This is a bit of a rant-post, so please excuse me … but I’m a little annoyed by Canal Walk Shopping Centre.
If you don’t know, Canal Walk is the biggest shopping mall in Cape Town and incredibly popular. It’s not the closest shopping mall to me, but it’s central which means that I do have quite a few meetings there with clients who want to meet somewhere central, rather than driving through to my offices in West Beach.
Now, Peeve #1: Canal Walk has incredibly expensive parking. R8.00 for the first hour, after which it steadily climbs. I am personally opposed to shopping malls who charge for parking. Especially at Canal Walk, where there really is no alternative – they’re slap bang in the middle of unusable marsh-land that stretches out for miles, and you can’t park outside the precinct and use public transport, because, well, there isn’t any. OK, so I’m forced to pay for parking.
Peeve #2: Their parking machines don’t accept Credit Cards. If you’re the biggest mall in the Western Cape, with the rates you charge for parking, please accept credit cards. Happily the V&A Waterfront now accepts Credit Cards at their machines, and so does the Airport … no one keeps enough cash on them, and if you do have cash, the stupid machine spits out a pile of R5 coins when paying with R50.00.
Which leads to the incident yesterday where Canal Walk Shopping Centre held me hostage:
I had a meeting yesterday with my landlord to discuss a few things and realised after the meeting I had no cash on me, so I quickly drew some cash at the ATM. Since the devaluation of the rand over the last while, you may have noticed that ATMs no longer spit out R50 notes. The smallest amount I could draw was R100.00 – which puts me in a pickle … the Parking Machines don’t accept R100 notes! No problem, I’ll ask at the Canal Walk Information Desk if they can give me change … and this was their response: “We don’t give change for parking”. Which is the response I got from all the shops along the way from the Parking Machine to the Information Desk.
I explained my dilemma to the man at the Information Desk. I normally don’t carry cash with me, I drew money from the ATM and they only spit out R100 notes. What now? “Ah yes,” he says, “we are aware of that problem. A lot of people come to us and say the same thing. Sorry, we don’t give change”.
Well then, what am I supposed to do?
I can go pay my parking at the ticket office, but it’s in some dark dingy part of the parking garages, diametrically opposed to where I had parked. My alternative, is to go into a shop and buy something. I eventually ceded to the ransom demand and bought a bottle of water so that I had enough change to pay for my parking.
On twitter, a few followers suggested I could have gone to the bank and asked for change … but have you seen the queues at banks?
- If Canal Walk Management is aware of the problem (ATMs spitting out R100 notes, and machines not accepting them) what exactly are they doing about it?
- Why do Canal Walk machines not accept Credit Cards?
- Why not give your Information Desk the tools/ability to give out change?
- Why not allow the Parking Offices some space in two or three points in the mall to dish out change?
Why am I forced to buy something to get change to pay for my parking?
It’s absolutely unacceptable – and let’s not even talk about the attitude I got from the people at the Information Desk – they were as helpful as a screen-door on a submarine.