John Grisham vs. Robot Ninjas

Local writer Jonathan Coleman had an amusing piece in Sunday’s Washington Post that I’d be remiss if I ignored. John Grisham has gotten into a tiff with Gabe Silverman over the attempted towing of Grisham’s car after he parked in a private space while shopping at the Main Street Market. Grisham sent an angry letter to Silverman’s business partner, who took the opportunity to circulate copies of the letter and sent Grisham the 95 bucks for the tow, which was not well received. Neither Grisham nor Silverman have any idea of when to back down from such a confrontation — Grisham forecasts the pissing match will last at least a year.

27 thoughts on “John Grisham vs. Robot Ninjas”

  1. C`mon JG, write a book about it, but please not as lame as that vacation funding Italian bore.

  2. shouldn’t your headline be “JG v Allan Cagdene”? That is how I read the article… and that’s who he sent the letter to.

    But more then that, I would have written, “Washington Post has slow news day and posts snarky letter contribution”

  3. You get Jonathan Coleman’s attitude too. He wrote this article as a “special,” and some years back wrote an estimable study of race relations in Milwaukee. It was more a trade book than an academic tome IIRC. Still in print, well reviewed, says Amazon. Anyway, you get a sense of his personality too. Not too many locals in this story.

  4. Okay, here’s what gets me…

    Two different quotes in the Washington Post piece:

    #1 “If this had been New York City, where could you park for $5 an hour, let alone $5 a day?”

    #2 “if John Grisham were living in New York City, he would know better than to expect anything to be for free, especially parking.”

    Who handed out the “New York City” talking points? What has the price of parking in New York City got to do with anything? It’s not New York, it’s Charlottesville.

    I buy cheese from time to time at Feast. They sell good quality food and I like that it’s locally owned. I don’t like that they display prices on their cheese on a “per 1/2 pound” basis, rather than “per pound”. It’s a poor consumer practice. Every time that I’ve complained about the practice, the response that I get is “well, in New York City, cheese is priced by the 1/4 pound”.

    Is the quality of our life in Charlottesville to be measured by how much worse it is in New York City?

  5. shouldn’t your headline be “JG v Allan Cagdene”? That is how I read the article… and that’s who he sent the letter to.

    I took some liberties. :) The trouble is that most folks around here don’t know Allie, since he lives in California and only visits a couple of times a year. Since he and Gabe are business partners, and the disagreement pertains to their business, the dispute is with both of ’em.

    Ditto on this New York business. It’s probably the inevitable byproduct of this equally-inane “world class city” nonsense. I get a kick out of visiting Danville, because that’s their slogan — it’s painted on the water tower, on their cop cars, etc. Now, I like Danville, but if they’re a world-class city, I think we should be shooting a little higher.

  6. I don’t really see it as a smiley face thing. How about JG v Main Street Market or Main Street Market Owners or JG v Himself…

    He mindfully sent the letter to Allie. Allie sent the check. etc

  7. But the Main Street Market folks clearly have nothing to do with it, according to the article. Thankfully, there’s this entire comments section for people to read, plus the article, so I think it’ll be OK. :)

  8. really, it sounds like the tenants are not stepping-up to secure the parking they need – hence the interim solution of the honor box.

  9. Harry, I would have to agree. Who cares about New York? Obviously some of the folks involved in this story. Anyway, JG needs to realize if he wants to shop on Main Street in an urban area parking will be limited. He can go shop Kroger @ Rio Hill if he wants a ton of parking. People who feel they are so entitled really rile me up.

  10. This is all completely retarded. If I buy John Grisham’s books then will he be ok with me parking my car in his garage for a few hours?

    I’ve always thought well of John Grisham but I have a problem with anyone who has a grudge against Gabe Silverman.

  11. Waldo… last comment is why I object to your headline. And that’s the last lick I’ll give an already dead horse.

  12. Regardless of who wrote the letter- Grisham, or just your common man on the street- I’d assume it was composed by a self-entitled gasbag. He implies he was possibly targeted somehow? Please, get some perspective.

    Parking in C’ville sucks sometimes– get over it. I have a lot more sympathy for the employees at the Market, and downtown in general, who are often put in the position of having to part with their far more meager earnings for parking, who have to shuffle their cars from spot-to-spot throughout the day, or feed meters. My neighbor who works in the downtown library making $10/hr… what do you think that $95 would mean to her?

    Does Grisham eschew shopping on the downtown mall because of the limited quantity of free spots? No. Does he argue with the cops when he goes past the 2-hour limit? Bet not.

