From the Stupid Waste Desk


Hey Devi, did you walk down the main mall this morning on your way to work?

Doogie, you know I don't park on that side of campus. Why, what's up?

Well, this is what I saw just outside our building:

Doogie, what's going on, are these guys camping out at SFU?... On the hard concrete?

They sure are Devi, and they make quite a mess. And this isn't the first time. Every three months we see the same thing happening over and over again. Sometimes the camping line has over a thousand campers in it, and they camp out for days.

Doogie, what are those bright lights in the picture?

That's the reflecting tape on the security guard jacket.

Are you trying to tell me this is some type of prison, torture, or involuntary confinement?

No, the guards are there to make sure no one jumps the line. These people are waiting to get their ... parking permits!

Unbelievable! Normally things like parking get allocated by price. Those who are willing to pay the price get the goods, and the seller gets some money. If there is a line up for parking, this must mean thtat the price is too low. Why would the university do that? Why would they sacrifice the revenue and make people camp out on the wet, cold, concrete?

Well Devi, the standard explanation is that they don't think the student's can afford the parking, but we've talked about this before - students are among the wealthiest people in the country. What the university doesn't seem to realize is thaat by lowering the price to the point where people have to line up, they don't lower the cost of getting parking. Now, instead of giving up dollars, the students just give up time which could be spent making dollars! One way or another a scarce good like parking gets allocated. Students end up paying, one way or another. The current way, however, just means the university sacrifices the revenue from its parking lots.

And don't forget Doogie, the university has to pay for the clean up, the security, and any other sundry cost that results from the line. No question Doogie, this university policy definitely deserves a nomination for our Stupid Waste Award!


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