Why I no longer love Stanford Shopping Center

I used to big a big fan of Stanford Shopping Center going the 1980s. I love the outdoor atmosphere and the selection of shops, which, though not great, is certainly better than most malls. I’m disappointed that some of my old favorite stores are no longer there: Hear Music, Phileas Fogg’s Travel Shop, EB Games, and a sports bookstore whose name I forget. But there are some new, good stores too like Rugby by Ralph Lauren.

I remember the Banana Republic there before the Gap bought it and it looked like a Jeep had crashed into the storefront. That was my favorite store when I was a kid just because of its facade. Speaking of car crashes, that’s exactly why I am no longer a fan of Stanford Shopping Center: This Sunday while I was parked near Max’s, someone hit my car’s rear bumper, valence and left fender causing easily $3,000+ in damage. This person did not leave a note. Leaving a note is something that people really should do if they hit someone else’s car while it’s parked. In fact, I remember hearing that it’s the law to do so.

Things like this have happened to me in the past, and I made sure to park all the way out along Sand Hill, next to a tree on the right and a couple empty spots on the left. I pulled into the middle of the spot and then readjusted, moving my car all the way to the right of the spot—next to the tree—so a car parking on my left wouldn’t hit mine. And yet. It happened anyway.

I called the Palo Alto police to file a police report, but they refused to send an officer because Stanford is on private property. The woman at the police department directed me to Stanford Shopping Center’s private security department.

I went to the directory in the middle of the shopping center and called the security number. The woman who answered the phone there said they would send an officer over. When the officer arrived, he said that he would not be able to issue me a report and that Stanford did not have security tapes that I could see. I didn’t expect there to be a videotape of the incident involving my car because I parked so far away. However, what disappointed me tremendously is that the security officer said that I would need have the court subpoena them if I wanted to obtain access to any sort of report on the incident. Of course, these sorts of reports are generally useful for insurance purposes, but the security service at Stanford proved to be entirely useless. I understand that these people are trying to protect Stanford, but to do so at the great expense and frustration of their customers seems to me self-destructive.

This is one of the worst customer service experiences I’ve had anywhere, especially since I now need to have two of the largest pieces on my Audi repainted, and we all know that once you get something repainted, especially on a German car, it never looks quite the same. I will probably still shop at Stanford, just not as frequently and without any enjoyment, but I certainly won’t be driving there.

If you were at Stanford Shopping Center on Sunday, May 27, 2007, and you happen to have seen the car that hit my silver 2002 Audi A4, please email me. Judging by the paint transfer, it looks like the car that hit me was white. For the other auto detailing enthusiasts out there, I did try to take out the scratches on the bumper with SSR 2.5 and a white pad on my Porter Cable, but wasn’t able to minimize the scratches at all. So, it looks like I’ll be making a trip to the body shop soon.

Here’s a picture of the damage:

stanfordscratches2.jpg

One Comment

  1. Alex

    Just an FYI: That’s on the Palo Alto police department, not the mall security. Private security can only file what’s called an incident report, which is used only for the mall’s records and is not eligible for insurance purposes. Only a police report is considered the proper documentation for that sort of thing because that’s where you can report the estimated cost of damage and acquire the case number that your insurance company needs. The Palo Alto police dispatcher that you spoke with must have been mistaken because officers are sent to mall properties all the time for hit and run damage reports. I’m sorry for your experience and that this information was not explained to you properly at the time of the incident.

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