Parking Can be a Real Treat
I took my daughter to the grocery store one day last month. When I take either of my children to the store, I have to pay the “kid tax,” which is the cost of the things they think they really need that aren’t on my list. This is usually things like Top Ramen, assorted snack foods, and several flavors of ice cream. I like having her with me, and the teen years seem to bring more opportunities for separation than closeness, so I pay the tax and don’t complain.
On that particular day we pulled into the metered lot near our local Trader Joes and saw all the meters covered with purple bags. Curiosity quickly turned to gladness when we realized the bags indicated free parking for the day – curtesy of the nearby Kinecta branch. Then we saw the ice cream truck offering free popsicles and our gladness turned into glee. Yes, we are easily thrilled by free food in general, but especially by free frozen treats.
It turned out, the credit union was on a day-long customer appreciation/recruitment campaign complete with free parking, free popsicles in the lot, and free popcorn inside the branch itself. Our banking needs are well met in other places, but we were happy to partake of the credit union’s good will. They were also offering prizes for anyone who took a picture and shared it with their hashtag on social media.
I had questions, but didn’t find anybody who could answer them. How much did the parking cost them? Do they do this at their other branches? Could we have seconds?
What no one had to explain to me was that this is a brilliant idea. I am not looking for a new bank, but if I were, I’d head straight to Kinecta. I like a personal touch.
Besides the obvious impact this event could have on gathering new clients for the bank, I see it as a bonus for the owner of the lot – the city. Renting out the lot for half a day with no interruptions to parking or the collection of fees is a win-win. Or maybe it was a win-win-win: the city got its meter money, people got free parking, and the bank had a major public relations moment.
We don’t expect free parking and popsicles every day, but that day we felt less like parkers and more like partiers. An even bigger win, in terms of something JVH calls The Parking Experience, is that the parking lot was a fun place for once – not just for my daughter and me, but for a lot of people.