Get garage a new clock, Mayor Bob

Ran into Steve Benjamin at breakfast this morning. He mentioned that he’s resolved to work on his penmanship after this blog shared his notes from a meeting last Friday. He also asked what I’d thought about his presentation. I told him he can’t go wrong with me talking government restructuring, but I wondered how it resonated with the voters. He said he’d been getting pretty good feedback on the overall topic. Not the “strong mayor” part, but the part where he pitches consolidation of Columbia and Richland County.

I found that interesting, but I have a burning new issue for this contest between Steve and Mayor Bob: The clock in the little guardhouse where they take your money on leaving the city parking garage at Assembly and Lady is always wrong — and always wrong in a way that favors the city’s coffers, not the driver leaving the garage.

The regular latecomers (among whom I may be counted; I’m still sort of on newspaper hours) at the place where eat breakfast most days know that when it gets past 9:30, it’s time to finish your coffee and skedaddle. Why? Because the garage, which is free in the early morning, starts charging at 10. And the latecomers tend to be retired and unemployed folk, so we don’t like coughing up that buck. (On the days that I come earlier, I park on the street and leave before 9, because that’s when Lovely Rita starts checking the meters.)

Not that I mind paying the buck occasionally. Gaming the system is one thing, but the service has to be paid for by somebody, right?

What bugs me is that the clock the garage goes by is always set several minutes ahead. I’ve had to pay at 9:57 and 9:58. I grumble, but I pay.

Today, I had a double shock. I got up from reading the paper and drinking coffee at 9:42. I was on the 6th level, so it took awhile to get to my truck and thread it down through all those levels. Then, when I got to the gate, it was down. It was only 9:51.

I asked the lady if the time for closing the gate had changed. She said it had. I asked, “What time is it now?” meaning, What’s the new deadline? She took the question both ways, answering, “It’s 9:55, and the new time is 9:30.” I double-checked: The time on my truck was still 9:51. And my truck is within a few seconds of being perfectly aligned with my Blackberry, which is perfectly synchronized with the U.S. Naval Observatory official time. At least, I think it is. Let me go check…

Oops. Somehow my phone was almost a minute behind. I’ve fixed it now. (I also checked against Zulu Time, and interestingly, the Naval Observatory time seems to be lagging by about a second. Not that I’m going to worry about it. I’m channeling Phileas Fogg enough here today…)

Still. That makes the clock in the garage three minutes fast. There was a time when there was an excuse for this — you couldn’t instantly check to see what the real, official time is. If one clock was faster than the other, you could argue which was right. No more.

I don’t mind the city moving the time to 9:30. Given the city’s fiscal problems, I’d vote to do that. In fact, I wouldn’t object it the city went to charging 24 hours. I don’t know why they don’t do that now, unless it’s just a matter of saving on personnel.

But if the understood time is 9:30, you shouldn’t get charged at 9:27. That’s all I’m saying.

See the unbelievably petty stuff that people who don’t have jobs obsess about?

10 thoughts on “Get garage a new clock, Mayor Bob

  1. Burl Burlingame

    If you really want to obsess, put money in a parking meter and time it. They invariably think an hour is 55 minutes long.

  2. kbfenner

    Uh, you were eating breakfast at a private club and you are worried about a buck? I know it’s about networking, but seriously….

  3. Brad Warthen

    Kathryn, I didn’t expect YOU to give me grief on that point. I expected it from bud or somebody.

    I’ll have you know that, once you pay the dues, it’s the cheapest breakfast in town, which is one reason some of the regulars (the guys from whom I learned about dodging the parking fee) maintain their membership in retirement. I couldn’t cook breakfast at home for that I pay for it at the club.

    Of course, that’s not counting the dues. But even if you count the dues, it’s a little less than it would cost me to eat at Lizard’s Thicket on a daily basis, especially when you consider that I’m a HUGE breakfast eater.

    I’ve done the math, over and over.

  4. Randy E

    I’m waiting for Lee to post something about Obama’s spending causing inflation of time in the clocks.

    “I’m a HUGE breakfast eater” – as in avid or you’ve put on a great deal of weight?

  5. BillC

    You couldn’t make a couple eggs, toast, 3-4 slices of bacon, and coffee for less than what you pay at your private breakfast club? What do they charge you… 75 cents for breakfast? What does a dozen eggs, a pound of bacon, a loaf of bread and a pound of coffee cost you, and how many breakfasts can you make from it? How much are dues to the Capitol City Club? Last time I checked… it wasn’t exactly cheap.

    The first thing I’d do if unemployed was quit eating out, skip trips to Starbucks, and drop any private club memberships… and since someone mentioned dry cleaning, that too. But that’s just me… and nearly everybody else. I wouldn’t continue living the way I did when I had a paycheck coming in.

  6. Brad Warthen

    What I meant is that I eat a huge breakfast, then less at other meals. Grits (sometimes potatoes), bacon, sausage, coffee, and a salad plate full of fresh fruit. Minimum.

    Eating there almost every weekday, I pay just over $1.50 a meal (I pay a monthly fee for breakfast of just over $30 with tax).

    With dues included, my daily cost is about $6.65. When I consider what I get in addition to breakfast (some of my freelance work has come purely because of running into people; it gives me an impetus to get up and dressed and out of the house every day), it seems like a good investment.

    My financial advisor agrees. Of course, he’s also a member, and head of the membership committee…

  7. Brad Warthen

    Actually, all this club talk makes my parenthetical reference above to Phileas Fogg seem more relevant. As I recall, he went to his club religiously everyday at a set time, and was also very particular about when he left.
    It was at his club (the Reform, I believe) that he made his wager that he could go around the world in 80 days.

  8. Lee Muller

    How typical of you, Brad – fixating on some nit-picking nothing, while Coble, Cromartie and their gang squander millions of dollars a month.

    Randy, you don’t understand that price inflation is only one visible symptom of currency devaluation, and it is only caused by currency devaluation. The deficits of the Democrats are devaluing the currency in a desperate attempt to fight off a general price deflation. They are doing a poor job because they refuse to undo the programs they created for racial mortgage fraud and securities manipulation.


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