The last place I thought I'd be going
on this nice lazy Sunday was Joe Robbie -- er, Dolphins? Stadium, on a game-day no less. But my cousin is the #2 organizer of a protest group that made an appearance at the corner of Dan Marino and NW 27th Ave, between the stadium and a vast and endless Walmart. Turns out that a cohort of tow-truck drivers make a lively living going to this Walmart on game days and towing cars. The excursion we had to make over the course of the last hour or so was unexpected and of course unwelcome, but a learning experience: the details of their business is fascinating. Their presence is explained, they say, by Walmart's having been previously fined by the city of Miami. The city makes money from people paying $25 each to park at the stadium, so Walmart's policy of letting anyone park in their lot was costing them money. Walmart therefore licensed these towers to operate in their lot. The lot is enormous -- we estimate about six city blocks. The towers had a man, sitting in a car, in every row of this enormous Walmart. When someone parked and walked away from the Walmart and towards the stadium (or the protest), they radioed the towers. The towers were quick and ruthless, coming down on the cars like they were harvesting money. Which they more or less were. They removed the cars to a guarded lot behind the Walmart, and another fleet of towers took these, two at a time, away. If you could figure out what had happened within 20-30 minutes, there was a chance they'd bring your car right back for $100 cash only. If you missed that window, your car would be somewhere in Hollywood, at $125 and counting out of reach. It's the *scale* of this operation that blows the mind: dozens of men watching, dozens of towers towing, probably half a dozen towers running the cars up to Hollywood, and one guy running it all. The guy running it all told us they do 80 cars an hour for the duration of the game. Do that math. Seriously.