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The Soapbox: It’s about time we give booters the boot

Sudburian D’Arcy Closs was irritated to find a boot on the wheel of his car, but he was downright angry at being forced to pay $140 to have it removed
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(Meghan Groff/

Sudbury has a predator problem and it’s been going on for a while now. 

These predators prey on motorists who happen to park in a private lot that has, unbeknownst to them, hired a small private company to place a large metal boot on one of your tires, rendering your vehicle immobile.  

You only have to park in these sacred spots a moment before the booters emerge with their boot. They’ve been waiting for you, you see, and watching, like a spider for the fly. The moment you’re out of sight, they race over to boot your car, just in case you’re only parking there for a moment, leave, then re-emerge when you return, to give you the bad news.

The cost to get the boot off? $140. Paid right there on the spot. Straight cash, homie.

The whole affair leaves one embittered. It certainly doesn’t seem just or right in any sense. Yes, a person parked illegally, but $140? 

That’s a huge amount to be fined for parking illegally. You would think such drastic (and draconian) measures would be reserved for parking in an ambulance zone or fire route.  But no, apparently, a drug store parking lot is not a zone to be trifled with when it comes to a parking infringement.

And that’s all we’re talking about here: a minor infringement. Why are people being hammered with such a stiff penalty over such a minor thing as parking? You can blow through a stop sign or get caught speeding and get less of a fine. 

The whole affair is sordid, capped off by the back-alley deal you have to cut with some roughneck boot enforcer, who is steeled for the irate displeasure and has developed an inhuman level of callousness as a defense mechanism. It all seems like a thing that would happen in some impoverished country, where getting shaken down by street criminals is the norm.

Surely there must be something the city could do about this? Maybe put a cap on how much a parking fine can even be? Or how about just outlawing the practice of booting entirely?  

Politicians in Sudbury have known about this issue for some time, and they’re doing what they are becoming known for: debate without action. In the meantime, shoppers should hit ‘em where it hurts, and boycott businesses that employ such methods.

D’Arcy Closs lives in Greater Sudbury. A rotating stable of community members share their thoughts on anything and everything, the only criteria being that it be thought-provoking. Got something on your mind to share with readers in Greater Sudbury? Climb aboard our Soapbox and have your say. Send material or pitches to [email protected].


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