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Only In London: How A Take Away For Two, Cost Me £80

December 30, 2017
Indian Takeaway

This wasn’t what I’d planned for my final post of 2017. I like the end of the year to be a positive time in which I can be optimistic about the future. Good will to all! And I was in a fairly good and positive mood until the post man brought me Transport For London’s own brand of Christmas cheer…

Penalty Charge Notice

This was issued on Boxing Day – a Bank Holiday! From which I can conclude that Transport For London is unaware of the meaning of good will.

This is compared with Leeds, where recently, I actually emailed because I had forgotten to pay a parking charge and thought that owning up before a dreaded letter arrived was the right way to go. And Leeds had responded with, “We’re not charging for parking during the festive season. Have a Merry Christmas.” And I did. My heart was filled with warmth at the thought of such kindness. While thinking, “That would never happen in London.”

And not a week later, this. Sometimes I hate being right.

Apparently, I had stopped on a ‘red route’. Which apparently you’re not allowed to do (first I’ve heard). And even though I was in the car the entire time and therefore technically not parked (which is what double yellow lines mean to me), they think I deserve to pay £65 for stopping there.

There are three things that infuriate me about this:

1. This is NOT a Fine For Doing Wrong, It’s A Fine For Not Knowing

It stands to reason that if I was aware that I had stopped somewhere that I shouldn’t have stopped, then I wouldn’t have stopped there. So these types of fines cannot be a fine for doing something wrong. This is a fine for NOT KNOWING that I wasn’t allowed to do what I did. And because of that, there is absolutely no way I could have avoided it. Which is the very definition of unfair.

2. Cameras & Technology Have Made Easy Money For Cowards

When I received the letter today, I was infuriated. The idea of having to pay a fine for something I did not knowingly do wrong, and until the letter arrived informing me, I did not even know that I had done, doesn’t leave me feeling particularly positive. I’m not exactly a big fan of civil law because it always seems to act against me, and now, worse than ever, cameras mean that there’s no people involved in this process which means there can never be a discussion about it.

With anybody.

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It’s just, “You must pay now! Or the numbers will only get bigger!” And if that’s not intimidation, I don’t know what is? But hey, it’s the law. So it must be right… apparently.

3. I Was Only Driving Because I Was Trying To Save Money

Yes, the icing on the cake & ultimate irony of this whole story is that, as it turns out, the only reason I was there was because I was trying to save money. You seriously couldn’t make this up.

There is a take-away in Hendon that I regularly eat from called Arena. (They do good Mogo!) But if you order on Just Eat, you have to meet their minimum order amount in order to have them deliver it. And the last couple of times, that has meant there has been more food than we could reasonably eat in a day or two. Which results in waste.

Additionally, Maaya and I have decided recently that we need to be a bit more careful with what we spend.

So we decided to go and pick it up. Which is why I was sitting in my car outside Hendon Central Station on Watford Way, blissfully unaware that technology was conspiring against me and I was about to get a fine for stopping there.

I assume there must have been a sign. But I never saw it.

It makes me want to cry.

It’s so transparently a money-making thing and has absolutely nothing *really* to do with road safety or public order. And what does it say about our society when some of the greatest injustices in it are those imposed by the government itself? How are we therefore any better than Zimbabwe or other rogue nations that we sit on our high horses and criticise? Is there that much difference between this and a bent Indian cop coming to extort money from me for a trumped up charge? I don’t think so.

That take-away has ultimately cost me £80!

I should have just met the minimum order and wasted the food. While it wouldn’t be ethical, it would have been cheaper! But it turns out I’m not rich enough to be ethical. Needless to say I will never ever attempt to pick it up myself again. And I’ll be ultra paranoid for the next few months about stopping anywhere at all.

Merry Christmas ya filthy animals!

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