This article originally appeared on Hence.LA.
Los Angeles’ renowned Getty Center was home to controversy this weekend as a local man was up in arms about paying fifteen dollars for parking, even though the Center is known for having free admission.
“I was told that this was a free museum. Free art, free views, free architecture tours,” said Glendale resident Ronald Melman, who visited the Getty with his wife and two children on Saturday. “So naturally, I expected the parking to be free, too.”
Located in Los Angeles’ Brentwood neighborhood, the Getty Center took thirteen years to build at a cost of $1.3 billion and hosts over one million guests annually, free of charge. “Free of charge, my ass,” said Melman. “I smelled bullshit when I had to take a ticket to get into the parking garage.”
But the controversy didn’t stop there. “We were hungry, and I saw this line of people by a café,” continued Melman, a used car salesman. “I thought, ‘The only reason that many people line up for a café is if there’s free food.’” However, after waiting thirty minutes in line at the gourmet eatery and ordering a salad for his wife and hamburgers for himself and his children, Melman was outraged to hear that he owed the cashier forty-five dollars for the food. “I screamed at the woman, ‘What kind of free restaurant is this?!’”
Speaking about the Getty, one of the most respected museums in the country, Melman said, “This supposedly free junk pile on a cliff had already cost me sixty bucks and all I’d seen were some fancy gardens, a few ancient sculptures, and a Van Gogh painting. It wasn’t even Starry Night.”
Before leaving the “free” Center, the family stopped at the gift shop, where Melman nabbed a gold-plated Etruscan necklace on display: “I figured we’d spent enough money already, I might as well take one of the free gifts on my way out.” Security guards quickly detained Melman for attempting to shoplift the $200 necklace, and fined him $250 for damages. “Figures,” replied Melman.