Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Parking Nazis


Just learned that the H.G. Hill Company has a longstanding philanthropic relationship with the YMCA.

There's certainly nothing wrong with that ... I just don't know why Hill Center customers must be duped roped into this particular philanthropic vision. Maybe I should change the name of this post to Charity Nazis?

Boy, were Mr. Beale and I surprised to see those fake parking meters spring up at the Hill Center in Green Hills over the weekend.

They look just like the real thing until you get up close and read the sign: then you learn the money supposedly goes to charity, not to pay for your parking space. Hill Center is private property, after all; there is no city parking. So in other words, these are fake parking meters, not real ones. Indeed, Hills reps say you won’t get towed unless you leave your car “for an extended period of time.”

As soon as I saw them I thought: you dirty rats. They look exactly like the real thing! I imagine most people will see them and pop a quarter in for their (gasp!) 8 minutes. How many people will read the sign and realize they’re not paying for parking, but donating to charity?

And who is this charity? Is it legit? Is it a charity that I want to support, one that matches my values? Who is Hill Center to assume that “their” charity is going to be “my” charity, anyway? And how dare they not tell me who this charity is?

Just because it’s for charity doesn’t mean I want my money going there. I stopped giving to the Salvation Army’s bell ringers when I learned how that organization used their good works as a hammer to force New York City to support their bigotry.

I caught WSMV's story on these voluntary parking meters tonight and learned proceeds go to the YMCA (after covering the cost of the parking meters, of course). Thanks for letting us know. Does the Green Hills YMCA need this kind of charitable donation? They look pretty flush to me.

Look, I don’t have a beef with the YMCA but I do object to the idea that I have to a) pay to maintain the Hill Center’s fake parking meters, and b) donate to their particular charity--just for the privilege of visiting their shopping center. Screw that.

I give a lot of money to charity--charities of my choice, that reflect my values. I don’t see why I’m obligated to donate to the charity of Hill’s choice, just because I want to park my car. What arrogance!