True Sake In SF Offers 20 Percent Off If You Get A Parking Ticket

Doug Sovern/KCBS Radio

Sake Shop Owner Uncorks Anger Over Parking Tickets, Offers 20% Off To Cited Customers

Doug Sovern
June 24, 2019 - 4:00 am

The owner of a sake shop in San Francisco's Hayes Valley is venting his frustration over the neighborhood's lack of parking by putting his money where his mouth is.

The window display at True Sake offers any customer who gets a "fresh" parking ticket 20% off a bottle of sake. The window is filled with parking citations and envelopes, surrounding a sign that reads "San Francisco HATES Cars, Small Business LOVES Cars, Cars=Customers" and takes the City to task for issuing so many tickets.

Owner Beau Timken is known to be disgruntled about the scarcity of street parking, and how difficult that makes it for potential customers to shop. He was on vacation and not available for comment, but the clerk staffing his shop, whose name is Mei, told KCBS Radio the window dressing is all in good fun.

"It's just kind of fun for people that get tickets," she said. "It probably ruins their day, and they can come in and get 20% off on a bottle of sake."

Mei says so far, only one person has done that, but the customer was excited about the discount. "Oh my God, I just got a ticket!" Mei quoted the woman as saying. "Can I come in with it?" She walked out with 20% off.

At least one customer has expressed displeasure, telling the shopkeeper the sign was "offensive."

A chauffeur named Dennis, who was struggling to find a spot to park his stretch limo on Hayes Street, finally found a space big enough right in front of True Sake. But the parking meter was broken and it kept eating his quarters. He laughed at the window display and appreciated Timken's gesture. "I'm glad they're at least making a bad situation and making it better. I love sake," he said.

A neighbor on foot, Rich, who lives nearby, also laughed when he saw the shop window full of citations. "He's really annoyed." he said of Timken. "Is it going to be effective? Will people like it? I don't know, but it's conveying annoyance for sure." 

He said it's "almost impossible" to park in Hayes Valley. "Next time I get a parking ticket, which will not be that long from now, I will get a good bottle of sake out of it."

A spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which is misidentified in the shop window by its previous name, the Department of Parking and Traffic, told KCBS Radio that it only issues citations to those who haven't parked legally, to ensure parking turnover and therefore parking availability.