It was open season on parking wardens last week when John Dybvig described an incident outside St Heliers School.
Evidently his "rear bumper was a bit over the far edge of the driveway, but it wasn't actually over the driveway, the driveway entrance was perfectly clear" - which, of course, is a roundabout way of admitting the car was improperly parked. The author's main gripe was that the traffic warden was being sneaky by ignoring him (and lulling him into a false sense of security) until "10 to three when the school safety rules come into play".
Dybvig concluded that it "wasn't cricket and that ... is why we hate traffic wardens".
Well, I can't say that I hate them. In fact, I don't think they deserve the abuse they often suffer from members of the public. But traffic wardens aren't the only misunderstood service provider: dentists, journalists, lawyers, real estate sales people and used car sales people also experience more than their fair share of hostility.
Parking/traffic wardens: When I get a parking ticket I take full responsibility. It is my fault I stayed too long or paid too little; it's not that of the warden who is only doing his or her job. I'm usually online trying to pay the fine before it's even been entered into the system. Because of the bad PR they get I try to smile at traffic wardens in the street but I've yet to make eye contact with one. They seem to go about their duties with eyes fixed to the pavement. If I have a gripe, it's about the chalking of tyres. I kind of think they should have a system that doesn't involve marking parked vehicles. On the plus side, of course, this chalk is easy to erase. I used to belong to a tennis club where the members were expert on removing chalk evidence from tyres almost as soon as it appeared.
Dentists: According to Top 10 Reasons People HATE Dentists, our aversion to needles, pain, drills and the cost of dentistry may all play a part in our negative feelings towards this health professional.
Journalists: The Huffington Post reported on a poll which showed "people don't have much confidence in newspaper and TV reporters when it comes to being honest and ethical". Well-publicised journalism scandals - featuring fabricated stories, manufactured quotes and plagiarism - have given people good reason to doubt the reliability of their news providers.
Lawyers: It was explained in It's OK to Hate Lawyers that "[p]eople hate lawyers because they represent the interests of people and corporations without really caring who they are, what they did, what harm they caused, or, how culpable they are." One reader quipped: "95% of lawyers give the rest a bad name."
Real estate sales people: A commission structure often criticised for incentivising a real estate salesperson to simply sell a property rather than sell it for the highest possible price is partly to blame for the suspicion with which some people view these professionals. But, as revealed in Is Your Realtor the Enemy?, "[i]f you think we have a tendency to treat you poorly, you should see how we treat each other. We steal clients from one another ... We bad mouth each other ... while employing intimidating tactics to bully our way into living rooms."
Used car sales people: In The Truth About Used Car Salesmen, it's claimed that "old clichés" such as "tampering with the odometer, lying about the vehicle's previous owners" and "performing quick-fix maintenance techniques to cover up defects" are to blame for the bad reputation often associated with car dealers.
What's your view on these occupations? Do you think they deserve their bad reputation? What are other unpopular professions?