May 24, 2011

Parking for Profit

Those who know me, know that I am a capitalist pig.
(Waits for the smart alec comments from the peanut gallery to simmer down to a gentle murmur.)
For those who don't, I have proof. I am what I say, because I am also a feminist. I love everything about capitalism. That means that I do not think that anything that can be sold is ever a bad idea.
"But," you rudely interrupt, "what about those things that cannot be sold?"
There are no such things. If something hasn't been sold, it only means that it hasn't been brought to bear the full weight of capitalism. All it takes is the ruthless application of the principles of modern economics as I shall demonstrate presently.
First, you need a concept. It does not matter if it is an old concept. In fact, it actually helps if people are familiar with it. Then it is like a household entity, and your marketing costs go way down. Remember pet rocks? What a great concept that was!
"But," you rudely interrupt again, this time prodding me with the hot poker, "how do you sell concepts?"
Geez! I sense that I am in fast company here, so without further ado, let me introduce my concept.
That's right, parking. In case it isn't clear, I am talking about parking cars, not the anatomical part the park bench is intimately familiar with. Parking is a legitimate activity, and all we need to mint money from it is to convert it into a business. In no time you'll be the one on Nickelodeon ringing the opening bell at NASDAQ.
So how big is the market? I say humongous.
First, there is parking in the driveway. Not your own mind you, but that of a complete stranger's. Just take your barely legal smoke exhaling death trap, and park it in the distant house with the rabid pit bull. Be sure to run fast after that. Feels good, doesn't it? Now imagine how good it'll feel when you make some money from that.
Then there is parking at Staples Center. Well, actually, scratch that. $45 for a Clippers' game is a waste of good parking money, especially when it is the off-season.
Double parking. This has serious potential. You park alongside another car, and that car cannot get out. Not only can you charge for parking your car, you can charge to let out the one you have legally boxed in. Plus, the angry scowl on the driver's face is just priceless.
There is also parallel parking. This is a great way to pass your soon-to-be ample free time. You can back in, back out, back in again, and if you're lucky, you'd have only hit one of the cars or a careless pedestrian. On the rare occasion when you fail, you can simply double park.
Ever heard the expression "The 5 was a parking lot"? I hear that all the time when the fifth to our professional tag-team wrestling match is late by only an hour. I looked into it. Turns out that if you take the foot off one of those pedal thingies and place it on another of those same pedal thingies, the car slows down on the freeway. Do it frequently, and you'll find yourself experiencing the nirvana of a spacious parking lot. In harmony with other sympathetic humans who too want to enjoy a slow ride back from a hard day's work.
Note that this is not to be confused with a similar activity that is a favorite among the chronologically advanced of our species. Though the similarities are striking, that activity is called "driving like a snail" not "parking". [Note to self: look into that potential cash cow].
Lastly, there is valet parking. Those of us lucky to work at The Patch know what this is. This is the service you enjoy just before you board The Editor's luxury yacht for a three hour tour. You hand over your car, and they park it. A word of caution though, just make sure you know who they are. You wouldn't want your car to be parked in another country. Or on blocks.
"But," you interrupt me one last time, with distinct tone of irritation, "all those activities are already lucrative businesses. For private companies, for governments, for The Editor,.... fees, fines, impound charges, heck, they have parking meters, hello!!!!"
Didn't I say that there was nothing that couldn't be sold? All I had to do was sell you on the concept. Would you like to learn how to sell parking on eBay? Please demand it in the comments.

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