It’s ten o’clock at night and the McDonald’s at Mascot is empty. Outside the car park is half full.
At nearby Sydney airport, damned in an ACCC report last February as the country’s most expensive, you can park free – for 15 minutes. Stay for 16 and you’re hit for seven dollars. Half an hour is 15 bucks.
Those in the know and on a budget (obviously not the millionaires from Macquarie who run the airport) linger in the car parks of fast food joints near the Formule 1 hotel on Ross Smith Avenue. First there was the Krispy Kreme, then a McDonald’s, and now a KFC.
In the McDonald’s car park the 30 minute parking limit isn’t enforced with vigour, nor the suggestion it’s for McDonald’s customers only. Plenty of people don’t get out of their car while they wait for a phone call to tell them it’s time for the airport pick up.
If a landing is delayed or baggage slow off the belt and hunger grows a burger is still cheaper than airport parking. There’s also the novelty of ordering from the touch screens Mascot McDonald’s has, rather than an acne-riddled teenager.
If you’re at Krispy Kreme, kids can be entertained watching the doughnut-making machine, while parents sip on bad coffee and read heavily thumbed papers with news that’s two days old.
And at the KFC, well Sydney Outsider hasn’t been there yet, but we imagine it’s much like other KFCs.