loss of 1 KD.
In other words, I have this chip that I can’t make use of (and can’t be bothered to return), while they’re one chip less than what they had; it’s a lose-lose situation. Why isn’t returning money just as easy as taking it?