When did we trade hospitality for hostility? | AspenTimes.com

When did we trade hospitality for hostility?

Dear Editor:

I thought that Aspen wants to be known for excellence in customer service and hospitality. My experience is that somehow a director of hostility must be in charge instead.

I lived in Aspen for more than 20 years. Having been away for a while, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed visiting old friends. However, I made the mistake of parking in the wrong place downtown ” surely a mortal sin.

I have a handicapped sticker on my car, relatively useless given the few spots marked for their use. Yesterday I planned to go into Footloose (one of my longtime favorite stores) and get one of Skip’s beaded leather bags. The handicapped spot in front of the Wheeler was taken, but the two 15-minute spots in front of the Wheeler were open. I parked in front of the Wheeler and (yes, I actually timed myself) was in Footloose for 8.5 minutes, during which time I purchased two bags and had excellent customer service from Shannon. I knew that I had parked in a spot for visitors to the information station at the Wheeler and didn’t want to overstay my time.

As I returned to my car, a bouncing, bristling, barking, blonde woman (no nametag), evidently a city employee, pounced on me. (At this time there was still an empty spot in front of the Wheeler, by the way.) She informed me in no uncertain terms that, not only had I committed a heinous parking crime, but my dogs were also barking inside my car ” evidently another major infraction. I explained to her that I had only been gone a short time, and showed her my handicapped sticker, to which she replied “you look like you’re getting around fine to me.”

The truth is that had I been forced to park farther away from Footloose, I would not have been able to spend money there. I actually DO need the handicap sticker.

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I currently live in another world-class resort town. At home, such a city employee would have offered to watch the dogs for me. Really. Evidently the blonde parking policewoman hates her job, or she took the abbreviated Dale Carnegie course. It was a disappointment to have this happen where I grew up.

Congratulations, Aspen, to your hostility director ” good job.

Peggy Gurnett

Bozeman, Mont.