The other day a friend of mine told me about the secret parking space he’s been using for over a decade. It’s a free, unmetered secret parking space. It’s in a major city in Ireland, right in the city centre.

You know these are gold-dust, right? It’s not just the convenience, the time-saving benefit and the lack of cost. It’s the knowledge, being in the know, having the inside track. My missus and I used to have a free spot in Dublin city centre, about 20 years or so ago. It was 5 minutes’ walk from Trinity College, which – if you don’t know your Dublin, is pretty darn central. Now development has absorbed it and it is no more.

I used the new secret parking space for the first time recently. It’s no more than 5 minutes from the thick of things. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a frisson of excitement using it. It’s like putting one over the system, legitimately. I wonder if it’s a small bit like being a member of a secretive club?

Passing the secret on to someone else is extending to them the bond of trust you only extend to a few chosen ones. Every additional person who knows about the secret parking space diminishes the chances of it being free the next time you want to use it. And if it’s like an Irish secret, which means you only tell one person at a time, then soon the network effect means that it’s no longer secret. Then it’s only a matter of time before the authorities close the loophole.

For now, though, it’s a precious commodity, with real, tangible value.

 

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