I drove up to San Francisco yesterday.  I’ve done it at least twice this week, plus a trip to San Mateo and one to Half Moon Bay.  So for a guy not yet drawing a paycheck for his hard work, my gas bill is killing me.  But my parking adventure in San Fransico yesterday was classic.

I had a phone call at 1:30 and a meeting down on Howard at 2.  I wanted to be out of my car before my phone call so I could take it from some business lobby somewhere.  I pulled into a lot on 2nd that had an hourly rate posted.

“Twenty bucks,” the guy told me.  “But I’m only going to be here for two hours,” I protested.  “It’s a flat rate now,” he replied.  Not wanting to pay $20 for two hours, I told him, “Thanks, but I’ll head somewhere else.”

I headed a few blocks down and turned down Natoma, a little alley just north of Howard that runs between 1st and 2nd.  There was a lot on the left that had a sign saying “1-2 Hours: $15”.  Sounds good.  So I pulled in.

“Twenty bucks,” the guy told me.  “But I’m only going to be here for two hours,” I protested, “the sign says $15.”  “It’s a flat rate now,” he replied.  “Can you show me on the sign where it says that?” I asked.  “It doesn’t say it.  I say it,” the guy told me.  “Isn’t that illegal?” I asked him.  “Yes,” he answered flatly.

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How are you going to argue with that?  So I paid him my $20 and left him my keys.

The moral of the story is that if you want real power, not just influence or fame, then be a parking lot attendant in San Francisco.

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