Sunday, October 26

FLOTSAM & JETSAM

Sam Smith

After coughing up $1200 - my (not to mention your) share of the National's stadium - I also find myself supporting the nation's worst baseball team by having to put coins into those new parking meter machines because City Hall considers Capitol Hill to be within the stadium fiscal rip-off region.

The machines are based on the team's schedule and not normal working hours, so you can be dropping coins later than you've ever fed a parking meter anywhere in the country.

But that's not the real problem. The real problem is:

1. You often have to walk a half a block or more to get to the machine and then back to your car to put the receipt in the window.

2. The coin slot doesn't work well.

3. There is no place to put a dollar bill.

4. The instructions are confusing.

5. The credit card slot may tell you, as it did me, that my bank had refused my one dollar request, even though I proved within minutes by a store transaction that it wasn't true.

6. It is often hard to wiggle the receipt out of its slot. In fact, it's sometimes hard to tell whether it's in the slot.

7. You can't tell whether you need to put coins in or not.

Now that's a lot of problems for an official piece of machinery in a city undergoing a renaissance. I am, in fact, highly reluctant to use a credit card because I suspect the machine will steal it and start running up charges for the Lerner family on it.

I have also heard reports that Michelle Rhee is going to use the machines as substitute teachers. They will ask the students questions and if the answer is right they will give them some loose change.

A similar machine to help the Nationals has yet to be invented.

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