Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Parking Lot Movie (2010)

There are a lot of jobs that deserve more respect than they are given.  People have high opinions of doctors and teachers, but nobody seems to respect jobs like garbage men.  Those jobs are taken for granted.  If you’re not doing it yourself, you think nothing of the people who do them.  They could be robots, that’s how little respect people have for those jobs.  The Parking Lot Movie was a documentary that tried to shine a light on the attendants at The Corner Parking Lot.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and say that I agree with the movie.  I don’t think that parking lot attendants deserve the respect that this movie claims.  I was a parking lot attendant during my teenage years and can tell you that the job involved sitting on my ass in the sun reading a book until someone drove up and paid me to let them into the lot.  That is not an amount of work that deserves esteem.  I did nothing.  Yet The Parking Lot Movie proclaimed to the world that people should appreciate the tiny amount of service that a parking lot attendant gives.

There is a lot to unpack with this movie and I’m going to get to a lot of it.  Having experience as a parking lot attendant, I can give a sort of insider’s look at the job.  I’m going to counter many of the points that were made because my experience will allow me to.  This is going to get personal, and this is going to get antagonistic.  The Parking Lot Movie is some major bullshit.

Let me begin with the quote that got me groaning.  “The parking lot attendant is the tollbooth operator on the expressway to the weigh station to the American Dream.”  What kind of horse turds do you like to put into your documentaries that you think this is an enlightening quote?  This one line of dialogue, which was then expressed in text on the screen, summed up the overall angle of the documentary.  The people involved in The Parking Lot Movie got on their high horses early and never jumped off.  They acted like they were the greatest thing ever to enter people’s lives when, in reality, a parking lot attendant is simply a person who takes your money so you can park.  When I was a parking lot attendant, I knew that I could easily be replaced by a robot.  I wasn’t even there all the time.  I was only there when the owners wanted a little bit of extra cash.  The hotel guests had a code and could put that in to access the parking lot themselves.  The owners could have easily installed a ticket printer, like those in the city owned lots around here, so that people could pay the machine and park.  I was doing a machine’s job.  The workers at The Corner Parking Lot were doing a machine’s job.

The one major difference between my experience and that of the people in The Parking Lot Movie was how customers paid for the parking lot.  Or didn’t pay, depending on the customer.  At The Corner Parking Lot, the customers got a ticket upon entering the parking lot, which told them what time they showed up.  The price was hourly.  It was then up to the attendant, upon the customer leaving, to figure out the time they spent in the lot and charge the appropriate amount.  This meant that there would be varied fees and disputes would occur if people disagreed on how the time was being added up.  This was also an easy way for people to skip out on their payment as they paid when they the lot.  They could simply drive past the attendant and speed away if they didn’t want to pay.  It was a dick move, but it would happen.  In the case of the lot I worked at, we had one price, and it was an all-day price.  I would charge people a flat fee before they went in.  They couldn’t enter until they paid.  It stopped these problems from happening.

Whenever the attendants in The Parking Lot Movie were stiffed, they acted out in increasingly childish ways.  The prices of parking in their lot ranged from one dollar to twelve dollars.  That’s not a lot of money.  If someone decided to leave without paying a dollar, you’d imagine it wouldn’t be a big deal.  It’s only a dollar.  Sure, on principal, you’re going to get a little ticked about it.  I’d be sitting around like “Wow.  They couldn’t pay a damn dollar.  One dollar.  Wow.”  But these guys… These guys got super angry over it for no real reason.  They admitted as much.  One of them talked about a customer who wouldn’t pay the dollar.  He threw a wrench through the back window of the customer’s vehicle.  These guys in the parking lot are supposed to be the heroes, yet they’re admitting to vandalizing other people’s property over a dollar.  A dollar.  One dollar not being paid does not equal shattering the windows out of a car.  Jesus.

There were a few other problems I had with the cast of attendants in The Parking Lot Movie outside of their opinion of how highly regarded their job should have been.  These were basic service things that shouldn’t have been happening.  One, they shouldn’t have been fighting with their customers.  These guys got antagonistic very quickly.  I’ve learned from my more recent job as a ticket seller in tourism that getting mad at people immediately will only lead to bad things.  Keep calm and things will go a little better, in most cases.  Second, there was the point where I saw one of the attendants standing on a car in the parking lot.  I don’t know if it was his car or someone else’s car.  That was never explained.  I assumed it was a customer’s car.  If you think so highly of yourself and your job, maybe you should respect the customer as much as they respect you.  It goes both ways.  Don’t get mad when they stiff you a dollar if you’re spending your time on the job standing on their car.

I guess the way that I see things, every job deserves some respect.  Though I’ve said that parking lot attendants could easily be replaced by ticket machines or meters, which they very easily could, the people working those jobs deserve a little bit of respect.  But they should also be giving respect to those who use their service.  The people of The Corner Parking Lot, as shown in The Parking Lot Movie, don’t seem to have any respect for the people who use their lot.  Yet they want people to act like the attendants are the greatest things in the world.  You get what you give, guys.  Respect the people that use your lot.  Don’t stand on their cars.  Don’t fight them.  Don’t damage their vehicles over a dollar.  That’s a disrespect that won’t get you any back.  If someone wants to be a jerk to you, that doesn’t give you the right to be a jerk to everyone.  Suck it up.  Do your job.  Quit acting like you’re the saviour of all the good in the world.

That brings my rant about The Parking Lot Movie to an end.  I’m sure there’s more I could go into.  The guy from Yo Lo Tengo went into a rant about someone from high school who insulted him while he worked at the parking lot.  Some other guy came into the movie halfway through hating everything and everyone.  There was one thing I enjoyed in the movie, however.  There was one parking lot attendant who played his guitar and sang while waiting for customers.  He was pretty entertaining.  Outside of that, the movie was one that commanded the audience to side with the attendants, only to have the attendants be a bunch of jerks and assholes.  And there was a rap song about parking lots at the end because why not.  I don’t understand how The Parking Lot Movie got made the way it got made.  It wasn’t entertaining.  It was annoying.  It just made me feel bad.
These notes will pick me up a little bit:

  • The Parking Lot Movie was suggested by @MarceloJPico.  He previously suggested Chicks Dig Gay Guys, Die Another Day, and Double Down.
  • This is the first official Sunday “Bad” Movie that was a documentary, though a bonus post for Troll 2 had me writing about Best Worst Movie.
  • Have you seen The Parking Lot Movie?  I’m sorry if you did.  Want to talk it through?  There’s a comments section below for that.
  • Suggestions are a frequent inclusion in the Sunday “Bad” Movies.  This week was a suggested movie.  If there are movies that you want to suggest for me to watch, let me know in the comments or on Twitter.
  • I sometimes share clips of the movies I watch on Snapchat.  Other things might end up there too.  If you want to see any of that, add me.  jurassicgriffin
  • Next week marks the beginning of July and the long weekend that we get here in Canada.  I believe the Americans get the same long weekend this year too.  In celebration of summer, I decided to watch Jaws 3-D and Jaws: The Revenge.  A post about those will be coming up next week.  I hope you’re excited.  See you then.

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