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A chatty OAP who visited a fast-food restaurant in Sutton Coldfield has been hit with a £100 fine for spending too long talking to his close friends during a ‘post Covid catch-up’.
Tony Long from Kingstanding arranged to meet friends at the KFC outlet at the Princess Alice Retail Park in New Oscott, Sutton Coldfield on Friday, September 10 at lunchtime, BirminghamLive reports.
He and his wife Pauline had met lifelong friends Roy and Lillian for the ‘first time in months’ following the Covid restrictions and parked outside not aware of a strict one-hour time limit and were there for nearly an hour-and-three-quarters.
He said the car park was empty when he and his wife arrived shortly before 12.30pm and they ordered two two-piece chicken meals with ‘fries, warm baked beans and Cokes’, costing £12.98.
The 77-year-old told BirminghamLive: “We were meeting some friends at KFC in New Oscott and because of Covid we haven’t been able to meet them.
“We thought we’d meet them, have a meal – the four of us – and catch up."
“I drove into the car park at 12.26pm and went in and ordered our meal. And our friends met us."
“They went at 2.10pm, and we then left. We didn’t go anywhere else other than KFC."
He continued: “We had been catching up after Covid and we have always been very close the four of us.
“We were the only people in the restaurant and the car park was empty. We hadn’t seen them for four months."
Tony says he has been left disappointed by the strict limits placed by the fast-food favourite on their paying customers, and said that the signs limiting patrons' parking were not clearly visible.
He also suggested the fine for over-socialising is especially harsh following the limits on social interaction forced by Covid-19, saying: “After this pandemic where everybody has been shut up and then you get stung with a £100 fine."
Tony, who used to be a magistrate, said he will avoid KFC in future, and will not pay the fine — asserting that he would rather take the case to small claims court than cough up the money.
Both KFC and Smart Parking have been approached by BirminghamLive for a response.
A spokeswoman for KFC said: “To keep our car parks running smoothly, many of them do have limits in place – which is usually okay, as our fans don’t tend to stay with us quite as long as Tony did!
“Nonetheless, we’re really flattered that he chose us for his reunion with friends and we’d encourage him to reach out to our Care Squad so we can try and make it right.”
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