What was worse was being dispatched to the "Eastside" near the end of your shift, because it would take forever to get out there, complete the call or vehicle release, and then drive back to the central lot to turn in your truck and complete your shift.
My shift, as it happens, ended at Midnight every night. Maybe you can see where this is going.
Although I had no particular plan to celebrate the New Year as the clock turned to twelve, I was looking forward to getting off work at Midnight to join whatever party was going on that year with family and friends. It was relatively slow that night, but around 10 o'clock, the dispatcher informed me that I had a couple of vehicle releases at the Eastside Lot scheduled for 23:59.
23:59? What in the world? Most of the time, when a vehicle owner discovers their car has been impounded, they either want to get it right away, or they have to make arrangements to pick it up at a time more convenient for them. If the vehicle is impounded after 6 pm, or on the weekend, there is usually a financial incentive to pick it up the next day, if they can, because the overnight storage fee is normally already in effect, and the after-hours release fee increases the total. Couple this with the fact that you wouldn’t think anyone would want to celebrate the annual calendar change at an impound lot in NE Portland, and you can see why I was confused.
After some investigation, we discovered that one of the new dispatchers had been confused about how vehicle storage charges were calculated. She thought we charged by the calendar day, but in fact we charged by 24-hour period. So everyone that called about picking up their car was told that at Midnight, the charges would go up. A couple of vehicle owners whose vehicles were impounded together from the same location got the idea that they would get their money's worth and wait until the last minute before the charges increased. Apparently they were unhappy about getting their cars impounded, and they were making a statement of some kind.
So, just before Midnight on New Year's Eve, I drove out to the Eastside Lot, the armpit of the world, and I rang in the New Year sitting in my truck, waiting for angry vehicle owners who never showed up. They after-hours release fees would be applied to the tow bills, and I would get my measly commission on the small fees, but clearly they just wanted someone else to suffer, which is why they had set up the phantom lot meets. I watched a few cheap fireworks being shot off from residential streets in the distance, listened to conspiracy theorists on AM radio, waited the required one hour from the time of the appointment, and began the drive back downtown at 00:59 of the New Year. In was a very inauspicious beginning to the new year.
Have a safe and profitable week.