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  For as long as I can remember, there has always been a security guard posted at the southeast sidewalk of Seminary Plaza, diagonal from the stairs leading to the Alexandria Professional Building. Park in the Shopping Center and go to a doctor's appointment, even if you intend to fill a prescription at the drugstore or patronize other retailers afterwards, and most likely your car will have been towed by the time you return. Not exactly customer friendly...and the lot is NEVER full.
     Walk a bit further north and you will encounter signage prohibiting cart removal on the outermost sides of the railings separating the Magruder's portion of the sidewalk from the rest. The most recent, handwritten addition adjacent to CVS reads as follows:
     Attention Stop. This mean {sic} you are not to remove shopping carts of any kind from this point. The fined {sic} will be $250.00 per ticket by law your driver's licensed [sic] will be taken down scanned with DMV and your ticket will be in the mail. Your ID. Walkers too. Thank you.
     Annoyed, I actually questioned the security guard to see if it was his job to enforce this dictate. He told me when he sees a cart in the lot, he just retrieves it and brings it back to its designated home store. So, no. I then asked a Magruder's employee, who told me there was one customer who left his driver's license while he took his cart to his car, but that the note was really just to scare people and toothless. But knowingly invoking THE LAW inappropriately just doesn't seem right. There is a cart carrel in the parking lot, left over from when Safeway was the grocery tenant, which now bears the Magruder's logo. Would it hurt that supermarket to allow their customers the convenience of using it when they have large orders they can't carry, and then have an employee retrieve the carts from time to time? Like other food chains!
     Finally, at the very north end is Seminary Plaza Exxon, where I rarely get gas unless I am low and need to put enough in to get me to a cheaper service station. But I have noticed, and on more than one occasion, and at more than one pump, and not just when it was "cold" this past Winter, that the handles jam and are hard to pry loose, forcing you to purchase more gas than you may want to at their always higher price. It shouldn't be that difficult to fix - there must be the appropriate "lube" on the premises - and I personally brought it to the attention of an attendant the first time it happened to me.
     So does Seminary Plaza want your business? The message seems to be don't buy more than you can carry and beware if you bring your car on the premises. And while it is nice to be able to walk over now and then, and I live proximate, you would think the owner and merchants would want to attract business from outside of the immediate neighborhood and not try to make their money off of towing, bogus cart fees, and unintentionally overfilled gas tanks. From my home, I am almost daily awakened between 3 and 5 AM by a loud street sweeper tidying up the parking lot. I find it ironic, given the above. Why, and for whom? Not because there appears to be any recognition that in this day and age, shopping centers cannot survive through those who come on foot alone.