9 April 2016

Hafiz Adewuyi

Parking for free at The Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki

"Will you be leaving immediately", the cashier asks from behind the glass window of the paypoint with a subtle smile playing in her eyes. A smile quickly starts to form on my cheeks too. I can't resist blushing when interacting with a pretty girl whose body language is, ... welcoming. The delight sure must find a way out, don't you think? Behind my muffled smile, I respond in the affirmative.

She places the parking coin on some electronic device and with a smile, tells me that my parking fee is nil, since my car has not been parked for more than thirty minutes. I smile back in pleasure, the cheapskate center of my ego, having been properly massaged. If she is looking closely, she should see a sparkle in my eyes as I step away from her workplace and make for my car.

As I approach my car, Cheapskate Zifah takes center-stage and begins to ponder on the implication of the cashier asking: "Will you be leaving immediately". I'd like to think you already know how Cheapskate Zifah dissected this question.

The cashier's question betrays a possibility that I could have walked right back into the mall after my coin had been checked out, spent as much time as I wanted in there and driven out, after parting with only zero naira for parking. 

Except of course, they have a mechanism that sets a limit on how long after paying, you can remain in the lot, before your payment expires. Well, as much as I would like to imagine that their systems are not that sophisticated (bearing the cashier's question in mind), this mechanism might just be in place, as it honestly is not all that far-fetched to implement. 

Hey you daredevils out there, you can go ahead to test the sophistication of their e-parking systems. Let me know how this goes. Be warned though, the last time before today that I paid for parking at the Palms, I tarried for about 20 minutes after clearing my coin for 3 - 4 hours (300 naira). Guess what, when I got to the exit, the computer asked me to "go pay for parking". I escaped embarrassment, only because I had the payment receipt right beside me and was able to quickly present this for the attendant's inspection. He looked at it and then and only then did he manually trigger the boom barrier to open. One would wonder if this was a technical glitch or a direct consequence of my tarrying beyond post-payment limit. 

Because I'm a very generous guy (unlike Cheapskate Zifah), and as such, have a strong tendency to give tips, I will also tell you how on two different occassions, I have driven to the Circle mall (Jakande, Lekki, Lagos) and escaped paying for parking. Wait for it.......

Okay.. I can't stand teasing your fragile little heart for any long time. I just park at the abandoned filling station right beside the mall, step out of the car with a straight face and jug into the mall. Easy as pie!

Now, I can never deny how much of a cheapskate a.k.a akagum I am. No, not after exposing myself on this blog more times that I can count on the fingers of my left hand. Cheapskate Zifah just wants to make money and not let go of any kobo of it without a good enough justification for doing so. And when we talk about good enough, all that counts is his undiluted opinion.

You might wonder what all of this fuss is about. Oh well. No one that I've spoken to about the new parking fee policy at the Palms, which was only introduced last month (March 2016) thinks it's justified to the patrons of the mall in any way. Except that in most other similar locations in Lagos, customers pay for parking (by the hour!!!).

Hope you see my point now...

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