On most days, in one of the busiest parking lots in downtown Phoenix, you’ll see the brightly-colored stickers pasted on the driver-side windows of people’s cars.
They come in orange or green.
They’re hard to peel.
And they carry a sassy message.
“Since you have chosen not to respect our property, we will not respect yours.”
The parking lot is located at Fillmore and Central, just a block north of the ASU campus.
Drivers get a sticker and a $25 ticket if workers at the privately-owned parking lot determine that cars have been parked without paying or overstayed the time limit. The lot is owned by a company called U.S. Parking Systems.
The company’s owner, Leon Woodward, declined an on-camera interview. But he did speak openly and extensively to ABC15 on the phone.
To be perfectly clear: Woodward is as feisty and colorful as the message and color of his stickers.
He relishes a challenge and is not afraid to express his opinion.
“You want to quote me, write this, ‘I’m sick of begging for my money,'” said Woodward, who’s owned and sold parking lots in multiple cities for decades. “I think I’m being kind. If they’re not happy with the sticker, I could tow them instead.”
He’s right. He could.
Some people who have gotten the stickers also question whether slapping them on the cars is illegal.
“It’s not (illegal),” said Phoenix police Sgt. Jonathan Howard. “But I don’t think it’s following the golden rule.”
In New York, city officials used to slap similar stickers on people’s cars if they were parked during off-hours and blocking street sweepers. After complaints about how difficult it was to get the stickers off, the city stopped using them.
“It took me about 30 minutes,” said Nick, who got a sticker after parking at the downtown lot. “I think it shows disrespect to the customer.”
Nick said he parked at the lot in late July and fully paid. But he received a sticker and ticket in the one to two minutes between when he parked and paid at the pay station.
“(The attendant) definitely would have seen me come up and pay,” he said.
Online reviews on the Better Business Bureau and other websites also show other customers claiming they paid but got ticketed and stickered.
Leon Woodward and his wife, who helps run the company, dispute something like that would happen but did say sometimes people can get caught up in the dragnet.
The Woodwards said if people have concerns or problems about the lot, their numbers are posted on top of all of their pay meters.
“Those people probably didn’t call or are lying,” Leon Woodward said.
Contact Dave Biscobing at firstname.lastname@example.org.