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Bad shopping experience

Bad shopping experience November 4, 2011 Dear Sir, Please allow me a few minutes to vent about an incident that happened to me yesterday, in the City of Hamilton. I had an early doctor's appointment and had made plans to meet with some family for lunch afterwards in town. I have a new baby (in addition to a four year old in preschool), so my mother offered to come to help out. After the doctor's visit, we arrived in town at 10.30 — well ahead of our noon lunch date. We decided that, although a group of us planned to come into town that night for the late shopping events, we would get a head start on our Christmas shopping before lunch. To give a little background — I usually save up to take a trip to Miami to shop. Having attended university there, I love the city. A quick comparison on the shopping experience: Miami — gorgeous malls, salespeople that bend over backward, great dining (free drink refills, children meals), cheap valet parking, designated parking for families with babies, Santa's Enchanted Forest, endless selection, cheap prices and sales, etc. Bermuda: traffic, crazy and poor drivers, little store side parking (one quick errand with a baby can take forever), verbal abuse thrown at you when you're trying to unload the children, fighting for parking spaces, roadside construction (great timing!), high prices (especially on toys), little selection, often rude or indifferent salespeople, etc. Despite all this however I love my Island and wanted to do my part. So I decided to stay here this year for Christmas shopping and 'Buy Bermuda'. So back to that day. Although I usually park on the street we decided that day to park at Number 1 car park. As we were unloading (purse, diaper bag, bottle cooler, stroller, car seat, mom's purse, etc, my very impatient baby was hollering, and I rushed to get her moving. I slapped up my Easy Park machine, noted the time and hurried off. We returned two and a half hours later after a great lunch and shop, only to find a clamp on my car! A quick examination of the machine clearly showed that I had forgotten in my haste to change the parking code, giving me only one hour instead of three! After waiting in the heat for 15 minutes with a once again screaming baby, two Corporation of Hamilton workers came to unclamp me. The most upsetting part — the reason for this letter — was that they immediately asked if I didn't know how to work the machine, or just forgot to change the code. It was obvious I wasn't intentionally trying to cheat the C of H of their $2.50! Even after I explained about the baby and my mistake they just swiped the card ($100!) and left! Bah Humbug! I messed up. I know it was my mistake. But what happened to compassion and understanding? What happened to the Bermudian spirit of helping each other out? In another hour the car park was to be free parking anyway! I was extremely distressed ($100!!) I was so upset and disenchanted that I immediately cancelled our group's plans to come back and shop that night. Whilst I rationally know that it was not the shops fault for this unpleasant experience, it has left such a bad taste that I am no longer wanting to 'Buy Bermuda'! Next year I will go back to Miami. And as for this year I will shop comfortably from home with my trusty Zip X! And to the Corporation of Hamilton- consider that $100 my donation to 'Buy Bermuda' — that's all you'll get from me! Thanks for the Christmas spirit … KIMBERLEY VB HINES Pembroke