Richard Ord: How parking charges are sucking the life out of us all

‘No change given; overpayment accepted.’ These are the words that could easily be applied to my children. Probably all children come to think of it. They are cash black holes. they don’t put that in their tourist literature.

Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 4:23 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 4:43 pm

To be fair, it has been the case for some time. I can remember being sent to the corner shop for my mum to get milk and returning with the milk, no change, but eating a Mars bar.

“The milk was more expensive than usual,” I told my mother, “But, hey, it came with a free Mars bar!”

My how I laughed, as did my mother ... with every blow she delivered to my backside. Ha, ha, yeouch.

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As it is, the words ‘no change given, overpayment accepted’ are usually found on car parking payment machines.

We live in an age of incredible technological advances yet, even though I believe change machines have been invented, they cannot be connected into the workings of car parking payment machines. It’s impossible, apparently.

Cash payment machines are not a problem, they can be found everywhere. Change-giving machines too are easy and abundant.

A machine that allows you to pay for the time you are staying in a car park, but that also gives you change if you over pay ... impossible. Can’t be done. That’s the stuff of science-fiction.

It may be possible in an imaginative episode of Doctor Who, but in the real world, no chance!

This strange quirk means that car parking companies and councils benefit from the overpayments. Fancy that!

Of course, the fact that ‘no change is given’ is clearly marked ... in very small writing on every machine.

We were in Whitby this week, stopping off for some fish and chips. We drove straight into the first car park we saw. They charged £2.50 an hour.

‘No change given, overpayment accepted.’ But weren’t we already overpaying at £2.50 an hour?

I wanted to speak to the car parking team as they cleaned my car. There was no car parking team and no complimentary car cleaning service.

It appears the £2.50 an hour gives you just a patch of gravel and the promise of a £50 fine if you stay over the hour.

I checked the back of machine. There were even more caveats written in even smaller writing.

Apparently, if you leave the car unlocked in the car park, management reserve the right to rifle through your boot and flog anything of value, with the proceeds going to a borough council booze-up for staff.

Check it out if you don’t believe me, though I reckon the council will rub that bit out after reading this column.

After devouring our cash to loiter in their town for an hour, it turns out they also charge for the privilege of using their toilets. 40p!

Honestly, I don’t know what Whitby is famous for, but in my book it’s synonymous with the soulless and cold-hearted sucking the life out of helpless victims.

Ha, but I bet they don’t put that in their tourist literature.