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Canal Walk held me hostage « Free Tips DOT COZA

Canal Walk held me hostage


Posted on 18th January 2012 by Tony in Rant

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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?

My gripes:

  1. 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?
  2. Why do Canal Walk machines not accept Credit Cards?
  3. Why not give your Information Desk the tools/ability to give out change?
  4. 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.


  1. Jeremy G says:

    My mom would simply go to the checkout boom thing press the button and moan and bitch until they opened the boom and drive out 😉

    18th January 2012 at 12:27 pm

  2. Tony says:

    If I still owned my Range Rover, I would have considered driving through it!

    18th January 2012 at 12:28 pm

  3. Munya says:

    I agree with you Tony – its same here in Durban and I have seen that in Joburg as well. The ONLY Mall I have seen that dispenses notes is the Menlyn Mall in Pretoria, other than that the malls offer you a duffle bag of R2 and R5 coins which cant even fit in a wallet. Needless to say the service by shopping mall attendants is pathetic – have you even tried to ask for directions from those people?

    South Africa, lets change and improve our customer service or our person-to-person attitude before its too late.

    18th January 2012 at 12:30 pm

  4. Kobus says:

    I am happy to openly state that I have twice broken their booms with my bare hands (metal is actually easy to bend) in broad daylight and will continue to do so until they sort this out.

    18th January 2012 at 1:29 pm

  5. Tony says:

    Thanks for all the comments. I’ve asked Canal Walk to respond to this post, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    18th January 2012 at 3:22 pm

  6. Stephen says:

    If you go to Pick ‘n Pay and make a purchase they will validate your parking, depending on how long you have been in the mall.

    18th January 2012 at 9:31 pm

  7. Tony says:

    Stephen – the point is I don’t want to be forced to make a purchase just to pay for parking … it’s completely stupid. They should provide me with a means to pay effectively, which should include providing change at the Information Desk.

    18th January 2012 at 10:51 pm

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