The staff at a Borough Park lumber store found a pretty clever way to offset the parking tickets of their customers: They collected used Muni-Meter receipts and let customers attempt to match the date and time of their ticket with a stranger’s receipt.
Boro Park Lumber & Home Center at 4601 New Utrecht Avenue setup a box near their register for customers to either donate a receipt or take one. Drivers with tickets take receipts that match the time of their ticket and fight the traffic cop who issued the ticket in court. Receipts with leftover time can also be taken by a customer who wants to avoid paying the meter.
The concept, like the normally displayed “Take a Penny, Give a Penny” tray, is a way for drivers and customers to share the burden of parking tickets. Unfortunately, it’s fraud.
The box was labeled with the Hebrew word “gemach,” which means an act of kindness or a Jewish loan, without interest.
Gemachs are quite common in most Jewish communities. They extend from financial loans to loaned wedding dresses. In this case, they extend to paid parking spaces.
Roughly about $513 million was collected for parking tickets in 2012, according to records. For many drivers, parking tickets are anything but acts of kindness.
“People come in here all the time to check it out,” said an employee outside the Boro Park Lumber & Home Center to the New York Daily News.
However, a store manager denied having put the box there. He also denied any of his staffers having anything to do with it.
“Somebody outside the store did it. We are not involved in it,” he stated.