by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
Probably every family on the planet owns a Parker Brothers Monopoly game. The corner square between New York Ave. and Kentucky Ave. is “Free Parking”. This was supposed to be a space of no consequence or opportunity, but I remember some folks modified the rules and fines were paid to the middle of the board, and the lucky free parking lander would collect the cash.
Free parking is not an unheard of concept. When we visit the local grocery market or restaurant, there is generally a parking lot with spaces for customers. There may even be signage touting “customer parking only”. Wherever your vehicle takes you as a customer, the local strip mall for a haircut, the neighborhood bar for a libation, schools and churches, nearly every location where you are a customer provides a place for you to park. Golf Courses and Bowling centers are no exception. But parking is not free for the proprietors of these businesses. Asphalt requires maintenance and it’s not cheap. In Minnesota, chances are that snow must be removed from the parking lot in winter. Also, during brutal winters, potholes develop and need to be filled. Sealcoat helps the life of asphalt, however it comes with a price. So maybe next time you visit your local bowling center, thank the manager for providing free parking.
Pundits may disagree, but in my opinion, a major sporting event was held at Treasure Island the second week of August. Parking in the huge casino parking lot was free. The following week, I attended a minor sporting event, a Twins game. Parking was $13.00. Last month I went to meet a friend at the Hyatt on 11th and Nicollet. The sign said self parking - $15; Valet parking $30. Good Grief. I drove around to look for a space and discovered that they no longer have meters on the curbs. Instead there are posts with numbers and a centrally located pedestal where one can enter the number on your post and insert your credit card. No more nickel’s or even quarters. I ended up in a ramp – but forget your cash, they have no attendants any longer, you better have plastic.
Last winter I was an MSP airport customer. It really does not matter if you are a customer or just like to watch planes land, you better have a credit card. I think the charge was around $14.00 per day. The problem is a taxi to the airport from where I live would be about double that amount. Enough said. I just find it interesting how some businesses provide convenience for their customers and others charge for it. I wonder what 60 Minutes curmudgeon Andy Rooney would say about that.