On Friday I drove through to South Shields for lunch.
I parked my car nearby at a very reasonable cost of £2 for all day giving me the opportunity to enjoy lunch, and browse the market stalls and the shops. And I did, in fact, buy two pairs of dress boots in a sale in one shop.
I then drove back to Sunderland, and decided to park in St Mary’s car park, and have a quick coffee before heading home.
Car park here £1.50 per hour, so I had 50 minutes for my coffee.
On returning to collect my car in good time, discovered a queue waiting to pay stretching half way over the bridge towards M&S, as one of the paying machines was out of action (it was also out of action two days previously at least that I know of).
In the queue with everyone else for 20 minutes, which meant that by the time I got to pay, I owed £3.
The lady in front was in the same boat, as I imagine most people would have been, and she was charged £4.50, presumably for two hours.
Last week's Letter of the week: Don't let Sunderland visitors get caught short
To make matters worse the two people before me both tried to pay by card, and neither the contactless or pin options were working, more time taken up finding money.
I was furious by now, and found when I had to try putting my pin number in I had to get down on my knees to be able to see the keyboard, and I found some keys were not registering. My turn to search for £3, and extend the hold up.
A real shambles but a nice little earner for the car park, and another good reason to sit on the couch at home, and shop online.
In addition to this, The Bridges automatic door at the south entrance was out of action for several days over the holiday period, causing major inconvenience to anyone infirm and using a stick, wheelchair users, and pushchair users.
Simple things just causing severe aggravation to the people of Sunderland trying to support our High Street.
It just seems that nobody cares.