These days, there's no shortage of things that make people angry. But if you really want to piss them off, tell them they can no longer park at the mall for free.
That's a lesson the folks at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, which is ending its first-hour-free parking policy on January 21, have learned the hard way.
For its first quarter-century, the posh retail environment placed no restrictions on parking. But in January 2017, the powers-that-were instituted a system in which the first hour remained free but the second would merit a $3 charge — not just in the structure, but at the outlying lots as well. (Up to three hours cost $4, with a maximum daily rate and/or lost-ticket fee of $16.)
The response of Westword readers to this move was swift and harsh — though some commenters saw the complaints as silly given the presumed affluence of many making them. One person wrote, "Remember, parking is a privilege, not a right. And if you're that privileged, just valet."
This time around, shopping center execs prepared for the expected backlash with some spin. General manager Jeramy Burkinshaw publicly insisted that customers might actually save money by paying $2 and getting out within sixty minutes rather than absently drifting into hour two and getting tagged for $3.
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Now, though, the second hour, and each one thereafter, will also cost $2. But at least there was still no charge for the first fifteen minutes — a presumed sop to parents picking up their kids — and multiple businesses will continue to offer parking validation, albeit usually only after a purchase.
Here's the complete list of participating retailers and assorted restrictions as they apply through January 21; many of the items focusing on the second hour will be adjusted next week.
801 Chophouse: All day validation with purchase of an entree.
Aillea: Second hour free with purchase of $50 or more.
AMC Theater: All day validation with purchase of movie tickets.
Boulder Running Co.: All day validation with any purchase.
Brio Tuscan Grille: Purchase of an entree.
David Yurman: Second hour free with any purchase.
Elway's: All day validation with purchase of an entree.
Hyde Park Jewelers: Receive all day validation when you visit Hyde Park Jewelers.
Kona Grill: Second hour free with purchase of an entree.
Louis Vuitton: Second hour free with any purchase.
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Home Furnishings: Second hour free with any purchase.
Neiman Marcus: Second hour free with purchase of $100 or more.
Scotch & Soda: Second hour free with any purchase.
Steve Madden: Second hour free with any purchase.
The Container Store: Second hour free with any purchase.
The Walking Company: Second hour free with any footwear purchase.
Tommy Bahama: Second hour free with purchase of $50 or more.
None of this has placated folks on social media, who've been venting their spleen for days.
One Twitter user opined: "This is what happens when real estate developers get their way. So sick of these bastards. I hope they know how much they’re hated in Denver. May they all rot in Hell." Another stated, "Cherry Creek Mall is already a boring, uninteresting indoor shopping mall in one of the sunniest states in the country. But sure, charge for every second of parking while there. STUPID!" And then there was this declaration: "Cherry Creek Mall is dead to me!"
Alternative shopping destinations also earned some love. "I have not set foot in your mall since you started to charge for parking and have found Park Meadows a great place to shop," a tweet reads. A second points out, "I shop at Flatirons Mall. Free parking and they have the same stores as Cherry Creek. Have not shopped at Cherry Creek in years."
Over on Facebook, the Cherry Creek Shopping Center address skipped sharing any reference to the fee change, prompting a jeremiad from one customer: "Since you've decided not to post this anywhere on your page, for obvious reasons, let me just ask...WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING? $2 just to run in the door and pick something up? $2 if I need to pick up my alterations at Nordstrom? This is absolutely ridiculous."
The salvo prompted plenty of piling on. Here's a sampling of the reactions:
Keep alienating your shoppers through your greed and see how many shoppers you have left. I abandoned Cherry Creek Mall when they instituted paid parking in 2017, and I'm certainly not changing my mind now. You say it's a dollar cheaper this way for individuals at the mall for under 2 hours. You know what's cheaper than that — not charging customers to park! I say To Hell with Cherry Creek. I am able find what I need elsewhere.
I used to run a quick errand at the mall, and then walk around, frequently buying something during my walking. Now, I run in, buy something and run out, so that I don't have to pay. Now, I guess I will just order online...Stupid move.
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Haven't been to Cherry Creek since this stupid policy, there are 25 other malls in the Metro area who do not charge. I can find Cinnabon and Abercrombie & Fitch elsewhere. Keep your snooty mall to yourselves!!!! If I am going to pay to park I will go downtown!!!
Charging for the first hour seems like a greedy move. What is the reason? To suggest that shoppers buy things they don't want in order to get parking validation is absurd.
I'm native here and you guyz are cheap.
Whether parking rates are, too, is a matter of opinion. On Facebook, a CCSC rep noted that $2 per hour is below the typical market price for lots in Cherry Creek, and a monthly parking pass goes for just $100 — less than the cost of seven full days. You're welcome.