Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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"Will return soon" Reservation Meter

To solve a major annoyance
 
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Occasionally, I like to go out for lunch. I usually don't, though, because every time I do, I come back to find my parking spot taken. I want a digital sign-like parking meter-like doohickey that displays the words "Out to lunch, will return in ___ minutes". The sign would be hooked up to your shift clock, so as soon as you clock out for lunch, the sign starts its countdown.

If another car is found parked there and your countdown meter still has time left (the timer freezes at whatever time it's on and a camera snaps a pic of the license plate as soon as a car parks there, for evidence purposes), they get towed. If, however, a slacker returns late from his/her lunch break and complains that somebody "stole" their spot, the supervisor who gets the complaint need only check the meter.

21 Quest, Dec 29 2006

Like this? http://www.halfbake...20Countdown_20Board
[jonthegeologist, Dec 29 2006]

[link]






       Yep. But mounted to a pole and connected to the shift-clock.
21 Quest, Dec 29 2006
  

       Great idea [+]
acurafan07, Dec 29 2006
  

       YOUR parking spot? What if somebody uses your space but is gone before you return? When's the last time you had your car towed? That's hundreds of dollars.
normzone, Dec 29 2006
  

       I have to say, the parking spot free-for-all is one of those fantastically unifying commonalities of adult life. Everyone's annoyed by it, no one gets special treatment. Why don't we all unite in our frustration and laugh? (And then hold hands and sing kumbaya.)
  

       I have to disclaim by saying I don't currently suffer from this particular problem. As a result, I will admit that my amusement is state-related, and that if I had this same annoyance, I'd likely bun you and then annotate a bunch of swear words in solidarity.
jenifemeral, Dec 29 2006
  

       Welcome, [jenifemeral]. This ought to be fun.
normzone, Dec 29 2006
  

       Welcome to the HB, jen!
  

       //When's the last time you had your car towed? That's hundreds of dollars.//
  

       Never had mine towed. Then again, I've never parked in a spot reserved for someone else, either. This is basically a "reserved" sign that allows people to park there when you're not working anymore. It's actually *more* convenient than simply putting your name on a sign, because it lets people know that the person for whom it is reserved is done for the day and it's available.
21 Quest, Dec 30 2006
  

       //What if somebody uses your space but is gone before you return? //
  

       5 years later... wow... it occurs to me that there was a flaw in Normzone's logic. If somebody uses your space but is gone before you return, then you have no need to file a complaint. No complaint filed = nobody gets towed.
  

       I suppose a slight amendment to the post may be in order, because I thought this was clear but I guess I was wrong: Below the digital read-out (which, remember, has a countdown displayed) is a standard metal-and- paint sign reading "If you are parked here improperly when the timer runs out, you will be towed".
21 Quest, Nov 03 2011
  

       I'm sure there are often flaws in my logic - that's why logic is so entertaining to examine.
  

       Question: Is this parking space you want to reserve a public domain space, that anybody could use when you were taking the day off? Or does it have your name painted on the ground or parking block?
  

       In other words, are you attempting to turn shared public parking space into your own personal real estate? Bone or bun hangs in the balance...
normzone, Nov 04 2011
  

       I'd like to see a hybrid idea that combines both concepts. All parking spaces are public domain, ie first come, first served. Once you take a spot, it is reserved for you for the rest of your shift. The idea is intended for use at places of work, in employee parking areas, not public areas like shopping centers or parking meters.
21 Quest, Nov 04 2011
  

       I've been in some extremely competetive employee parking zones, so I can sympathize. But you lose my sympathy at towing - that starts at a few hundred dollars and goes up rapidly with as many fees and extras as they can hang on it.
  

       How about the towing company comes and puts your car up on platform so the original parker can park beneath you, and if you want to go you have to wait for the platform company to come get your car down?
normzone, Nov 04 2011
  

       I would be amenable to that... I never said where it has to get towed to :-)
21 Quest, Nov 04 2011
  

       So now it's gone from being merely 'super expensive' to infinitely expensive? I'm deleting your comments. Come back when you're rational. If this were a WIBNI, then no existing business would have networked security camera systems.
21 Quest, Nov 05 2011
  

       I was quoting the help file, not saying your idea is infinitely expensive. And that, even, was in response to your own misquoting of the help file (which, surprise, surprise, you've also deleted). Good job white-washing your idea's annos.
swimswim, Nov 05 2011
  

       Yes, you quoted a section that doesn't apply here.
21 Quest, Nov 05 2011
  
      
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