How do I work this thing?

I arrived on OKC’s Park Avenue yesterday and parked my large automobile in a space with one of those newfangled computerized meters. Payment options: the usual coins of the realm, Visa/MasterCard, or cell phone. Option 1 was ruled out, as I was out of actual coins. But Option 3 looked interesting: the little LCD screen gave an 888 number, which I duly dialed. What I got didn’t seem to have anything to do with parking, so I wound up resorting to Option 2 with my debit card. ($1 for one hour.)

I’m sure that these gizmos exist elsewhere on the planet, so I’m asking: how is this terminal supposed to work with a phone? Were I having a frustrating day, I’d have wanted to rip out the little electrobox and bury it in the water at the bottom of the ocean.


  1. Jeffro »

    18 April 2010 · 10:16 am

    Same as it ever was.

  2. David Fleck »

    18 April 2010 · 1:10 pm

    This is not my trusty metered parking device!

  3. canadienne »

    18 April 2010 · 1:59 pm

    Are you hacking my iTunes playlist? I’m listening to Stop Making Sense (the new one) this very minute- one of my all time favorite albums ever. How did I GET here?

  4. Old Grouch »

    19 April 2010 · 9:37 pm

    “How is this terminal supposed to work with a phone?”

    It’s probably really a 900 number. So:

    a. Call 900 number, get “convenience” charge automatically added to phone bill.

    b. Get invalid “credential” for parking, get “parking” charge added to phone bill.

    c. Enter “credential” in meter. Nothing happens.

    d(1): Give up and put in real money.

    d(2): Say THWT, walk away, get parking ticket.

    d(2a): Waste hours on phone with city parking bureau, attempting to get ticket canceled. Sorry, yagodda go to court.

    d(2b): Waste more hours going to traffic court. City says “there’s nothing wrong with the system.” You lose.

    e. Waste still more hours on phone to call center in India, attempting to get phone charges reversed. Never happens.

    f. Result: Profit for meter contractor, more revenue for city.

    Repeat until you’ve decided that going downtown has become an expensive nuisance, instead go to the mall where the parking is free. Five years later, city wonders where all the downtown stores went.

  5. CGHill »

    19 April 2010 · 9:49 pm

    Most of our downtown stores went during the 1960s and 1970s; retail is making a very slow comeback as residential areas in the city center start to take shape.

    And I go downtown rather a lot these days, but I usually park in one of the garages. (Typical: $2 first hour, $1 each hour thereafter; $5 minimum in case of Major Events, like the Festival of the Arts, which starts tomorrow and which will draw something like 750,000 over six days.)

  6. Cindy »

    20 April 2010 · 2:59 pm

    Oh dear, I’d forgotten about the Festival of the Arts. I’ll have to remember to stay away this week.

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