Broken Parking Meters - 5/3/06
I have this idea; lemme know if you think it'll work.

Ever parked at a parking meter, only to find out that it's broken? What are you supposed to do, get back in your car and go find another spot? That's hard to muster the will to do sometimes, especially if the street's crowded, it's a nice spot, and/or you've already lost a quarter discovering the meter was broken.

Until recently, I was under the impression that finding a broken meter was a free ride. Like parking in a ramp and finding the gate open when you come down. I hunted free parking meters - any excuse not to have to pay 25 cents for fifteen minutes was worth another trip around the block.

Which lead me to the idea - what if every meter you parked at was broken? I'm not saying break them - that would be vandalism and vandalism sucks - or at least sucks when you get caught and arrested for it. What I'm proposing is something simpler - just carry around a sign that says broken meter wherever you go. When you park, just wait until nobody's watching, then stick it on the parking meter and go about your merry way, and never waste a quarter again.

Now I'm sure meter maids keep track of which meters are broken, but they don't get around to every meter every half a day, or even every day. Unless you live in Westwood, of course, where they come by every two-and-a-half minutes. So ninety times out of a hundred, they won't even see your car. And five of those other ten times, they'll just see that the meter's broken, report it, then keep moving. Maybe another four times, they'll realize it actually isn't broken, but figure you must have the hapless victim of somebody else's mistake, remove the sign, but not give you a ticket.

And that other one out of hundred times? They'll never be able to prove it was you. That's gotta be about the hardest case to make in court - that a meter WASN'T broken AND you knew about it AND you put a sign there AND they caught you. What meter maid is going to show up if you're willing to fight it?

In the meantime, you've saved about 1200 quarters.

Then recently a guy at a bar (while I was drafting up this elaborate scheme) told me this wouldn't work - it's illegal to park at broken meters.

But the twenty times I've parked at a broken meter, I've never got a ticket.

I kinda want to try it anyway.

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