So, recently (well actually it was back in October, it’s just taken me this long to actually write something…), I did some traveling that required a flight from DIA (the Denver airport) to Minneapolis-St.Paul to do a little seminar for Crossfit Twin Cities. This excursion required that I park the G6 (my money car – or better put, my “I have no money, car”) in the DIA lot for roughly 2.5 days, nothing crazy. It was a whirlwind tour. Anyway, I drive into the east ‘long-term parking’ lot (yeah, there’s a west lot too, which makes this even more disturbing) and discover that I have two options. I can either park in the outside lot (which has roughly 5,000 parking spaces – this may be an exaggeration, but just do this with me…) for $15 per day or I can park in the garage (roughly another 5,000 parking spaces – again, this may be an exaggeration as I didn’t actually count) for $24 per day. My thought process upon this discovery was as follows: HOLY BUCKETS OF HIGHWAY ROBBERY!! Seriously?!?!? I looked at all the cars in the ‘cheap’ lot and glanced over at the garage. I estimated that the east parking lot alone was probably bringing in like $5 billion dollars per day. AND the only reason I was on the east side is because the west side was FULL. This parking shit is a racket – seriously.
The last time I had to park at an airport it was in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and if I remember correctly, they paid me to park there (totally kidding, but it was like $15 for the whole week). Being poor, frugal (borderline cheap) and considering that I drive a G6, I chose to park myself in that faraway, non-covered lot for the bargain price of $15 per day. I had officially been hosed but it did get me thinking about something and that thinking is the reason you just had to read that little story.
Here’s my thought. Unless you’re Bill Gates, the heir to a small fortune or just like throwing your money away, the reality is that you’re not gonna park at the airport any longer than you have to, am I right? (If I am wrong, please park somewhere else, shoot me an email and I’ll tell you where you can send the money you’re saving…). So, what if we treated our pantry, refrigerator, freezer and cabinet space like ‘airport parking’? You’re probably confused at where I’m going with this, don’t worry, I am too… Just kidding. Something I noticed while I was surveying the lot, was that there was a row of ‘airport’ vehicles, which I’m fairly certain weren’t paying the same “bend-me-over” parking fees that the rest of us suckers were. No, they ‘belonged’ there and got a free pass.
Okay, back to the practical application thing that’s trying to happen here. What if our kitchen ‘parking lots’ (the places we put food) only had certain ‘vehicles’ that we let park for free? The ‘free parking’ stuff would be the foods that belong in our eating regimens everyday – so things like vegetables, meat, fruit, olive oil, coconut oil, etc. can take up space without being charged and if these things are missing from the ‘lot’ it’s only because they are in use – otherwise, they need to be in their assigned spots. Now let’s talk about the other stuff, the stuff that probably doesn’t belong in our parking lots on a day to day basis – cookies, chips, soda, candy, beer, pizza (yeah, you know the stuff…). Now, let’s say if we wanted to park any of these vehicles in the parking lot that we’d be subjected to paying ‘airport parking’ prices. That would definitely make bringing home those chips or cookies a lot less tempting, huh?
This could work. I know if I had to pay to keep ice cream in my freezer, that I most likely would not have ice cream in my freezer (yes, there is in fact, ice cream in my freezer right now). I would probably go out and have ice cream somewhere if I really wanted it instead of bringing it into my house. This would greatly affect the ease of access and take much temptation out of the picture (because right now, all I can think about is having some of the ice cream that is currently parked in my freezer…).
Here’s how it would work. You find a jar and label it ‘parking fees’. Every time you bring home something that doesn’t have an assigned space in the kitchen parking lot, you’re gonna have to pay for the ‘temporary guest’ to park. The first charge comes when you walk through the door with the item – this is to prevent the “if I eat it all right now, I won’t have to park it” thought that I know you just had). Then there’s the daily charge – everyday that it’s parked, you pay the fee (just put the money in the jar). Make the parking fee be one that ‘hurts a little bit’, (it can’t be like, a dime a day because that’s just way too cheap) I would start with $2-$5 per food, per day – yeah, in my world that would hurt. At the end of every week or month all of the money in the jar gets donated to charity or something meaningful (unlike real airport fee usage) – but you don’t get it back.
Will it slow you down next time you want to bring something less than health or goal promoting home? Will it make you think about your choices? Will it feed several thousand starving children in Africa or cure a disease (because of the amount of $$ donated)? It’s your call – but either way, something good will come out of it. So, let’s go move some unpaid ‘vehicles’!
What have you got parked in your lot?