Call me narcissist if you must but this blog is all about ME. I have another blog about my kids, whom I love and adore writing about. But I was Nicole a long time before I was mom and I don't intend to give up being Nicole overnight.

You can read all about my kids at Naptime Optional.
Or you can follow along on our Arizona adventure on my 365 project blog.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I am buying a parking garage!!!!

So does anybody else agree with me that paying to park is the most ridiculous thing in the world? Okay so I can see the theory behind it for really super overly crowded places, like booming metropolises or college campuses where there truly never is enough parking to go around. Because then the idea is to discourage any one person from hogging a valuable space all day when there is such a shortage of spaces. I get it.

But in downtown Salt Lake when I'm driving around the MASSIVE parking garage seeing literally hundreds of open parking spaces is it really necessary?

As a child I used to find going downtown so exiting. Now I just find it highly annoying. And they don't really have that much to offer that I can't find elsewhere. Do I really need to pay five bucks to park to shop at Old Navy when there is perfectly good Old Navy at Jordan Landing where parking is FREE?

And I'm getting more jaded about the topic the more time goes on. Let me share a few of my most recent experiences.

For my anniversary my husband took me to one of the nicer (i.e. more expensive) restaurants for dinner. We had a reservation so we didn't have to wait forever for a table. And eating was ALL we did was eat because I had to get back to the baby in time to nurse him. We dropped a bunch of dough on appetizers, specialty (non-alcholoic) drinks, dinner, and dessert. It was anniversary #5 so yea, we splurged. We got a validation on the way out. They still charged us to park. I say if you eat out your validation covers you the ENTIRE TIME you are eating, and not just for an hour.

For Adam's birthday we decided to take the kids to the The Discovery Gateway to the special Sesame Street exhibit. We opted for the annual pass (and then still had to pay 3 bucks extra a person to get into the Sesame Street exhibit....don't EVEN get me started on that!) so right away we had dropped 125 cool ones. (yes, you heard me right) So imagine how MORTIFIED I was when upon leaving we were told we could BUY a validation for a buck. BUY? You mean the $125 I spent on the way in didn't count? I still have to BUY a validation?

So then we go over to the food court and eat lunch, because traveling in the car with starving kids is no fun.

Then we hop on over to Famous Footwear's BOGO sale to get Mike some tennis shoes and we spend another nice wad there. (at least there they gave us a validation at no extra charge.)

So now we've spent close to $200 and upon leaving the parking garage are still told that we owe money for parking. How much do I have to spend to get free parking??????

At this point you would think I would learn my lesson. But no. Since I bought the annual pass we have to use it to get our money's worth, right? So I wake up this morning feeling like I want to get out of the house. (because if I stay home I see all the things I should be cleaning and I just really didn't want to clean today.) So my first attempt at something fun failed miserably. So I thought we'd just run over to the Gateway for a few hours.

We play for a little while and I begrudgingly buy my $1 validation. And when I hand over my ticket and validation to the parking attendant she tells me I still owe 2 bucks! I'm furious at this point and know that anything that comes out of my mouth I'm just going to regret later so I fork it over and drive off. But the further I drive the madder I become. I was told that my "validation" covered me for 3 hours. I pulled into the parking garage at 11:35 and handed my ticket to the parking attendant at 2:52. 3 hours and 17 minutes. Are you seriously telling me that it costs 2 bucks to park for 17 minutes???? (since my validation was supposed to cover the first 3 hours) So either the parking attendant was a real winner and doesn't know how to do her job and way over charged me or the Gateway has REALLY crappy parking rates. Either way I'm pissed about it and now wish I would've said all those things I was thinking earlier today.

I mean isn't charging to park counter productive? Isn't the point of a shopping mall to get people to stay, linger, shop, impulse buy. If we are all watching to clock to get out of the parking garage by a certain magical time before we get charged aren't we WAY less likely to drop loads of money shopping? I mean really.

I'm committed to the annual pass now for 11 more months, but I seriously doubt I will ever get one again. They lost my business over a lousy 3 bucks. How pathetic is that?


Ryan said...

Yeah that's pretty lame. To be fair I can see why Discovery Gateway doesn't give free validations to annual pass holders -- your annual pass would become a "Free Parking at Gateway" pass, but they should at least give you a free validation the first time you buy the pass, or it could come with like 5 validations, like how when you buy a season pass to Lagoon it comes with coupons for free parking.

The really annoying thing is that it seems like every time you went you just barely out-stayed your parking Validation. They ought to look at the average time somebody spends in their garage, how many of them have validations, and adjust their rates accordingly, and generously. You could drop them a short note and say "Hey I'm a bit dismayed with Gateway. I've been there 3 times this year, and 3 times I expected to not have to pay for parking as I was spending money the whole time I was at the gateway. Imagine my surprise when I was asked for fork over a few extra dollars every time I shopped to get out of the parking garage. I can understand why you charge for parking, but please consider revising your validation/hourly rates so that those of us who are using the Gateway parking at the Gateway don't have to pay to park to shop. As it is now I will only come to the Gateway strictly to get something I can only get at the Gateway, and I won't spend any time lingering around the mall afterwards because I have to make a sprint to my car if I want to get out under my validation.

orangemily said...

Good Point Ryan!
I am so with you on this Nicole! Besides the first hour at Gateway is free anyway, so if you had a 3 hour pass you should have been covered!
I never go downtown because of parking issues. Although now that I have a free UTA pass through Rich I may take Trax, but only until the baby is born. I'm not hauling 2 kids on public transportation.

Andria said...

I actually like being downtown and at the Gateway. I don't even really mind paying for parking. I just hate driving downtown. I tend to get really frustrated and use language that I shouldn't use when I drive downtown. It doesn't help that there is contstruction on every major street now. But I am very much looking forward to the Farmer's Market.

HeidiPie said...

Looks like Salt Lake is moving in the direction of CA not OH. Although, some people just feel the need to slurp ALL of your money. The expensive shopping mall here, Easton, has free parking garages. YAY and the zoo you get the $5 parking free with the pass YAY! but COSI, you have to pay about $3-4 for 3-4 hours. I guess they figure they can do it, because people still come. Sigh...