if you want a good debate in this town – this would be a choice topic to broach… the parking attendant….. a help or a hindrance?

they have popped up all over the place. in fact the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow would probably be easier to find than a parking spot that doesn’t have one stationed within a couple of feet of it….. i often expect one to pop up in my driveway!

so what are they there for? well according to all the ones that i have asked that question to it is ‘to look after your car & make sure it doesn’t get broken into or stolen’…. not exactly boding well for the state of ‘stealing’ in this country that one needs these parking attendants even smack outside the police departments etc….

you get various kinds of ‘parking attendants’ as well…..

an 'official' parking attendant in sea point

the ‘official’ parking attendant

they are hired by the various councils to charge people for parking in more main street areas…. they carry machines and have ‘set’ rates….R4.50 (45p) for half an hour. now obviously compared to london prices this is a joke but unlike london we do not have ‘high streets’ where you can just park & get all your shopping done…. here everything is set quite far apart which means you end up driving from one shop to the next which in turn means you get nailed with parking every single time. by the end of a half hour dart around town you could be down R20! luckily my husband befriended the parking attendant outside our dvd store who now let’s us run in & drop off our dvd’s without paying but they usually feel nothing for charging you the full price for the 15 second convenience!

these guys are there doing a job – charging you for the convenience of being able to park in busy areas – which i totally understand. however when you do get charged be sure to ask for your receipt…. many a time i have watched the monies being pocketed with no record at all.

the opportunist at the waterkant

the opportunist

these are the parking attendants that cause the greatest debate. they appear out of gutters to wave you into your parking spot – which you can quite easily get into yourself – and then demand to be paid. it’s these guys that will tell you that your car is in danger if you waver their fee. a friend of mine thought she would put this to the test & actually told the guys she would not be paying  him as it was broad daylight in a busy location in town and she did not require his ‘eagle eye’ to be watching her car – she came back to two smashed windows & a slashed tyre…..

some of these guys are ‘regulars’ & you get to know them…. but others change like the wind & one is never quite sure who is dodgier…. the ‘thief’ or the actual ‘parking attendant’ or if they are indeed one & the same! the day i took this picture of this parking attendant he was sober – but i park in this area often & on occasions he is ‘flying so high’ if i were to follow his parking instructions i could quite easily find myself at the  panelbeaters! and don’t even get me started on the ones outside giovanni’s in greenpoint – straight forward unapologetic crack heads who basically terrify you into them ‘watching’ your car…. yeah right…. like they are of any use to anyone let alone watching your car!!!! to me it’s a wonder how they make it up off the sidewalk to stumble toward your car in the first place!

a friend of mine insists that these ‘unofficial parking attendants’ are run by the nigerian mafia & the monies collected are being used to support criminal activities of various kinds. she says that twice a day vans drive around from ‘post to post’ collecting the days takings from these guys…. well probably not from the crack heads…. i doubt they would understand the concept….. but anyhow she refuses to pay any of the parking attendants a cent as she feels very strongly that this is supporting crime.

my jury is still out on this one. i must admit that they do annoy me when i have loads of errands to run & you feel like you get accosted each time you get out of your car. but having said that at least these people are not just standing on the street corner begging – they are at least attempting to disguise it as a ‘job’ & well for that i feel they deserve their two pence. with so many people in this country sitting around on their asses all day expecting what they feel to be an ‘entitled’ payout i feel at least these guys are trying.

oh & word of advice…. if you are someone who decides you are not going to be paying the parking attendant…. i suggest you only advise him of this once you return to your ‘well looked after’ car….. and then perhaps change your number plates every now & then….!