A City In Chains

“The avaricious man is like the barren sandy ground of the desert which sucks in all the rain and dew with greediness, but yields no fruitful herbs or plants for the benefit of others.”Zeno

 Driven by avarice, businessmen in Panama have come up with the absurd idea of chaining up their car parking spaces in an effort to rake in more money to fill their coffers.  They are charging four cents per minute for parking your car inside in their premises while you shop inside.  Can you believe this?

The new financial scheme is spreading like a prairie fire throughout the metropolis.  Restaurants, stores, shopping malls, hospitals, public offices, banks, theaters, drug stores—everybody is joining the money-making racket of locking up their parking lots for easy money.  The business community is frantically drinking the Kool-Aid while we the consumers fume our annoyance.

This is a hideous idea and should be rejected by consumers.  If they want me to come to their place and buy their stuff, they can not and should not charge me for leaving my car in their parking lots.  It is morally wrong.

I understand a bill is being passed in Congress (Asamblea Nacional) to ban this illegal practice.  I can’t wait to see it go down the drain.  The idea is absolutely preposterous and should be crushed.

My wife and I have decided to stay away from those businesses following this abominable practice promoted by uncontrolled greed.

The pictures below depict the padlocks and chains at El Dorado Shopping Center early Sunday morning.  A parking lot which can accommodate about three hundred cars was completely chained and locked out.  It makes no sense to me at all.

I rest my case.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

10 thoughts on “A City In Chains”

  1. I so agree, Omar! You have every right to boycott these businesses as I would probably do the same. I noticed some places in San Juan, PR and even Jamaica practice this. Basically holding your car prisoner until you pay to get off the car lot.

  2. Well, I think the businesses are free to do as they please. Of course, I’m free to do as I please, as well. I suspect it won’t take those businesses long to figure out they’ve made a poor choice.

    1. I’m strongly against to this type of greedy business practices. I for one, will not buy at a business that will charge me to buy at their place. Parking spaces should be part of the strategy to bring customers to a site, not to bring in extra money into their pockets.

      I’ll wait and see how customers react to this business trend.



  3. El Dorado has got to be among the worst for parking. When I was there at the beginning of the month my friend had to circle the parking lot while I ran in quickly. All that these chains accomplish is to frustrate the shoppers and reduce the time they spend in the mall. The first day I was there we needed to go to Reys for a few things and drove over to the Centenario instead, even though El Dorado is closer.

    I never did go back to Dorado to do any shopping it was too frustrating getting in and out. About as bad as the stop to pick up my friend’s mom’s meds at the Bethania SS, horrible parking there also, but at least there is somewhat of a system to eventually get a spot if you’re patient. 🙂

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more Indacampo. El Dorado is at the bottom of my list as far as shopping centers are concerned. If they lock me out, then I’ll react by locking them out in return. Time will tell who’s right.

      Thank you for your insightful comments about this controversial issue.



  4. Hola Omar,

    I’m going to take the store/mall side of this although I have zero idea of their motives. First, parking has always been a problem in the city. Adding all the construction projects has made this worse. Second, mall shopping, as a past-time, is popular all over the world, especially where the temperatures are extreme. Shopping is not buying so shoppers are taking spaces that buyers could be using. (We used to say “window shopping” even if we were not buying windows. ha)

    A solution might be for the stores to offer to validate parking with a purchase. Many parking garages do this and it does not matter if the garage is for shopping, doctors’ offices, etc. Buy something, get free parking. This is the same as when Albrook mall first opened, it was un real to enter the mall.

    That’s my “devil’s advocate” view for today.

  5. Morning Jim and Nena:

    I’m sure there’s more than one way to skin a cat. You can do a lot of things to maximize the area of your parking lot. People parking their cars and later take a bus to the city, will definitely restrict the parking area to buying customers. That’s a valid point and I can understand that.

    One solution to this problem is the one you correctly pointed out. That is what we do when we go to see our doctor every three months. The administration will provide me with a ticket which has to be rubber stamped by the doctor’s secretary. When I exit the gate, I’m exempted from paying.

    What I can not understand, is why chain all the parking lot affecting buying and not buying customers. It makes no sense to me at all. The whole city is being chained up, even as we speak. Having a vehicle nowadays is worse than owning a bicycle or maybe walking, which has a positive side to it—more exercise to enhance your health. 🙂

    Thank you for your two cents on the subject.



    1. Perhaps the mall owners are in the taxi business as well? haha
      Or maybe invested in the Metro project? Gotta watch those capitalists, they are always looking out for an opportunity.

      1. Yes, I remember about those guys in Wall Street. Always looking for a quick buck and they ushered us to the brink of the abyss. I remember it clearly: it was September 2008 when the world lost its breath.

        It’s okay to make money, but there has to be a limit or else money will take control over you. I think that’s what happening in the world. It is rapidly morphing into an ubiquitous World Incorporated. Even the Communists are falling for Capitalism and a fast buck.



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