Dinner left with £100 fine after taking too long at KFC

We all like to treat ourselves to a big, greasy helping of fast food every once in a while, and while we’re all aware of health concerns, sometimes your wallet can take as much of it as your arteries.

This is certainly the case in urban areas where parking can be a premium. Many multi-story buildings either cost a lot of money or offer severe penalties for those who exceed their time limit, often both.

You can always try your luck with the free half hour in a Tesco Express car park, but the risk is yours. Birmingham Live reporter Kirsty Bosley talks about her award trip to her local KFC.

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I must have eaten about 100 KFC vegan burgers since they launched and have always, until now, been a huge fan. A chicken-friendly alternative to the Colonel’s usual feathered offerings, this one has all the herbs and spices, and none of the dead.

So when I pulled into the parking lot of the Princess Alice Drive branch of Sutton Coldfield, with my stomach rumbling after a pleasant stroll through Sutton Park, I was ready for my afternoon treat. A vegan burger, please, with corn on the cob and that watermelon pop you’re making. Good time.

There was a wait, as is often the case when ordering the meatless option. So I got up and waited patiently as the minutes passed, excited that my burger was fresh and hot. And it was.

I brought it to the table and savored every bite, whispering to a friend about vegan junk food and just about anything we fancied as we spent an hour. As tasty as the burgers are, this one was a little dry, so it took me a while to get through it – I needed to rely heavily on the watermelon for lubrication, but I got it.

So far, so good. Then I hopped in the bathroom, took a big pee, and tried to think which door in Sutton Park was my favorite to visit. I washed my hands humming a tune and left saying goodbye to my mate and making plans to “do that again, that was great”.

But when I got to my car, I was hit with a pang of terror. I hadn’t noticed it when I arrived (I’m a new driver, not to mention the least observant person I know), but there was a sign that said you could only park for an hour. I looked at my watch. Surely we hadn’t stayed an hour? But with all that waiting for my meal, maybe it was.

I went home and forgot everything… until the letter arrived. My very first parking fine. Smart Parking had hit me with a £100 bill for being 14 minutes over the appointed time. Reduced to £60 if I pay now.

It didn’t seem fair, so I appealed. It was a little tough considering how long we waited to be served – what if we had to deal with accessibility issues? Kids arguing? It was bad enough that I was fined for enjoying a quick bite (!) with a friend.

I waited while the parking company considered my plea. A few days later, another letter arrived bearing bad news, as if it had been flown to my home via the Black Crow from the Citadels of Westeros.

It was long and thorough, but here’s the gist: no you idiot, it clearly said an hour, you flouted that eating like a sloth and now you owe me £60, so cough, and quick , or it will be a £105 burger you ate this afternoon in Sutton Coldfield.

I get it, he’s a good cop, right? It’s not like there weren’t any signs, I was just too excited to notice them. But it doesn’t sting any less. So take this as a warning if you are heading to KFC on Princess Alice Drive. Eat fast, don’t have fun, get out fast!

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