This isn't a serious "freedom isn't free" post about the price of establishing and maintaining liberty. It's about my attempt to obtain a free bagel from Panera.

I love Panera. The food is good, the service is quick, they play classical music softly in the background, and my favorite of their stores used to have the best view—field, trees, pond, cows, and birds—until the lovely countryside in which we celebrated the 1992 Sunshine State Pow-Wow succumbed to developers.

I also love that they've been having a free-bagel-a-day promotion.

Not that we take advantage of it every day, but recently I was out shopping and decided to grab a bagel. I swung into the parking lot of the nearest Panera. What was usually an ample lot had not one space available.

That's not quite true: there was one space remaining, in the "Compact Cars Only" section. No problem: our car qualifies as a compact. But it's not compact enough to fit between the two massive mini-vans that bracketed that space.

I then noticed what looked like a space in an otherwise crowded dead-end section of the lot, but when I arrived it was marked "Do NOT Park Here."  Its purpose, I suspect, was to give people like me a chance to turn around, which would have been a real challenge without that space. I thought briefly of staying there just long enough to pick up the bagel, but discarded the idea for the sake of my fellow parking lot wanderers.

Instead, I decided to park in the lot next door, and walk to Panera. Only there, the spaces were aggressively marked, "Le Jean's Parking Only."  Still no problem: I need new jeans, and though I suspected the store would be too pricey for me, I didn't mind the idea of seeing what they had available—and detouring for my bagel on the way back to my car.

Only it turned out that "Le Jean's" doesn't sell jeans, but rather jewelry.

I just couldn't.

Back in my car again, I returned to the Panera lot, took one more, longing look at the sub-sub-compact space, eyed the other cars circling 'round in the vain hope that one of them was leaving—and noticed that the "1 Minute Parking Only" space had opened up.

I can do this!

Out of the car, pause to hold the door for an over-loaded waiter, into the store, through the (surprisingly very short) line, swipe the Panera card, grab the asiago cheese bagel, out the door, into the car, and on my way home in 60 seconds.

If you don't count the initial 10 minute adventure.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 6:10 am | Edit
Permalink | Read 602 times
Category Everyday Life: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

Culture shock. 1 minute parking? Seriously?

Posted by Janet on Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Yep. It's for those who are just picking up an order.

Posted by SursumCorda on Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 4:10 pm

The "free" bagel wasn't free if you consider your time valuable.

I'm one of those people that park far out in the parking lot to avoid trying to squeeze between cars, so that bagel would not have been worth it to me. Now, if it was a piece of chocolate cake...

Posted by dstb on Monday, September 26, 2016 at 7:20 am

That just shows how much I like asiago cheese bagels. I'm with you on parking and walking instead of taking the closer spots. It not only makes for easier parking, but it gives me more steps on my pedometer. :)

Posted by SursumCorda on Monday, September 26, 2016 at 11:23 am
Add comment

(Comments may be delayed by moderation.)