No update yesterday, I know.  I just wasn’t in the mood to write up anything.  I know the point of this blog is to force myself to write, but there’s force, and then there’s resentment writing.  Back to normal now though.

There’s been some work happening on our building, which has resulted in a crane taking up a good chunk of the car park while they do something to the outside walls.  Of course, this has been a little bit of a problem, especially since we don’t have enough spaces as it is – and now it’s reaching amusing levels of friction.

A little background.  The building I work in is rented by a very wealthy energy company.  When I started, we were renting two floors.  As of last year, in order to save money in the recession, we reduced that to just one.  The energy company were happy to have another floor to cram another 50 people into (they’d love to have our other floor too, but it’s just not cost effective for us to leave the building entirely).  However, this meant our organisation got less spaces in the car park (allocated by floor size as far as I can tell), and anyone with a car has been working on a rota system to get a space whenever they can.  It’s the only way to get around it, but the fact of the matter is the car park is far too small for the number of people trying to use it.  The building itself is too small, but there’s not much you can do about it.  But the car park gets even worse when visitors start to use it.

Our floor just doesn’t have enough spaces for visitors – so we usually end up having someone sacrifice a space for them (so far never had a problem).  The energy company does have visitor spaces…but again, they don’t even have enough spaces for their staff.  They are not allowed to use our spaces, nor are their visitors, and there are big ol’ signs up all over the place showing where people can and can’t go.  If there isn’t a space in their section, the visitors have to leave and park on the street or in the nearby shopping centre.

Do the energy company’s visitors pay any attention to them?  Hell no.  Our direct manager has to go out on hourly checks to shoo out any unknown cars so we can actually get the registered ones in.  And they always insist ‘they didn’t see the big huge signs on the walls’.

Now, back to the problem at hand.  The last few weeks the crane has been in our section of the car park, so we’ve had even less spaces than normal, and staff have had to ration off spaces, carpool, or park elsewhere.  The few spaces we did have were cordoned off with traffic cones to keep them free.  Never been so happy to not be a driver, but colleagues have managed to improvise their way through.  It meant even stricter rules for the car park though, and since my department has a direct view of the car park, we were in charge of contacting the manager when the builders blocked actual spaces, or that energy cars weren’t taking up spaces (the number of people who would drive up, remove a traffic cone from a space then park is ridiculous! – how can you claim ignorance after doing that?).

Manager has even tried getting the energy company in a meeting to discuss visitor’s etiquette in the car park.  The energy company keep blowing him off and ignoring him.  Apparently they don’t want to fix the issue and think if they stall him long enough, he’ll go away.

Well, our rationing is over, because the crane is now doing the other side of the building…in the energy car park.  So our line manager has bought even more traffic cones (in a pretty blue and white to differentiate), and lined them up in a row to keep out unwanted energy cars.  The amount of ‘You Shall Not Pass!’ jokes I managed to come up with while watching cars stop and back up was probably overdone.  Wish I’d taken photos…note to do that tomorrow.

Did this solve the problem?  Yes…by creating another one.  Apparently the energy company and/or its visitors have decided that if they can’t park in the spaces, they’ll just park in front of the cars in taken spaces.  Half a dozen cars were literally boxed in by cars blocking their bonnets in both sections of the car park.  Anyone who wanted to get out had to hunt down the owner and get them to move – which was often impossible.  I can’t believe we were expected to come up with a plan to live without spaces, and implemented it relatively well, but the far better paid energy flunkies plan to solve the problem is to wedge other cars in to save them having to walk the extra few minutes it would take to get from the alternative car parks!

And this is going to continue for at least a few weeks.  We’re already taking bets on how long it takes before someone just drives over one of our cones, or how long before there’s a visitor in the reception screaming about not being allowed to take an empty space in the car park (sorry, we have visitors and people who go home for lunch).  As someone who has watched colleagues keep an eagle eye on the spaces, I can assure you, our organisation may not have many, but they will be fiercely defended!