Sunday, January 10, 2010

Parking Meters

I’ve been thinking about Parking Meters.
Don’t ask me why. I just think about what presents itself.

So, let me see if I have this right. In the City, the taxpayers pay for the construction of the streets, their maintenance and repair. They pay for the installation and maintenance of the parking meters. They pay the salaries of the parking police who are employed to catch them parked with expired meters. They pay to park there, then they pay the expired meter fines (taxes) that can range up to a couple of hundred dollars, depending on the location and time of day.
The merchants pay taxes to the City for the privilege of doing business in the neighborhoods while the City discourages the citizens from doing business by installing parking meters to try and catch them staying too long in the store, or visiting other stores in the area.

Parking meters have always been an annoyance to people in the City, because of their inconvenience, but also because they are, essentially, nothing more than mechanical toll takers with permanent stainless steel smiles. Rather than an outstretched hand to collect your payment, they employ a convenient slot to gobble your coins or an electronic reader to collect your credit information. Now, the parking meters are not in existence so much for the quarters, or the debits, as they are for the fines that are generated by an individual’s oversight, forgetfulness, or unwillingness to return to feed them time and again. It’s in the City’s interest for the meter to run out on you. The City thrives on those fines. They would much rather hit you up for large fines than collect a routine handful of quarters.
This reality is proven out by the fact that if you get caught being a good Samaritan, feeding somebody else’s meter, the parking enforcer will still ticket the car parked in that space even though the extortion money (parking fee) has already been paid.

It’s not about the quarters. It’s never about the quarters.
It’s really about the fines. Works for them quite nicely.

Civil thievery at its finest.