I’ve worked in Makati City before, and I know that parking fees are really expensive there. Given the scarcity of space, high number of vehicles, and premium price of land in Makati, the cost of parking is justifiable.
But how about when one gets charged Php100 for 5-hour outdoor parking in Quezon City? Is that justifiable?
This happened to me and Cookie (only, she was charged Php80 even if she got there a few minutes ahead of me) on Thursday last week.
We – three mommy bloggers, Lynn, Cookie and I – got together at around 4 PM for foot spa and relaxation at the Nail Loft branch in Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City. The rip-off parking fee (unknown to us at that time) was courtesy of Diliman Commercial Complex, the building where Nail Loft, along with Convergys, Starbucks, Ministop, is located.
The nail salon service was good, and we had a nice, relaxing time. We availed of the Php500 package which included foot scrub, pedicure and foot/leg/arm reflexology massage. Not bad for 500 bucks eh? It was “de-stressing” indeed. We spent more than 2 hours at Nail Loft.
Naturally, all the chit-chatting and relaxing made us hungry. Even if we were not, we’d still head out to eat anyway. So we decided to have dinner at Pancake House in the same building. More chitchat, gossip, and laughter. It was already past 9 PM when we parted ways at the parking lot. I checked my parking ticket, it read:
Free parking – first 45 minutes
P20.00 – each consecutive hour/s
Strictly no validation.
The part that says “hour/s” is vague – why isn’t there a specified number of hours that the P20-fee would cover? I assumed then that the P20.00 fee was a flat charge. So did Cookie.
Of course I found out otherwise, when the guard, after counting with his fingers, told me I needed to pay a hundred bucks for parking 5 hours on their space! My jaw dropped. I asked why it was soooo expensive.
He said “5 hours na po kasi kayo dito eh” (implying that I stayed a tad too long!) and that it was the policy of the building administrators. I figured it was useless to argue with a security guard who was only doing what he was told. So, despite my hurting pocket, I drove away home.
Do the building administrators or owners realize that they are turning off many customers? Customers go to that building to spend money, to bring business to the tenants.
Giving them time limits in the form of free-parking-for-45-minutes-or-pay-with-your-life-if-you-stay-longer won’t be good for the businesses. This is one thing that mall lords such as SM and Ayala understand. Charge customers a flat-rate of Php30 on weekends. Let them stay all day in the mall, spend all their hard-earned money on shopping and food.
Even my father-in-law can grasp the concept. He hates this convenience store that charges a parking fee if a vehicle stays for over an hour. He says this is stupid. He says, and I translate: “The shopper wants to shop more. But because he doesn’t want to pay the parking fee, he will just buy a few items, and go. So who’s the loser?”
And what’s the with the “Strictly no validation” part? I think parking ticket validation with the shop where one spent money is a good way of separating the real customers from the free-loaders who just want free parking. It’s fair for the building to charge a free-loader steep parking fees, if only to give him a lesson to park somewhere else next time. But if the case were like ours, where each spent about Php800.00 for that 5-hour span, charging an exorbitant Php100 for parking is way off. Certainly a rip-off!
So do you think Cookie, Lynn, and I will ever go again to Nail Loft for a two-hour treatment, followed by dinner at Pancake House, and the not-so-optional coffee-lounging at Starbuck’s? If it is at Diliman Commercial Complex, with the rip-off parking fee, the answer is NO! We will definitely go spend our money somewhere else.