Credit card free challenge #1: Parking

I began my 60-day credit card free challenge about 10 days ago, and it’s barely affected my life. Except when it comes to parking.

Calgary is notorious for its parking prices and its inability to provide decent service. To add to its evils, parking almost singlehandedly took down my challenge this past weekend. I was running late for an event, thanks to a comedy of errors: gas light on, debit machine not working at public transit kiosk, insane Saturday morning traffic, and finally – a parking meter that takes credit cards only. Who even thought up such a thing? Impark, that’s who.

Hellbent on meeting my challenge, I didn’t even have a credit card with me to use. Ranting like a crazy lady, I asked two women to pay for me and I’d give them cash. I even doubled the fee to show my gratitude.

Is this cheating? Sort of. Sort of not.

It’s cheating because I used someone else’s credit card.

It’s not because I didn’t use mine. (Read the terms of the agreement I made here.) But also because this was simply a matter of planning, and my credit card was NOT necessary in this instance. If I’d left my house earlier and bought transit tickets ahead of time, this wouldn’t have been an issue. I could have parked in another lot, if I’d planned my destination in advance…instead of flying by the seat of my dishevelled pants, as I frequently do. A credit card was simply more convenient in this case, as I stated in my earlier CBC column.

Plus, I get bonus points for making friends from my predicament. The women I begged parking from happened to be at the same event as I was. We made fast friends in the parking lot, and our camaraderie lasted throughout the day. I found friends, and I didn’t even have to use my credit card to get them.

I win.

So far.

The challenge continues.


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