State of the parking sale

21 MAY 2014

All of you who went to bed early last night (or went out and lived your life, unlike us zealots monitoring Twitter) probably thought you could wake up this morning and participate in the parking sale at 8 am today.

There won't be much left by then, if the sale is still going at all.

I know yesterday Ace Parking said the sale would reopen at 8 this morning (CIO Jon Gjerset went silent yesterday right before the sale relaunch) but they also said the site might work last night - and it did, eventually. Which means everyone flooded in last night and began buying up spaces as the word spread.

Right now, just before 7 am PST, there are still spaces left. Obviously Hilton and the convention center sold out fast, but if you're not picky about where you park, go in now and get a spot.

Now it's worth noting that last night many people were charged multiple times for 1 spot, or were charged but didn't get a spot at all. Possibly that means that as those multiple charges clear, more spots will open up. Or it could mean that Ace will be forced to honor those people and assign them spots that currently look open. It's hard to say. The dust probably won't settle for a while.

ETA 10:50 am PST: Yikes, this has gotten ugly. Comic-Con sales have led everyone over a cliff before, but this is the first time I can remember a petition happening. Unfortunately Ace is compounding the core unfairness by not communicating well. They've basically retreated, a classic PR mistake, and are saying different things in different places.

Top issues are:
  • getting refunds for overcharged cards
  • determining if people who paid actually have a reservation
  • people who were told the sale would go live this morning and slept through it going live last night
  • Ace's policy to "honor all reservations" 
Right now many people are demanding a do-over, with all reservations nullified and refunded and a new sale date scheduled. Here's why that would create a new round of issues: many people already printed out their permit last night and consider the issue over and done with. They're not paying attention to the social noise anymore and could show up at the Con with their existing permit and nowhere to park.

Don't expect this to be resolved within the next few hours. In the meantime, please don't yell at the Ace customer service people; they're not the ones who did this to you. In fact, I'm going to say that this whole mess should be laid at the feet of AWS, who clearly did not provide an adequate infrastructure or support. Ace made an effort to guarantee a smooth sale, so it's not as if they just don't care. That said, they are definitely to blame for the piss poor communication and service.

I'll post any updates I hear.

ETA 11:24 am PST: Apparently some people are being told that even if they got charged for a reservation, they may not have one - not if it isn't listed under Reservations in the system. While this will undoubtedly suck for many people who think they scored a premium spot, they at least will be refunded. People who are buying permits on Ebay right now may get doubly screwed - so don't do it.

Some people are trying Parkopedia for spots. It won't be as convenient as the best Ace lots, but it's something. I know in the past some San Diegoans have rented out their driveways (near the trolley) so keep an  eye out for ads like that as well, or place your own.

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