Letters to the Editor: February 25 – March 2, 2016
Predatory Towing is Hurting F.C. Businesses
I was appalled at the articles in the News-Press about predatory towing in downtown Falls Church. Because I have no wish for my short shopping trip to result in several hundred dollars for towing “fees,” I have altered my shopping.
I can tell you that last week I needed a tripod. On my way to lunch, I drove by the two parking spots allocated to Dominion Camera and saw that they were full. I ordered the tripod from Amazon. I’m sure I saved money but that wasn’t the point. My business was Dominion Camera’s to lose and they lost it before I walked in the door.
I can tell you that, because of predatory towing, I signed up for mail delivery of my prescriptions. Now I am not tied to CVS. Again, I saved money but that wasn’t the point. I prefer to interact directly with my pharmacist and I liked the pharmacists at CVS. My business was theirs to lose and they won’t ever know why I won’t be returning.
These are just two examples but how many other micro-decisions are now tilting away from shopping in downtown Falls Church? There is no real way of measuring that.
Towing is not working in the best interests of the merchants of Falls Church. I’m sure there is some frustration at the lack of parking and it seems like a good idea to put up threatening signs. But this will work against the collective interests of all merchants.
I read some time ago that 15 percent of all retail is now e-commerce and that number is going up every year. There is no doubt in my mind that if a person is towed and incurs a fee of several hundred dollars, that person will be less likely to return to downtown Falls Church. That person will shop elsewhere or, more likely, go online.
If predatory towing is no longer occurring, then take the signs down. If it’s still going on anywhere in the downtown area then I would not be surprised to see the customer base wither.
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