Parking inspectors. We hate them. They're the kind of people who will give you a $150 fine for parking in a loading zone for 43 seconds—which isn't an analogy—it's just a description of what they do. There's no other analogy for what they do, because no other job on Earth combines cruelty and annoying quite like they do. Parking inspectors exist on a very unique plane, and we hate them for it.
But continue to exist they do. Human beings continue getting jobs as parking inspectors instead of just washing dishes or scrubbing toilets like everyone else. For some reason they'd rather walk the streets, making everyone who crosses them feel miserable, instead of just not having jobs. WHY?
To find out, we asked some parking inspectors in Melbourne. And they didn't want their faces shown because, you know.
Parking inspector for four years
VICE: Hi Richard, why are you doing this?
Richard: I'm doing this because I feel it is good to do, and because being a parking inspector is a job I actually like doing.
Why do you feel being a parking inspector is something that's "good to do"?
Because you're helping make a positive difference as well as being involved with the community in a positive way.
Do you think parking inspectors are important to the community?
Yes, absolutely, because otherwise there wouldn't be parking for the public. If we didn't have parking inspectors, how else would members in the community be able to go shopping or go about their day if they couldn't park somewhere?
How does it make you feel knowing so many people you interact with leave upset or angry?
It is hard, but you don't take it personally because it comes with the job. If you let it bother you, you wouldn't be able to do what's required.
Have you had any times where people went out of control?
There have been times where people have gotten quite aggressive towards me but nothing out of control. We're instructed to leave the situation if that ever happens.
Would you ever do another outside job that helps the community, like working in a park?
I wouldn't do another job. I like my job. Being able to be outside, interact with the public, and help the community out the way we do is something I really enjoy.
Parking inspector for 18 months
Hey Tyson, can you tell me why, of all things, you're a parking inspector?
Tyson: I used to work in sales, and I found myself bored and unsatisfied with the work. I had a few friends who were also inspectors and they told how it's a great job to give back.
What exactly do parking inspectors "give back"?
For starters we give back to the community. As you're probably aware, in the CBD, there's very scarce parking and there needs to be a turnover so everyone has a fair go.
Is giving someone a fairer chance to find a park really giving back to the community?
Well, there's a safety aspect as well because we make sure people aren't parked in places that could lead to a tragedy. You know, we make sure people aren't parked in no stopping areas, so pedestrians are able to walk safely. We also do school zones and make sure children are safe—there's a lot of parents who double park. I actually had one parent blow up at me about that, so I asked them how they'd feel if their child was hit as a result of negligent parking.
Do you hate your job at all? Like even a tiny bit?
Most of the time, I do enjoy it. It's hard to deal with the abuse and there have been some times where I've really questioned why I'm a parking inspector, but I do enjoy it.
Can you tell me about the stories when you've been abused?
Most of my experiences have actually been quite positive. Most people are really responsive and understanding to parking inspectors. For the times I've been abused, it's just people screaming at me, abusing me, or being upset but you can't take it personally. It just comes with the job.
Parking inspector for five years
Hey Clarence, why did you decide to do this for a job?
Clarence: I'm a single father and needed to find a job that allowed me to be able to work around that. Being a parking inspector allows me to work a job that gives back, and to have the hours to spend the most amount of time with my son.
That's really sweet. If another job would arise that allowed you to have those hours with your child, would you stop being a parking inspector?
No because I do love my job. It's satisfying being able to help the community in the way we do and being able to meet and talk to interesting people.
Are parking inspectors necessary though?
We need parking inspectors to be able to help out the community. People want to be able to drive somewhere, park, and be able to leave in an easy and timely fashion.
Despite them destroying our community, do you sympathise with the people you fine?
I don't sympathise, but I do empathise. There have been people I've fined that had just made an honest mistake. No one in their right mind would want to get a ticket but I can't sympathise with them, otherwise I wouldn't give them a ticket.
How does it make you feel knowing those people really don't like you and what you represent?
I don't take it personally. I understand it's just the uniform. We're a necessary evil. Someone needs to do it.
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