Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Stamford Mall Game

I don't know about others, but one of the things that keeps me shopping in Norwalk is the need to spend money to park in order to spend money. This really bothers me. Maybe it's just some people came from a city background, but I grew up in the country. We had to drive 20 minutes to go shopping, but we didn't need to pay parking. We also didn't need to pay parking when we lived in Tucson. But this seems to be something that's just accepted around here.

It seems like the merchants or the mall owners would pay parking. I'm not sure why the city is in the business of building garages. Seems like if merchants and retail real estate owners wanted us to shop, they would build parking. Or maybe the city should pay for the parking structures through "invisible" sales taxes or some other hidden tax.

But Stamford Mall Stamford Town Center is the most fun. Yesterday we arrived for a early dinner at California Pizza Kitchen - kid friendly and decent food. We had 3 kids, ordered 3 nice kids meals and 3 99¢ ice cream sundaes which the 3 adults then proceeded to eat. "Three extra spoons please." But back to parking.

We always cruise up and down the parking aisles looking for meters with 2 1/2 hours left. Since they require a minimum 3 hour limit and about half the people are just "running in" for something, you can usually find a meter with 2 1/2 hours or at least a good start so you don't need to go rummaging through the car seats for find two quarters. And they stop checking the meters after 6 on Saturday so we only needed to find a meter with a hour.

This arrangement makes the mall parking garage a better deal than the other city garages where you can't pick up the parking meter droppings of the last person who parked in the spot.


grumpy said...

Malls in Bel Air MD don't charge, but if you want to shop in downtown Bel Air you have to pay to is only 25 cents an hr. so it isn't so bad, but I am sure the merchants suffer. The downtown area is trying to attract merchants, but the parking doesn't make it easy. If I were a merchant I'd give customers the cost of two hrs parking as a rebate on any purchase over $10.00. For Bel Air it would only be 50 cents, but the good will would be worth so much more than that.

Mr. Z said...

If the mall offered free parking their lots would be filled by 10am by daily commuters who work in the surrounding office complexes.

All those folks working in the Landmark Square, which is connected to the mall, are paying a lot more than 50 cents/day for parking.

So, 50 cents for a maximum of 3 hours is basically a mechanism to prevent area workers from consuming all the available parking.

That said, parking is already free on Sundays and should be free on Saturdays too.

Mark said...

It's also free after 6. It's still a pain. They should comp the parking if you shop - end of story.