OK, I gave Don a bit of flack in the last post, but I have to throw a few roses in this one. A blogger in Utah got all excited about the problems with bundling parking with other costs and how it cheats everyone. The words were really right of Don’s book “The High Cost of Free Parking.”
This blogger (Jim Dalrymple) went to a movie and was surprised to be offered a parking validation (he walked).
And that’s when it hit me: I was paying for parking whether I was using it or not. And that’s a terrible arrangement.
Parking at the Gateway costs $3 for three hours — about the time you’d need to walk from the parking lot, buy a movie ticket, watch the previews and the movie, and get back to your car. A validation ticket makes that parking seem free, but of course it is not; the costs of building, maintaining and securing parking lots are incredibly high and are always passed on to building owners, tenants and, finally via prices, customers.
In other words, we pay more for goods and services that come with “free” parking because the costs of that parking are rolled into the prices of whatever we’re buying. This is true of all parking, of course, but the validation transaction emphasizes that parking was never free to begin with, it’s merely an obligatory add-on when buying something else.
So in my case, the movie ticket was more expensive because it came with $3 worth of parking. It’s like I was forced to buy a concession that I didn’t want.
It was pointed out that this ‘bundling’ was caused by cities requiring a certain number of parking spaces so the landlords simply passed the costs along to the users, whether or not they parked.
But then we in the business know all this, right?