Living Economics

Clowning with parking meters
A clown irks the police but pleases shoppers by feeding expired parking meters for tips

A street clown in Santa Cruz California has been stuffing change into expired parking meters to save shoppers from a $12 ticket. In exchange, the grateful shoppers and store owners gave him as much as $75 a day as tips.

Manager of Santa Cruz's parking programs was not amused. He accused the clown of feeding meters after a ticket had been issued and reducing the turnover rate of scarce parking spaces.

After several warnings, police gave the clown a citation for violating a municipal code that prohibited feeding people's meters without their permission, a $13 infraction.

The adverse publicity forced the city to drop the citation and repeal the ordinance against feeding strangers' meters.

References:
  • Arizona Republic. 10/11/1995. "Mr. Twister Irks Parking Officers."
  • Phoenix Gazette. 10/27/1995. "Meter Readers' Faces Sad, but Mr. Twister Is Smiling."
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