Kate Hawkesby: Is there a more repugnant business than Wilson Parking?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 12 Feb 2020, 9:47AM
Photo / Dean Purcel

Kate Hawkesby: Is there a more repugnant business than Wilson Parking?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 12 Feb 2020, 9:47AM

Is there a more repugnant business than Wilson Parking?

I mean, how do they get away with it?

Their pricing is daylight robbery and their carparks are policed so ferociously you have to wonder whether the attendants are on either brilliant commissions or under threats of death if they don’t ticket as many people as possible.

I went into one yesterday, I try to avoid them at all costs, but I was in a hurry. I didn't have the extra 20 minutes it would’ve taken me driving around trying to find one on the street, given finding a park in Auckland these days is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

So into the Wilson carpark I begrudgingly went.

I found a park, parked, and hopped out of my car to go find the ticket machine and queue up to pay for my parking.

It was one of those ones that issues you a physical ticket, not the new fancy high tech ones which just take your licence plate and don’t require paper. This one required an actual ticket to display.

So there was a small queue at the machine with people obviously doing the same thing as me, punching in their details, paying their money and waiting for the machine to spit out the little piece of paper for the dashboard.

No sooner had I clicked the remote to lock my car and joined the queue at the machine, I glance back to see a parking attendant descending on my vehicle staring at the empty dashboard and getting out her camera.

Momentarily panicking as to whether I leave the queue and run back, or stay in the queue and just shout out across the carpark, I chose to forgo all sense of self respect and do the latter.

“Excuse me!" I yelled from the queue at the machine, "I’ve literally just parked, I’m here waiting to get a ticket, give me a second!”

The attendant stopped and looked over to me, “OK then,” she said, “I’ll wait.”

Really? She’ll wait? Like is she doing me a favour?

Should I be grateful that I am not being towed between pulling up the handbrake and walking to the machine to actually get the parking ticket?

The man in front of me was equally frazzled, given the queue and the slowness of the machine. “This happens to me all the time,“ he told me, “They’ve taken the joy out of shopping. Shopping used to be a fun treat, now it’s like running a gauntlet, it’s depressing.”

He’s right.

It‘s hard enough for bricks and mortar retailers to get foot traffic in the door these days, let alone the fact all the street parks have been swept away for bus and cycle lanes. Shoppers are forced to use expensive, stressful, tightly patrolled carparks and zoom in and out to do their errands, juggle the parking machine (and often small children in tow) and pray for no tickets.

It’s a wonder anybody can shop at all.

It was a good reminder of why I never park in a Wilson carpark if I can help it.

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