Fire Lane Renegade
Isaac Stein, Staff Writer
May 25, 2012 • 31 views
Filed under Features
“I aim to be the Gandhi of student parking.”
This is how Perry Lorberbaum ’13 describes his ability, desire, and successes against what he perceives to be “a broken Staples parking system.”
Take, for instance, the number of tickets that he has received, which exceeds 20.
Lorberbaum readily recounts one specific incident in which he parked not illegally in the Wakeman parking lot but rather on Wakeman field itself. This resulted in a $25 charge from the Town ofWestport. However, Lorberbaum believed he had a case.
“I was late for an important test in Economics. There were no spaces left. The concept of paying $25 because I was late for a test was just ridiculous. And I knew I could take a calculated risk because I knew I could win,” Lorberbaum said.
And win he did, as the ticket was completely thrown out of parking court.
The secret? According to Lorberbaum, wearing the right clothes—a suit— made a big impression even before he actually argued the ticket.
“People respect you more when you dress up,” Lorberbaum said. If a highly-respected man like Mr. Dodig were to one day show up to school in a t-shirt and flip flops, I guarantee that students would respect him less. So do I think that clothes make a difference when I show up to negotiate? One hundred percent.”
Lorberbaum, who has worked as an intern at Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, a financial services firm, for over four years, believes that he has benefited tremendously by learning to work and dress in a corporate environment. However, he also thinks that another main contributor to his refined negotiation skills is a firm belief that he is in the right.
“Various people involved with [Staples] and local parking enforcement tried to charge me for consistently parking in the fire lane at Wakeman Field. Yes, I’m aware that it’s completely illegal. But I had to do what I had to do. And there’s a reason I do it: corruption in the parking lot,” Lorberbaum said.
Lorberbaum believes that the semester parking lottery for juniors is flawed: students who don’t have their licenses or access to vehicles at the time of the drawing may siphon away spaces from students who can and would make better use of them. His solution is a lottery for every academic quarter, which he thinks would be fairer to all students involved.
“I will never illegally park in an area that blocks or impedes other vehicles. But when I proposed my ‘quarterly lottery’ system to a member of the Staples administration and was simply told that it’s just ‘not gonna happen,’ I was pretty pissed off, because I felt as though my concerns were ignored,” Lorberbaum said. “Therefore, when I fight these tickets, I see it as a just cause.”
Additionally, Lorberbaum’s will to argue for what he thinks is fair transcends the parking lot and enters the classroom setting.
“There was one time when I was assigned a PowerPoint project. I put in a slide that I recognize was slightly gory, but my teacher took off seven of eight possible points because she claimed I had used “inappropriate images.” Lorberbaum then went on to explain how he used negotiation tactics to regain all but one of the lost points.
It was all about recognizing that we all have different senses of humor—and that “inappropriate images” were not banned on the rubric,” Lorberbaum said.
In general, Lorberbaum is confident that the determination of an individual determines success.
“It’s not a skill set,” Lorberbaum said. “It’s a mindset.”