Plastic Parking Tickets


So, I got a parking ticket the other day.

It was a silly little mistake on my part. Driving the kids up to summer art camp, I ducked into a lot on Regina in Uptown Waterloo that happened to be across from the camp building, and near Waterloo City Hall. I didn’t think anything of it, except that the lot had a lot of space, and wasn’t I lucky?

Well, returning to the car not five minutes later, I found this ticket on the dash. Turns out that I’d accidentally parked in the City of Waterloo’s employee parking lot. The public parking lot was next door. And, in the City’s defence, signs were posted.

But this is not a story about the parking infraction.

I finally got around to paying said ticket, via Waterloo’s city website. After navigating the slightly unintuitive interface, I paid my money, and then to tell myself that the ticket had been paid, I set about to try and rip it in two.

Which proved to be harder than I expected.

Turns out the ticket is made of plastic. It may or may not be the same polymer that our twenty and fifty dollar bills are now made from. And it wasn’t going to rip for love or for money. I eventually used my teeth, and then snapped a photo to prove my tearing prowess.

I know you want a ticket that stands up against the elements, where the ticketed can’t claim that they never received a ticket because the rain soaked the paper and washed it away. But I can’t help but wonder if the designers knew just how emasculating they’ve made things.

Because, imagine, you get a ticket, and you fly into a righteous fury over being caught five minutes after your meter expired, and you shout that you’re as mad as hell and you’re not going to take it anymore, and to show just how mad you are, you yank the ticket from beneath the windshield wipers and you rip it— I mean, you try to rip it— I mean, you try to work your fingers around the edge to get a little tear so that you can rip it— I mean, you try biting it with your teeth to make a tear that you can rip things with.

Sort of kills the moment, doesn’t it? Especially as the parking officer chuckles and walks away.

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