    I always liked the guy too, but this seeming abundance of attitude really grates.

  13. Who else would get a merchant to GIVE him $95 for buying his food there? Sorry, JG sounds ridiculous.

    Then again… JColeman has a bias too, don’t forget that. Some people criticize, some people build build softball fields!

  14. Hardball fields, not softball fields! (When JG builds some kickball fields, I say we throw him a party.)

    When I first read about “this increasingly rarefied community where thousand-acre horse farms are not uncommon and citizens genuflect to all things Jeffersonian and are polite to a fault (“After you,” “No, after you ” is frequently heard as call-and-response),” I figured the piece was written by an out-of-towner. But no! Have to say that I haven’t spotted much Jeffersonian genuflection off grounds of late.

  15. I’d write a letter if I thought it would get me a refund of my 95 dollars. And frankly if I were spending that much weekly with a business I’d like free parking too. Fact is I won’t shop somewhere I can’t park for free, unless I can get a merchant validation for the full cost of my parking.

    Waldo wrote:

    But the Main Street Market folks clearly have nothing to do with it, according to the article.

    From reading the article the impression I got is that the “merchant’s” were involved because it was implied that one of them was the party which called the tow truck.

    While Cadgene agreed with Grisham that sanity might be at issue here, in his view it was the “business judgment of our tenants that should be questioned.”

    […]a third complained about employees who park in the free lot when they are supposed to park elsewhere,…

    But that was just my impression from reading the article.

  16. From the perspective of someone who can afford the towing fee and shops occasionally at Main Street Market:

    Any reference to NYC is obviously irrelevant.

    The parking spaces directly adjacent to the Main Street Market, on all sides, are free. Parking often overflows into the Adelphia lot. I have never even see the “Honor Boxes”, but if I did see them, I wouldn’t put any money in them. First of all, I wouldn’t know who the money was going to , or even if it was a scam, particularly since the rest of the spaces are free. Secondly, it is preposterous that the fee is $5, whether you are parking for 5 minutes or 24 hours. This type of fee structure doesn’t exist anywhere else in Charlottesville. Lastly, with most lock boxes, I wouldn’t have any idea whether someone else already put in five dollars, which theoretically should pay for the space for the whole day.

    If I were John Grisham, I would write a letter as well. It is ridiculous to have to pay five dollars for the time it takes to eat a lunch. Also, I agree that it is a little suspicious that he was getting towed without having been there very long.

  17. Why is parking the one thing that should be free? It’s for your dang car, not your soul. It may or may not cost money. What’s the big deal? I’m guessing those honor boxes are the regular CPC system, and if you abuse it they will tow you. I prefer public parking, pay or not, but that’s just a preference.

    As for JCOleman, he’s not exactly from here but I’m sure Charlottesville delights him as much as it does the rest of us.

  18. I remember when the honor box in question went up a few months ago and that a tow truck became a common sight over there. Around that time, West Main (the restaurant catty-corner to the Market) made a sign encouraging patrons to use their 4th Street lot. Imagine my surprise when a few hours after reading this story on the Post website on Saturday, I noticed that the honor box and signs were gone.

    Isn’t it great that Grisham used his clout to right this injustice?

  19. i hope you’re being sarcastic, b/c i don’t see anything unjust about the lot’s owner charging people to park there. there’s plenty of free parking on the street that might involve driving around a bit longer and walking a bit further. $5 isn’t a whole lot to pay for the convenience of parking right next to the business. esp. for a porsche-driving millionaire, regardless of how much he drops there a week.

    as for the tow truck drives in this town, they’re vultures. i wouldn’t be surprised if the guy who towed mr. fancy pants wasn’t sitting across the street waiting for a mark. i got nabbed outside of lucky 7 once by a tow truck who was sniping the corner lots.

  20. i hope you’re being sarcastic, b/c i don’t see anything unjust about the lot’s owner charging people to park there.

    Yes, it was sarcastic. I thought putting “great” in italics would convey that. :)

  21. Why is parking the one thing that should be free? It’s for your dang car, not your soul. It may or may not cost money. What’s the big deal?

    The big deal is I’m the consumer. Parking doesn’t have to be free, that’s the determination a business will make when it chooses to set up location. However if I choose only to patronize a business that provides me with free parking then that’s my option. I’m voting with my dollars.

  22. But I prefer not to think of myself as a consumer. I am a producer. If chichi market charges for parking I will just add it to my resentment bank, or blame it on the general perfidity of machines.

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